Launched in 2008, Doodlers Anonymous is a site “founded to celebrate our addiction”.
And their dependence of choice? Doodling of course!
According to their website, “The need to draw, sketch, and doodle is constant. We doodle on almost anything we can find — pencil in a Moleskine, marker on a napkin, ink on a torn receipt, sharpie on concrete. And we do it habitually — while on hold, in a meeting, during class, or while we should be sleeping.”
As well as running a site featuring everything from interviews to themed submissions, they also make colouring books packed to burstin’ with budding illustration talent. So far there are three main volumes, as well as an additional mini volume called ‘The Quintessential Quirky Compendium of Cats’. I managed to get hold of the latest instalment of their epic colouring book as well as the smaller feline variety too.
Doodlers Anonymous held open submissions for their Coloring Book, Volume III, and the site whittled down 670 entries to put together the finished product. The illustrations themselves feature astronauts, monsters, a lion, a bicycle carrying a mountain of suitcases, unbelievably intricate doodles of buildings, and even typewriters. Sometimes complete with phrases such as “just add color”, “color the colorer” and “I draw therefore I am”, the illustrations are also beautiful stand-alone pieces in their own right. The work in this volume is by a plethora of illustrators including: Gizem Vural, Paula Correa, Marcus Yeo and Mila Scatolablu.
From thick lined cartooney pics that remind me of the colouring books I had as a child, to pieces that wouldn’t be out of place in a storybook, greeting card or art gallery, the illustrations cover all the bases. Whether the artwork is of a steampunk-feelin’ bespeckled man holding out his hat and contorting his body in all kinds of ways, or an M. C. Escher-style cityscape, the whole collection works together to create an impressively varied and enjoyable colouring book.
Their more petite booklet, The Quintessential Quirky Compendium of Cats, features cape-wearing felines, cat-eat-cat world illustrations, the marvellous Kitty Girl, and a whole host of other cartoon moggies that you’re invited to colour in. This itsy-bitsy colouring book provides gargantuan entertainment, and has the work of 28 artists inside, including Daisy Whitehouse and Karly McCaig.
Colouring in these creations is fun, not just because it helps you appreciate the illustrations, or because it shows you how much colour choices can change a piece, but also because the reader (and colourer) is part of the process of bringing the works to life too. No longer the pursuit of kids alone, these colouring books show off some epic creative talent, as well as providing an entertaining activity for grown-ups and little ‘uns alike.