Who doesn’t love a cheerfully bright and colorful Christmas? This year, my husband (the embodiment of multi-facetted creativity) and I set out to develop a cheerful, creative product that would embrace the best of Christmas. We wanted this to be a joint creative project that would pool our individual talents, and yield something that would give people a real-time break from all the craziness that Christmas has devolved into. We chose to embark on a project that would blend the visual and hearing senses in an experience that revisits the joy and peace of Christmas. The end of this project is in sight, and the product (which is perfect for gifting) is due for early release in October 2016.
My husband’s half of the project is the listening experience. And it is an experience you will want to have – the music is hauntingly beautiful, and will put you in the mood for the best kind of Christmas. When you have brain-fry and mall-fog from the Christmas shopping that makes you wish you could skip Christmas this year, this is the music you need to be listening to. The CD (which will also be available as a digital download) features a blend of old (read that as VERY well known) and not-so-common Christmas carols. What sets this collection of Christmas carols apart is that the entire album is played exclusively on trumpet. (Technically, it’s not just trumpet, as some of the recordings do feature flugelhorn, but I think of the flugelhorn as falling under the instrumental umbrella of the trumpet.) The CD is perfect for listening to on its own, but it comes into its own when you couple it with my half of the project.
My responsibility was to develop an adult-friendly coloring book that would amplify the experience of listening to the Christmas carols on the CD. Coloring is a great way to unwind at the end of a stressful day, and the festive season has become notorious for taking our stress levels up more than just a few notches. We wanted to develop a coloring experience that would keep the user’s attention on the Christmas story (after all, that is central to why we celebrate at Christmas), and provide plenty of opportunity to indulge in the use of uplifting, vibrant colors. And we wanted to double the relaxation and joy-infusing effect of the coloring by coupling it with mood-uplifting music.
Each page in the coloring book represents a stage in the development of the Christmas story. Those familiar with my drawing style will know that this book won’t look like most of the coloring books you find stacked up on the shelves at the grocery checkout. I like freestyle drawing, and the blending of reality with the abstract. This book is an expression of how I see the Christmas story: a little humor, a little abstract patterning, many fun spaces to color, and a lot of Jesus. And each page is directly related to one or more of the carols on the accompanying CD. Each full-page illustration comes with a list of the carols that are referenced by the illustration, an extract from a carol, and the scripture that forms the foundation for the illustration (and the carols).
With the release date set for October 2016, we are definitely in the final stretch. The music has been recorded, the illustrations are finished, and the final product is coming together. The combo product will initially be sold through Tiger Music, an online music store that ships internationally, but you will be able to buy the CD and the coloring book separately at a later stage. Stay updated by subscribing to my blog (there’s a button on the side of this page), or to my husband’s blog.
If you are looking for a Christmas gift that is cheerful, uplifting, colorful, joy-inducing, stress-relieving, and plain FUN to use, this CD and coloring book combo fits the bill.