Illustrator Paul Covello’s 2014 picture book, Toronto ABC, is a delightful, contemporary-styled survey of the city’s landmarks. He travels further this September with his follow-up, Canada ABC, but first, Covello’s illustrations – and the country’s natural landscapes – are showcased in Canada to Colour and The Great Canadian Cottage Colouring Book (HarperCollins).
How would you describe your role on the colouring books? My collaborator, Leor Boshi, and I worked from stock photography, which we translated by hand into colouring pages. I also acted as art director, selecting the photographs and ensuring each page looked consistent as black line drawings. I had never worked on a project like this before or in this capacity, so the experience was very challenging, but the most stressful aspect was the time constraint.
How did you select your subjects? My editor and I decided early on that we wanted the books to contain natural landscapes, animals, and provincial flowers. For Cottage we discussed scenes and images that have a relaxing quality, and for Canada to Colour I looked at visually diverse landscapes. I wanted to include unique places that only exist in Canada, which could become exciting and intricate images.
What makes a good colouring-book illustration? I love animals, especially birds, and we agreed that these would be popular subjects to colour, so a fair number of pages containing those subjects are featured in both titles. I felt it was most important to include enough layers of visual detail within the subjects themselves to provide many interpretation opportunities for the person working on the images.