Cape Town, the Mother City of South Africa, is an advert for a great country. As a city with a colourful personality and arms wide open to embrace cultural diversity, Cape Town stands as tall as the mountain that casts a shadow over it. Big. Bold. And proudly South African. Even those who have never visited South Africa are quick to recognize Cape Town’s iconic landmarks: Table Mountain, the City Bowl, Devil’s Peak, Kirstenbosch Gardens, V&A Waterfront, and the list goes on.
Cape Town cannot help but serve as muse. The inspiration it has to offer shrouds the curious mind, dampening the creativity with its salty essence. It spills over thoughts in much the same way that the Cape Doctor’s ghostly breath drapes itself over Table Mountain’s plateau. You will find Cape Town’s special brand of inspiration reflected in the hot, African rhythms that eminate from the crowded jazz venues, in the ghoema beat to which the “Kaapse Klopse” parade dances its way into the new year, in the flavours of the rich Malay curries, in the vibrant street art that tells the city’s collective story, and in the classic and contemporary poetry that bares the city’s soul. A little of Cape Town’s inspiration has soaked into me over the years, and planted the seed for the first book in a new series: Colour the Rainbow Nation.
“Cape Town: Colour the Rainbow Nation” is a celebration of Cape Town’s warm personality and beautiful environment. This book is my way of paying tribute to the Mother City. Since there is much to see and experience in such a magnificent city, and a colouring book can only have SO MANY pages, I had to put some boundaries in place. Instead of simply focusing exclusively on the obvious tourist traps, I built my illustrations on the foundation that Cape Town had laid in my own memories and experiences. I will admit that I have done a few of the touristy things like riding the cable car up the mountain, and sitting on the quayside at V&A Waterfront watching the seals sunbathe. But “Cape Town: Colour the Rainbow Nation” is about more than the things everyone should have the opportunity to experince at least once in their lives. It is the story of how a non-Capetonian (like myself) experiences the city, and it is told in a series of ready-to-colour pages.
I like to think that the story I tell has a page for everyone. Take the “mountain king” page as an example. If you have been to Cape Town and never seen a baboon roaming the streets before dawn, then you left the city too soon or got up too late. The baboon may not be one of South Africa’s BIG FIVE, but it certainly is big and bold enough to be the featured wildlife of Cape Town. Then there are the street parades that happen every year on the second of January. I remember first witnessing (thanks to television) the annual Kaapse Klopse as a child. The images and sounds of this Cape Town street parade captivated my young imagination, and remained with me to become another page in the book. Don’t forget the legend of Van Hunks and the vice he shared with the devil. Such a story surely deserves its own page. You get the idea, don’t you? It’s not just a colouring book about the grand, old Table Mountain (although the majestic mountain did demand it’s own page, which it received).
If you have seen any of my earlier colouring books, you will know that I prefer freestyle drawing. My colouring book pages are not computer-generated models of perfection as has become typical of adult colouring books. I go where the lines lead, and yes, sometimes my hand-drawn lines are a little wonky. Where you see wonky, I see a story unfolding. I like the adjective “organic” – hand-drawn lines are natural, and just a little earthy. The thickness of a hand-drawn line varies as the pen glides across the paper, and sometimes the ink makes a joyful, little ink blob where you didn’t expect to place a blob. The sweep of a hand-drawn curve cannot be described with a very simple mathematical equation – you will need to apply some hefty calculus to write organic lines in mathematics. Yes, hand-drawn illustrations are wonderfully quirky. My illustrations are indeed organic: real-life stories sketched in a thin flow of monotone – stories that are begging you to bring them to life with colour.
“Cape Town: Colour the Rainbow Nation” is already available in print and digital formats from a couple of retailers, and you can expect to see the book listed at the major stores (e.g. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Book Depository) within the next four to six weeks. You can purchase the print and digital (pdf) versions of this book from Lulu. Lulu offers shipping from various depots across the globe, so your order will ship from the location nearest to you. If you live in South Africa, I recommend ordering your print copy from MegaBooks (a book seller based in Cape Town). Megabooks is offering a special introductory price for this book, so you will not only save a lot on the cover price of the book, but also bypass any international customs clearance fees that are levied when you order from Europe or USA.
If you decide to invest in a copy, please do come back and let me know how you experienced the book. If colouring the pages triggered memories, made you laugh, or if you simply enjoyed filling the pages with colour, I would love to hear about it.