Anne Arundel Community College student Katie O’Neil successfully navigated the sometimes-treacherous world of self-publishing to create an 86-page adult coloring book titled “Tropical Bubbles,” which features tropical abstract drawings based on bubbles and other spherical shapes.
“I always had a fascination with bubbles, and I always wanted to be an illustrator,” recalled O’Neil, who began thinking about creating an adult coloring book in early 2018.
O’Neil said she thought to herself, “Maybe I can do that,” and started pushing her artistic skills to the limit. After being diagnosed with seasonal anxiety disorder and autism spectrum disorder, she combined her interests of bubbles and illustration. Coloring relaxed and comforted her, and she hoped coloring could help others relieve stress.
To help get her started, O’Neil met Johanna Basford, a renowned Scottish illustrator who made adult coloring books popular. O’Neil received advice from Basford and started creating her own adult coloring book in the spring of 2018.
“It took about a year to finish,” said O’Neil, who spent countless hours composing and revising the drawings. During that time, O’Neil researched how to get her work published. She thought about going the route of self-publishing but discovered that the technique was fraught with fly-by-night companies offering questionable and misleading services. She then discovered Ingram Sparks, a popular and versatile self-publishing website, and has been happy with the results. Today, “Tropical Bubbles” is published and available for purchase online.
“I’m hoping the book will allow users to spend time coloring and develop their artistic skills,” O’Neil said. “When they’re finished, I hope they will use it as decorations.”
She decided to craft an adult coloring book as opposed to a children’s color book because, “adult color books have more detail and abstraction.” O’Neil, who grew up in Severna Park, said she is still thinking about what she would like to do next.
“If it’s another book, it’ll be an adult book, but probably not coloring,” she contemplated.
O’Neil also has developed an interest in animation and plans to take animation courses to broaden her artistic expertise.
Tropical Bubbles is available on Amazon, and O’Neil can be reached at email@example.com.