I remember when the first adult coloring books came out. There was great excitement and sales – mostly from word of mouth – soared. My own daughter – an artist – and her youngest daughter took to them enthusiastically. These first coloring books were the fanciful brainchildren of Johanna Basford, a Scottish illustrator. They included "The Secret Garden" and "The Enchanted Forest" and have since been joined by several other popular titles.
Dover Publishing in New York City does a popular animal-themed series that competes well with Basford’s oeuvre; it includes the titles "Creative Haven Cats" and "Creative Haven Owls."
The creativity that has gone into adult coloring books sold in Britain (Basford’s books) and New York City (the Dover line) is very much alive in a new little coloring book born in Miami Beach.
It was a thrill to see that local, homegrown self-described "branding" company/logo developer, Paul Jacober of Jacober Creative, with offices on Lincoln Road, has entered the arena with an — elegant contender, a small, beautifully designed book called "High Tides."
He told me that the idea drew out of a staff brainstorming session and that the credit for the drawings is entirely Nicolette Connell’s, art director and designer, at Jacober Creative. The premise: What if one result of coastal flooding was to bring mermaids here to our shores, to Miami Beach . . . and this fantasy was underscored by the Debbie Harry of "Blondie" fame hit, "The Tide Is High"…?
It is a fun and fanciful take on a mermaid who does wash up on Miami Beach and encounters good times and a little bit of mayhem as well. The mayhem consists of clubbing, drinking, drugging, and even orgies, and, as a coda to all that, having one’s car towed off the beach! (Do allow me to assure you, however, that this mayhem is pretty much G-rated and inoffensive; the drawings are so well done that nothing is actually that obvious.)
Some delicious images include the iconic swimming pool at The Raleigh Hotel – made famous by that cinema mermaid Esther Williams – and a take on those twin Cuban-born ladies (and artists) the Scull Sisters , as well as the man once known as the mayor of these parts, Louis Canales.
It's a fun book, especially for those of us who live in South Beach, where the fun happens day and night.
And although I must admit that I have always had trouble coloring inside the lines – alas, the story of my life – I adore mermaids and might well try my hand at this book. It also will go on the list for Christmas gifts for those in my family who do a much better job of coloring inside the lines than I do, and very much enjoy using crayons and colored pencils.
"High Tides: Tales of Mermaids, Mayhem, and Miami Beach." Jacober Creative, with illustrations by Nicolette Connell, 2017, $14.95. Available at Books & Books on Lincoln Road and online through Amazon.com and other booksellers.