Tag: creative process

Coloring my own coloring book art.

Just Meowin' Cat Coloring Book for Adults
From “Just Meowin’ with Brewskie Butt” Coloring Book by BZTAT

I am often asked for materials recommendations for coloring the pages in my coloring books. I am not sure that I am the best one for making recommendations, as I color my drawings in a manner different than most people would choose to color. Even so, I thought I would share my process of “coloring” my drawings in case you’d like to try some of my techniques.

I begin my drawings by filling in shapes and areas with permanent markers. This step is my first layer of color.

Markers only
Markers only

As I do with my paintings, I begin with a layer of color that will change when I add subsequent layers that either contrast or visually mix with the underlying color. My choice of marker colors is determined by years of experience experimenting with different color combinations.

I use permanent markers that are less likely to fade over time, such as Prismacolor Art Markers and Sharpies. Crayola and other less permanent markers can be used as well, however, they do tend to fade.

After bBrewskie-Butt-okey-coloring-book-page-colored-prismacolor-pencil-BZTAT-croppedlocking in colors with marker, I go over the different areas with Prismacolor Pencils. Prismacolor pencils are very soft and waxy. Unlike other colored pencils, they “sit” on top of the underlying color in the way that a crayon or oil pastel “sits” on the surface of a colored paper. A light color on top of a darker color stands out, giving a very soft but rich texture as well as a unique color effect. Also, some colors visually “mix” in the way that paint on a palette does, again, giving interesting color and textural effects.

As you can see in the inset, I colored over a darker orange with a yellow, leading to the two colors visually “mixing” and creating that characteristic Brewskie Butt ginger color. A red pencil over a purple gives a different “mixing” effect. Yellow over an aqua blue creates a unique green. White over light blue brings out a light/dark contrast, making the two cats’ white fur have more texture and interest than if they had just been left blank.

Just Meowing' Cat Coloring Book for Adults by BZTAT
Markers only
Markers only
Just Meowin' Cat Coloring Book for Adults
Pencil over marker







This is my process for creating finished drawings. The entire process can take quite a long time, and it may be a bit laborious for a coloring book page. It might be fun to give it a try, however. I suggest that you do some experimenting on scratch paper before coloring in a drawing with these techniques. On your scratch paper, color in some areas with different markers and test out different Prismacolor pencils over them to see how the two layers interact.

What is your favorite coloring technique? Please share in the comments!

Just Meowin' Cat Coloring Book for Adults

My finished coloring of the drawing of Brewskie Butt and Okie watching birds on a wire is available for purchase ($60.00). The 8.5″ x 11″ drawing was created on Bristol Board and comes with a white mat. Click on the “BUY NOW” button below to make the purchase.

Learn more about my “Just Meowin’ with Brewskie Butt” and “Artist BZTAT’s Color Me Cats” coloring books here.

Just Meowing with Brewskie Butt Cat Coloring Book for Adults

Artist BZTAT Color Me Cats Coloring book for adults

Life is an Adventure!


What is it like to be an artist? Essential.

Artist BZTAT in 1985 at Marshall University
Artist BZTAT in 1985 at Marshall University

I graduated from Marshall University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting and Printmaking. I received a Master of Arts degree in Painting and Printmaking a year and a half later. (Yep, I had big hair back then.)

I took off into the world with lofty ideas of  being an “Art for Art’ Sake” kind of artist in the hopes of being on the cover of Art in America someday.

fail whaleAnd I flopped. Big time.

We didn’t have the Fail Whale image or Twitter back then, but the image would have worked for me.

At the time as I was miserable, but it was probably one of the most important experiences of my life.

I quickly realized that I was not cut out to be a full time artist – at that time, anyway.

I had no experience or know-how in marketing or making business decisions for making art my career then. In fact, my art professors had strongly discouraged me from developing any such skills. To do so would have disrupted the purity of my artistic intent, I was told.

There were other reasons for my failure, though.

I believe that I failed because I was not prepared to do something for a career that seemed self-indulgent to me. Although I firmly believed then, and still do now, that art is essential and important to our world, it did not seem essential enough to me to build a career around – at that time anyway.

I felt a sense of responsibility to contribute to my community and my world in a way that was more essential in the sense of life saving and world changing, and creating abstract paintings as I was doing at the time just did not cut it for me.

Neither did working minimum wage low-skill jobs when I had 2 degrees.

I went back to school and received a Masters degree in Counseling in 1991.  I then embarked on a 20 year career as counselor for families and children. I continued to create artwork, but it was not my career.

Counseling families and children facing trauma and other forms of emotional pain seemed more essential and important in the grand scheme of things. Although counseling was never a high paying job, it did allow me to live sufficiently, and I felt that I was contributing in an important way.

Over time, I grew to be disenchanted with the social services field, however. I found that organizations established to “help” people often were challenged with making decisions based more on their own survival than on the needs of their clients. I railed against it, and ended up changing jobs a lot.

I was always looking for a place with a consistent emphasis on both  integrity and high quality services. I never found it.

I began to put more energy into my artwork around 1999, and by 2009, It was becoming more of a career for me.

After September 11, 2001, art began to feel more essential to me, as I felt a strong compulsion to contribute to my world through expression. I had always been a philosophical sort of person, and 9/11 brought out that side of me in a new way.

I now focus primarily on painting portraits of pets, and have found that surprisingly healing and, yes, essential, for those who commission me to paint their animals.

I recently was commissioned to paint a portrait of a cat that had been hit by a car a week earlier. The distraught pet owner told me in an email, “I really think the painting is going to give me a lot of comfort. Talking with you and thinking about the painting has given me comfort already.”

What is more essential than that?

I think that I had to live a life of essential experiences before painting as a career felt right to me.

Although I look forward to a continued life of  essential experiences, I think that it is a life that fits me now.


What is it like to be an artist? Exacting, exhilarating, exhausting and exasperating.

Artist BZTAT painting process

Let’s call it the 4-E’s.

Being an artist has many different qualities and these 4 “E” words sum it all up.

Exacting – Being an artist means that you have been granted insight and vision that has yet to be seen or grasped by others. In order to clarify and and illuminate that vision for others, the artist must engage in an exacting process of creative definition. It drives others crazy sometimes. I have been called a diva for being stubborn and insistent about details that, during the process, make no sense to others. Later on others may understand, but often, artists are considered royal pains in the patooty for obsessively holding to their exacting standards.

Exhilarating – Color, to me, is exhilarating. Bringing about creative images and objects that swirl with color and shape and composition is the most exciting process! Often the process can have spans of drudgery, but overall, the process, and the product, are very exhilarating.

Exhausting – It takes many hours to create a work of art that stands out and takes its unique place in the world. It is both emotionally and intellectually intense, and physically tasking. Exhaustion often comes when you realize you have painted for several hours without a break and probably should have stopped a long time ago.

Exasperating – It is a gift to be granted the insight and vision of an artist. It can be a struggle, however, to convince others of your financial and structural needs to complete projects. Finding people to commission projects that have yet to be visually articulated can be tricky. Convincing others of the necessity for details when you are not fully certain of how the process will develop can also be a challenge.

As challenging and frustrating as these processes can be, I cannot imagine my life without it. I am grateful for having the opportunity to be a creator and to be able to share the talent that I have been given!


We all have special talents and gifts. What is yours?