According to the Catholic News Agency (CNA), Catholic artist Daniel Mitsui has teamed up with Ave Maria Press to publish adult coloring books based on medieval Catholic art.
A specialist in ink drawing, Mitsui describes his style as being very graphic with “precise edges and sharp outlines”. The father of three who lives in Chicago says he is inspired by 14th and 15th Century Catholic art as well as Japanese art.
His story is unique because he never aspired to become a coloring book creator. Because he did a lot of work in black and white, he would often print images and then hand-color them. Whatever images didn’t turn out the way he hoped would be given to his children to color.
“I would save all of the ones that didn’t pass my quality control, and I would give them to my kids to color at Mass,” Mitsui told CNA. “I have small children who have a hard time paying attention so I would give them some of these coloring sheets. And friends of mine started asking for them and I thought, you know, I should really make this available to the public.”
With this in mind, he began to add black and white images of saints or other religious subjects to his website and allowed parents to access them for their children for a small donation. Not long after this, he was contacted by Ave Maria publishing company to create a coloring book for adults.
His first book features images from the mysteries of the Rosary and a new book on the Saints is expected soon. This book will include figures such as the Blessed Mother, St. Michael the Archangel and Sts. Peter and Paul along with more obscure figures such as St. Robert of Newminster and St. Gognait.
“I’m interested in medieval religious art, and I think the art of that era certainly is very rich in terms of what it can teach you about the Catholic religion in that it’s very precise theologically, it corroborates the writings of the Church fathers, it corroborates the liturgy. So you see all of the Catholic tradition more clearly if you’re familiar with its presentation,” he said.
However, being able to “see” the art with both the eyes and the hands during coloring forces a person to slow down and really concentrate on the image.
“It’s a way to train yourself to really look at art and I think to really look at anything,” he said. “That more concentrated vision is something that is quite peculiar to a mass media age.”
The Mysteries of the Rosary coloring book is available at Ave Maria Press now; the Saints coloring book will be available in November.