More Than Just Colouring – Local Artist invites you to create your “uber woman” with her unique colouring book by Josh Sherman
Wychwood Heights resident Iris Glaser and her long-time friend Katrin Leblond are drawing on famous women from throughout the ages in Colour Her, their new self-published colouring book.
Sketches of 12 women from different time periods and walks of life fill the pages of the spiral-bound book, from the iconic to the archetypal. Hindu warrior goddess Kali appears as a contemporary multi-tasker using her six arms to carry a cellphone, keys, coffee, and cradle a baby; a skater girl in torn jean shorts rides a board..
The hand-drawn images are light-hearted and often given quirky modern twists, but Colour Her has a serious element as well. “We’re both feminist-leaning women. We wanted to do something that was playful but with a message,” explains Glaser.
“It’s not radical feminism,” she adds. “Colour Her is meant to empower by showcasing neglected and inspiring models for a diverse audience that includes preschoolers, septuagenarians, and anyone in between,” says Glaser.
This, coupled with the book’s mix-and-match format—the pages are split into thirds so you can create more than 2,000 different combinations of heads, torsos, and legs—is what Glaser thinks makes Colour Her unique. “Some of the combinations are actually really funny,” she says, going on to describe a granny with robotic arms riding a skateboard.
Besides living in separate cities (Leblond runs a fashion boutique in Montreal, where plans for Colour Her were hashed out this past April), Glaser says one of the challenges so far was tweaking the drawings so that all the characters’ body parts match up when the pages are flipped.
The project developed from a previous collaboration, a series of fashion sketches the two did this spring. Glaser and Leblond loved the results so much that they decided to use the drawings for a fashion-themed colouring book. But when they visited a local bookstore, they found someone had already beaten them to it. They decided to take a different approach then.
“The colouring book market has become very saturated,” says Glaser. Whether it’s because of nostalgia or simply the meditative quality of colouring, she says more adults are picking up books of a genre typically geared towards children. However, Glaser says Colour Her isn’t an attempt to capitalize on a trend: “It was something we wanted to do.”
Glaser and Leblond have already sold all 100 copies from the first Colour Her printing. Meanwhile, the artists recently placed a second, larger order of 500, which they’ll be selling via their website, online retailers Amazon and Shopify and locally along St. Clair West at ecoexistence located at 766 St Clair Avenue West.
The big undertaking now is promo. Both authors want to see their creation on some brick-and-mortar shelves, and they’ve brought on an intern to help out. Still, Glaser can’t help but already ponder the potential the concept has for future books.
There could be a Colour Him one day, she says, and after that, a Colour Him and Her. “That would be your first transgender colouring book, which would be really cool,” says Glaser.
Josh Sherman is a writer who covers culture and urban affairs. His work appears in NOW Magazine, Torontoist, and others.