Help our followers get to know you. What does a typical day in the life of Cher Kaufmann involve?
A typical day starts like a lot of other families with getting my two kiddos off to school. Currently, I am in the final stages of writing book number three and takes a lot of my time drawing and writing, if I am not teaching drawing classes or seeing private clients (I am also a massage therapist and work with alternative and complimentary health care sessions). I take a break to eat lunch with my husband almost every day. And I check social media to see what the pulse in the art world and world in general is doing that day.
When did you first become interested in illustrating?
I have done some kind of art since I was a child. Drawing, coloring, using charcoal were the first mediums. In college I advanced to photography, fine arts and writing. I have studied many other modalities including massage therapy, energy healing, face reading and more as a way to learn patterns in the world around us. It all came together a few years ago through when a friend showed me some pen and ink art. This happened right after I completed a full scale painted mural on my office ceiling. I loved seeing the completed mural and decided I wanted to create more art. It felt important to put all of my studies together of observing patterns, studying how nature and people come together as a means to expand our appreciation of everything around us. I became an illustrator for the colouring books when a friend in a private drawing class I taught showed some illustrations to an editor in New York and they were interested in doing a book with me.
What are your favourite things to draw?
I love circles, swirls, and organic lines. I rarely start or build around straight lines, unless they are small and used for texture. I like leaves on vines, whimsical tendrils of lines wisping away and lines that feel and look fun. I also like using pointillism to play with in varying degrees of dots, which, I guess is more circles, just really really tiny ones!
Where do you find inspiration?
Nature. Clothing, textiles, jewelry, hair, animals, shadows, textures, photographs, tile, glass, indigenous art, cultural art, you name it. Patterns can be seen in everything if you know how to look for them.
If you weren't an illustrator what would you be?
I would be doing my other job; helping people in some fashion and teaching. I seriously considered chiropractic and a degree in theology when I was in college and in my 20’s. I just loved the patterns those two degrees worked with, despite being so different. Instead I chose massage therapy and that has lead me to some very interesting studies. And most likely something that had to do with the sweetness of life…I hope that includes professional cheesecake sampling.
Why do you think adult colouring books have become so huge?
I think there is a craving for reconnection to the creative sense of ourselves; Re-learning to use our logical smarts and our amazing intuition. Creativity brings out both…and when they work together, you have confidence and peace. Peaceful moments and calm hearts get a little cluttered with our everyday living in ways we do not realize due to cultural busyness. Long ago, when the arts and sciences were expected to be part of an exceptional education, creativity was available. Now, creativity has to be sought. In the seeking, we find ourselves learning more about ourselves, what we like, what we do not, and in that act we become more aware of the world around us. Colouring Books provide an escape from the hectic lifestyles, providing windows to reconnect to a long-standing innate ability to be creative, I believe we needed a reason to go there. Thank goodness for colouring books, for every page that is coloured, a little bit of harmony is restored to that persons overall wholeness.
What does your working environment look like?
I have several working stations. I have a drawing table (drafting table), a computer area, and an area where I use the light table when I redesign from my own templates. I have an area for all my teaching supplies and an area for my personal art supplies. Sometimes I take over the kitchen table, the living room table and the floor. I am a person that does well with bright light, preferably natural sunlight and so I move around to find the place that motivates me best. It would be lovely to have a room dedicated to all these places!
Do you listen to music when you work? If so, who/what?
I am a huge fan of music. I feel music is energy in motion and can motivate the energy you are needing at the moment. For instance, when I am writing, I might play something that is soft in the background with no lyrics so there is no competition with the words I am thinking and writing. Music must reflect the feeling of what I am wanting to accomplish. I definitely play more upbeat music when I am needing to do energetic tasks like cleaning up the house. When I draw, it depends on the time of day, the subject matter and if it needs to match the energy of the book for which it is intended. I listen to such a variety, it shifts greatly; soft jazz, rock, classical, top 40, country, blue grass, indie music, cover tunes, pan flutes, cultural sounds, plus music designed for massage, yoga, meditation and more.
What are your favourite things in life?
Family, first. Humor, Nature’s display of ever changing growth, colour and perseverance, discoveries in science, especially with natural laws, astronomy and consciousness, the way the entire landscape lives up after a good rain and the inspiration from the human spirit. And of course that moment when you see the light spark in someone’s eyes.
Finally, please give 3 words that describe your work.
Inspired, doable, important.