Doodah Doodles: A Wichita Spin on Adult Coloring Books
Adult coloring books have become an increasingly popular trend over the past year. These books offer the simple nostalgic feeling of coloring that we remember from childhood, but they also introduce a complexity that makes them particularly appealing. Many different types of adult coloring books are available, featuring kaleidoscope patterns, floral designs, quotes and sayings and more, there’s a book for almost everything.
Now, thanks to Wichita resident and Kansas native Sarah R. Olmstead, ICT has a coloring book of its own! Doodah Doodles, released in 2015, is a coloring book that Olmstead created to provide a journey through Wichita to those who color in it.
Though she wasn’t caught up in the coloring craze at first, Olmstead’s interest peaked shortly after she had to wait in line just to see the adult coloring book selection at a Portland, Oregon bookstore she visited over the summer.
“On my drive home, in the solace from a desolate patch of roadway, the idea for a coloring book with a GPS component came to be. After traversing over 5,500 miles, visiting ten National Parks and viewing some of the most spectacular scenery in the country, I was struck by the fact that I was going home, and knew the coloring book of my vision had to be of Wichita,” Olmstead said.
Upon arriving back in Wichita, Olmstead bought a sketchpad and immediately went to work. “Some days were truly inspired,” she said, “and other days I drew a blank. I spent a lot of time at the selected locations, observing and sketching on site.”
The process began with a list of favorite places and spaces in Wichita that Olmstead hoped to feature in the book. While some places were edited out and others were added along the way, Olmstead focused on highlighting a variety of Wichita Locations. Doodah Doodles took Olmstead four months to complete, from conception to execution. The book holds a personal element for Olmstead, not only because it centers around the city she calls home, but also because it highlights her family’s connection to Wichita.
The last page in the book, and Olmstead’s favorite, features a sketch from a photograph of her grandparents that was taken on Douglas Avenue in 1943. “I have always loved the photograph and I had to add it as a personal touch.”
In creating Doodah Doodles, Olmstead hoped to do more than allow Wichitans a locally-inspired leisure activity. Olmstead also hopes that the book will inspire local residents to familiarize themselves with Wichita and all it has to offer.
“As a Kansas native I have heard my fair share of complaints about how there is nothing to do here. My goal was to encourage people to get out and explore as much as possible,” Olmstead said. The book, she hopes, will inspire people to pound the pavement and experience the locations in the book.
In addition to sketches of various Wichita locations, the pages are numbered with facts about Wichita.
“I wish more people knew about Wichita's history, and this was the reason for adding the factoids with the page numbers,” Olmstead said.
Another aspect of Wichita that Olmstead is particularly interested in is the “boomerang effect” it has on its residents
“So many flee it [Wichita], or want to, and find that they settle back right where they started. This elusive allure is intriguing. Currently Wichita is becoming more prideful as a city and I love that,” Olmstead said.