Who said colouring in is just for kids? Mel Elliot has created some Colour Me Good colouring books around pop culture, including Ryan Gosling, record sleeves, and hip hop. Her company “I LOVE MEL” also produces paper dolls, temporary tattoos and much more. Did we mention that she is a mum of three? We talked colouring in techniques and tips for success with this creative multi-tasking superwoman.
How did “I LOVE MEL” come about?
I started giving “I LOVE MEL” badges out as a bit of a self-esteem exercise whilst at art school. It ended up becoming a bit of a project, and then a brand. All happened very organically really, no decision making involved whatsoever!
What is your typical day like?
Stressful! I have a 3 year old daughter, as well as two hormonal teenage boys. I recently moved into a lovely house by the sea that has an on-site studio, so I quite often get up early and go straight into work… in my pyjamas. A lot of my work currently involves going through website orders, as well as wholesale orders from stores all over the world. I don’t mind this. It’s great that people are buying my stuff, but it’s great when I have dealt with all the emails and orders, and get around to drawing and creating. Because it’s the summer holidays, I’ll try and make time to pop down to the beach with the children at some point during the day and then I’ll work quite late to make up for it.
What other products would you like to produce?
I’m currently working on a ‘Colour Me Good’ iPad app that I think will be great. I’d also like to create a 2013 calendar. I have a ’1980s Bumper Activity Book’ coming out in October, it features 52 grown-up art & design projects inspired by 80s pop culture. It’s great fun and the publishers (Anova, London) have commissioned a 1990′s version so that will be keeping me busy for a while. It’s so much fun though!
Your house is burning down (SHIT), what do you save?
Obviously my children, husband and two cats. Then I’d risk my life and run back in for my iPhone! I also have an original painting by the brilliant artist Mimi Leung. The painting is of a cat that was hit by a car and I’d be gutted to lose that.
If you had to pick one of your “Colour Me Good” subjects to have as a real best friend who would you choose?
Molly Ringwald from ‘Colour Me Good 80s’. I always wanted her as a best friend as a teenager so it would be a dream come true.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
I used to work in education and quite liked it. But once I’d made the decision to embark on art & design as a career, it was ‘make or break.’ So I’d be illustrating, working in an ad agency, writing, anything so long as I was using my creativity. There’s nothing else for me.
Any top colouring in tips? Or words of advice to young creatives like yourself with good ideas?
Invest in some decent felt tips (professional markers)! You’ll impress yourself with your results and when you do that it gets highly addictive. And don’t get too obsessed with staying within the lines either, just enjoy it. And advice to young creatives… just go for it! Fund it with a part time bar job or by waiting tables, anything so that you don’t start creating things you’re not 100% happy with just so you can pay the bills. Always create to the best of your ability and not what you think people might buy.