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Today, I’m really excited to be chatting with Sarah Renae Clark, founder and creator of adult colouring website and community sarahrenaeclark.com. Sarah is passionate about giving colouring a bigger purpose, whether that be to reduce stress and anxiety, build confidence or encourage creativity. I certainly feel inspired by Sarah’s enthusiasm and belief in the power of colouring, and is an activity everyone can do – yes, even us “non-creative” people.
Could you please tell me a bit about yourself and your family?
How did you get into colouring, and when did you realise that starting your own colouring book business could help other women?
I somewhat stumbled into colouring by accident, actually!
I’ve been drawing my whole life. As a child, art was my favourite subject at school. I was a smart kid and top of my class, so my teachers were terribly disappointed in me when I quit high school maths to take on more art subjects.
When I finished school, I started a little graphic design business where I designed logos, websites and flyers for friends. I moved away from pen and paper and fully embraced technology. At the time I was volunteering a lot and working full-time, so it was mostly a side-hobby.
When our son was born, I went on maternity leave from my full-time job, and never went back. Instead, I was determined to build my own business from home doing something creative.
It’s hard to imagine, but for most of my life of drawing, I actually hated using colours. (Not true anymore!) So the idea of designing a colouring book was perfect for me. I just needed to draw in black and white! So I decided to design a small PDF colouring book called “Art Therapy” and posted it online for $2.95. The response was so great that I decided to make more.
I started it just for fun – but through the hard first year of motherhood, I started to find that creating the books was actually quite therapeutic for me – and so I began working on a book of encouraging affirmations for new mums. At the same time, my own mum was facing cancer again (it had been an on-and-off battle for 10+ years) and so I started making pages for her too. That became my “Coloring Through Cancer” colouring book, which has helped hundreds of cancer patients and organisations already. Sadly, my Mum recently passed, so this book is my tribute to her now.
Get your free colouring pages including a sample from “A Year of Coloring Affirmations For new Mothers”, colouring journal pages, and much more!
What are the benefits of colouring? Is it only suited to creative people?
You’ve probably already heard the claims of “anti-anxiety” and “stress-reducing” colouring books – I thought this was a bit extreme until I started to see it for myself. The more I connected with other colourists and fans, the more I realised that colouring books were an amazing tool to help people – not just to keep them busy, but to build up their confidence, relax their mind, give them something to achieve, and give them an opportunity to be “creative” without too much of a leap.
It’s actually perfect for people who don’t consider themselves creative because there is enough structure and design already in place that it’s hard to go wrong. You just choose the colours and go! And from there, you can learn how to create textures, experiment with different techniques or mediums, and THAT’S where the creativity really kicks in.
I just love that even the most “non-creative” person can create a masterpiece. And yet the “creative” people can take it to a whole new level. I’m honestly amazed at some of the artwork created by people who’ve coloured my books!
What are your top tips for busy mums to get started with colouring?
Firstly, don’t overthink it. You don’t need a lot of time, fancy pencils, or even colouring books. You can find heaps of printable colouring pages online, and even the simple Crayola pencils can achieve great results to get you started. Pick a page that you already love before starting – that way you’ll enjoy every step and will feel the achievement of creating a masterpiece when you’re done.
Try to choose your colours before starting – it takes the pressure off and can help you to create some beautiful colour combinations. I’ve created The Color Catalog to help you with colour ideas if you’re not good at this on your own.
And then, just choose one small area of the page to work on in the time you have spare. You don’t have to finish it all at once – because let’s face it, most mums don’t have time for that! Just work on a particular colour or area, so you can feel the accomplishment of achieving each step and you’ll see it come together over a few sessions.
And if you need tips or want to try new techniques, join a Facebook group like mine to connect with other people colouring and share your work in progress!
Other than colouring, what is your go-to self-care activity?
I’m sure many mums can relate, because I struggle to make time for myself as a mum. I’m getting better! I’ve started reading again, I love doing 1000 piece puzzles, and I’ve just started dabbling with some other arts and crafts like alcohol ink art – because I wanted something creative that wasn’t tied to my business.
Most days though, I’m too tired for any of that. So my “self-care” is just crashing on the couch in front of Netflix, often with a game on my iPad 🙂
And finally, what’s next for Sarah Renae Clark?
My biggest project for the year is the release of my second child…that counts, right? Otherwise, I’ve got some new giveaways planned for 2019, some new tutorials and freebies, and new products!
I’m working on a set of colouring birthday cards (after many requests!) and later in the year I’ll be working on some bookmarks, new pages and new calendars and planners for 2020.
Shane and I are also in the middle of launching our second business, where we’re helping other mums and entrepreneurs to build successful online businesses. We are working on our website right now, plus our first course! For now, you can find us on Facebook as That Creative Couple until we officially launch.
Thanks so much for chatting today!