Book ready for Northern colours

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo Jessica Latour holds a copy of Northern Zentangle, a colouring book featuring Northern images.

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Jessica Latour holds a copy of Northern Zentangle, a colouring book featuring Northern images.

An artist has branched out into a new creative endeavour.

Jessica Latour has just released her first colouring book, featuring images with a distinctively Northern theme.

The colouring book is called Northern Zentangle, and is both for children and the growing number of adults who enjoy colouring.

“A zentangle I guess you could say is glorified doodle art,” Latour said. “I mean anyone can do it. It’s lines and circles and curves done generally in blacks and whites. And there’s your product.”

Latour said she has actually been doing doodle art since she was a child, beginning on scribblers and binders when she was in school.

“Those are my canvases, if you will, where I started, and just progressed into this,” she said. “And then I thought there’s all those adult colouring books out now, which are quite beautiful, and I’ve never seen anything that’s very Northern themed. So I thought why not? Why not do some things like that?”

Northern Zentangle, which was released in mid-July, uses her art name Georgie Latour. That name is a show of respect for her two grandfathers, who were both named George.

Latour said Northern Zentangle is very similar to the new style of adult coloring books.

“You can do all kinds of colors in there and that’s the idea of a zentangle,” she said.

What makes Northern Zentangle unique are the drawings that people can colour.

“It’s all Northern-themed art,” said Latour.

There are 23 Northern drawings in all, including a raven, inukshuk, caribou, igloo, polar bear, dreamcatcher, Northern lights, moose and mountain aven flower.

“I wanted to do something Northern, something that hasn’t been done here before that’s just basically Northern themed,” said Latour. “That was the idea behind it.”

There is one drawing to a page.

Latour said another “neat thing” about the book is that the pages are perforated so a person can remove the drawing once it is coloured.

“So they can tear out and they can put them up and do whatever they want with it. That’s the idea,” she said.

Another feature of the book is the images are not drawn from photographs but are the product of Latour’s imagination.

“I just wrote a list of what I knew,” she said. “There are still 15 to 20 other ones that I just haven’t finished yet. So that could be for book two. Who knows?”

Northern Zentangle is for anybody and any age, stressed Latour. “Just grab it, colour it, have some fun, enjoy yourself, get creative.”

The colouring book – which has an initial printing of 500 copies – is now on sale at Home Hardware, the Visitor Information Centre, Hay River Heritage Centre and at the tourist booth in Yellowknife, and plans are to get it on sale in Fort Smith, Fort Simpson and other communities.

The 48-year-old Latour, a lifelong resident of the NWT, described herself as a painter.

“The walls in my house are full of my stuff and some close friends have some artwork but not anything that I’ve ever put out there on the auction block,” she said. “It’s not something that I guess would be a career, if you will, but I don’t see why it can’t be eventually.”

She is also a singer, who can play piano and bass guitar, and has performed for years in a number of bands.

Her current band is called Hay Ray.

“There have been many different bands in different names through the years,” she said. “Currently, we’re just having a little bit fun in that respect.”

As for her new colouring book, Latour offered her own explanation of why she believes colouring has become so popular with adults.

“For me personally, when I’m sitting there and I’m doing artwork whether I’m colouring something or whether I’m creating something, it’s a stress release,” she said. “The world and all the crap that’s going on is gone for that little frame of time and then you come out of it with something fantastic or something that you just really, really like.”

In fact, Latour wondered why people stop colouring as they grow into adults.

“Why does it come an age when it’s not cool to colour?” she said. “Well, it doesn’t have to be.”

–Paul Bickford