Woodstock author and artist Wendy Piersall brings the beautiful, intricate creatures of her new book "Coloring Animal Mandalas” to life at Read Between the Lynes on December 6. You can color these pieces of art during the afternoon book signing and meet and greet.
Meet “Coloring Animal Mandalas” author Wendy Piersall from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at Read Between the Lynes on the Woodstock Square and experience the relaxing art of mandalas while you’re there. “I will have an area set up at with plenty of colored pencils, pencil sharpeners and printouts from 'Coloring Animal Mandalas’,” Piersall said.
Piersall, a Woodstock resident, has been drawing these circular, spiritual animal patterns since 2009. When her publisher, Ulysses Press, asked her to create a book dedicated to animal mandalas, she jumped at the chance. ‘Coloring Animal Mandalas’ was released in September 2014.
The book is 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.”
"Coloring Animal Mandalas" was published this fall, with a flower mandalas book due next summer.
An Artistic Journey
The book is 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.”
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.”
Piersall suggests using colored pencils or fine-tip markers to color the mandalas.
Mandalas and More
Look for “Coloring Flower Mandalas” from the Piersall-Ulysses team next summer.
She's also trying her hand at illustrating a friend's children's book. “[The book] is going to take a lot of extra work on my part because I don't have a lot of experience drawing people or scenes," she said. "So I am taking a few months to dive into some self-training so that I can work on that with her next spring.”
Creativity blooms in Piersall's studio-office at her home in Woodstock.
Loving Life in McHenry County
Piersall and her husband and children moved to Woodstock from DuPage County just over a year 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.”
She’s excited to be hosting the book signing and mandala coloring workshop at Ready Between the Lynes – “a great indie bookstore that loves to support local authors like me,” she said.
“Plus it's on the Woodstock Square during the Christmas season,” she added. “In addition to all of the great shops, Woodstock also has free horse-drawn carriage rides this weekend. What's not to love about all of that?”