Spring Gardening & Self Published Coloring Books…

A Personal Note:

I can’t seem to keep to my blogging routine lately. I’d like to blame it on the imposed quarantine lifestyle. But I have to admit, in part it is my distraction (obsession) with spring and flowers. My art almost always hits a lull during this time of the year. I experience cabin fever, like most of us do, and it is just so great to see things coming to life again isn’t it? It certainly lifts my spirits.

Since I haven’t been spending a lot of time in the studio, I was trying to come up with something of interest to post about, without much luck. And then yesterday, I received a group of images in my Instagram account. They came from a lovely English Prof in Maryland, Beth. She is teaching remotely as most teachers are forced to do, including my daughter in SC. I can only imagine what a challenge that is for all teachers regardless of grade level or subject. Geez.

Beth purchased my very first coloring book for use in her classroom. But has recently begun coloring in it for herself as she listens to a weekly post by a cellist on FB. sounds like the perfect self care time to me!

Abstract Expressions
Book 1
Valerie Dowdy

I know a lot of my long timers know the story of my first coloring book, but I thought I’d re-share it today. When the coloring book craze came on a few years back, my patrons and friends were all begging me to make them one. They knew I was an avid doodler, and that I often doodled and colored my images in my journal. It was also a great way for me to unwind from work stress. Trying to keep a long story short, I literally tore pages from my journal and scanned them. I got a crash course in putting the images together in an acceptable formatting. I learned about making a book, cover design, and lots of technical things, the likes of which I’d never before attempted.

I am very proud of my coloring books. They were good income booster. Still are. But, the bottom line is, I did a decent job-not a great job. I sort of cringe now at that books overall design. My first of many mistakes- I tried to give everyone what they wanted- space to add their own details, some with intricate design, thin lines and bold ones, it is a mishmash of drawings, and in turn was criticized for each of these decisions at some point too. (Every artist is used to that though) I really had no clue what i was doing, I just jumped in feet first. To my credit, they are all hand drawn-even though scanned. I learned many things, and hoping improved along the way. Interestingly, Abstract Expressions is still my overall best seller. I forgot to mention the very first printing was done by a local newspaper, and it was not bound, it was stapled! I sold the heck out of that book. I did keep those original images, if I knew where they are right this second I’d share them.

Shortly after making Abstract Expressions coloring book, #iPads and the #ApplePencil came out and I became a first generation owner! Boy, did I fall in love with all the digital goodies at my fingertips. This technology changed things forever in the art industry and the digital artists ability to create sharper, cleaner imagery. I self taught myself about digital arts. There are so many more things digital artists can do, it is amazing. (No Apple is not paying me to endorse their products)

I have often thought I’d like to reissue this book. I’d want to redraw each of the images. It would require a lot of work. I am just not sure the fad/craze is still as big for coloring books, it ebbs & flows. like most good creations, coloring books have been around for a long time and I don’t believe they’re going anywhere. Maybe one day the time will be right.

To conclude this tale of self publishing coloring books, I went on to create two more in the series. I made one for cat & dog lovers-“Dogs Rule & Cats Do Too”, “Life is Better at Folly Beach” in Charleston, SC, and “Destination Lynchburg” after we moved to Central Virginia. These books are all available online via B&N (i think they still have them) Amazon, local shops around Lynchburg, and from me personally.

Contact me to purchase signed copies my coloring books. After the recent virus scare and me being an asthma sufferer, i don’t think I’ll be participating in any coloring book events anytime in the near future!


We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names, but they all have learned to live together in the same box.

Robert Fulghum
Until next time, keep,washing those hands and stay healthy.
Peace, Valerie

As a thanks for reading the blog today here are a few freebie pages. Please tag/credit me for them if you share on social media. to everyone who has thank you!!!

Original Images by Valerie Dowdy
Free to print coloring page
©️all rights reserved valerie dowdy Art 2020
Original Images by Valerie Dowdy
Free to print coloring page
©️all rights reserved valerie dowdy Art 2020


  1. Thanks again, Valerie! The coloring has been really therapeutic for me. 🙂