GET TO KNOW CRISTIN FREY
Q. When did you start drawing?
I’ve always been an avid doodler. Way back when I went to high school, my favorite thing was when we had to cover our textbooks. I used recycled brown paper bags and would get so excited to doodle all over them. Yeah, I was a nerd. I always doodled, though. I love drawing fonts and doing lettering so I would always decorate birthday cards and things with fancy fonts. About two years ago, I read an article on how doodling helps with stress. So, I began to set aside time to intentionally doodle. It was very therapeutic and rewarding and I began to post my creations online. That was just about the same time the adult coloring book craze hit. I had friends and family telling me I should sell my pages and make a coloring book. The rest is history!
Q. Did you always know you wanted to be an artist? Or did you have other ideas to be something else?
When I was little, I wanted to be a veterinarian. Instead, I became a vegetarian. Neither of those worked out. My art teachers in high school tried to push me into going to art school. I never went nor pursued it as a career because I wanted a job where I could make money, honey! Then life happened… I got a Bachelor Degree, worked in retail management for years and then primarily early education and non-profits. The income was great but I wasn’t happy. Now, the income is awful but I’ve never been happier in my life. Go figure!
Q. Where does your inspiration come from?
Because the majority of my art is textual and sayings, I get a lot of inspiration from memes. If a meme can make me laugh, it’s sassy enough to make a coloring page into. My other coloring pages that aren’t sayings, like my mandalas and zendoodle pages, they aren’t inspired. I just go with whatever design comes to mind and I never know what it will look like in the end.
And of course, I get tons of inspiration from my followers. Did I just say followers? Kinda sounded like I’m running a cult there for a second. I meant colorists. The people who connect with me online and give me ideas and suggestions. They challenge me to do things I wouldn’t have thought to do. Like… draw a narwhal. I had to google it!
Q. Do you ever color any of your own images?
I do color my own work, but I prefer not to. It’s not relaxing for me because it’s like I’m still in work mode. As I’m coloring it, I’m thinking about the imperfections in it, how I can use it to market, things I should have done differently, etc. I prefer to color other artists’ pages because then I can just relax and enjoy it. I really really love to see how other people color my pages, though. They do a much better job than I ever could and it’s amazing to see the same page colored so many different ways!
Q. What has been your personal experience in the adult coloring world as an artist?
I’ve learned that coloring is very relaxing, however, creating a coloring book is not. Who would’ve thought that coloring books could create so much drama? If you’re in a Facebook coloring group, you know what I’m talkin’ about! I’ve recently teamed up with two other artists and have started our own Facebook group, Queens of Coloring, to avoid the drama and the art thieves. We showcase the art of myself (Queen Sassy), Cheri Shull (Queen Sexy), and Jamesa Leyhe (Queen Naughty). We have tons of fun and do things that other mainstream groups don’t do. I’ve also made some excellent friends with other artists and have had a lot of fun doing collaborative projects and books such as the Adult Coloring Book Treasury which features art from me and over 50 other artists. And a special shout out to artist, Jason Hamilton, who rounds up all us stressed-out artists so we can help and support one another!
Q. How much work and time goes into doing a book?
My first book took 4 months to finish. The second book took 3 ½ months so I’m getting quicker! I take a lot of time deciding what goes into them. I also hand draw all of my pages and they’re all my original art so that takes a bit more time than the authors who purchase licensed images or create mandalas or designs with software. While I’m creating a book, I spend a LOT of time on social media, interacting with colorists and having contests, giveaways, games, and such. I love the relationships I’ve built with my followers and they give me awesome feedback on my work. I seriously couldn’t do it without them challenging me and pushing me to create more.
Q. Any plans for more books in the future?
I’m currently working on my third book and it will be just as sassy as the first two, minus the swear words. It’s all about the “joys” of menopause. (“Joys” was just typed using sarcasm font.) I’m also extremely active in my Facebook group (Queens of Coloring) and have lots of fun things planned for the year in there. I have TONS of coloring book ideas written down, so I’m not going away any time soon.
Q. Anything else you would like to add that we haven’t covered?
Nothing is off limits! Nothing? Well, then…. here’s a tip. The way to my heart is through coffee, wine, or writing an excellent review on Amazon for me. Do any of those and I’ll be your best friend for life. Thank you for the interview and I hope to see how you color my pages!
CRISTIN FREY #QUEENSASSY