For some time now, the adult coloring books have been the big rage. At first they were hard to find, but now you see them everywhere — Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, dollar stores and even H-E-B.

I confess I’ve purchased a number of them. I soon found out that the Crayola crayons don’t work well because they are too blunt. The pictures in the adult coloring books are quite detailed, with tiny areas to fill in.

So the next thing to do was to shop for colored pencils, gel pens and any other “coloring” utensil that would work in the book.

Also, the basic six- or 10-color packs don’t work because you really need lots of different colors to make the pictures look good. I now have several different packages of pens and pencils in different mediums and color selections. I’ll probably never use half of them, but I have them just in case.

So I sit down with my new coloring book and freshly purchased pencils and pens and open my coloring book.

There are lots of decisions to make. First, what picture to color. This entails looking at the complete coloring book.

After deciding on the picture, I have to determine where to start and what colors to use. I then start to fill in the minute areas, and after about 10 minutes, I figured out that it would take me many hours to complete this picture —hours I could use to piece a quilt top or quilt a wall hanging.

Needless to say, I’ve never finished a picture in any of the coloring books I’ve purchased. That doesn’t mean that they will be going to waste. I managed to buy books that had wonderful pictures of flowers or animals. These pictures provided inspiration, and I found myself exploring ways to use them as a quilting project.

One book I have has excellent pictures of butterflies and birds. They are printed with different areas of patterns, i.e., the wings of the bird is in one pattern, the body another, and the head still another. With some planning it would be possible to find fabric that could be used to construct the bird in fabric. And as before, when making decisions on how to color the picture, there will be decisions to make a fabric “picture” of this bird. Do I want the bird to look realistic, or fanciful? Do I use bright colors that perhaps don’t go well together to create a picture to surely get your attention, or do I use a pallet that is calming. The decision making process never seems to go away.

So I’ve been studying a picture in one of my books of a beautiful peacock. Naturally, its tail is in full fan mode. Wouldn’t this make a wonderful quilted wall hanging? I am looking forward to the time I get to start on it.

The Art Quilt Study Group that I belong to will be starting a 12” by 12” challenge next month and I’m hoping that there will be an opportunity for me to work this peacock into the challenge somehow.

Inspiration for our quilting can come from things and places we’d never dream of. All we have to do is keep our eyes open.

Nancy C. JUDD is a Herald correspondent.

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