I found Millie's coloring book at the store and thought how magical her illustrations were. Her animals are engaging and beautiful making the coloring experience relaxing.
1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Millie Marotta and I work as Illustrator. I spend my days beavering away in my little studio at home in West Wales, creating beautiful coloring books and working on other exciting creative projects.
2. What inspired you to create a coloring book?
As children most of us will have enjoyed coloring as a relaxing activity and a way to be creative and my thoughts with the first book were simply why should we stop coloring simply because we have grown a little older? I don’t think that creativity from our childhood ever really leaves us, I think that for many it just gets a little buried as we grow older. I have always used creative activities myself as a way to relax and unwind, both as a child and throughout my adult life and felt quite confident that there would be other adults who felt the same. Not everyone though has the time or the means to learn a new craft or attend and art class, so the books are a great way to offer people a simple and accessible way to engage in something creative. Although I have to admit that at the beginning I never expected the books to become quite as popular as they have and it’s wonderful now to see so many people enjoying coloring as a creative outlet in their everyday lives.
Illustrations by Millie Marotta Colored Images by colourwithclaire.com
3. How did you go about getting published?
My publisher initially approached me with the idea of putting the first book together. I immediately thought it would be a really exciting project to work on and felt that the style of my work, with all its’ detail and intricate lines lent itself perfectly to the idea of offering illustrations suited for adults to colour in. To be honest I didn’t have to give it a great deal of thought and couldn’t wait to get started. At that point colouring books for adults really weren’t the ‘phenomenon’ that they have become, but the idea of being able to offer beautiful and sophisticated illustrations for grown-ups to colour just made sense to me
4. How do you bring the illustrations to life?
All the illustrations in the book begin as hand drawn pencil sketches, which I then hand draw again in much more detail and in ink for the final artwork. Aside from needing to scan the final artwork so that the printers have a file they can print from, most of the illustrations you see in the books are exactly as they are when I drew them. When I need to develop an image into a repeat pattern I use either Photoshop or Illustrator.
5. Do you have any advice on coloring the illustrations?
I think it’s important not to get too hung up on worrying about what you should or shouldn’t be doing. Don’t fret about keeping things too neat or going outside of the lines, the great thing about coloring is that there are no rules, there is not right or wrong way to do it. You should just go with whatever you feel like doing. Be it it your choice of colors, materials or technique, make it your own, that’s kind of the point, this is you creating your own unique piece of art.
A couple of practical tips would be not to press too hard with your pens or pencils, instead try to build up your colors gradually so you’re not ‘scrubbing’ the paper too hard. If you’re using colored pencils, keep the tip nice and sharp as that will give you more control and will allow you to fill in all those little details. If you’re going for pens try to find some which have a fine nib and are not alcohol based as these can have a tendency to bleed, as do those with a heavy ink flow such as marker pens. But overall, I think the fact that is no right or wrong way to color and that there are no rules hopefully encourages people to experiment and be even more creative.
6. What are some of your favorite drawings from the coloring book?
It’s very hard to choose but the curled up fox from Animal Kingdom is definitely one of my favorites, along with the klipspringer from Wild savannah and the peacock from Tropical World.
7. Who are some people who have inspired you as an artist?
I’m inspired all the time by countless artists, designers, photographers, craftspeople and makers from all over the world. With the internet and social media making everything so accessible these days it’s hard not to be inspired daily by something or someone new that you happen to stumble across by accident. My biggest inspiration though, without meaning to sound cheesy, is nature.
8. What’s your favorite kind of animal?
The wild kind, I can’t bear to see animals in cages.
9. What’s your favorite medium to use? Ink, colored pen, computer, etc.
Ink, definitely. I love the simplicity and clarity of black ink on white paper.
10. How did you come up with the type of designs inside the animals for your coloring books?
These are a mixture of patterns and textures that I’ll often notice in the skin, fur, scales etc of the animals that I’m drawing. So for example it might be interesting shapes that I see repeated in the skin of a lizard, or the overlapping layers of tiny feathers repeated again and again on a hummingbird. I’ll often do the same thing with plants, trees and flowers too, looking for different patterns and textures that can help to create and embellish the overall form of the animal and turn it into a really engaging image to color.
Illustrated pages from Animal Kingdom By Millie Marotta Sept 2014 Lark Crafts
In 2015 Millie Marotta came out with a postcard collection. Here are some of her illustrations colored by Colouring in the Midst of Madness
When Millie Marotta isn't busy answering questions for this magazine she's working on illustrations. Currently she's in the works with a new coloring book due out in October 2016 called Curious Creatures a colouring book adventure.
1. If you were in a second life an animal what would you choose?
A bird for sure… some kind of sea bird, that way I could fly, walk, and swim….I’ve probably given this far too much thought!
2. If you could travel to any time in history where would you go? Who would you talk to?
3. If you could only draw with one color ever what would you pick?
Black, of course!
4. If you were stuck on an island what five things would you need with you?
Pen and ink (technically two things but surely you’ll give me that)
Copious amounts of coffee
Equally copious amounts of peppermint tea
A never ending good book
5. What’s better, the beach or the forest?
Errrrr….a forest by the beach.