Templar is launching a new imprint this autumn with a list of colouring-in books for all ages. Pictura is a range of "art to collect and colour" from authors and illustrators including the recent CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal winner Levi Pinfold, Shaun Tan and "The Hobbit" concept artist John Howe, who have drawn on themes such as the natural world, history and fantasy.
The first eight titles, all published on 1st October (£7.99), are: Shaun Tan's Metropolis, Tomislav Tomic's A Walk Through Paris, John Howe's Draconis, Niroot Puttapipat's Faeries, Helen Ward's Hedgegrow Year, Ian Andrew's Aurelian, Anne Yvonne Gilbert's A Knight's Journey, and Levi Pinfold's Medieval Town.
Amanda Wood, Templar's creative director, said the imprint was born of her own personal interest in illustration, where she started her career, and the fact that artwork available on the market at the moment was "incredibly simplistic", especially for children.
"Craft and activity is a growing area," she says, "and there seemed to be a real gap for something that was colouring in top-end art. A lot of our illustrators are keen on the idea of getting people drawing and getting people to explore that creative side. With the launch list and having people like Shaun, Levi and Helen Ward—who is absolutely my favourite natural history illustrator—it certainly has a way of reeling other people in, because they love the product and want to be part of the line-up."
Wood wants to extend Pictura's brand beyond artwork books to include poster and postcard books, "but very much again with this detailed style of artwork". The second batch of books, publishing in April 2014, will be geared more towards children, but Wood says: "We're trying to establish the idea that Pictura is for everybody, whether they're eight or 80." Spring's list will see titles about dinosaurs from Adam Stower, a "carnival of the animals" from Sophie Blackall and a walk through London from Thomas Flintham.
"They straddle, as a lot of artbooks do, the gift and conventional trade, the extension of which is they will be sold in art outlets and places [Templar] can't normally get books, so it's opening up parts of the market for us as well," Wood added.
On the digital aspects of Pictura (the titles are not available as e-books), Wood says: "We all need to get our hands dirty again and really engage with that practical aspect creation of art. A lot of things have moved over to digital, [but] I see a bit of a swing back."
Pictura's website will feature an online gallery where illustrators have coloured in each other's work, and there is an option for consumers to upload their own.
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