Hand Me a Crayon And Let’s Color!

I had the great fortune of being asked to do some freelance work for the Great Park in Irvine, CA. I posted before about the seasonal pins I had done for them, and that project actually came after this one. However, I’ve been lazy and haven’t exactly been posting things on time (sorry!)
Back in June, I worked on one of my favorite projects I’ve done this year. I was asked to do a coloring book for the park, that they can use to teach kids about the Great Park. There are 4 main areas they wanted to cover: agriculture, physical fitness, the arts, and park history.
After meeting with the director and her assistant, I was given some samples of things they liked along with other things they didn’t. I wanted to do the entire thing in Illustrator, using line width for a more dynamic approach, and high contrast, for easy coloring. I decided to use cute “chibi” like characters, and loose visual elements for a young, fun feeling.
One of my favorite parts of the park is of course the artist’s studio. I showed some pieces here last year at the Great Park’s “Great 948” exhibit. So on one side of the spread I created a gallery of frames where you can input your own drawings, according to the instructions. On the other side I did a color by number, and as my subject, I used one of the parks carousel animals, the panda (of course!)
One of the things you have to get used to with freelance are EDITS, there will be edits, and there will be LOTS of them. Although its usually totally necessary, it can definitely be trying.  I was fortunate however to work with someone who was flexible and open to ideas. All in all the entire book probably with through about 5 edits, before making it to print, but that’s not too uncommon I suppose.
I’m very happy with how this project turned out. Its one of the most fun projects I’ve been asked to work on. The characters, elements, and ideas all came together quite nicely, including the cover. The funny thing is that a friend of mine got to see the final product before I did, when she was at the park, and saw them at the Visitor’s Center. I got my copies a few weeks later, and you can get your own too next time you visit the park!
On a side note, I thought I’d throw this in too. After finishing the coloring book, another dept needed a quick one page hand out on how to make a pinhole camera. They have an ongoing exhibit at the park that talks about them. So I threw this together using the same character and style.
I don’t know if I’ll get any more projects from the Great Park, but I feel grateful and blessed to have been asked to do these ones. The best jobs in life are the ones you enjoy, AND get paid for 😉

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