A Visit With Valentina Harper
From her studio in Nashville, TN, Valentina Harper creates a fantastical, uplifting world of whimsical illustrations. She is a graphic designer, pen and ink artist, surface designer — and the author/illustrator behind the best-selling Creative Coloring adult coloring book series, including her hit title Creative Coloring Inspirations. Originally from Venezuela, Valentina spends countless hours creating her signature uplifting messages and intricate, colorful designs which are enjoyed by so many.
Today, Valentina is giving us a peek into her creative process, inspiration, and how she got started creating coloring books… And as a special treat for our readers, Valentina has gifted us two free downloadable coloring pages of her designs. Click here and here to download free coloring pages from Valentina Harper, and let your imagination run wild!
Q: Please tell us a bit about your background as an artist.
A: I always loved to paint when I was young, but I never imagined it would be my career. In middle school, I was one hundred percent certain I wanted to be a lawyer! Later, I changed my mind and studied graphic design. I received my degree in 1994 and worked as a full-time designer until 2009. I always continued to draw and paint, but only for my friends and family. Around 2007-2008 I started toying with the idea of selling some of my paintings at small craft and art shows. After a few successful shows, I started getting into licensing, and I discovered my new life as an artist.
Q: When and how did you get into creating adult coloring books?
A: I’ve always wanted to make coloring books. It was an obvious next step because the majority of my artwork is in black and white. In 2012, after I had my daughter Ava, I didn’t have a lot of time for my artwork, but I wanted to create something. For almost two years I did one coloring page a week and posted them on my Facebook page for people to download. In 2014, a representative from Fox Chapel Publishing, Peg Couch, contacted me to create four coloring books. I am grateful she found me and gave me the amazing opportunity to make these adult coloring books.
Q: What are some of your favorite pencils, pens, markers or other tools for coloring?
A: To do my coloring, I mostly use markers. Right now I love using a watercolor pen brush, but many times you will find me taking a bunch of my daughter’s Crayola markers and coloring with them.
Q: Can you share any special techniques you use to get great results in your coloring?
A: I’m not an expert in coloring at all. To me it’s important to remember there’s not a right or wrong way to color. The main idea is to relax and enjoy the process. My favorite way to color is to fill each detail with alternating the colors. Many times I leave some small parts white to give some lightness to the illustration.
Q: What is your process like when you create a coloring book?
A: After I know the subject for the book, I create an inspiration board on one of the walls in my office. I do all of the first sketches in my notebook with pencil. After that, I start tracing/drawing all of the illustrations on a tracing paper pad with black ink.
Q: What’s the most challenging part of the process? The most rewarding?
A: The most challenging part is to try to finish everything on time. Every single one of my illustrations is packed with details, and it really takes a lot of time to complete them. The most rewarding part is seeing the pile of illustrations on my desk.
Q: Why do you think adults love to color?
A: To me, my work is my way to meditate. Coloring is a way to meditate. Coloring reduces stress and helps you to focus. It’s a way to express yourself and help alleviate anxiety.
Q: What’s your favorite creative activity to relax and unwind?
A: Usually to relax I just paint for the sake of painting! Not following any client or project requirement, just enjoying the process.
Learn more about Valentina at www.valentinadesign.com.
And for coloring tips and techniques from Jo-Ann click here!