No Square Spared

Having told this story, I will move on to the “showing” part of the program.


Having told this story, I will move on to the “showing” part of the program.

Truly, way back when (way way back), I was on the Art Track. I was at the very least going to be a serious cartoonist, or a comic book artist, and maybe, depending on whether I really got good at that art thing, I’d be a Fine Artist. Not the sort that comes out of the Art Institute of Chicago, because the only artists that made the news back then from the Art Institute were to-the-left-of-the-left-wing rabble rousers. Nope, I admired contemporary artists like Jon J Muth and wanted to elevate the lowly arts (comics and cartoons) to something triumphant.

Except, in my estimation, and certainly compared to my peers in high school, I sucked.

Eventually, art took a back seat to music (and songwriting) and as time wore on the less art I made of any sort. Not even doodles in page margins.

Fast forwarding to now, I’ve been giving the local craft stores (and everyone else) a sizable chunk of business as I have re-kindled my ages-lost interest in art. Now that I’m older and wiser, and probably under the influence of several strands of philosophy through the ages (namely the Tao Te Ching but I don’t want to overly credit it) I’ve just decided to make art for its own sake. And being a part of a capitalist society, I don’t have to go far to find Adult Coloring Books.

Me being me, and making Frasier Crane call and say, “hey man, dial down the pretentiousness,” I swiftly moved from cheap art supplies from the dollar stores (to test my mettle) to making damned sure I get 50% off of my fancy markers from Michaels. And as part of that, um, obsession, I picked up a booklet of what I call “coloring squares”.

Exhibit A:


This is the first design from the booklet that I colored with a 6-pack of markers from the same company – they are branded as “Spectrum Noir”. I call these 6-color challenges because I forced myself to only use that single pack of markers and resist the temptation to use every marker I had. (In the way that I often chided Neil Peart for hitting every drum he had in the kit in 2 measures.)

Not bad, eh?

Of course, the pack I selected skewed heavily on the red tones. Never before have two Not Red colors been called upon to provide much needed relief, and contrast.

Indeed, by contrast, here’s what happened when I did the “use ’em all” approach:


Yeah, I’m not feeling like this one is going to end well. Too many decisions to be made, and it’s just not fun anymore.

So I went the “6-color challenge” route again, this time with what are arguably Very Florida colors:


Ahhh, simplicity itself! And another completed square!

They’re not fine art and I’m not seeking to win any awards. More often than not, I do find adult coloring books soothing, although at times I wonder why I am letting Big Crafting make all of the artistic decisions as to form, and just go wild drawing something of my own creation, never mind who is selling what.

After all, I was on the Art Track.

Author: Ethan Johnson

Words like silent raindrops.

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