Exclusive: Alan Robert on The Beauty of Horror II: Ghouliana's Creepatorium - Dread Central
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Exclusive: Alan Robert on The Beauty of Horror II: Ghouliana’s Creepatorium

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Just under two weeks ago, we posted a story about Alan Robert’s new adult coloring book The Beauty of Horror II: Ghouliana’s Creepatorium, the sequel to last year’s original. Today, we’re going to dive into the mind of Robert to see what it is about adult coloring books that holds such a strong appeal as well as creating something delightfully macabre and sinister. Head on down below for our interview with Robert!

Previously, Robert stated, “This one depicts Ghouliana chowing down on an ice cream cone that actually bites back. Believe it or not, my 9-year-old daughter came up with this concept; and needless to say, she’s very excited to see how everyone’s colors turn out. So please post them online when you’re done!

The Beauty of Horror II: Ghoulia’s Creepatorium comes out on September 12th via IDW Publishing. You can pre-order your copy via Amazon.

Synopsis:
Ghouliana’s Creepatorium continues the journey of everyone’s favorite undead girl, Ghouliana, as she mischievously attempts to trick budding colorists into unleashing her deadly spell. Ghouliana has secretly sprinkled her haunted ingredients throughout over 80 pages of Robert’s intricate drawings. The Beauty of Horror II features a beautifully chilling red-foiled cover and high-quality paper that will ensure the pools of blood you color don’t leak through the pages. Robert and IDW have once again come together to present a deluxe coloring experience.

Dread Central: The first Beauty of Horror was incredibly well received and really opened the doors to the idea of adult coloring books, especially in the horror world. What is something the sequel brings new to the table?

Alan Robert: The success of the first book really allowed the freedom for me to dig deeper on this concept and push the boundaries of Ghouliana’s universe on book two. Last year, when I originally pitched the idea of a horror-themed adult coloring book to IDW, it was instantly green-lit by them and they believed in it right away. But let’s be honest… they were taking a big chance on this bizarre idea. Keep in mind, up until that point, the big sellers in the adult coloring book market were very pretty, whimsical, nature-based books, which were targeting a female audience. The Beauty of Horror was the first of its kind to introduce gore into the genre with original art specifically illustrated for a high-end coloring experience. I didn’t really know for sure if there would be interest from colorists to embrace this type of material. However, once book 1 was released, it instantly became a #1 best seller on Amazon and I was blown away by the response!

Colorists from all around the world continue to flood my social media feeds with amazing, colored-in creations. I love the whole interactivity aspect of it. When I sit for hours drawing these intricate pages, I never picture them in color. So, to see them come to life, with so many different palettes and styles from all of these creative folks, it’s very rewarding to me as an illustrator. Now that I’ve seen what people can do to these pages with mixed media, textures, highlights and shadows, it has given me a better idea on how to design them. Seeing finished, colored-in pages by fans definitely influenced my mindset when drawing book 2. I was able to establish Ghouliana as the star of the series with book 1, so in book 2 I got the chance to expand on her world and include more pages that explore her character.

Photo by Pierre Veillet

DC: Tell me about Ghouliana and her role in this book.

AR: When you open up the book, you are stepping into Ghouliana’s world. Everything you see is part of her Creepatorium. Think of it like an endless museum of oddities. The book also includes Ghouliana’s relatives, which are rounded out by serial killers, creepy clowns, and decaying cousins, as well as her array of cryptic pets. There are a few poems in the book that hint at her backstory and how she enjoys tricking colorists into doing her evil bidding… so there is a bit of a treasure hunt to find Ghouliana’s missing ingredients for one of her spells, throughout, too.

DC: For many people, coloring is seen as a child’s activity. Clearly The Beauty of Horror challenges that preconception but I’m curious what you feel coloring offers adults that they may not be realizing they’re missing?

AR: For one thing, in this day and age, where you can’t escape digital screens, coloring books for adults allow people to unplug from all the technology for a little while and do something creative with their hands. Coloring is a calming experience for a lot of people that remind them of a simpler time in their lives, and it’s been proven to have benefits to reduce stress. The designs in The Beauty of Horror are extremely intricate, so it can literary take several hours to complete one page. It allows adults to lose themselves in a creative headspace and forget about their problems for awhile. Colorists seem to find the challenge very rewarding because the results can be absolutely mind blowing. Check out the site for some great examples submitted by fans.

DC: The first The Beauty of Horror featured a series of images that were seemingly unrelated to one another whereas Ghouliana’s Creepatorium has its own storyline. How did that element factor into your creations?

AR: With the first book, my goal was to create the ultimate horror coloring book. A book I’d want to color as a huge horror fan. I wanted every page to represent all of the iconic visuals of the genre. That’s why there is a diverse spectrum of designs featuring everything from vampires, werewolves, zombies and bats, to creepy bugs, killer clowns and severed heads. The Ghouliana character was actually developed much later into the process, when I was about halfway through drawing book 1. Once she started to evolve, I began featuring her on more and more pages in different settings. Now with book 2, she has become a major character and much more front and center. She really serves as a narrator for the series now. She is even seen in the flesh in the book trailer!

DC: Have you ever considered taking your own colored versions of these books and doing something with them? Releasing them as a book or maybe creating a story that revolves around those images?

AR: No, I haven’t, but that’s a fun idea! The funny thing is I have never ever completely colored in a page myself. I really need to purchase a great set of colored pencils. It’s on my to-do list.

DC: Are there plans for a third The Beauty of Horror? If so, can you tell us anything about what fans might expect from it?

AR: I would love to do a third volume if fans want it. There is actually a poem at the back of the new book that hints about Ghouliana’s return. So, it all really depends on my schedule and if the demand is there for it, but I absolutely love drawing these books and would love to continue the series. Trust me, there are many more tricks up Ghouliana’s sleeve!

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