A Visit With Artist Rachel Reinert
Artist Rachel Reinert’s lush, botanical illustrations and paintings have been featured in private collections, fashion designs, businesses, public venues – and now, adult coloring books! Reinert is perhaps best known for her popular adult coloring book Botanical Wonderland. This fall, fans of her art will soon be treated to a new book, Desert Wonderland, coming in October 2016, as well as live How To Color classes in Jo-Ann stores, created by Rachel herself.
A native of California and Colorado, Rachel has spent recent years traveling the world, living in Australia, traveling extensively throughout Asia, and now making her home in San Diego. She finds creative inspiration in natural settings across the globe, and her exotic, botanical artwork reflects that in a beautiful way.
We caught up with Rachel to chat about her creative inspiration, her life as an artist, and her favorite coloring tools and techniques. As a special treat, she graciously gifted our readers with four free downloads of coloring pages from her books Botanical Wonderland and Desert Wonderland! Click here, here, here and here to download free Rachel Reinert coloring pages that you can print and color at home.
Q: Please tell us a bit about your background as an artist.
A: I’ve been creating some form of art since I was little, and I’ve never considered having any other career but being an artist. My style, materials, and subject matter have varied greatly through the years, but I have always been passionate about creating. In college I studied art and education where I broadened my skills. However, school felt confining. As a result, I discovered my love for abstract art, where I could be free and untethered in my style. I was lucky enough to find patrons of my art, and I have created numerous custom pieces for homes, businesses, retail spaces, and have shown my work internationally. I recently began traveling around the world with my husband and found so much beauty in the natural flora around us. I couldn’t help studying nature’s incredible creations and began to emulate them in my own way. While living in Australia, I became very interested in how my art could go beyond the canvas and teamed up with a fashion designer to create a clothing line with fabric based on my art . I can’t wait to see where my art takes me next!
Q: When and how did you get into creating adult coloring books?
A: While living in Australia in early 2015, I had a lot of ink drawings laying around, and my husband encouraged me to turn them into a coloring book. At the time, there were already quite a few coloring books out already so I wasn’t sure how it would fit in, but I decided to try my hand at it anyhow. I specifically wanted to produce something beautiful that was not created digitally, so I chose to hand-draw each piece. I had so much fun doing it, and was lucky enough to be contacted by two different publishers to create Botanical Wonderland!
An illustration from Botanical Wonderland, colored by Rachel herself.
Coloring The Rachel Reinert Way
Rachel’s organic illustrations are beautifully highlighted when colored with vibrantly blended and burnished hues… and Rachel shares her techniques for achieving that effect in this video.
Q: What are some of your favorite pencils, pens, markers or other tools for coloring?
A: I love using Prismacolor colored pencils, because they are soft and vibrant. Crayola is a great brand too, because they are a harder pigment so if you are heavy handed, you will do great with these! Sakura’s Gelly Roll gel pens are really fun to use as well. They have a fine tip so you can color tiny lines with ease, and you don’t have to worry about sharpening them like a pencil. They even have metallic and sparkly versions, which totally take me back to my middle school years!
Rachel’s Favorite Coloring Tools
Want to try your hand at Rachel’s techinques? Pick up her favorite tools here:
• Prismacolor Pencils
• Crayola Color Pencils
• Gelly Roll Sakura Gel Pens
• Blending Tortillons
A coloring page from Botanical Wonderland, colored by Rachel herself.
Q: Can you share any special techniques you use to get great results in your coloring?
A: Learning how to create highlights and burnishing is the easiest way to create something stunning. Choosing your color palette is important but it’s the way you use the pigments that will make a drawing really pop. I usually choose to apply heavy pressure around the edges of shapes and decrease pressure as I fade inward. Another tool I use all the time is a white colored pencil. I use it in the final stage of coloring, after I’ve blended different layers on top of each other. I burnish over the area with the white pencil and everything becomes smooth and milky.
Q: What is your process like when you create a coloring book?
A: When I was creating Botanical Wonderland, I had tons of references around me. My space was filled with plant clippings, objects I found outside, flowers from the local market, and photographs. I had a lot of quick sketches of ideas I would jot down before I forgot them. Though Botanical Wonderland is based mostly on plants and nature, I visualized a lot of abstract, biomorphic shapes and made up exotic worlds. Sometimes I would ink down a drawing right away, other times I would sketch with pencil if I needed to work it out more. I used a partially translucent marker paper, so that I could place it over a sketch and transfer it with ink.
Q: What’s the most challenging part of the process? The most rewarding?
A: The hardest part is actually having too much inspiration. At times, I’d get overwhelmed with ideas and then not know what to focus on for a drawing. But I guess that’s better than having no inspiration at all! The most rewarding part of the process is getting feedback. Hearing from friends and fans all over the world that they are coloring my art is incredible and humbling. I never thought I would be sharing my art with so many people and hearing their stories.
A fantastical drawing from Botanical Wonderland, colored by Rachel herself.
Q: Why do you think adults love to color?
A: Science has recently started to recognize art as a form of therapy even more than before. Coloring has always been there, but I think there was a stigma to doing something that may be seen as “childish”. Adults are realizing how hard it is to focus; we are constantly overstimulated by the media, ads, social networks vying for our attention, and are expected to multi-task everything. We have a real need to stop, meditate, process, and release. With coloring, you are welcomed to focus on just one task and slow down. There is also something really calming doing an activity that kids do, because I think it reminds us of childlike joy and simpler days.
Q: What’s your favorite creative activity to relax and unwind?
A: Making art is an easy answer, but I feel the most refreshed when I am in nature. I take my camera everywhere I go, and I love to capture the wild environments I visit. Photography is integral to my creativity and helps me to remember all the inspiring places I’ve been!
And for coloring tips and techniques from Jo-Ann click here!