GVSU alumnus published Grand Rapids coloring book
Grand Valley State University alumnus Travis Clement has illustrated and self-published a coloring book for adults based on the city of Grand Rapids to share his artwork, as well as his admiration and pride for the city.
“Everyone that lives in their city has pride in their city,” Clement said. “There’s a lot of landmarks that are reflected in that coloring book and I feel like what people would get the most (out of the coloring book) is pride in Grand Rapids.”
Clement studied illustration at GVSU from 1999 until 2004. After graduation, he worked as a commercial artist at Trader Joe’s for 10 years. Recently, he has branched out on his own as more of an independent artist. He said he began following the trend of adult coloring books first by illustrating coloring books for the cities of Chicago and Asheville, North Carolina.
Clement said he wanted to create an adult coloring book for Grand Rapids because he grew up there and is emotionally attached to the city.
“It all goes back to my childhood,” he said. “I used to watch a lot of cartoons and when I wasn’t watching cartoons I would be coloring in coloring books. It was just one of those things that was a pastime for me. I wanted to create something that kids of this generation can enjoy too and it’s centered around the city they grew up in.”
To create this coloring book, Clement said he took photographs of locations in Grand Rapids for inspiration and reference.
“I like to walk around a lot and take photos of architecture,” Clement said. “It seems like whenever I live in a city, I really want to be in touch with the city. I spend a lot of time wandering around and collecting photos.”
Clement said he is grateful for the time he spent studying at GVSU for providing him with the education he needed in illustration to become more of an independent artist. He said he wished he would’ve taken marketing classes to help him get the word out about his art.
To catch up, Clement said he draws on his experience from Trader Joe’s, watches YouTube videos and reads books on marketing to teach himself how to promote his work.
Danielle Dewitt, GVSU’s stewardship manager, said she has been in contact with Clement via email about creating a coloring book based on GVSU, but nothing has been solidified. Dewitt said coloring can be therapeutic and she encourages students to try it.
“I loved (Clement’s) coloring book of Grand Rapids because I grew up here and have a lot of fond memories of many of these landmarks, so it was fun to both color and reminisce,” Dewitt said. “I would encourage anyone at any age to pick up a coloring book. They are great way to take a ‘brain break’ instead of hopping onto the internet.
"I think we're all a kid at heart and coloring allows us to exercise our imagination in the midst of a stressful day.”
Clement’s Grand Rapids coloring book can be found at Rebel Reclaimed, the JW Marriott Hotel, Kennedy's Flowers and Gifts and on Etsy at Sprouted Scribbles.