Tag Archives: Adult Coloring Books

New Release: Fractals – 2017 Adult Coloring Calendar

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I know how it is. You get to the end of November and you realize you forgot Mandelbrot’s birthday (it was Sunday). Or your friends ask you to come over for Pi day and then laugh at you when you bring pie instead (which they eat without thanking you). Well don’t worry, I’m looking out for you.

Introducing Fractals – 2017 Adult Coloring Calendar.

Did you know that you can make up math holidays just by choosing the right numbers? I mean, tomorrow is Fibonacci day because it’s 11/23 (it’ll really be cool in 42 years when it’s 11/23/58). I even made up my own holiday on January 26th: Koch curve day (because the approximate fractal dimension of the Koch curve is 1.26. It’s also E. H. Moore’s birthday apparently).

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Feeling stressed? Why not color in some fractal bubbles or a cozy quilt? And take some time to marvel at the clean numbers and lines of the calendar template I created using a python script. There were definitely at least five tiny pixel adjustments to make sure the numbers lined up in diagonals just right.

Perfect for the math geek who also enjoys trivia and pretty colors. But even if your name isn’t Brian Buckley this calendar is a great for someone looking for something just a bit different in their date tracking this year. Available now on Amazon from the good people at Green Frog Publishing.

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Fractal Coloring Book – Cutting Room Floor

As I said yesterday, I produced over 100 images for the new coloring book, some of which were pretty cool but didn’t quite make the cut. Thought I’d share a few of my favorites for this long overdue “Fractal Friday.”

Have a great weekend!

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Making a Fractal Coloring Book

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A lot of the projects I take on are just natural extensions of the things I immerse myself in (i.e obsess about). Even before being contacted by a publisher I’d been considering a fractal coloring book project for a little while. I had a lot of the programs I’d need, and 1000’s of images I’d generated in producing my previous two fractal books and subsequent posts. All I  would need to do is select the best of them, maybe write a good intro, and I’d have a quality book.

I think the only way we take on big projects is by deluding ourselves into thinking they’re not big projects, then plowing forward full steam ahead.

For a start, fractals that are good to color have a very different set of criterion from most of the fractals I’d been creating up to this point. You want something intricate but not so detailed that you can’t color it. You want some kind of pattern, but nothing too regular. You want something very open to interpretation, but with some common points of reference to give you guidance. You want a good variety of images, while providing people enough of what they’ll like. You need to cater to different difficulty levels, and because I like to teach about fractals as well, you need to use different generation techniques.

That’s a lot to think about when you’re trying to make 25 images.

Creating fractals for this book fell into one of a few different modes. There were a few, including the dragon curve and the Apollonian Recursive Gasket (see below), that were “classic” fractal designs that I felt just had to be in a book like this (though for the life of me I couldn’t get a Mandelbrot Set image I was happy with, maybe next book). In the case of the gasket, my insistence on including it might have had a little to do with spending 8 hours trying to write the code that would correctly generate the image (including learning a new way to think about circles, more on that some other time).

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Other designs were created by looking at things around me, a pattern on a quilt, a set of kitchen shelves, and playing around with some L-Systems interpretations of those objects until I got something I liked. Or other times I would draw out a small axiom on paper, sketch out a potential replacement rule, and just see what happened.

The third method involved perusing the thousands of Julia and L-System pictures I’d previously generated for my two fractal books and for posts on this site (this is where my new $50 kindle came in handy). The Julia images in particular took a lot of work, as the generation time to get an image with a good drawing edge is pretty long (2-8 hours on my quad-core laptop). L-Systems by comparison usually take at most only a few minutes, meaning you can experiment a lot more with tiny changes to see what the new result might be. This is probably why 19-20 of the images in the final text are variations on L-Systems and Turtle graphics.

Overall I produced well over a hundred images, culled from potential lists in the 1000’s. By comparison the selection process from those 100 was pretty simple: print the image out, run it by my wife to see if it’s a good candidate, and try not to make too many agonized screams when an image that took many hours to generate is rejected. Actually, my wife had a lot of good suggestions for potential ideas, or questions about tweaks I could do to make an image better.

The initial arrangement of the final images was done on my basement office floor, with one of us playing goalie to keep the dogs from walking all over the paper. Some things are just easier when you can see them out in front of you. We marked each image with a crayon indicating the rough level of difficulty, and moved sheets around until we got an arrangement we liked.

And this was all before I’d written a word.

Just to be clear, this was all great fun for me. I’ve seen other examples of coloring books where people slap together a bunch of stock images, or throw a bunch of their own previous work in without a lot of thought as to whether it would be fun to color. I didn’t want to make a book like that. I always like to create something new. Sure, there were times when I’d create 15 images and only get one good one, but that’s pretty much the experience with every creative endeavor. And there were plenty of “rejected” images that I had a new idea about, and made something even better.

This applies to just about any kind of writing. Writing something you later cut is never wasted effort. Everything is part of the process of making the final product, and even the things you look at and go “what was I thinking” had a part in shaping the final whole. And into making you a better writer or artist.

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My new book, Adult Coloring Book: Fractals is available now on Amazon. Published by Green Frog Publishing. You can see some of the fractals from the book, and color art by my wife (“the little red-haired girl”) on my new website bentrubefractals.com.

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New Release – Adult Coloring Book: Fractals

So here’s what I’ve been up to the last couple of months…

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My latest book, Adult Coloring Book: Fractals, is available now on Amazon!

I’m excited to publishing this book with Green Frog Publishing, a small Indie Publisher based in Vermont. This book is actually the second in a series of coloring books, the first of which is a great set of hand-drawn images of the Adirondacks by Dave Campbell.

This book has been a real collaborative effort, including the proofreading talents of one Mr. Brian Buckley, cover and website art by my wife, and editing by Cecilia Bizzoco. Green Frog’s been just great, providing a lot of personal attention and developmental feedback to make this a better book than anything I could have done alone.

The Adult Coloring Book: Fractals is a collection of 25 fractal images for you to color and enjoy. Along the way you’ll learn the basics about fractals, and how some of the individual images were created. Most of this is all new material exclusive to this book (we’ll talk more later in the week about the production process). There’s also an extensive glossary with even more fractal explorations and resources (any glossary that includes a definition for the “Genesis Effect” is okay in my book).

I think fractals are uniquely suited to adult coloring books in that they offer a lot of freedom for interpretation. How you color these images is entirely up to you. Just seeing some of the work my wife put together really made these fractals come alive for me.

You can check out some of the images from this book on my new website BenTrubeFractals.com or buy the book from Amazon.com. Particularly check out the “Play with Fractals” tab for some of the unique L-Systems in this book.

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When you can’t write

We’re a third of the way through NaNoWriMo. To those of you who’ve managed to keep the ten day streak going, congratulations and keep up the good work.

For a lot of the rest of us, writing new content for long stretches can be draining. I dream of a time where I can sit in front of my computer every day and produce something new and good. I tend to believe that every time we get something on paper, it’s useful toward our “writing development”, but I also believe writing a lot of bad prose leads to writing more. Part of writing is knowing when to do something else.

Always be writing. But writing is a nebulous term. It can mean researching, revising, planning, rewriting, designing book covers, writing program code for fractals, or even reading. The thing I’ve learned most is how to be productive even when I’m not producing.

Writing something brand new is one small aspect of finishing a book. It’s a necessary part, but not the only thing.

The way I prefer to think about “always be writing” is “live in your work in progress”. If you spend too much time not thinking about a book, it takes extra effort to get back into it (as I’m finding with the reread of Dark Matter). But if you’re working on the book, be it planning future scenes, reading existing passages, revising tricky sentences, then you’re still living and breathing in that world.

And I also like to work on concurrent book projects that are not purely writing. My wife has introduced me to the idea of coloring books for adults (a little clearer phrase than “Adult Coloring Books”). It’s been an interesting puzzle to think about writing software to produce images that are fun to color. It gets your mind thinking in a different way, which allows you to see new patterns and new possibilities.

The worst thing you can do when you don’t feel like writing is to worry about it. I’m not even a giant fan of the term “writer’s block”. For me it just seems natural that some days are better than others for producing new work. I can try to do the things that create good days, take care of my sleep and eating habits, and consume lots of interesting reading material. But even then there are going to be days when things work better than others.

We writers and introverts have a tendency to get stuck in our own heads, and to over-analyze why something isn’t working. Rather than trying to figure out why you can’t get anything done, just do something else you need to do and pretty soon the rest will come.

And don’t ignore the days when you’re itching to get to something. Forcing 500 words on a bad day isn’t a good idea, and neither is stopping at 2000 when you’re on a roll. Almost every book I’ve written has started with 20% written over a short period, a six month gap, then 80% written in intense succession. I’m not a fan of the pattern, but if it’s what works, then that has to be good enough.

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