The Happiness of Art Masthead
Color Wheel Illustration copyright D.E.Uhlig
Coloring, Crayons & Bears Title
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." 
–Pablo Picasso
Walking into Barnes & Noble just before Christmas, I was amazed at the number of coloring books for sale—and they were all for adults! It's apparently all the rage—this month, coloring books took up the top 10 spots on the New York Times best-selling list of games and activities—and though I'm a little surprised at the extent of their popularity, I love the notion that more and more people are beginning to realize how beneficial art can be in their lives.

My favorite coloring books for grownups are by the Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford who, I believe, essentially created the market—or at least the current craze—with her book Secret Garden. She has also authored several subsequent books: Enchanted Forest and Lost Ocean.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you color…

How a color wheel works • an online color calculator • 50 free tools to create perfect color combinations • Adobe Kuler (it's been a favorite 'color palette' website of mine for years. If you want to see what color palettes are popular right now, check this out.) Ever wonder what color to use with an image? This online tool will help you. • Here's a color information and conversion tool.

While the coloring book craze is new to me, I've used colored pencils to color my own artwork for years. Here's a tip honed from experience: Pay a little extra and get Prismacolor pencils (they're the best, in my opinion), and sharpen them manually (the 'leads' break easily). Oh, and buy Prismacolor Premiers, not Verithin.

So I quickly just tried my hand at creating a coloring page of my own…
Coloring Page Copyright DEUhlig
I'm not yet sure what to think of this, but I'll keep experimenting. When I get my website up and running (which should hopefully be soon) I'll make this and other coloring pages available for download.

Of course, in the meantime, you can always try your hand at coloring this doodle art by Japanese artist Sagaki Keita. Good luck with that! ;-)
"I dream my paintings, then I paint my dreams." 
–Vincent van Gogh
Trivia Czar Logo copyright D.E.Uhlig

Did You Know?

Color doesn't actually exist, it's just a construct of the brain. It's created only when the human brain attempts to make sense of the light signals it receives from the outside world. In other words, the colors we 'see'… are all in our heads, and without the brain's colorful interpretation, the world probably looks like a scene from The Matrix. Read more: The Science of Color and Color – an overview.

The invention of the color wheel is attributed to Sir Isaac Newton. Here's what Newton's 'Colour Circle' looked like.

Here are 22 more intriguing facts about colors.

A chameleon walks into a bar. The bartender says, “If your wife calls, I didn’t see you.” (Okay, I promise: no more off-color jokes.)
Blue Sun Illustration copyright DEUhlig
"The sky was yellow and the sun was blue." 
–Grateful Dead "Scarlet Begonias"
Title: 5 Things
1. A friend of mine was surprised to learn that I was unfamiliar with the history of Crayola crayons, so I did a little research. Here's the history of Crayola crayons, and here's a complete timeline of the company, from the moment Joseph Binney created Peekskill Chemical Works, to the formation of Binney & Smith in 1902, to the present day Crayola, LLC—which is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Hallmark Cards (much to the chagrin of some Crayola purists.) Notably absent from the timeline is the closing of the Binney & Smith Crayon plant in Winfield, Kansas in 1997, which eliminated nearly 345 jobs. By the way, think you can name all the crayon colors? I'll bet you can't. Here's a list. (You've got to love Wikipedia.) And did you know the wax for the 100 billionth Crayola crayon to roll off the production line was poured by Mister Rogers? Now you do!

2. I recently discovered Twistable 'Slick Stix' Crayola Crayons  (available at Michaels). They're SUPER smooth—I just wish I could find them in a fine point.

3. 271 Years Before Pantone, an artist known only as “A. Boogert” mixed and described every color imaginable in an 800-page book. 

4. George Orwell died 66 years ago yesterday. Here are his six rules for writing and eleven rules for making tea— "…every one of which," he stated, "I regard as golden."

5. The last thing Italian Renaissance painter Raphael said before he died was simply the word, “Happy.”
"Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude." 
–A.A. Milne
Bear Illustration deuhlig

A.A. Milne & E.H. Shepard

In addition to being Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (I posted an illustration here), this past Monday was also Winnie the Pooh Day, which is celebrated on January 18th each year to commemorate the birthday of author A.A. Milne, born in 1882. 

Speaking of Winnie the Pooh… illustrator Sophie Blackall just won the 2016 Caldecott Medal (the most prestigious prize for children's illustration) for her book Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear. (The link includes an interesting infographic detailing the timeline of the bear's rise to popularity.) And here's the story of the original bear (or at least one of them… keep reading.)

The original illustrator of Milne's story was E. H. Shepard. As this fascinating BBC article about the artist explains, Shepard grew to resent the famous character he helped create. He and A.A. Milne apparently weren't close, and "Shepard's beautiful line drawings of Pooh were not taken from Christopher Robin's bear, but from Growler, the much-loved bear belonging to the artist's son, Graham. When the Second World War broke out, Shepard was over military age so he enlisted in the Home Guard. But his son Graham, serving in the Royal Navy, lost his life when his ship was sunk in the Atlantic." (Benson)

For those interested in learning more about the artist, here's a 'recommended reading' list: The Pooh SketchbookDrawn from MemoryDrawn from LifeThe Story of E.H. Shepard: The Man Who Drew Pooh.

One of Shepard's original illustrations of Winnie The Pooh recently sold for more than £300,000.

My kids loved Winnie the Pooh growing up, and this video in particular brings back wonderful memories of watching it with them.
"Would you be so kind as to pull me to a muddy place of which I know of?"
Winnie the Pooh

My Watercolor Palette

A while ago, I rather painstakingly created what I consider to be the ultimate watercolor palette. I based its design on photographs I'd seen of the palettes of two of my favorite illustrators, Quentin Blake and Ronald Searle. Here's a glimpse…
Palette copyright D.E.Uhlig
"Never paint anything the color it actually is." 
–Quentin Blake
Palette copyright D.E.Uhlig
"There was the irresistible impulse to draw. I cannot remember wanting to be anything else other than an artist." 
–Ronald Searle

This is me, trying to wrap up this newsletter, but I can't stop clicking on interesting links!

Weekly Doodle Illustration

Win a Free Limited Edition Print

Each month, we give away a signed, limited edition fine art print to one loyal subscriber of this newsletter. Current subscribers are automatically entered, so if you're not already subscribed, click here or on the orange button below. Winners are selected at random during the last week of each month, notified via email (so be sure to keep an eye on your inbox!) and announced in the first newsletter issue the following month. Here's January's print…
My Garden Fine Art Print

My Garden

This print started out as many do — a gift for one of my children.

  • SIZE: Artwork is 8 x 10 inches with a 2 inch white border to accommodate signature and numbering (fits in standard 11 x 14 inch frame).
  • EDITION: 1 out of a total of 20 artist proofs.
  • MATERIALS: Hand-signed, limited edition, Giclée fine art print, matted but unframed.
  • PAPER: Printed on Hahnemuhle William Turner — a 310g, acid-free, natural white, mould-made paper with 100% rag content (highly archival).

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   Until Next Week…

Well, I hope you found this week's newsletter interesting. I wish I had more tips about color theory to share with you, but the last time I remember studying the topic in school, the teacher made me sit in the hall for talking in class. What grade was this, you ask? Let's see… oh yes—this happened when I was a sophomore in college, studying color theory as an industrial design major at the University of Kansas. Yes, you heard correctly: I was sent to the hall for talking… in college. #truestory

See you all next week!
Peace Signature copyright D.E.Uhlig
"We'll be Friends Forever, won't we Pooh?" asked Piglet. "Even longer," Pooh answered.
–A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
RedSneaker Logo copyright D.E.Uhlig

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Photograph of D.E.Uhlig

About Me

Hi. I’m D.E.Uhlig. I’m an artist, author, husband and father.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to draw. Years ago I gave my wife a hand-drawn card for our anniversary, and she loved it so much she made me promise to ALWAYS hand-draw her cards. Then our three kids made me promise to do the same with their birthday cards. And when I posted some of my drawings online, people began asking how they could purchase my work—so I created this newsletter. I believe in something I like to call “The Happiness of Art” and I hope it makes you smile.

Official Bio

D.E.Uhlig is an award-winning illustrator whose work has appeared in numerous publications including the Kansas City Star, Christian Science Monitor, University Daily Kansan, Editorial Humor Magazine, and World Policy Journal. Commercial illustration and design clients over the years have included Samsung, Sprint, and the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, among others—and his Starbucks RedCup illustrations have been featured on the company's Pinterest and Facebook pages. In 1989, Mr. Uhlig co-founded Uhlig LLC, a leading provider of cross-media publishing and communication services in industries ranging from residential housing to book publishing to cancer care. Mr. Uhlig is married with three children and resides in Kansas City. He is currently working on children’s books, ebooks and apps.

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Copyright © 2016 by D.E.Uhlig. All rights reserved.

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