Relaxing with Coloring Books
Woodstock author and artist Wendy Piersall brings intricate objects to life with mandala coloring books.
Wendy Piersall, Woodstock resident, has been drawing mandalas – circular, spiritual patterns – since 2009. When her publisher, Ulysses Press, asked her to create a book dedicated to animal mandalas, she jumped at the chance. She now has four books published: “Coloring Animal Mandalas, “Coloring Dream Mandalas, “Coloring Flower Mandalas,” and “Coloring Ocean Mandalas.”
Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, Inc.com, AdWeek, Fox6 News in Milwaukee, and her books rank high on Amazon sales.
Coloring as an adult is very relaxing and almost meditative.
“The books are perfect for tweens, teens and adults. “You don’t have to be artistic to enjoy or be good at coloring – all you need is an interest in the process,” she explained. “Coloring as an adult is very relaxing and almost meditative. So the process of coloring is just as important as the finished product.”
An Artistic Journey
The books are a full-circle, “deeply gratifying” journey for Piersall. With 20 years’ experience in graphic design, she took a break from illustration 10 years ago after experiencing burnout. “It is a personal triumph for me to be able to not only get back to doing artwork again, but also to have the opportunity to work with a national publisher,” she said of her Berkley, Calif., publishing house. “I feel so blessed and honored to be able to do illustration work at all, but to have so many people enjoy my work is the icing on a very rich cake.”
I’ve always loved the feeling of having the utensils in my hands and how colors lay down onto paper.
Her artistic process for publication includes drawing in Adobe Illustrator. “I think my world record for fastest mandala drawn was 10 minutes,” she recalled. “Sometimes I get lucky and can make something beautiful with little tricks in the software. But that’s very rare. Usually, the mandalas take between two to six hours to draw each. They take about the same amount of time – sometimes more – to color them.”
Recently, Piersall has gone back to working with paper with paint, pens and pencils. “I’ve always loved the feeling of having the utensils in my hands and how colors lay down onto paper,” she explained. “It always helps my creativity to break away from the screen and do art for the sake of art. I am able to capture a little of this process on my computer by using a drawing tablet, which is like an electronic pen and paper. I honestly don’t think I could function as an artist without it.”
Loving Life in McHenry County
Piersall and her husband and children moved to Woodstock from DuPage County a few years ago. “We were very drawn to Woodstock and have absolutely fallen in love with everything about the area,” she said. “It’s not just the incredible scenery and beautiful historical architecture that we love – and we love that a lot.
“The people up here are amazing,” she added. “There seems to be a thriving creative community all over McHenry County and it absolutely feeds my artistic side to be a part of it all. We had always dreamed of having a house on a lake somewhere, but now that we’re in Woodstock, I honestly don’t think we would ever want to live anywhere else.”
A new project, “Coloring Flower Mandala Postcards” is slated for release in March 2016.