5 Questions with Jessica Mazurkiewicz: An Exclusive Dover Interview
Jessica Mazurkiewicz Jessica Mazurkiewicz's graphic designs appear in books and magazines as well as on clothing and dinnerware — and, of course, many of Dover's bestselling coloring books. With the help of our friends at www.facebook.com/dovercoloring, we put together a few questions for this talented artist.
1) Your coloring and activity books are directed at a younger audience. Have you been drawing since you were little, and do you call upon your "inner child" for inspiration?
I have always loved to draw and make things with my hands. I'm the oldest of several sisters and when we were young I used to make little activity books and pages for them to color. I remember how I would wrack my brain to create something fun and interesting for them to enjoy — a very similar process takes place in my mind now, just for a much larger group of color artists.
2) Being a Vermont-based artist, you're surrounded by natural beauty. How does life in the Green Mountain State influence your work?
I feel very fortunate to have grown up and to still live in such a beautiful place. The landscape of Vermont is definitely inspiring. All the plants and animals here have a way of working into my drawings. It was also a huge inspiration for my Winter Fun Activity Book!
3) Can you tell us a little about your process? Do you have very specific ideas about the end product, or do your illustrations sometimes develop a life of their own and surprise you with the directions they take?
My process varies depending on the type of book I'm working on. Regardless of the topic, my first step is always research. Another thing I do for every book is print out each page as I complete it and hang it on the wall. It really helps me to see all the pages in full size at one time. As you can, imagine sometimes the wall in my studio is completely covered.
If I'm creating an activity book, I will make a long list of the activities right away and then move on to sketching them out. When working on a book like Skyscapes or Floral Designs, I'll draw loose sketches to use as a guide for the page layout and then add detail as I draw on my tablet.
For something more abstract like the Color Twist Series I spend a lot of time on very detailed sketches. That series was actually a bit daunting. I had never drawn so many pages on one theme before but to my surprise, as I came to the end of the project, I found it very hard to stop. I kept having more ideas for things I wanted to work into the books.
I get so into each book that I'm always a little sad when they end but also excited for the next project. I also look forward to seeing the finished product and being able to share it with my friends and family.
4) I see that you also work in linoleum and pen & ink. Do you have a favorite medium, and if so, why?
Linoleum is my favorite medium; I find the process of cutting away at the block to create an image very exciting. I also enjoy the versatility of the medium. Once the block is carved, I experiment with printing by hand or on the press for different densities of ink. I also sometimes incorporate watercolor and collage elements to create a variety of different looks for the finished print.
5) Your hobbies include cooking and sewing, which also involve creativity. What kind of recipes and sewing projects interest you, and do these pastimes play any role in your work with product design?
What I enjoy most about cooking is similar to what I enjoy about printmaking. There are so many choices to be made when creating a dish. When I try a recipe for the first time I always follow the instructions but I take notes in my recipe binder about what to omit or add the next time I make the dish to change the flavor.
I got interested in sewing because I wanted to be able to tailor my clothes; but as my skills improve, my background in product development seems to be taking over. These days I often combine sewing with printmaking. I will create a design and print it on fabric and then use it to make custom pillows, napkins, quilts, aprons, tote bags, and more.
Many colorists use art from Jessica's popular books to enter our coloring contests. Jessica was gracious enough to give her opinion on a few of the entries.
Jennifer Lehr
Color Illuminated Coloring Contest
Ages 18+ Division
Dominique H.
Color Illuminated Coloring Contest
Ages 12–18 Division
Soft and Pretty Pastels Coloring Contest
Under 12 Division
I love Jennifer's use of so many vibrant jewel tones on the body of the snake. It looks beautiful and dangerous, definitely a creature of the night I would steer clear of!
Great job Dominique! The warm colors you used on the leaves, tree, and wolf really make them pop against the cool colors of the mountain and sky in the background.
Sam, you've chosen lovely, soothing colors. What I enjoy most is how you really made this page your own by adding spiral and dot details within the circle areas of the page.

See all Books by Jessica Mazurkiewicz