Witek Radomski and Carrie Wong were hiking along a forested mountainside in the Kootenays, looking for gemstones, when they came up with the idea to create their adult colouring book Legendary Landscapes.
“This book was conceived in the Kootenays,” said Radomski. “Carrie and I staked some land there last year and tried our hand at prospecting. We’d always be perched on the edge of some cliff looking at these amazing views, and the real treasure we found was the beauty of those landscapes.”
The project, which eventually spawned a successful crowdfunding campaign, features work by Wong and Radomski, who now live in Vancouver, along with five other artists including Selkirk College digital arts graduate Kamala Melzack. The pair wanted it to be a collaboration and hope to enable artists to explore their creativity with their work.
“I wanted to find out what Legendary Landscapes was all about, so I looked them up on Facebook and asked them what they would like,” said Melzack, who is also a Star graphic designer. “I did some research on places from around here, and on Canadian landmarks, and basically drew whatever felt like a Canadian landscape to me.”
She created 12 pieces for the book.
“The point is to see everyone else’s creativity coming through. I love doing the outlining, and it’s pretty awesome that people will be colouring my work. I’ve never done anything like this before.”
But they’re part of a growing trend.
“Colouring books are really fascinating,” said Wong. “People think it’s a childlike activity but it’s allowed more people than ever before to get involved in art. I’ve never seen anything like it, and it’s even crazier now with social media.”
She said they wanted something different than the typical “mandalas and abstract art.” They were also looking for something gender neutral.
The landscape theme provided plenty of inspiration, and they ultimately produced 85 illustrations for the book.
In late summer, merchandise buyer Kenny Vannucci heard about the project and met with Radomski and Wong in Trail. He has now committed to selling the colouring book in 78 London Drugs locations throughout western Canada.
“It’s not just beautiful BC and Canadian landscapes,” Vanucci said. “There are out-of-this-world moon and space scenes, mushrooms fields and all kinds of picturesque illustrations from deep within their imagination. The detail is exquisite and enticing.”
And they’re most excited about the creative collaboration the book will inspire.
“We know from testing with our colouring groups and our colouring community on Facebook that both colouring enthusiasts and adult first-timers will find enjoyment and solace within the pages of this book. They will create pieces they will keep private, and pieces they will proudly put on display,” said Radomski.
Many fans post their coloured-in creations on social media, something the Legendary Landscapes authors encourage.
Wong said colouring can be extremely calming.
“There have been times where I may have felt some anxiety and colouring has proven to be therapeutic. I think there is also huge benefit to people putting down their phones and devices and picking up a pencil crayon.”