11th October 2016

Colourist Interview – Dustin Abel

dustin mermaids

My final interview with champions of the colouring community is with Dustin Abel in the USA. Dustin was the 3rd colourist I collaborated with earlier this year on a photoshoot for the new website. Let’s find out a bit more about his creative practise and how he makes his masterpieces!


My favourite colouring materials are: If I had to grab my top five most used materials, it would have to be my Faber Castell Polychromos pencils, mineral spirits, this awesome Posca marker set someone sent me J and my water colour paints and brushes.


My favourite colour is: I absolutely love warm colours so my favourite is probably dark cadmium yellow.  It’s almost orange, but not quite.  It makes me think of autumn, pumpkins and a sitting next to a fire place with a good book.


My favourite colouring book is: Well, Enchanted Forest was my first exposure to the adult colouring world so that will always have a special place with me, but Lost Ocean is my favourite book by far.  I love the extra white paper it’s made on and the subject matter makes it easier for me to be creative with my colour palettes.


My favourite ever picture to colour is: This is an easy one for me and why I asked if I could work on it for this project.  Lost Ocean’s big starfish.  I love the symmetry and the incredible amount of detail that was put into that drawing.  There are so many different directions you can go with that one.  So many techniques and things you can do with it.  It’s beautiful.


dustin hoverfly


My top colouring tip is:  to take your time and not to be afraid to try something new.  That could be something like a new technique, colour palette or medium.  These books really allow for just about anything you can think up.


My biggest colouring disaster was: I once got a set of Dylusions Ink sprays and thought it would be a quick way to make fast work of a background.  I cut the page out of the book, used some liquid frisket to mask off the image and sprayed it down with my colours.  The ink immediately caused the page to curl up, resulting in the ink running off the paper onto my table.  Then, when I went to remove the frisket, my fingers got in the ink (apparently this stuff doesn’t set until sprayed with some kind of fixative.) and I smudged it all over the drawing.  The frisket had also bonded with the paper, giving me the added headache of tearing the paper and pulling up the image.  As a final kick in the shins, the ink bled right through the paper and stained my desk!


I love to colour because: I was raised with it.  My mother is an artist and she was always showing me things at home growing up.  I was immersed in art and carried that with me my whole life.  I just love the creative aspect of it and how much of a nice departure it is from the rest of my life.

dustin compass


Where I love to colour: I have two primary places that I colour at.  The first is my downstairs studio.  I have an uncle that used to be an architect and he gave me one of his old drafting tables that I have repurposed into my little art area.  I really love it because it’s big enough to seat 3 people in front of it so I will have colouring nights with my two children where we each work in our own copy of Secret Garden.


My second place is a little park just down the road from my office.  I have done away with my laptop bag and now carry a backpack with my work computer as well as a little emergency colouring kit with all the things I would need to colour outdoors.  I have a special picnic table under a stand of maple trees that I go to every day for my lunch break and either colour, watercolour or practice my digital painting.  It’s very relaxing and the perfect way to de-stress from a corporate office environment.


My colouring inspiration: comes more from other people than anywhere else.  I love seeing other’s colour combinations and ideas and then incorporating them into my own work.


What would my dream colouring book feature? Well, there has been one for the Garden, one for the Forest, one for the Ocean and one for the Jungle.  I think it’s time that we take it to the sky or indoors for some music.  You’d have to put in a little bass guitar somewhere for me though if you do that.


See more of Dustin’s wonderful work on facebook and Instagram.

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