Alberta Street coloring book debuts at Alberta Street Fair
By Nancy Varekamp, B.S. CNews editor
A coloring book for all ages – and that’s all about Alberta Street – debuted at the Alberta Street Fair. Aaron Trotter, known for his Illustrated Playing Cards, enlarged and simplified 18 drawings from the deck of cards he created in 2013 in partnership with Alberta Main Street. “Color Alberta” is the second coloring book he has produced – following the May release of one that’s based on the 2010 Portland Landmarks playing cards. He plans to follow it this year with another that uses illustrations from his Mississippi Avenue deck.
Although he toyed with the concept of coloring books early on, Aaron didn’t get serious about it until this year.
“In the past year, they’ve crept into Portland big time, and no one had developed any actually about Portland,” he explained.
It took discipline for a pen-and-ink artist who revels in details to delete some details from his illustrations for the coloring books. But it was necessary for customers to enjoy the coloring experience. He should know.
“One of the ways I learned to draw was from coloring when I was a kid,”Aaron pointed out.
The coloring books are the latest venture for the artist based at Alberta Studios. What started with a studio in the basement of his home – and selling pen and ink drawings in restaurants, cafes and bars – developed into printing his illustrations onto postcards to sell to local stores.
Sales encouraged him to pursue his art full time in 2010, when he began finding success selling 52 illustrations at a time in the form of playing cards.
“This is the longest I’ve ever had a job,” he said with a smile. “Working for myself is the best job I’ve ever had.”
The first deck, Portland Landmarks, was a tribute to Aaron’s hometown, and a Kickstarter campaign financed the printing. That deck just completed its 100th printing – of 100 decks each.
Aaron has 27 more decks to his credit, and he plans to complete five more this year. They range from Portland scenes and Oregon ones to major U.S. and foreign cities. Those decks – and now his coloring books – are available in stores throughout Oregon and eight other states, and online at IllustratedPlayingCards.com.
His playing cards and coloring books are at Portland Saturday Market – including Sundays –through Dec. 24. His work is also available at five Alberta Street locations. A variety of cards are at his studio and Local Discoveries. The new coloring book and the Alberta Street playing cards are available at Frock, Alberta Main Street and Collage.