Whether you’re dealing with illness or just plain old stress, research has shown the healing power of art therapy. My friend Lisa Bogart combines her art with devotionals for an uplifting combination. Her latest release, Drawn Into Christmas, is the perfect antidote during the busy holiday season.
To learn more about her books and to get some insider coloring tips from an expert, keep reading…
Welcome, Lisa! To help our readers get to know you better, I’m curious what 7 words best describe you?
Just seven. Okay….Giggles. Optimistic. Encourager. Baker. Hiker. Knitter. Creative.
You’ve been a busy lady lately! Your book, Knit, Purl, Pray came out last year, and then you’ve released THREE coloring devotionals this year. What prompted the idea to moving into the coloring book space and then to combine your artwork with devotionals?
The coloring books started as a very personal thing. I was taking notes in a class at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference and using my markers. It was fun to play while I listened and let the lessons sink in. It was such a quiet way to create. It felt like returning to something very special. I used to doodle all the time. In fact I had been a graphic designer for years before I was a writer. So playing with design and color was a return to my roots. But these beginnings felt like they were just for me, not for public consumption.
Yet the more I played (the urge followed me home from the conference) with making doodles from snippets of Bible verses and hymns, the more I felt a nudge to share them. Almost like God looking over my shoulder saying, “Ya know, we could share this.” It took me a while to get on board — I was nervous to share my artwork. In the end I couldn’t resist.
I love writing devotions. It’s my thing, short nuggets with hopefully some bit of insight that reaches a reader’s heart. Adding a coloring page meant a reader could be an artist and slow down long enough to color and really ponder what they read. Or at the very least enjoy some coloring fun. The whole experience of combining my words and drawings has been super charged, making me smile a lot. It’s pretty cool to get to use my artwork again when I thought that part of my creative life was over. God’s tricky that way, using ALL our talents for His best.
Yes, He is. LOVE that! I’m curious…Which part takes the longest for you to develop in your books — the words or the artwork?
The words take more time than the artwork. I have lots of ideas for drawings. I use a collection of design books: alphabets to flip thru, color palettes to admire, paintings to look at, children’s books, calligraphy patterns, the list goes on and on. All this gives me lots of sparks. I like to mix and match and try my hand at new looks. The words kind of hum in the background while I’m looking for inspiration.
It takes me longer to craft the words partly because there are so few of them. Devotions are short by nature. They only get to convey one solid thought. It takes me time to boil down the best part of an ah-ha moment so I can share it with some impact for the reader. I don’t want to be boring or repetitive. This is not to say that the artwork is easy. Sometimes there are as many false starts to a picture as there are with the words. But when it all comes together it makes me smile.
Do you have any advice for someone just starting out in the brand new world of coloring?
Go for it! You’ve done this before. Remember elementary school? Remember when you were thrilled to open a new box of crayons or break out some fresh markers? This is no different. The new coloring world is meant to be fun and freeing, not full of rules and have-tos. The difference now is you have the money to buy good supplies. Teehee. Crayola is still one of the best places to start. If you find you really are getting into this new activity, upgrade your tools. You’ll be glad you did, if for no other reason than you’ll have more color choices.
How about for the advanced coloring fanatic? Any resources that are a treasure trove of inspiration and ideas?
More tools!! Lots of people enjoy using gel pens and markers. When I do use markers, I like Pentel pens. They have a nice fine point. There are many brands though, and at art stores you can usually test drive the pens before you buy. I like colored pencils more than markers because there is a chance to blend the colors and create fades and shading. For this I use Prismacolor Pencils. They are cool because they have just a little bit of clay in them so they act a little more like a crayon. Here’s a link to a helpful video about blending. Prismacolor are a little pricey but worth it. They come in sets of 12 pencils for about $30 all the way up to 150 colors for $300.
Another tip is to join a coloring group online. Facebook has several adult coloring groups. Those are places where you can find deals, tips, and inspiration. And of course you can scroll around Pinterest and Instragram. But honestly I like to just play and see what happens. I will confess it’s nice to have two copies of a book so I can test-drive color ideas and then go for it in a second “final” version.
Great tips — thank you! On a more serious note, how has art drawn you closer to God?
As I said, my coloring book adventure started at a writers’ conference. That class I was taking was about creating WITH God instead of trying to do things FOR God. It changed my whole outlook on my writing career. Suddenly I was in it to have creative time with God, just Him and me — no readers. Of course it turns out there was something terrific to share with my readers when we were done!
As you mentioned I wrote and drew three coloring books in one year. It was a tremendous amount of work, but it never felt overwhelming. I honestly woke up every morning itching to get to my desk. Even when I thought I was stuck, I’d sit down with the mindset: It’s just me and God playing together. And He never let me down. I learned to delight in our time together — even crave it.
(The class that so inspired me was taught by Allen Arnold. He’s got a great book out on this topic of creativity: The Story of With: A Better Way to Live, Love, and Create. Here’s a link to the book on Amazon.)
Any tips for readers of your coloring devotionals to make the most of your books?
Some people have found it beneficial to color in a group. So you might try reading a devotion with your small group or Bible study or book club or best friend. Then you can color while you chat about it or just enjoy some time together.
Many folks have been using these books as a de-stressor or a distraction. When there is just too much going on in your life and you think there is no time to take a break…try 20 minutes of coloring. It really does take your mind off your troubles. I’ve even heard from a grieving mom that she colored in the middle of the night to chase her insomnia demons away, and it worked.
Finally share the fun. These books make great gifts. I’ve given one to my mailman, my hairdresser, my choir director, even to a tea shop waiter where I often go. They all were surprised and delighted.
If you want to add something special to your gift, contact me for a custom bookplate. Just email me at LisaBogartAuthor@gmail.com. I’ll give you my mailing address so you can send me a self-addressed stamped envelope, and I’ll be happy to create as many book plates as you’d like. Even for your own book! teehee
What an amazing offer, Lisa. Thank you! And thank you for being my guest. I love seeing how God has used your talents for Him.
Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving!
*pencils photo by Ivory Mix/CreativeMarket.com