Dea Lenihan traded her 9 to 5 gig as an editorial makeup artist to be a full time colouring book artist and children's book writer and illustrator. The best part? Working from her sunny home office and envisioning her next whimsical book that she hopes you will love.
How long have you been illustrating and what made you start?
I've been drawing for as long as I can remember. I started illustrating when an old friend asked me to do the images for his book, THE OPEN PILLOW. It got picked up by a small publisher, we spent a weekend signing copies at The Eric Carle Museum of Storybook Art, and I have been working ever since. The images from that book are featured in my first colouring book, COLORING DREAMS.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I love to draw and sketch, and get my ideas from the amazingness of everyday life.
Where is your favourite place to illustrate?
My favourite place to illustrate is sitting in my white chair looking out over the ocean...but anywhere will do.
What are your illustrating/colouring material essentials?
Here are my illustrating essentials: * Eagle Turquoise Drafting Pencil for first sketches * Pentel GraphGear 500 with 0.3 lead for next stage details * Tombow Mono Zero Ultra Fine 2.3mm Eraser * Copic Multiliner SP 0.1 and 0.05 for inking * Borden & Riley #32 Ledger Hammermill Paper, it's perfect for line work * iPadPro and Apple Pencil * Procreate App I have many colouring faves, including the Panasonic KP-33 Electric Pencil Sharpener with light indicator, (it's old, you'll probably have to find one on eBay), Signo White Gel Pen, and Polychromos, Schpirerr Farben, Arteza, Luminance, and Bruynzeel Coloured Pencils. Oh! I also like Koi, Prang, and Winsor & Newton Watercolours.
What’s the piece of work that you’re most proud of or enjoyed doing the most?
I'm not sure if I have a favourite piece that I've created, but I'm always fond of the one that I am working on at the moment, which in this case, is EVERYDAY MAGIC, which will be out this summer. Recently I illustrated a history book, WASHINGTON IN NEW YORK, which was totally out of my wheelhouse, and I loved every minute of it. So maybe my favourite thing is the variety that this job allows me...and creating worlds that did not exist before.
If I had to give just one colouring tip, I would say start making mistakes as soon as you can. Don't be afraid to just jump in and try because you are going to mess up like crazy--so go for it and just get them out of the way. For more tips I have a YouTube colouring channel.