Riverside’s Brandon Nicklas Creates Coloring Book Honoring Baltimore

| May 17, 2016 | 0 Comments

Family Profile PicRiverside resident and Lansdowne High School art teacher Brandon Nicklas has created a new coloring book, Baltimorials: Color your way through Baltimore’s Memorial Sculptured from Armistead to Zappa! SouthBMore.com caught up with Nicklas to learn more about it.

What was your motivation for creating Baltimorials?

I love Baltimore! I love living here, so close to everything Baltimore has to offer which includes a ton of great public art. As an art teacher I am always looking for opportunities to use art to teach kids about more than just drawing and painting techniques. As I ride my bike through our city I came across a few statues that I didn’t know and felt compelled to find out who they were and why they were memorialized. I thought if I didn’t know maybe others including my kids and my students would benefit from knowing more about Baltimore’s past. Basically, I thought it would be a fun way to interact with the past through coloring and share my love of Baltimore.

How did you create the pages in the book?

Each page started with a photo I took on my phone traveling to most of the cites by bike, finding them by accident and through some online research. Once I had a suitable picture, I created line drawings of the sculptures using Illustration software. Then I researched each person, their significance to Baltimore and tried to find out what I could about the memorial’s origin. 

What are some statues featured in the book?

George Armistead, Babe Ruth, Billie Holliday, Brooks Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, Johnny Unitas, George Peabody, Ray Lewis, Frank Zappa, Cardinal Gibbons, Edgar Allen Poe, Francis Scott Key, Samuel Smith, Cecilius  Calvert, John Eager Howard, Mother Seaton and more. The only symbolic statues that are not actual people (to my knowledge) are the Police, Fire and Negro Heroes memorials near City Hall.

Tell us about the trend of coloring books that are fun for adults, as well as children.  

I think this trend is a wonderful thing. If video games can be fun for adults as well as kids why can’t coloring? Its relaxing and somewhat meditative especially in some of the pure pattern books. This book can be read like a brief history of some of Baltimore’s greats and you can color it! Young kids may not learn more than the person’s name but at least that’s something more than just another cartoon character. Coloring people with a real story is just as fun, especially when their stories are so significant to our home.

Where are you hoping Baltimorials will be available for purchase? 

Copies will absolutely be available at Captain Larry’s on Fort Ave. between June 15th and July 15th. I believe they will also be available at The Book Escape in Federal Hill. I am hopeful to have them placed in some of the other area books stores and gift shops as well.

Tell us about your book release party on June 15th at Captain Larry’s. 

This month while the books are being printed I am making wall art to create a Baltimorials themed show for the gallery wall in Captain Larry’s. Individual pages will be available at no charge for patrons to color during the event. There will also be a kids coloring contest with winners for different ages. As with all of their art show openings, Captain Larry’s will be providing light refreshments and happy hour specials.

What do you love about living in South Baltimore?

I love being a part of a close knit community in the heart of a major city, especially this city! Baltimore has everything; amazing food and cultural experiences, a funky art scene and the best sports teams in the world, and we can walk, circulate or bike to it all. I love our parks and the primary schools in South Baltimore are fantastic. It is a big city that is approachable and easy to navigate. Sure we have our problems but I am thrilled to be raising my family here with all South Baltimore has to offer.

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About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.