This week’s Quirky Item of the Week is Colour Me Good Ryan Gosling, and I enjoyed this quirky little Ryan Gosling inspired coloring book so much that I instantly wanted to know more about its creator. Was she a Ryan Gosling super fan devoted to making art in his likeness? An artist inspired by the you look photoshopped good looks of the Gos? Someone who just really really likes to color? I had to know. Lucky for me the book’s creator, artist Mel Elliot, was willing to take some time to assuage my curiosity about Colour Me Good Ryan Gosling and all her other awesome coloring and project books. Spoiler alert, she’s not a crazy super fan, but she is a crazy good artist!
Read on for the interview….
The Daily Quirk: When did you first realize you wanted to be an artist?
Mel Elliot: From as early as I can remember. My parents sent me to adult evening classes in drawing, from the age of 5 as they were sick of me drawing on furniture! I’ve never stopped drawing and whilst life’s and “proper jobs” got in the way slightly, I never stopped wanting to be an artist and it was just a matter of time until I realize my ambitions.
TDQ: Was “pop” art always one of your interests, or did it develop over time?
ME: I suppose like many kids who love drawing, I tended to draw the things that interested me, such as pop stars, TV characters and boxes of cereal. I suppose it wasn’t until I was in my early teens that I got into pop art and realized that’s what I did. When I did eventually discover art, I was mostly into David Hockney, Richard Hamilton, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein and they influenced my work and subject matter enormously.
TDQ: How did the idea to make colouring books come about?
ME: I had fairly recently graduated from the Royal College of Art and I started going out with a printer. I was completely broke and lived just by Spitalfield’s Market in East London. It seemed like a good idea to make some silly pop culture based products that I could print and sell them on the market. I never did the market as it was cold (and the stalls were expensive) but that’s how it all started… I also married the printer.
TDQ: Your most famous colouring book features Ryan Gosling. What made you choose Gosling as your muse?
ME: My neighbour had just seen Drive and I had just seen Blue Valentine, we were both completely smitten and so I made Colour Me Good Ryan Gosling for me and her really. I had no idea that every woman in the entire world felt the same way about him! I’m not surprised though, he’s about as perfect as they get.
TDQ: Were you surprised by the amount of attention the Colour Me Good Ryan Gosling Book received?
ME: Absolutely. I literally printed about 20 copies of it and my husband thought it was completely daft. I went to bed one night and woke up feeling like I had been put in charge of Amazon or something! I had more orders than I could count and it was a compete panic to get them printed and sent out!
TDQ: Do you know if Gosling has seen the book?
ME: I honestly don’t know. I like to imagine that he has seen it and that he has spent hours colouring it in but I’m just dreaming.
TDQ: You also have a Colour Me Good Ginger Book. Was it difficult narrowing down a list of gingers to include?
ME: There are so many red heads who I really really like and that can’t be a coincidence! However, it was fairly easy to narrow them down and some people are just easier to draw than others so that comes into play a little bit.
TDQ: Your latest creation is a 1980’s Bumper Activity Book. Why the 1980’s?
ME: The 1980s was my childhood and I have so many great pop culture memories of it! Memories that resonate with many like-minded people too. I had so much fun making the book, coming up with project ideas and actually making them all (although I did get a bit of help with the sewing projects). I’m now working on a 1990s version which is very different but just as fun.
TDQ: Why do you think colouring books have such an appeal to the big kid inside us all?
ME: So much of our lives are digital at the moment and that’s great… but it’s also great to put the screens down for a bit and get back to basics. Colouring in is so old fashioned, but it’s also very relaxing, fun, and if you take a bit f care… rewarding!
TDQ: Can you tell us anything about new books or projects you have coming out?
ME: I have a great new ‘bumper’ colouring book coming out entitled Swooooon. It features many delicious heartthrobs and came about due to so many people asking me to make a colouring book of certain men… so I put them all into one book. It’s published by Anova in the UK and Penguin in the USA. It will be out this Autumn and I can’t wait!
TDQ: Your books are a quirky guilty pleasure for so many people (including myself!). Can you tell us what some of your quirky guilty pleasures are?
ME: There’s a TV show here (UK) called Made In Chelsea which is a ‘set-up’ reality show (The Hills type of thing) set around the lives of posh twenty-somethings living in the very expensive part of London. It is SO BAD! But I love it! Also any films that make me sob, so kids that die, slushy romance, that kind of thing.
The Daily Quirk would like to thank the super talented Mel Elliot for chatting with us about her books. You can find out more about Mel and her creations on her website.