Native Aotearoa: New Zealand’s Colouring Book is a project which is dear to my heart. I am passionate about this beautiful, colourful land we live in, and the artworks in this collection are a celebration of the amazing native creatures, inspiring landscapes and vibrant cultures of the place we call home. I think it’s great that colouring-in is once again a cool thing to do, especially for adults. I enjoyed colouring books when I was a child, although I always found myself adding details to the image: an illustration to the boy’s blank T-shirt, a moustache to the bare-faced gentleman, or a collar to the dog without an owner. I always found a way to make each picture unique and a little bit more interesting, and I would enjoy colouring it in all the more because of this. This is funny because now, as an adult, I am always ‘taking things out’ of my works in order to make the artistic message cleaner and crisper. Now, perfection is in the very simplicity of a design.
I truly hope that you will enjoy colouring in the pictures in this awesome book. All the artwork has been chosen with love,<br />and adapted for the page to make it work as an outline for colour fills. I personally encourage you to experiment with different techniques and tools — shading, layering, cross hatching in crayon, ink, paint and even glitter — and feel free to add any extra details to the drawings which you think might improve them!
All the artists I have invited to contribute to this book are people I admire. While they may have some themes in common. (I reckon every one of us has depicted Te Tu¯i¯ in one work or another!) they have very individual styles, and approach every subject with their trademark vision. It’s easy to forget how fortunate we are to live in this place of peace and plenty, but the work of the artists involved in this project always reminds me of just that.
50 artworks by 6 NZ artists (Shane Hansen, Greg Straight, Hayley King, Penny Stotter, Walter Hansen, Rachael Walker)