How long have you been illustrating and what made you start?
I’ve been illustrating ever since I can remember, but started working on designs for adult colouring books in 2017 under the name Ruby Charm Colors. I started small (sort of as an experiment and a way to get back to my arty roots) but thanks to the encouragement of the wonderful people I have met in the colouring community along the way, have been growing ever since and now have a few books under my belt.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I enjoy playing with lines and am fascinated with spirals (like the Fibonacci or golden spiral) and love drawing anything and everything in the natural world, but with my own twist or vision. Ideas strike at any old time and I try to either jot down a note about it or sketch it out so I don’t forget.
Where is your favourite place to illustrate?
In the winter, I mostly work in my very small studio, but once warm weather hits, one of my favourite places to draw is in my car or under a tree at one of the many parks and beaches nearby. Sometimes I bring my dog along for company and I usually have a cooler with snacks and drinks. If I am painting (or colouring which has become one of my favourite things to do since I started creating designs for colouring) I prefer my studio since it is packed with all of my art supplies.
What are your illustrating/colouring material essentials?
I love to try new art supplies but when when I am coloring, I usually gravitate to the Derwent Lightfast and Drawing pencils, Caran d’Ache Luminance, Polychromos and Irojitens. I always seem to be ordering more Luminance Buff Titanium pencils and Blender Bright sticks and really enjoy my Caran d’Ache Museum and Albrech-Durer watercolor pencils, too. I have also become a huge fan of the handmade mica watercolours made by Karen Spencer. They add a beautiful shimmer to my artwork. As far as drawing goes, I used to sketch my designs on paper, but have since moved to my iPad which is convenient to use while working outside my studio. The iPad and Apple Pencil with Procreate is now my go-to for sketching and final line art, and it works well with Adobe Illustrator and inDesign which I use to make my books.
What’s the piece of work that you’re most proud of or enjoyed doing the most?
This is tough to answer. Some of my least successful colourings are the most cherished because I learned a lot during the process of working on them, and my pile of works in progress is taller than my stack of finished pieces. Plus, in addition to colouring, I also paint (acrylic with objects, beads, buttons, etc. sewn onto the surface of my canvases) and I paint and embroider denim jackets. I don’t think I can pick a favourite though I do have a sweet spot for Juno - a drawing and then colouring I recently did of my Blue Heeler puppy.
Most everyone wants their colourings to look nice - especially after putting a lot of time into a page. But I’ve discovered it’s not always all about the end result. I am a big proponent of enjoying (and learning from) the process of colouring itself. It’s the time between start and finish where we discover beautiful colour combinations (often by accident), learn how to work a particular brand of pencil to get the best results, and even discover new techniques. There are so many different types of media and papers or other surfaces to work with, and some of them play with one another much better than others. Never be afraid to experiment, make mistakes and make a mess. You can almost always start over (especially if is it a colouring page from a book you make a copy of or can print again from a PDF). Also, never judge your colouring next to someone else’s. We all have different reasons for colouring and have different skill sets. And honestly, there is always something to learn - even for more the accomplished colourists. Don’t envy them to the point you get frustrated that you’ll never be as good, but instead, celebrate them and learn from them. Most of the people I know in the colouring community are pretty open and friendly and very willing to share their techniques and ideas.