A funny thing happened to me this past Summer. I received an email from someone at Harper Collins publishing, asking me if I would like to work with them to illustrate a coloring book. Say what? I get a lot of inquiries asking me to submit work, but they usually are for new print-on-demand sites, contests, or spec work. I am not interested in doing those anymore. I didn’t want to get too excited about it, I’ve had so many things not pan out in the past. I submitted a few samples of my work based on a theme that they had given me. Then I waited….

I’m not sure if I was one of a few artists that they interviewed. But in the end they chose me! I was absolutely floored. And thrilled. And nervous. The deadline was really insane!  I think it was mid-June when I started the project, with a finish date mid-August. YIKES! A little over two months and 96 pages to sketch. Then ink. *GULP*

I had a really hard time starting this book. It was June. I had just planted my gardens. And I had to get in the mood to draw and think about everything “holiday”. My first sketches were horrible. They looked forced and not “me”. Then I went to visit my Mother for a few days, for the Fourth of July holiday. I sat there at her dining room table and magic happened. I finally produced sketches that I adored! It didn’t hit me at the time, but later I realized that the entire time I sat there, I was listening to classical music. My Mom has it playing throughout the house all of the time, it’s a wonderful local Boston station. When I returned home, I found that same station and listened to it religiously while I completed the book. Lesson learned, when you are hitting a block in your artwork, change up your music or what you listen to, listen to a podcast, or an audible book. It worked for me!

We did several versions of the cover before the final one was chosen. I drew and colored the wreath, and Whitney Manger, the Senior Designer at Harper Collins, designed the cover. It looks so great on the shelves at Barnes and Noble when I went by to see it last weekend.

Christmas to color-Mary Tanana-Groovity Designs

The lettering is printed in a lovely red foil with a textured cover and back. If there is one thing to say about this book, the quality is awesome. Specifically the paper quality of the interior. It’s so white and the stock is wonderful! I was so pleased!! It’s a perfect backdrop for so many different kinds of medium.

Christmas to color-Mary Tanana-Groovity Designs

Here are some of the sketches that I did for the book. Coming up with 96 unique pages was daunting to say the least.

Christmas to color-Mary Tanana-Groovity Designs Christmas to color-Mary Tanana-Groovity Designs

….because peacocks just had to be in this book….

Christmas to color-Mary Tanana-Groovity Designs Christmas to color-Mary Tanana-Groovity Designs Christmas to color-Mary Tanana-Groovity Designs

Much of the book has a folky feel to it.

Christmas to color-Mary Tanana-Groovity Designs

I love this little bunny!!

Christmas to color-Mary Tanana-Groovity Designs Christmas to color-Mary Tanana-Groovity Designs

there are loads of detailed snowflakes in this book! Lots of patterns too.

Needless to say, I didn’t finish the book on the firm deadline, but a few weeks after. I think I pulled about 5 all-nighters (not in a row!) to get the work done for the team at Harper Collins for different mini-stages. I had a wonderful team to work with there, they pushed me to a new level in my art journey. I am truly grateful that they chose me for their project.

I’ll be doing a giveaway at the end of the week. If you would like to be part of it, please click HERE to go to my newsletter sign up page. Past winners of my books will not be eligible for new giveaways.

To purchase the book at Barnes and Noble, please click HERE, for Amazon click HERE.

Thanks for stopping by!! I’ll be posting more about this book, along with a free downloadable/printable coloring page.



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