Steady hand creates inspiring colouring book, Designs

Kara-Lyn Loewen’s adult colouring book is now in its second printing after selling 100 original copies in Chilliwack.

Kara-Lyn Loewen recently released her self-published adult colouring book called Designs.

Adult colouring books are all the rage right now and one Chilliwack artist has joined the trend — not by purchasing books but by creating her own.

Kara-Lyn Loewen, who lives with Down Syndrome, recently released her book called Designs. It’s a 56-page adult colouring book featuring symmetrical, abstract work drawn freehand and with black ink (she doesn’t use pencil).

“I go for black ink because people can see it better,” she says, adding that she also enjoys drawing with coloured gel pens.

She has been drawing and colouring since she was a child.

“I draw every day. Every day,” stresses Loewen.

Her 30-plus years of experience have given her a very steady hand. Growing up, she would draw the same thing over and over again to get it right.

“She has amazing control,” says mother Lois Loewen.

Kara-Lyn Loewen, 36, says drawing calms and de-stresses her. And you can see it in her artwork.

Each piece is unique. She begins in the centre of her design and works her way out to create beautifully symmetrical drawings. Curved lines roll out from the centre as zig-zags and small circles create patterns between the lines.

Each drawing is a mirror image.

When people look at her work, they see things like bugs, animals, church windows, chandeliers, dream catchers, and even spacemen.

Loewen has been in day programs at a number of local organizations including Chilliwack Society for Community Living (CSCL), Communitas Supportive Care Society in Abbotsford, and private company Pathways.

She started drawing for other adults in a day program at CSCL about four years ago and soon realized that not only did people enjoy colouring her drawings, but she also had quite the collection of artwork.

Why not publish a book, she thought.

Her book, Designs, was printed in September and all 100 copies sold out within a week and a half.

“The one thing that’s different with this book is that one person has done all the work, not machines or computers,” she says proudly.

She’s expecting the second printing of 250 copies of her book any day. This time, her book has been copyrighted.

“When the first book came out she was so excited, she was shivering. She was so excited,” says her mother.

Angelika Dawson, who works at Communitas Supportive Care Society in Abbotsford, is a colouring book enthusiast. She purchased a copy of Designs and says it is completely different than those which are mass-produced because the drawings are not 100 per cent symmetrical.

“I discovered that when I started using Kara-Lyn’s book, it had the same calming, meditative effect on me that commercially produced books have,” she says.

Although her daughter lives with Down Syndrome, she has always been high-functioning, her mother says.

She moved out of her parents’ home and has lived with a caregiver for 16 years. She has a lot of natural wisdom and often gives advice to family and friends.

“I don’t always tell people what to do, but I tell them what’s appropriate,” says Loewen.

Not only does she have a special touch with people, but horses as well. She’s a horse whisperer which makes her part-time job working at a barn so fitting for her.

Loewen is currently working on her next book.

“I am working on a second book. Lots of people have asked me for this book for Christmas.”

In the meantime, people can purchase a copy of Designs for $10.

Loewen promises to donate some of the money to Communitas, CSCL, Sally Ann, and Pathways.

“I like to donate. That’s more important to me,” she says.

To purchase a copy of Designs, email artlois@shaw.ca, or go to the Chilliwack Society for Community Living office at 9353 Mary St., or the Communitas Supportive Care Society office at 103 – 2776 Bourquin Cres W. in Abbotsford.

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