Kids colour the city

By Khiara Elliott

Some 55 artists between the ages of three and 10 years old have created what is believed to be the world’s first commercial colouring book made entirely by children.

Colour Melbourne is made up entirely of children’s drawings of iconic Victorian landmarks. The colouring book also features a section dedicated solely to the CBD, with drawings of Flinders Street Station and Federation Square.

Art teacher and owner of Pip Dot Art Studio, Julie Kennedy, and best-selling children’s author Joanne O’Callaghan created the book over 12 months alongside their artists.

The idea for a colouring book for kids, by kids came about after the duo attended the NGV Art Book Fair in May last year.

They felt that, although there had been a recent rise in colouring books for adults, the colouring craze needed to be seen through a “new lens” – the eyes of children.

“I’d seen some beautiful illustrations Julie’s students had produced, so I put it to her that maybe her students could produce a colouring book,” Ms O’Callaghan said.

The book aims to provide children with the empowering message that their drawings are valued, are as varied and individualistic as people, that the process of making art is as important as the end product and that there is no single way to draw something.

A crowd-funding campaign funded the 80-page book, with copies donated to sick children through the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“We wanted to include an element of helping other children,” Ms O’Callaghan said.

“There’s often a lot of waiting around involved in some hospital visits or overnight stays, so we thought that providing some copies of the book as well as colouring sheets would help children pass the time whilst they’re in hospital.”

Nine-year-old Sophia Millar, artist of the Federation Square page, felt proud that she could help other kids going through a difficult time.

“I chose to draw Federation Square because I thought it was a really interesting building with loads of different, unusual shapes and loads of different colours. It has a lot of facilities that I like,” she said. “I feel quite proud of my work and I feel special that I can help other kids.”

Ms Kennedy said: “Children are always so proud of the things they’ve made, so you can imagine how thrilled they are to have their work published in a book for other children.”

Copies of Colour Melbourne were also donated to school programs run by The Resilience Project, an organisation that teaches schools, sport clubs and businesses about positive mental health strategies.

Colour Melbourne is available in bookstores such as Hill of Content bookstore and Melbournalia on Bourke St, Embiggen Books on Little Lonsdale St, NGV Bookstore in Federation Square and Readings at the State Library.

Colour Melbourne will also be available for purchase at Markit from December 11.

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