★ INTERVIEW with Artist Kimberly-Ann Debling ★

Mindfulness Mandalas! by Artist Kimberly-Ann Debling is a wonderfully-crafted adult coloring book with a number of unique elements that make it especially one-of-a-kind. (Find out what those are in the interview below!)

And best of all? It’s only $7.90 on Amazon.


I’m so excited to be interviewing you. I’m a huge fan of coloring books and I absolutely love mandalas! So, what inspired you to create this meditative coloring book?

 I’m currently 37 weeks pregnant and during my pregnancy, I was diagnosed with cancer. I realised that even though I’m now in a hugely stressful situation, I had been more stressed and anxious in the past under less ‘socially valid’ reasons!

It made me really think about the way we deal with stress and how creativity helps so much. I feel that any creative pursuit is sometimes hard unless we’re naturally good at it, or have practiced since childhood. Don’t sing unless you have a good voice, don’t paint unless you’re an artist, don’t woodwork unless you create sellable items, don’t play an instrument unless you’re stage-worthy! At what age do we tell kids that its not right to do creative things unless they’re already a pro?!

I’ve always been interested in stress-relieving activities due to my previous life as an Air Traffic Controller, so I wanted to combine a few things that I’ve always loved to bring myself calmness – art and mindfulness.

Hearing that just made my heart feel heavy, but at the same time, your message is really uplifting. What an inspiration you are! So, every creative type has a path to follow. Can you tell me about your artistic journey?

My art journey has always tended towards the ‘design’ end of the spectrum. I’m passionate about packaging design (someone has to be)! But a lot of my joy was creating surface pattern and computer-drawn vector designs to include within the graphical elements. I just love how a beautiful pattern in combination with great typography, a barcode, and an ingredients list can become a real physical item that gets on shelves and in customers’ hands!

A designer to the very core… Wonderful! What would you say sets your coloring book apart from others that are available?

My book is deliberately simple, but the things that make it a little different from your average adult colouring book are:
* It is not too thick that it is overwhelming – there’s actually a good chance that you will finish all the pages. I always feel a sense of waste when I see too many un-coloured pages!
* It is printed on one side only so that if you use pens the bleed through doesn’t ruin the next page, my medium of choice for colouring is often alcohol based pens so this was a huge factor for me.
* Each page consists of a mandala plus a mindful phrase or saying to focus on. I wanted there to be a definite focus so that the ‘mindful’ part of the colouring has a special place for each page.

I especially like the mindfulness element. I can really resonate with it. Who are some of your artistic muses & influences?

 I’m obviously in awe of some of the more famous colouring book artists, but I also love Lichtenstein, Mucha, and Dali. Mucha is probably my most obvious influence. I’m working on another book which will be a colour-in diary but this time hand-drawn… I can see lots of Mucha-inspired elements creeping in!

A color-in diary? Now, that sounds neat! When it comes to creating, how do you normally go about it?

I have a Midori style notebook/diary system and one of my inserts is devoted to notes and sketches. I sketch all the time but often away from home so most of my sketches are in biro! I rarely refine the sketches as I work directly on the computer either in vector or bitmap form. I love that if something doesn’t work I can shift around elements to play with different arrangements. I get very obsessive so I often have to tell myself to just stop! I love working with clients and I make it clear to them that all feedback is positive. I usually love the finished design after feedback much more than the initial drafts.

You mentioned your cancer diagnosis in the beginning of the interview, but it’s clear to me that you are a warrior. May I ask how it has affected your life?

Actually, I really feel that being diagnosed with cancer has improved my life dramatically. It sounds crazy, I know. For 5 weeks or so I had no details so became really introspective about so many things. My own mortality, the way I feel about life, how I feel about my husband, the kind of parent I want(ed) to be to my child.

I was put into the very best care and when the doctor told my husband and I that my prognosis was excellent and that I would be treated with light therapy (essentially I have fancy sunbed sessions twice a week) we felt like we’d won the lottery.

Before all this, I was your standard person who had ups and downs and rushed through life either doing too much or wasting time. Now I really do enjoy every moment and no longer tell myself that it’s “rushed” or “wasted.” My husband and I are so much stronger in our relationship. I work with clients better. Even my designs seem better to me now that I don’t critique myself so much! I’m so much happier now that I could cry—those “silver linings” really do exist.

I could cry too, Kimberly-Ann. In fact, I am. You are such a vibrant, creative, and courageous soul. Thank you SO much for taking the time to have this interview with me. All the best to you and your family, fellow artist!



Also find her on…







INTERVIEW with Artist Joey Derse ✍


Click on the image above to purchase!

This two book set reveals secrets of the artist, Joey Derse.
It explains in detail how to paint like the great master, Vincent van Gogh.


Artist Joey Derse

Okay. So let’s begin! What would you say your main inspiration was for this book set?

My Dad wrote about his career and felt that I wanted to also give back in that manner in regard to my career. I am really inspired by the impressionists and post impressionists (Seurat and van Gogh especially).

That’s wonderful, Joey. How about your creative journey? Can you tell me a bit about that?

At first I didn’t think that I would be able to have enough material to write a full book. But as I painted, a flood of writing ideas would come to me. Soon I had over 300-400 pages! So I spent a long time condensing it.

Again, I thought it would be impossible to complete. But by whittling out duplications and unnecessary parts, I was able to come up with something I was proud to publish.

It sounds like the muse was certainly with you along your journey. If you had to pick the most prevalent themes in your book set, what would they be?

The following themes are prevalent in this two book set: Knowing when to go with your intuition and when to look at things more scientifically; the importance of building a visual library; dispersing your color and impasto evenly throughout the canvas; being unattached to an outcome leads to a more natural picture; with focused effort, a painter can learn to paint like a great master

What profound themes! All artists seem to be inspired by other creative minds. In addition to Vincent van Gogh, who are some of your artistic inspirations?

Georges Seurat, Paul Cezanne, and Camille Pissarro.

What’s your creative process like?

I write as I paint. I come up with my ideas while being inspired by painting. Each time I paint, I write initially in free hand. And then I type it up at a later time.

So, more about the book set… Why should fellow artists buy this book as opposed to all the other “How to Paint” books out there?

My book teaches painting in an alternative, non-traditional fashion. I give secrets that many others will not share (including art instructors).

Excellent! Now it’s time to wrap things up. Any final thoughts?

I want to thank God and my friends and family for all their love, help, support and inspiration.

And I want to thank you for taking the time to do this lovely interview with me. Again, for anyone who is reading this, Joey’s two book set in now available on Kindle. Click here.




INTERVIEW with Holly E. Tripp on “Stories of Music” ♪ ♫ ♬

Stories of Music-Book Cover-New-FINAL-cover only

^Purchase your own copy by clicking on the image!


Stories of Music: An Award-Winning
Anthology about Healing and Hope

In Holly E. Tripp’s award-winning, interactive anthology Stories of Music, she brings together over 40 authors and artists from 11 countries who tell their personal stories of how music has affected – and changed –  their lives. It’s used to heal emotions, lullaby babies, mourn losses, transform criminals, bond differences, and celebrate culture. Music is the all-powerful, non-excluding force that makes this book difficult to put down.

Stories of Music is an interactive anthology featuring artists, photographers, writers, and musicians, using their individual mediums to express what music means to them. The book, full of award-winning works, also features a companion web edition that allows readers to listen to voice-recorded poetry readings and original music through your mobile device, as well as watch videos that support some of the stories, making this both a visual and auditory experience. Of the 10 original songs, one was performed to honor first responders at Ground Zero.

Find out more about this exquisitely moving anthology series in the interview I had with Holly below…

What was your main inspiration for this anthology?

My inspiration for Stories of Music originated from a few different places. Years ago, I read my great grandmother Gwendolyn’s autobiography and really enjoyed learning how music played a role in her life growing up—she talked about how local fiddle players would play their music through the telephone party line when the weather was too bad for gathering in person, and how she would dance to the music on the other end of the line. This story has always stuck with me.

As a musician, music has been front and center in my life for as long as I can remember, but it became especially important to me after my brother Brandon passed away in 2008. He and I shared a love for music—we wrote and played songs together as kids—and it was through music that I was finally able to cope with losing him. I wrote several songs the year he died; it truly felt like he was with me as the songs came together, as if we were able to say goodbye to one another through music.

Considering these stories, and those of people I know, I became curious about how music has impacted other people’s lives. So, I set out to discover what I could, requesting stories about music from authors and artists from around the world. The response I received was incredible—with more than 1,000 submissions—and those stories further inspired what would become the first of (hopefully) many volumes of Stories of Music.

It’s safe to say music played a VERY important role in your life. Can you tell me a little bit about your creative journey?

I began writing—both story and song—at a young age, and went on to study music and creative writing in college. But when neither of these things seemed to pay the bills (in all honesty, I wasn’t very patient with it), I moved into the marketing field, using my creativity and writing skills for campaigns and promotional purposes instead.

After 10 years in the corporate world, I began to feel like I’d taken a wrong turn somewhere, and I really missed writing and creative projects that I really cared about. So, I left my full-time job to reconnect with my passions, and as I continue to work toward writing my own story, the Stories of Music anthology series has helped me to focus on both music and creative writing again, and to create a wonderful community of talented authors and artists.

That’s wonderful, Holly! What are some prevalent themes in this anthology?

While all of the works in Stories of Music are centered on the ways in which music impacts people’s lives, the book also takes readers on a journey around the world and through a lifetime of experiences. Beginning with stories about coming to learn about music for the first time and how it connects people to their families and communities, there are also stories of the healing power of music, how we can learn about other cultures through music, and how music can bring people together despite their differences—be it race, religion, language, or otherwise. The book progresses with stories of how we age with music and how it continues to inspire and influence our lives until our final days.

What powerful messages! So, Stories of Music includes essays, poems, photography, music, AND video. What inspired you to include such a wide variety of storytelling styles within this book?

Because music itself is so multidimensional—there are countless genres, purposes, and influences music can have—I wanted to create a publication that would mirror its intricacy. That being said, I also wanted to invite creative people of various disciplines to tell their stories their way, in the hopes of showcasing stories from a wide array of people, and from a wide array of places around the world.

So, even if someone didn’t speak (or write) very good English, they could express the power of music through photography or art or music itself. I wanted to capture how universal music is in people’s lives, so seeking out a variety of storytelling styles allowed me to accomplish this.

That definitely sounds like the epitome of art to me. What was your process for selecting stories for this anthology?

I tried to bring together stories that everyone could relate to. Plus I wanted the stories to inspire people—the ways in which music can heal, create community, and help us remember special moments in our lives, and how music can teach us about the world around us—today’s world and that of generations past. Music is so universal; it was important to me that the stories reflect this.

I couldn’t agree more with you! Also, it’s important to note to anyone who is reading this interview that this is not just a book to read, it’s a book you can actually listen to. Can you please explain the audio part of the book with its web-based poetry and music?

Yes, it’s certainly a unique reading experience. Some of the poets, in addition to sharing their poetry, shared audio recordings of them reading their works. These recordings provide a sense of the people behind the poems—the emotion in their voices and the ways in which they articulate their chosen words—and it becomes a more intimate reading experience that, I think, brings the poems to life.

Also, a few of the stories were centered on how musicians came to write some of their music, and particularly the impact of their music, so I was also able to include some of these songs. Readers access the audio works (and a couple of videos as well) through a free companion web edition that is included with the print book—URLs and QR codes within the print book direct readers to the specific pages in the web edition where the audio/video is available, but readers need the print edition to enjoy the full collection of stories.

I really love the idea behind this and am so glad something like this exists! I believe Vol. 1 was released last year, with Vol. 2 coming in the fall. How many volumes do you plan for this series?

That’s correct. Volume 2 will be released in Fall 2016, and I hope to release a third volume in Fall 2017. If I see enough interest in these collections, I would happily continue creating additional volumes.

And I hope you release more as well! I’m very excited about this anthology. And I’m sure our fellow artists are as well. Again, if anyone who’s reading this would like to have their own copy, go here. Thank you.🙂


Visit the Official Stories of Music website here: www.storiesofmusic.com