Lisa enjoys creating coloring books for others to enjoy and coloring herself. She finds that when she is not teaching and busy being a mother that coloring helps her to relax and unwind. Lisa finds that the great thing about coloring is that you can enjoy it on your own or with friends and you have a vast opportunity to experiment with art materials and express yourself creatively.
Let’s get to know Lisa Greenhut
Do you have any formal art training or are you self taught?
I dabbled in studio art in college. I was out of my element, as many of the students in the class were experienced and gifted visual artists who had taken other art classes. I was so embarrassed about my own work that I didn’t hang any of my pieces up to be critiqued, even anonymously. After about a month of this, the professor noticed and convinced me to take the risk of letting my work sit out in the world. It was definitely a turning point in how I felt about creativity and art!
What are your favorite things/topics to draw/illustrate?
I love mandalas and geometric designs. Some of my books pair a mandala with an affirmation or inspirational saying, so that I can think about something positive and uplifting while coloring.
Where do you create your drawings? Can you describe what your work space looks like?
I primarily use software on my MacBook Air to create symmetrical designs. There are a few different programs that I enjoy using for creating seamless patterns that are really fun to color. Then, I use Photoshop to “clean up” the images and create sample colored pages, and I put the books together using Pages.
What is your drawing process like? Do you prefer to finish a drawing in one sitting, work on it over a number of sittings or do you switch between drawings that you are working on? Or do you do something else?
I create in bursts. I find a design that I like and create many different variations of it. Then I leave it aside for a bit so that I can come back with fresh eyes when it comes time to pick the designs that will be used for publication. I like to wait until I have a nice selection of finished designs so that I can select the ones for use in the next book so that they fit together well.
Do you listen to music while you illustrate, if so, what are your musical tastes?
I’m all over the map, literally, when it comes to music. All over the timeline, too! For deep concentration, I love early music – medieval harmony and Renaissance music have an eerie, holy sound to them. I love Baroque and Classical as well. If I want something upbeat, I’ll go for Afro-Cuban All Stars, 80s classics, or piano jazz.
Does your work space/environment influence your art work at all?
When it comes time to create the affirmations that go with the mandala designs, I often find inspiration in watching my son play nearby. Children have such an immediate and wonderful way of relating to the world!
You have published a coloring book/s please tell us what drew you to the coloring book market and a bit about your book and your inspiration for it
I created the Pregnancy Journal and Coloring Book after giving birth to my own son. It was a good pregnancy, but I was very anxious and could have really used a coloring journal to record my thoughts AND process my feelings and worries. I designed the book to be exactly what I would have wanted for myself as a mother-to-be. Since then, I have published two travel-size books of mandalas and affirmations/positive sayings. These are fun, quick designs to color. I’ve brought them to a number of live events and people have turned them into cards or gifts for loved ones, or just colored them for relaxation.
But the one I’m most proud of is a coloring book/journal for people recovering from a hospitalization or illness called The Getting Better Book. The idea for that one came to me after having to accompany my son to the hospital and seeing all of the kids and families there who were struggling through an illness or injury. I dedicated the Getting Better Book to a student of mine who survived and is recovering from a life threatening illness.
What do you look forward to doing in the next 6 months in the coloring world?
I’m working on a selection of calendars and planners for 2017. I’d love to give people a choice of weekly or monthly, as well as something that you can color and hang up for the entire year.
What was the feeling like when you first seen your art work published in a coloring book?
So surreal! It was very exciting to get the proof and see my designs in an actual book!
What did it feel like to see your art work colored in by someone else?
My favorite thing is bringing coloring pages to live events and watching as people color them before my eyes. I love seeing what people choose, what colors, what designs.
Do you color as well illustrate/draw/publish books?
Yes, I have quite a collection! I just got a set of Prismacolor pencils for my birthday, which was great!
It can be very difficult managing day to day life as well as publishing a coloring book. Can you tell us about your daily routine and how you manage your time?
I teach part time and I’m home with my child on the other days. Naptime and after his bedtime on weeknights is when I have time to work on my coloring books.
Publishing can be a creative and a chaotic experience with a lot of learning curves along the way. Tell us the best and worst experiences that you have had creating your coloring book
It was a real learning curve to figure out how to format the designs so that they printed clearly and didn’t get cut off around the edges. My first book must have gone through 4-5 different revisions before it was formatted correctly. Now, after my 4th book, I can get through the whole publishing process with only a minor correction here or there, so I’m learning! I recently learned how to use Photoshop to format designs, so that should streamline the process even more!
What is your favorite treat/reward for a job well done?
A nice cup of flavored coffee and a coloring book to curl up with!