Angela Werstine’s latest project is a dream come true.
The St. Jacobs artist recently published her first in a series of nine adult colouring books, titled “Simply Complicated.”
She’s always done her drawings in black and white and fell in love with the idea of turning her drawings into a colouring book when adult colouring books became popular a few years ago.
“As an artist walking into Chapters and seeing my book would be awesome. But I think a coffee table book with just my black and white drawings wouldn’t be as much fun as a colouring book and I’ve had so much fun colouring my drawings over the past 10 years that I wanted everybody else to share in that experience and show me how they think it should look,” Werstine said.
There will be about 800 of her drawings in the nine books. She’s waiting to publish the rest to give people time to actually finish colouring her first book.
The first book includes yoga poses and zentangles (abstract drawings of repetitive patterns). She says because she draws so many different subjects she had to separate them into different books. A lot of the drawings in the books are ones she did throughout her career but she has redrawn them so they can be coloured in.
“This one is almost completely brand new drawings that nobody’s ever seen before. I did a series of hot yoga drawings years ago but they were just the poses, no embellishments or anything, so going back through all my drawings that I’ve accumulated over the past 10 years has also been really fun because I get to make them brand new again too,” Werstine said.
She explains her book differs from many on the market because the drawings were all hand drawn by her, rather than computer generated. It’s also not the typical birds or flowers you see, but rather human figures, focusing on showing women’s bodies to promote healthy body image. She says that’s where she draws her inspiration.
“I think that a lot of women need to celebrate that a little more. Over the years of being an artist I’ve seen women react to my drawings and I know that it’s uplifting for them,” Werstine said.
So far she’s sold hundreds of copies of her book. It’s available for purchase at Winterberry’s in Elmira, and the Button Factory and Moksha Yoga in Waterloo. It’s also available for purchase through Amazon or her personal website.
She’s had sales from the U.S., England and Ireland, aside from Canada.
Her next goal is to have the book sold in Chapters.
Werstine started working on the book last October, with a goal of completing five drawings every day.
“Sometimes I would do more, depending on how simple the drawing is or how uninterrupted my day is. Other days some of the complexity of the drawings would take me an entire day just to do one. I kept it a big secret except for my family until the first book was actually published. I didn’t want to rush anything and I didn’t want to feel pressured. I just wanted to draw,” Werstine explained.
Some of the other books she’s designed will include native women and native history since she has native heritage, butterflies, complicated female poses, mermaids, dragons and rock stars.
She and her kids have started colouring the book together and she says she’s impatient to see how the full book will look with colour. She also has another book that’s separate from the series of nine books, which is a secret project for now.
“So many people have my book in their home and they’re colouring it and loving it. It’s a dream come true. Even if one person bought my book it would have felt worth it,” Werstine said.
She’s been putting pencil to paper for as long as she can remember, received numerous Ontario Arts Council Grants, was nominated twice for Visual Arts Excellence Awards, and has one of her pieces displayed at St. Mary’s General Hospital.
“I have drawings that I did when I was three. I remember waking up and not wanting to go to school because I’d rather lay on the floor and draw all day. I’ve always felt a love and passion for art, always. It’s never stopped. It’s never not been a part of my life,” Werstine said.
When she received the proof copy of the book she couldn’t help but cry to see her hard work pay off and to hold it her own hands. She couldn’t be more proud of it.
“This is just the beginning. I want to do this forever. I want to draw for books for the rest of my life,” Werstine said.
To purchase the colouring book or take a look at her artwork, visit www.angelawerstine.weebly.com.