Les Bouquets

Allo mes amis! Comment ca va? I hope all is well with you, it’s been a long time! Last time I checked in it was to talk about a book I’m working on that’s taking quite a bit of research. While that’s underway I needed a diversion and came across this image (below). It’s a sketch from the year 1735, a beautiful flower arrangement that had just begun to fill in with color yet was never finished. It struck me that each of the masterpieces we see today started with the simple act of putting pencil to paper. I had the urge to continue coloring it, remembering the fun it was as a child!

In fact, I was so charmed by it that I started to look for old images in the public domain that were similar, black and white sketches that would be fun to color; arrangements, single flowers and bouquets from a time when floral design and observation of botanicals was both a science and a high art. the idea came to create a coloring book for adults that was sophisticated and would be easy to use. It was a big task since most of the images needed adjusting, color correction and restoration. they often had seams in the center like the one below,

or were crooked and yellow, scanned at high resolution but not the best quality.

There was no shortage of out of print books and images to be had, and so, with the help of a talented assistant, we worked on each image to take out the flaws and retain as much of the detail as possible.

The results led to clear, highly detailled illustrations that are pretty to look at and, when even the slightest color goes on with colored pencils or pastels, they spring to life like mini masterpieces.

As I was putting it all together in the last stages, I was visiting my mom and she was very encouraging as i stayed up late learning about the process; creating the cover, the ins and outs of self publishing on amazon and all the little details that went into it. One night we printed out the entire book to see it in hand. She happened to have loads of colored pencils so for the next few nights after dinner, we sat down with tea to talk and without planning, gravitated toward filling in the images, surprised at how easy it was and the satisfaction we had with seeing the results.

Those evenings spent talking and laughing, as well as in silence and in contemplation are some that I’ll treasure forever. Coloring became a little respite for us, a way to create without having to be particularlly creative, a way to do something together yet totally independent. Everything stopped for awhile, there was no stress, just the pleasure of play, bringing back those fond childhood feelings of contentment.

We’re no rembrants but we stopped and admired and ooh’d and ahh’d at each other’s work

and giggled at who could have created this vase!

When we finished a few, i shot what we’d done to make a collage, then searched for flatlay images and put the photo of the colored pages in the space between the pencils (below).

The image of the book cover went on the flatlay shown in the first photo of the post.

After countless revisions, adjustments and tweaks, voila! it was uploaded to amazon and the book is live now!

Each copy is printed on demand right here in the USA.

I’ve learned so much from this process, not the least of which is to continue learning. everything’s daunting until we do it once, non? If you’re interested in hearing more about it let me know and I’ll go step by step.

There are so many resources online to help with every aspect and I recommend sites like the Internet Archive, Fivver and Rawpixel to make the tasks easier.

With that, I promised to give atttibution to the images used to create the flatlays, so thank you to the creative artists on Rawpixel and Freepik and the incredible resources that are available to us all!

If you or someone you love might enjoy this book to de-stress, meditate or just plain old play, head on over to Amazon and get a copy of Les Bouquets. For every book sold, food will be donated to our local shelter where so many animals are in need of nourishment and comfort.

Well, I hope you enjoyed catching up, I sure have missed my blog friends. So for now mes amis, have a beautful, colorful day!

PS if you leave a comment you’ll be in the drawing to win a free copy! Winner announced next friday :)

October 27, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . 1700s, Coloring Book, Les Bouquets. 22 comments.