Coloring the City

Found, 9. April 2015
By: John Hill

Image: Steve McDonald

Canadian artist Steve McDonald's forthcoming book Fantastic Cities, published by Chronicle Books, invites readers to color the real and imagined places he has carefully depicted.

This is McDonald's first book, and it contains what he describes as "immersive aerial views of real cities from around the world alongside gorgeously illustrated, Inception-like architectural mandalas." Coloring the highly detailed line drawings – many of them aerials – of Singapore, Amsterdam, New York City and other places is not for the timid; they require some patience and a willingness to discover cities through the artist's eye and hand. The drawings also ask for some creativity on the part of the reader (or is it colorist?), who can reimagine Moshe Safdie's Habitat 67, for example, as a riot of color more in line with Haas & Hahn's south-of-the-border Favela Paintings than its beige Canadian reality. Whatever the case, the book makes it clear that color books aren't just for kids anymore.

Moshe Safdie's Habitat 67 in Montreal (Image: Steve McDonald)

1st Avenue and East 60th Street in Manhattan as seen from the Roosevelt Island tram (Image: Steve McDonald)

"Lunenburg Mandala" (Image: Steve McDonald)

Book cover (Image: Chronicle Books)