One of the best parts of our coloring book experience (besides the coloring) is finding new artists on every page that I might never have come across otherwise. Amelia Grace is the first artist from our newest Coloring Book (Volume 4), that I jumped to contact after I saw her page. Read the interview to find out about her spunky and fantastical troupe of characters!

DA: How are you, Amelia?

AG: I’m well, thank you! I’ve been super busy with a lot of projects, but right now I’m working on the Baltimore Fun A Day project. People from Baltimore, MD (and the surrounding areas) spend each day of the new year creating a piece of art work, and at the end we all get together and show what we’ve done in a group gallery show! I gave myself the task of watching a Bill Murray movie each day and then creating a portrait of him based on the character he played in the movie. It’s been really fun!

DA: Speaking of your portraits, I love the series of animal characters. What was your inspiration for them?

AG: Thank you! I grew up (and am still currently living) in a very rural part of Maryland. So I’ve always been surrounded by interesting creatures, particularly woodland ones (foxes, bears, raccoons, etc…). I also read Beatrix Potter books as a kid and also an adult, and they taught me to imagine them as little people.

DA: Do you already have your characters in mind when you start drawing or do you let your pencil do whatever feels like?

AG: It can be a bit of both. Animals can show a lot of personality, like little people. I find myself narrating my cat’s actions from his perspective a lot, and I think of him as a person. It’s like that with other animals I encounter, too. Sometimes I see an animal and the way they act makes me think of a story, while other times I’ll be doodling and suddenly there’s a little cat gentleman or a sassy alligator.

DA: That’s cute, I wonder if your cat narrates to himself what you’re doing. Is there a story behind your coffee-drinking fox dude?

AG: Yeah! I graduated from MICA, where the coffee-drinking hipster culture thrives. This little guy is a lot like my fellow art students (and myself, I’ll admit).

DA: I loved his attitude the moment I saw him. And that speech bubble! It was such a fun detail for a coloring page. What gave you the idea to include it?

AG: When I was a little kid I pored over Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes, so I’ve always thought of myself as a comic book artist at heart, even though my focus is on children’s books now. But I still like to integrate text with my drawings. However, I liked the idea of leaving it blank rather than putting my own words there because then people who enjoy coloring him also get the chance to give him a personality. Is he yelling a profanity, having a poignant thought of introspection, reciting a spell, or greeting a friend? It’s up to whoever colors him! How fun!

DA: So true, I love that anything you write in there throws a new perspective on him. Have you colored him in yet?

AG: I did indeed!

DA: That looks great! If you like what you saw of Amelia’s work here, make sure you hop over to her website to find more.