Colouring in for adults has surged in popularity lately, and that’s been great news for Maria and Chris, who have been creating beautiful colouring in artwork for years, giving children and adults alike a chance to colour and collaborate at events across the UK.
We chatted about how their unusual business got started, and all the brilliant events they get involved in!
How did you come to create colouring in artwork for a living?
I started making giant colouring in art for fun at festivals back in 2009 whilst working in New Zealand. I wanted to run an art activity that people could participate and get involved with. The activity proved very popular and I was overwhelmed by how much people loved to colour in the artwork and see it develop throughout the festival.
After making artwork for a variety of festivals I soon had a portfolio of examples and more people started to ask me to create specific commissions for their event. When I moved back to the UK, it became a regular sideline to my other line of work as special effects make-up artist. I decided I wanted to set up a creative business and established Fancy Features in 2011 and began to market the concept as a creative entertainment idea for parties, weddings and corporate events.
Now, with my partner Chris, we create commissions for all sorts of clients, from couples planning their wedding day to well known brands like Center Parcs, Robinsons, Fred Perry, Mencap, Absolut Vodka and First Great Western. We attend events across the UK and ship custom made colouring in art around the world. We’re pretty pleased with how things are going.
Has the recent trend of colouring in for adults affected your business?
The trend has definitely helped us get more in the limelight. It’s exciting to see so many adults rediscover the activity and realise how fun, satisfying and extremely addictive it is to create your own colouring in masterpiece. Over the years we’ve met thousands of adults who love to colour in, it’s just great to see people really getting into it.
How do you get the word out about what you do to such a wide range of clients and customers?
Looking back I’m thrilled at what we’ve achieved over the last few years. Initially we did giant colouring in at some great music festivals. Thousands of people contributed to our canvasses and I think the relaxed and open environment helped us to get a really positive response.
We’re lucky that what we do is so visual; it’s impossible to take a boring photo of an enormous canvas dwarfing the colours in public! This has a been a great benefit to our social media feeds. We get a lot of commissions through our website, social media, recommendations and word-of-mouth.
What has been your favourite commission so far, and what’s on the wish list for the future?
Probably the most exciting corporate commission was making artwork for the Robinsons suite at the Wimbledon Championships last year. We made 10 canvasses for that project. We had Tim Henman colouring in, and Judy Murray coloured in her son Andy Murray! It was such a buzz to be there.
A big one on our wish list for the future is to publish a colouring book for adults. We’re working on one now with a big publisher so hopefully our wish will come true!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue their creative dream full time?
I’ve always believed that you can do whatever you set your mind to, but you definitely need a lot of passion and commitment. Before I set up Fancy Features I did a lot of research into my idea, read a variety of books on how to run a business and went on a few different courses to get a better understanding of what I wanted to do and how I was going to achieve it.
It’s an ongoing learning journey, and I continue to regularly read up on advice and keep up to date with current trends in business, the events industry and the arts, along with trying to attend courses and networking events when I can.
Fancy Features recommend…
Site – The Design Trust
An incredible resource of tips and advice for creatives.
Site – a-n
For everything about becoming a professional artist, with news, events and opportunities. You can browse it for free, or become a member – not only will your public liability insurance included, but there is lots of free legal advice and useful tips.
Site – Colourlovers
A creative community for colour scheme inspiration.
Site – Coolors
A colour scheme generator.
Event – Glug
Networking event for creatives.
Thanks guys! Isn’t their work spectacular? You can catch them at the events (and even do a spot of colouring yourself) below or stalk them across the internets:
Center Parcs Woburn Anniversary event – 6th – 7th June 2015
Secret Garden Party – 23rd – 26th July 2015 – Find us roaming around on our giant colouring in tricycle!
Fancy Features First Great Western – throughout Summer 2015 – colouring in artworks on tour across the Southwest
Twitter – @fancyfeatures
Instagram – @fancyfeatures
Facebook – Fancy Features
Pinterest – Fancy Features
YouTube – FancyFeatures
Blog – www.fancyfeatures.com/blog
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