I had the pleasure to interview professional colorist and illustrator Emily Laughlin, who creates dazzling colored pages and draws her own as well.
Emily, can you tell us a little bit about you? Where you live, and what you do?
I’m an illustrator and colorist, living in the US.
Are you a self taught artist or did you go to school for art?
I’m actually both. I took a couple years of art classes, but since then, it’s mostly been lots of practice.
What are your go-to coloring materials?
My main go-to coloring materials are colored pencils. I love Prismacolor Premier, Caran D’Ache Luminance, and Irojiten Tombow pencils. However, it really just depends on what I’m coloring. Lately, I’ve really been into using watercolor paints.
What is your favorite coloring book at the moment?
My first adult coloring book was a Johanna Basford book. No matter how many different books I color, I always come back to those. So, aside from creating my own coloring book, I think Johanna’s books will always be my favorite.
What inspires you?
The online coloring community is a huge inspiration to me. There are so many extremely talented colorists, and they are always bringing something new to my eye.
What are you working on as an artist and illustrator at the moment?
At the moment, I am working on creating my own adult coloring book. In between that, I also do freelance illustration. Most recently I completed some recent interior illustrations for a Halcyon Works, based in Oklahoma.
How do you get over an “art block”?
When I’m stuck, it helps for me to try a new technique, or medium. Perhaps, rather than coloring books and colored pencils, I’ll try my hand at water colors, or even just black and white illustrations. Occasionally, I’ll get too caught up trying to think up an elaborate background, or what else I could add to a drawing, so I like to get back to basics. I’ll pick a simple illustration (one that’s not too detailed or over-whelming), and use just a basic 12 count set of pencils.
What are your plans in the future as an artist and colorist?
As mentioned above, I hope to put out an adult coloring book. However, down the road, I would love to become either a design illustrator, or an illustrator for children’s books. Mostly, I just want to create beautiful and unique artwork.
Emily, you have a very strong grasp on blending. What are the top 3 tips to help someone who has zero experience with coloring?
1. Don’t be afraid to experiment. A lot of blending techniques just take a practice.
2. I have found that wax based pencils blend much easier than oil based pencils. I can blend colors much more easily using Prismacolor Premier, or Caran D’Ache Luminance, rather than Faber Castell Polychromos.
3. When coloring something like a leaf, it is easier to get a smooth blend if you use at least 3 colors, rather than just two. I usually choose, a light, a mid, and a dark. For example, one of my favorite color combinations for leaves using Prismacolors is Pale Sage, Kelly Green, and Dark green. Don’t be afraid to blend the colors into each other.
Where do you see the coloring trend heading?
I hope that the trend lasts a while still. As long as it’s going, there will always be new books coming out. I have seen adult coloring books help so many people, and with everything going on in the world right now, everyone needs an activity and a little time to unplug from everything. Not to mention it’s a fantastic creative outlet for anyone who wants to create something beautiful.
Do you have anything else to add?
Try not to get too overwhelmed. Coloring is supposed to be fun, and relaxing. Enjoy your quiet time, sit down with your coloring tools, and just fill in the spaces, and let your creativity flow.