When the three of us met to discuss style, we looked at an assortment of artistic imagery of saints. Orthodox icons are always a centerpiece in terms of guidance and church teaching, but we didn’t adhere to the exact line work or inverse perspective that icons require… Marian painstakingly drew every saint included in the coloring book with incredible detail and precision. The saints are shown during the royal season of their life; Some look similar to icons, while others are taken from actual photographs of the saints. The borders were drawn by me, and I used a style I would describe as “modern folk art.” Each border tells a story with plants and flowers from the region, hobbies of the saint, or important pieces from their life. As a team, we talked a lot about how we wanted this coloring book to be a tool for parents and a source of discovery for children. The pages are perforated so the saints and their stories can be torn out and shared.
In writing the saints' lives, we decided to go with a style of language that would read like a story for young children. Dialogue was included in certain instances to give the reader a sense of each saint’s own voice and spirit. The stories read more like a work of literature with a definite sequence over the course of the saints' lives. The narrative style lends itself better to early literacy skills that are appropriate for many young children. Caroline integrated the two artistic styles with manuscript lettering and made the pages flow seamlessly from one saint to the next. The arrangement of each page shows an ebb and flow from the image of the saint to the story of his or her life.
What we love:
The impetus behind the work we do at Draw Near Designs is almost always multifaceted. The guiding questions are usually: Is it beautiful? Is it educational? Would we buy this for our own children? With these guidelines, the coloring book has turned into something that can be used in multiple ways. I envision it as a homeschool resource during our morning readings and as an engaging coloring sheet later in the day. Many of the saints we chose were married to one another or somehow related (eg. Abigail and David, Emperor Justinian and Queen Theodora, The Romanov family and St. Elizabeth). There’s a real opportunity for making connections, inferences, and predictions from one story to another.