We’ve been writing a lot about feminist coloring books lately, including those designed for adults and kids. Well, now we’ve discovered one that caters to both audiences—and we couldn’t be more excited to share it with you.
Created by Canadian artists Katrin Leblond and Iris Glaser, Colour Her: A Mix ‘n Match Colouring Book lets users create their own feminist icons by mixing the heads, torsos and lower bodies of famous and mythical women from throughout history. There are more than 2,000 possible combinations to be made by flipping through and matching up the various thirds of the book. There’s also space to draw your own self-portrait and add it to the mix.
From the artists: “Colour Her invites us to discover and play with the myriad roles we inhabit as women. It’s equally a fun and creative tool for young girls to explore images of women beyond the princesses and ballerinas of traditional coloring books.”
Leblond gave the Ms. Blog the inside scoop on how Colour Her came to be, and shared her thoughts on the adult coloring book trend. Read our interview below!
Why did you create Colour Her?
We wanted to make art that was accessible and that also had social impact. That draws people in, engages and is participatory. We are both commercial artists in our professional lives (Iris is a graphic designer and Katrin is a fashion designer).
This book speaks as much to feminism as it does to girl power. We wanted the feminist message to be accessible to a lot of women, not too in-your-face, but still really obvious if you know what to look for. Our choices of characters include softer, more feminine characters, as well as characters that wear work boots and carry tools. It’s a mix that can draw every one in and speak to all ages.
What do you think of the adult coloring book craze?
We think the coloring trend is great. It gets people offline—being creative, playing and using their hands. Coloring books are a great example of art that can get out there to the masses, that people actually use. They are functional and tactile. However, there was nothing in the coloring book world that had any social impact. Most of the coloring books are purely aesthetic. We started illustrating one that was just pretty drawings of fashionistas and fairies, but the minute we had this idea, it was clear that it was in alignment with our social values and it took over the direction of our work.
How do kids relate to this book? What about women?
We are both moms and we wanted our daughters to color women that are not just princesses and ballerinas or corporately owned characters. We intentionally chose a mix of mytholog[ical] and contemporary women that creates a nice element of surprise and contrast. The experience is more thought-provoking than meditative. Mixing [in] mythological goddesses was an important [way to honor] the lineage of female power iconography. Making the goddesses look like women of today was just plain fun, for example Medusa with snake bracelets and a “Mom” tattoo.
Why mix three characters?
As women, we play lots of roles. [The book] is a comment on the multitasking of our real lives, but there is also a fantasy element. By choosing your own three parts, you get to build your own fantasy character. And that new character can be just what you are in the mood for at that moment in time. It is surprising to see how much care people put into choosing the trio they want to mix before they start putting pen to paper.
Click here to purchase a copy of Colour Her.