Blog / 2023 / The Making of a Coloring Book Page

September 12, 2023

[video transcript]

You can pre-order a copy of the book, buy special edition posters, or reserve an original line drawing on Kickstarter today! (Some of the images have already been claimed. Check the list in the Story section under the video for up-to-date details.)


a surrealist line drawing of a rose with a thorny thought bubble
Gwenn Seemel
ink on paper
12 x 9 inches

For those of you in the Princeton area, the paintings from Everything’s Fine are currently on display at the library, and there’s still space in the art class for teens that I’m doing at the end of the month.

Princeton Public Library
65 Witherspoon
Princeton, NJ 08542

Open: now through October 15th
Hours: every day, visit PPL site for times

Hands-on art workshop for teens
Saturday September 30th from 3p to 4:30p
Register here!

coloring book page showing two roses, one normal and one without thorns but with a prickly thought bubble
coloring book version of Overthinker

Right now, I’m in the process of gathering funds to make a coloring book about mental health called Everything’s Fine. The Kickstarter for the project is here!

If you support this project, one of the rewards you could receive is the original drawing for one of the coloring book pages. Like this one of the image of two roses: one that’s the usual sort of rose and one that’s lacking outward thorns but that has a prickly thought bubble instead. This piece is called Overthinker, and it’s all about the problems that come with being too much in your own head.

Though all the images for the coloring book have already been worked out in a basic way, because the drawings will all be redos of paintings I’ve already made, transforming the paintings into line drawings for this phase of the project is still complicated and time consuming.

This video may just be a couple of minutes long, but, in real life, without timelapse making me look like some kind of art witch who can draw faster than a hummingbird’s wings flap, the process took almost seven hours. That includes making the drawing and then remaking it when I messed up the background. And then also scanning the drawing and editing it on my computer to remove all my light pink sketchy marks, so that it’s ready to be a coloring book page.

And I’m guessing that seven hours will be about average for turning each of the paintings from Everything’s Fine into a coloring book page. Since the book will measure eleven by eight and a half inches, some of the original pieces will need to be completely reconfigured to fit those proportions. These roses are one of the easier compositions in that sense, because they already fit those proportions pretty well, but some of the others are very tall and narrow or very short and wide, meaning that I’ll have to rethink the compositions quite a bit.

However much—or little—reconfiguring I have to do, these line drawings are a fascinating exercise for me. The paintings from Everything’s Fine all started as sketches—some more worked out than others. And then they became full blown paintings. And now they’re getting re-simplified into a form that other people can color in. It’s a distillation that forces me to evaluate and re-evaluate how these images can best communicate and heal, and I’m really enjoying the process.

I hope you’ll reserve an original drawing for yourself today!


Maybe this post made you think of something you want to share with me? Or perhaps you have a question about my art? I’d love to hear from you!


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