Art student publishes coloring book online


Christina Browning

Art student Katie O’Neil has published an 86-page coloring book called “Tropical Bubbles” on Amazon.

Emily Lamb, Reporter

A third-year AACC fine arts major has self-published an 86-page coloring book.

Katie O’Neil, who is on the autism spectrum, said she drew and published her coloring book—intended for adult readers rather than children—to help cope with her seasonal depression after she discovered that coloring has a calming effect on her.

The book, titled “Tropical Bubbles,” features pages of abstract drawings based on bubbles and other spheres.

O’Neil spent a year composing and revising the drawings. With her parents’ help, she found a publishing company to format it for sale on Amazon.

“I’ve been doing art since I was 10 and I’ve always been interested in illustration,” O’Neil said.

One of her inspirations is Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford, whose detailed drawings introduced her to the adult coloring book world.

O’Neil said she chose a “bubbles” theme, in part, because circles are easy to color.

Her favorite medium is colored pencils, and her favorite color, she said, is “fawn”—a light brown shade.

I’ve been doing art since I was 10 and I’ve always been interested in illustration.
Katie O’Neil

The artist said she carries her coloring book with her wherever she goes.

The most difficult part of the publishing process, O’Neil said, was working without the proper equipment. For example, she doesn’t own a scanner, so she had to “clean up the images using Photoshop,” she said.

She worked on that with another art student, Ashton Poole.

Daniel O’Neil, Katie’s father, said it took a while to find a publishing company, acquire a barcode, and get international copyright agreements.

He said O’Neil’s mother was “instrumental, not only in giving her encouragement, but helping her through the challenges of publishing.

O’Neil dedicated the book to her mother.

Her advice to aspiring coloring book artists: “Do your research first.”

She also said it’s important for artists to understand that the process is time-consuming and to identify credible websites with information about publishing.