Last Updated on March 5, 2022
As a part time traveller, I’m always on the look out for a way to satisfy my love of travel without actually being on the road. ‘Route 66 Splendor’ is an adult colouring book created by Jo Ann Kargus, an illustrator from St Louis, Missouri (yay Midwest!) and I can tell you now, it’ll provide hours of entertainment!
Disclosure AD: I received a complimentary copy of Route 66 Splendor to review. This post also contains affiliate links. I may make a small commission on purchases made after clicking the link, at no extra cost to you. As always, opinions are my own.
Route 66 Coloring Book
I am a HUGE fan of Route 66, having taken the trip back in 2011, so this is definitely a product that has won my heart 100%.
Route 66 Splendor has 50 different colouring pages of road side attractions and landmarks from all of the 8 states that Route 66 passes through. One of my favourite parts of the book, is the way that each State has its own collage title page, with the State outline, the location of the road and some of the towns and attractions.
The pictures are of such high quality that I could instantly recognise each landmark without even needing to refer back to the handy contents page at the beginning! It honestly feels like I’m flicking through a black and white version of my own Route 66 photo album! (I have included my own Route 66 photos too, so you can compare!)
I plan to colour the book in using my own photos as a guideline. If purchased at the start of the Route, it could be used a bit like the old school ‘I-Spy‘ books. Photos could be taken at each location to then use as a reference to colour either during down time or after the trip! Some pages would be fine to ‘freestyle’, such as the Cadillac Ranch – Texas page. It was one of my highlights of my Route 66 journey. Visitors can spray paint on 10 upturned Cadillacs buried in a field. It’s constantly changing as new visitors come and make their mark, so I’m looking forward to making this page AS COLOURFUL AS POSSIBLE!
I’ve always fantasised about travelling to a destination with a sketch book and drawing what I see in front of me. Being able to travel with a book like this would cut out the ‘difficult’ part and allow anyone of any capability to sit down and recreate what they are seeing by simply copying the colours.
Part of the Route 66 charm, is the characters you meet along the Route. They are all so proud of their businesses and love talking about life on 66. Route 66 Splendor could therefore double up as an autograph book! People could sign on the back of the page that represents them (one of my biggest regrets is not taking more pictures with the people along the Route)!
All the colouring pages are also perforated so can be torn out, framed and put on display! (My parents have a Route 66 collage I drew for them, displayed on their living room wall, so drawings do make great wall art!) Each picture would even look great just left as a black and white outline.
Where to buy ‘Route 66 Splendor’ Coloring Book
Route 66 Splendor is for sale in various ‘Mom and Pop’ stores, museums and independent gift shops all along Route 66 (with more locations being added all the time!). Not only will buying it from these locations support local small businesses, but you’ll also get to walk away with an awesomely unique Route 66 souvenir to remember your travels with!
You can find Jo Ann’s first book “St Louis Splendor: An Adult Coloring Book” HERE
Q&A With Jo Ann Kargus!
(You can see some of Jo Ann’s illustration styles and fine art portraits at www.joannkargus.com)
What inspired you to start producing adult colouring books?
I have been an architectural illustrator in St. Louis for 34 years. I started seeing stories on tv about adult coloring books and their popularity. I thought I would love to draw one, but how to get started? I was approached by my publisher, Reedy Press, to create 50 line drawings for my first book “St. Louis Splendor”. There was not an adult coloring book of St. Louis landmarks, so the timing was great— and my drawing style fit well with the architectural landmark theme. I had the idea to make Route 66 the subject of my 2nd book. I could only choose 50 landmarks, so i would love to have a 2nd book of each subject, for the next 50 buildings/landmarks.
What are your favourite parts of Route 66?
That is a hard question to answer. There are so many neat/quirky/fun/vintage landmarks all along the route! I really like the area of Cuba, Missouri. Cuba is known as ‘Route66 Mural City” because of the many murals along rt66 in the downtown area. In real life, I was part of a team of 3 who painted the ‘Al West–1st mayor of Cuba’ mural. So I knew I would include a drawing of the mural I painted in real life! The Wagon Wheel Motel is also nearby–an iconic and beautifully restored motel. I also love old signs, bridges and old gas stations, so I picked out some of my favorites in different states.
How do you create the drawings?
I have reference photos to look at. I draw the image in pencil on heavy stock paper, then ink over it—being careful not to smudge it. I go back with an eraser and erase the pencil lines. Then I make a hi res scan and send to the publisher for approval. Every drawing is 8.5 x 11 in a vertical format. I wanted my drawings to be accurate, detailed and realistic, but still enjoyable to color (or not color, maybe just keep it as a book of line drawings)
Do you have a favourite picture in the book?
Oh that is too hard, I like so many of them for totally different reasons. High up on the list would be the Cuba, Mo page, because of my mural there (smile)…… and the Gay Parita gas station in Paris Springs, MO.— I just love the look of that old gas station. But also the Blue Whale, cause it is unusual and looks like a place where lots of people stopped to have fun…I do love Ted Drewes Frozen Custard though, and drew it in my first book “St. Louis Splendor”
Do you have any plans for future colouring books?
I am working on the next 50 drawings for book no. 3. I cannot say what it will be, because my publisher, Reedy Press, asked me not to say the subject matter (no one has drawn this subject, and RP doesn’t want someone else to beat my book to market) . It will be released mid September 2017. I have several more themes in minds after that. I hope coloring books stay popular because I think my style is appreciated. But I also think of my books as a book of pen and ink drawings, that people may want to color (or not) and maybe just keep to look at, like an art book.
Jo Ann Kargus has been working as an artist and illustrator in St Louis, MO for over 32 years. She is a business member of the Route 66 Association of Missouri and is making her book available to help raise funds for restoration projects.