The original article of the week of this week is Color Me Good Ryan Gosling, and I loved this original little Ryan Gosling inspired coloring book so much that I immediately wanted to know more about its creator. Was she a super fan of Ryan Gosling dedicated to making art in his image? An artist inspired by the photoshoped look of the Gos? Someone who really really loves coloring? I had to know. Luckily for me, the creator of the book, artist Mel Elliot, was willing to take the time to allay my curiosity about Color Me Good Ryan Gosling and all of his other coloring books and awesome projects. Warning spoiler, she’s not a crazy super fan, but she is a good crazy artist!
Read on for the interview….
The Daily Quirk: When did you first realize that you wanted to be an artist?
Mel Elliot: As far back as I can remember. My parents sent me to evening drawing lessons for adults from the age of 5 because they were fed up with my drawing on furniture! I never stopped drawing and even though life and the “real jobs” got in my way a bit, I never stopped wanting to be an artist and it was only a matter of time before I realize my ambitions.
TDQ: Has “pop” art always been in your interests, or has it developed over time?
ME: I guess like a lot of kids who love to draw, I tended to draw the things that interested me, like pop stars, TV characters, and cereal boxes. I guess it wasn’t until my early teens that I got into pop art and realized that was what I was doing. When I finally discovered art, I was mainly drawn to David Hockney, Richard Hamilton, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein and they have greatly influenced my work and my subject.
TDQ: How did the idea of making coloring books come about?
ME: I was fairly recently graduated from the Royal College of Art and started dating a printer. I was completely broke and lived right next to Spitalfield Market in East London. It seemed like a good idea to me to create some silly pop culture based products that I could print and sell in the market. I never went to the market because it was cold (and the stalls were expensive) but that’s how it all started… I also married the printer.
TDQ: Your most famous coloring book features Ryan Gosling. What prompted you to choose Gosling as your muse?
ME: My neighbor had just seen Drive and I had just seen Blue Valentine, we were both completely smitten so I did Color Me Good Ryan Gosling for me and her really. I didn’t know that all women around the world felt the same for him! I’m not surprised though, it’s about as perfect as it gets.
TDQ: Were you surprised by the amount of attention the Color Me Good book Ryan Gosling has received?
ME: Absoutely. I literally printed about 20 copies of it and my husband thought it was completely silly. I went to bed one night and woke up like I was loaded with Amazon or something! I had more orders than I could count and it was a real panic to get them printed and sent!
TDQ: Do you know if Gosling saw the book?
ME: Honestly, I do not know. I like to imagine that he saw it and spent hours coloring it, but I’m only dreaming.
TDQ: You also have a Color me good ginger Delivered. Was it difficult to narrow down a list of gingers to include?
ME: There are so many red heads that I really like and it can’t be a coincidence! However, it was pretty easy to refine them and some people are just easier to draw than others, so that comes into play a bit.
TDQ: Your latest creation is a 1980s bumper activity book. Why the 1980s?
ME: The 1980s were my childhood and I have so many fond memories of pop culture! Memories that also resonate with many like-minded people. I had so much fun making the book, coming up with project ideas, and doing them all (although I had a little help with the sewing projects). I am now working on a 90s version which is very different but just as fun.
TDQ: Why do you think coloring books have such an appeal for the big kid inside us all?
ME: A lot of our lives are digital right now and it’s great… but it’s also great to put the screens down a bit and get back to basics. Coloring is so old fashioned, but it’s also very relaxing, fun, and if you take a little care… rewarding!
TDQ: Can you tell us about any new books or projects you have to come?
ME: I have a great new ‘bumper’ coloring book coming out titled Swooooo. It contains many delicious idols and was born from the fact that so many people asked me to make a coloring book of certain men… so I put them all in one book. It is published by Anova in the UK and Penguin in the US. It’s coming out this fall and I can’t wait!
TDQ: Your books are eccentric guilty pleasure to so many people (myself included!). Can you tell us what are your unusual guilty pleasures?
ME: There is a TV show here (UK) called Made in Chelsea which is a “set up” reality show (The hills sort of thing) set around the lives of young people in their twenties in the very expensive part of London. This is really bad! But I love this! Also all the movies that make me sob, so the children who die, the melting romance, that sort of thing.
Daily weirdness would like to thank the super talented Mel Elliot for discussing her books with us. You can read more about Mel and her creations on her website.
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