Adult colouring books have become a huge phenomenon in recent years. Nearly every book store sells them, with themes ranging from animal portraits to Game of Thrones. They are often intricate and offer hours of distraction; studies show that they can be helpful in relieving stress.
But the Niagara Falls duo Connor Thompson and Chris Elphick noticed something about them others had missed: there was nothing actually ‘adult’ in these colouring books.
Inspired by a “bad joke about how adult colouring books don’t actually have any adult content,” they created Cockadoodles, an adult-themed colouring book. They have been using Indiegogo to help fund the project.
“We’ve actually been thinking about something to do for years,” Elphick explained. They started a podcast called Stuck in the 90s earlier this year. After only a few weeks, Thompson brought the idea for Cockadoodles to Elphick and they decided to make it work.
The pair have been working together on various projects for a few years. In order for them to make the colouring book a reality, Thompson notes that he had to learn how to draw, spending almost two months learning to illustrate digital images. “Once I was able to do it… It became, well, it’s not just an idea anymore. This is something we can actually make.”
The book is filled with cats, bananas, and other fun items. “We tried to put up some pages that are mostly friendly,” said Elphick, “but there are definitely some pages in there that are, for lack of a better term, what-the-fuck-worthy.”
Elphick explained the process of planning for the book: “Just [Thompson] coming to me and saying, ‘We need to cover different dicks. Different angles, different viewpoints, and we need to be as diverse as possible with just everything.”
After extensive research, the two storyboarded the project and mapped it out. They decided to style it like a ‘classic’ colouring book by including puzzles, word searches, crosswords, a maze, connect-the-dots, and the ever popular spot-the-difference.
“The more we joked around about it, the more it evolved,” said Thompson.
The key, Elphick explained, was to keep it “super light-hearted,” but still allow their art to contain a message. “I think we touched on climate change and the importance of voting, rail safety,” he joked.
“But everything is really light-hearted and fun. We weren’t really trying to make anything aside from a 32-page dick joke,” said Thompson.
For young people looking to create projects or make their ideas a reality, Elphick says that the key is to “take everything one step at time… I don’t think… at any point in this process we were like, ‘This is all we need to do for a colouring book.’ That would be daunting and probably overwhelming.” Instead, they committed themselves to the idea, began researching, and used tutorials to learn the skills necessary for the project.
“I think that the whole idea of entrepreneurship is changing,” explained Thompson. Before, the image of an entrepreneur was “someone who opens a bakery” or “secures a large loan and fills out paperwork,” but it involved inexpensive, accessible, easy-to-figure out examples that had been done many times before. “I literally Googled ‘how to start a podcast’ and 10, 12, 15 sites later, I had a pretty good idea of what I needed to learn,” Thompson said.
“Do something simple where creativity is the main aspect,” Thompson advised.