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Coloring book craze fuels seniors’ imaginations

Friday, March 24, 2017

Time was when coloring books were strictly kid stuff. Today, whether a short-lived fad or contemporary relaxation therapy, coloring books have become popular among adults.

So, when seniors in Jodi Staniunas Hopper’s graphic design class at Mercyhurst University had the opportunity to do more than just color – to actually create a coloring book for young children – they jumped at the assignment.

The class completed the project at the behest of Career Street, a comprehensive career exploration and planning program, to be printed and distributed to area third-grade pupils. The pages were designed by students in the Senior Portfolio Class with scenes that illustrate different career options for the third graders to explore, among them librarians, teachers, doctors, business people, truck drivers, welders, farmers, chefs, architects and more.

“Real world clients are the best way to train design students about meeting and exceeding client needs and requests,” said Staniunas Hopper, art department chair. “With the Career Street coloring book project, the Mercyhurst students were able to meet a need of a specific group – Career Street –  and help enlighten young people with their design solution.”

Students on the project include Shannon Abernathy, Jeffrey Annunziata, Danielle Butera, Mark Kirschner, Kelsey Mader, Sabiha Mahmud, Amanda Rekitt, Yeshey Tsogyal, Michael Wagner, and Kasia Walentynowicz.

"What I personally gained from the coloring book project was how to collaborate with other artists on a project with a real-world client," said Amanda Rekitt. "I was also able to gain greater skills and understanding in illustration and how a final product is put together. This is an experience that I would have never gotten from anywhere else but Mercyhurst."

In addition to Career Street and Mercyhurst’s Art Department, the coloring book was made possible by the support of UPMC Hamot and PNC Bank.