Legendary Landscapes: Colouring grows up

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Many of us can remember using colouring books as children – the waxy crayons, colouring in characters from Disney or Barbie and her dream house. But there are adults who still hold the tradition dear – with more intricate and detailed artwork, colouring has really grown up, and Legendary Landscapes is prepared to bring something new to the table with a colouring book like you’ve never seen before.

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Image: Legendary Landscapes

Creators of Legendary Landscapes Witek Radomski and Carrie Wong both come from self-taught artist backgrounds. Radomski has been drawing for about 10 years and is a self-described “comic book nerd.”

“I love that intricate line-art,” Radomski said. “So this [Legendary Landscapes] project was perfect for me.”

Wong studied science at UBC but art “was always in the background” of her life.

“I’m not sure where I first found out about adult colouring books,” Wong said via Skype. “I noticed it was a trend online, and then I bought an adult colouring book and joined some Facebook groups and started interacting with people who liked to colour – adults. I thought it was a really cool thing.”

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Image: Legendary Landscapes

Adult colouring books have picked up steam over the last few years, touching on subjects from fashion, tattoos and even Game Of Thrones. Yet Radomski and Wong both felt there was a hole in the colouring book market and thought Canada’s expansive scenery should be featured.

“At some point I thought of the idea: why don’t we make an adult colouring book that features the beautiful landscapes and cityscapes of Canada and have all sorts of imaginary landscapes,” Wong said.

“Most of the other coloring books are more abstract, but there weren’t really any colouring books that featured landscapes,” Radomski added. “You never see Canada. We love hiking together, and we always see all these awesome landscapes. It was a really cool opportunity to make a book.”

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Image: Legendary Landscapes

But these aren’t your typical landscapes. Their Kickstarter promotes the book as being “all about amazing panoramic nature scenes, imaginative cityscapes, mountain tops, lush forests and epic wonders of nature. The book will take you on a journey around the world… and beyond (!) with some surprising twists into magical and alien worlds!”

The art that will be included in the book has been created by artists all over Canada: “Every artist has been doing amazing work,” Radomski said. “It’s been coming together very cohesively. We did the first 25 pages ourselves, and we showed them to the artists and they blew our minds. They started making this amazing work, and it all works together really nicely.”

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Image: Legendary Landscapes

In their journey to create Legendary Landscapes, Radomski and Wong discovered another aspect of colouring they didn’t expect. “Something I found out is that [colouring] really helps people – every day people are posting [on Facebook groups] about how it helps their anxiety and depression,” Wong said.

“It’s one the few ways they can actually relax, get away from their electronic devices, get away from their computer, their phone. Just disconnect and do something completely different and use a different part of their brain. There are some psychologists saying this actually helps as art therapy. It’s an accessible form of art therapy that doesn’t cost a ridiculous amount of money.”

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Image: Legendary Landscapes

They created the Kickstarter in early August in the hopes that they could raise money to mass-produce the book. Amazingly, their campaign surpassed its goal over two weeks before it was due to end on Tuesday, September 8.

“We need people’s support!” Radomski said. “We’re going to use high quality paper, thicker material. We actually have to order special custom paper! Kickstarter backers are going to get the first copies, and we are going to be in London Drugs across Canada. Hopefully we can get in bookstores as well.”

“We still have to get out there,” Wong added. “It’s easier to market our book when we actually have a book! It’s going to be 100% made and printed in Canada.”

To support Legendary Landscapes, check out their Kickstarter running until Tuesday, September 8. If you are impatient for your copy, you can find printable colouring sheets from the book on their Flickr page.

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Megan Gray Megan is an Arts & Culture Contributor for Vancity Buzz and Vancouver based marketing & publicity specialist and event coordinator.
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