How Did You Make That? {The Grove: Art and a Giveaway}

One of the exciting things that the Velvet Ashes Retreat is offering this year is coloring book pages from Meditations: Beautiful Bible Verses for Coloring by Lorien A.

For more information US residents, can check here,

Those in the UK (who also distribute in Europe)  here 

And the Australian site is here.

Guess what?! Because it’s Art week we thought it would be fun to talk to an artist from the retreat and give one of her coloring books away! Her publisher has agreed to ship one anywhere in the world! See below for more details, but first, let’s meet Lorien.


Hi Lorien, this is my first time to get to talk to a real, live illustrator! How exciting. First of all, could you tell us a little about yourself? Where do you live? Are you as artistic and cool as I’m picturing?

Hi! I’m a wife of one and mother of three and I live in Sydney, Australia. I was born here in Sydney, but spent 12 years as a kid/teen living in South Asia and the Middle East with my family. I doubt that I’m actually as artistic and cool as you are picturing, although I do love to make art, and occasionally my kids call me cool, but that’s because they are all 6 or under. I don’t expect it will last for much longer! I spell colouring with a U, but don’t hold that against me. 😉

I have several artistic nieces (my skill as a child was organizing people, not drawing), so I’m wondering, did you draw as a kid? What kind of art were you interested in at a young age and how did that develop over time?

I remember when I first really ‘clicked’ into art. I was about nine years old and my teacher at the time, (who I remember less than fondly) gave us an opportunity to do still life drawing with charcoal. I loved it, and got some much-treasured positive feedback, so I decided to ask for art supplies for my birthday and to keep ‘doing art’ and see what happened. I haven’t really stopped since, although my creative pursuits have taken many forms since then. Growing up in South Asia, one art form I was particularly taken by was the mehendi, or henna decoration that was common around celebration and festival times. I learnt to do henna by watching and practising, and that kind of design has stuck with me and influenced my style quite a bit.

What’s a little bit of the back story on your coloring book? (I am a sucker for back stories!)

It’s funny. There are thing in life you plan for and work towards and dream about for years and years as they slowly take shape and come to fruition. This colouring book is not one of those stories! Last April I drew a colouring page after a discussion on Facebook with a few friends, more as a dare than anything else. I had a six month old baby and two little boys, my husband was studying full time and we were preparing to move overseas. There was nothing on my radar at that time that had indicated drawing a colouring book should even blip on my long to do list.

I ended up drawing three colouring pages, then, as I was too lazy to keep emailing files to the surprising amount of people who wanted a copy, I set up a Facebook group so I could upload files there and whoever wanted them could get hold of them easily. The group grew alarmingly fast (there were over 6000 people there in just a few months) and one person who joined early on was Cecily, my now, publisher, who saw my art, couldn’t sleep for all the ideas running around her head and decided something HAD to be done.

God made it pretty clear that this opportunity, as crazy as it was, was from him, so I started drawing and now, there is ‘Meditations’ and our fourth print run in the five months since it was released was delivered today! It has truly been the most surprising, exhausting, joyful, fly by the seat of your pants, adventure I have ever been on. God has done something special and I am so thankful to have been allowed to come along for the ride. The best thing is having the opportunity to encourage people to delight in Gods word and enjoy the sweet gift of creativity he gives us.

What’s your process for drawing a coloring book page? Is there a process?

Because my work at the moment is all about Scripture, there is no lack of excellent stimulus material! I start by choosing a Bible verse or short passage, asking God to bring ones to mind that would be helpful for people to meditate on. I often ask for suggestions from other people because I love hearing the stories as to why the verses are significant or special to them. Next, I do the hand lettering of the verse, then I add the design. Sometimes the design and verse happen at the same time, but usually the verse comes first. I love having the opportunity to meditate and pray as I letter and draw the pages.

What do you love about coloring pages? And for those who are new to them, how can they draw a person closer to God and closer to themselves?

Don’t tell anyone, but I have honestly never been into colouring in a traditional sense, as I much prefer to draw! However, I have loved using art to reflect on Gods word for ages, and I really like how scripture colouring pages take all the anxiety out of producing something ‘beautiful’ from scratch – that terrifying blank page moment and frees up people’s brain space to actually meditate on the scripture. As people occupy their hands and engage their senses with the colours and the repetitive movement of colouring, they can find a small stillness that is quite hard to come by in everyday life. In this quiet space, they can listen more intently to God and hear what he has to say to them through the words of the Bible. They can focus and pray and take delight in great truths and simple, unplugged joys.

Working on any other projects now?

Yes! I am one drawing away from finishing my second colouring book ‘Reflections’ which is due for release in late April. I’m also knee deep in the project of partnership development and preparation for moving my family to a different continent later this year, so let’s just say I am not getting bored!

Thank you so much for your time!

You’re very welcome! Thanks for having me! I’ve also made two Easter Designs and they are also in poster sizes.


Leave a comment and you’ll be entered in the drawing to receive one of Lorien’s coloring books. A winner will be chose in 48 hours before HYS goes live. Comment ideas? What art do you create? Are you raising any artists? What’s been some of the joys and/or challenges of pursuing your art on the field? What have you appreciated about art in your country of service?

And did you know you can link up your Instagram pictures here at the Grove?  This week show us your art!

This is The Grove.  It’s where we gather to share our thoughts, our words, and our art.  So join us in the comments.  Show us your art work by adding an image. And link up your own blog posts on this week’s prompt “Art”.  Click here for details and instructions. 


  1. Michele Womble March 17, 2016

    Oh this is so cool!  I’m running late so I have to go but I’ll be back in a few hours (if all goes well).

  2. Andrea March 17, 2016

    I’m definitely not an artist, but I’ve been a lifelong “colorer” 🙂 I’m so glad coloring is a thing for adults, too these days!

  3. Pattie March 17, 2016

    I love the coloring pages but don’t feel artistic enough to make something like that from scratch. My teen daughter is much more artistic that way. I can’t wait to share this post with her. She’s constantly drawing things that are similar and loves “dressing up” verses in her journal. Looking forward to the retreat immensely.

  4. Ruth March 17, 2016

    Its so interesting to hear how the artistic process to create these!  I’m terrible at drawing, but I enjoy coloring.

  5. Michelle Marie March 17, 2016

    Lorien said, “There are thing in life you plan for and work towards and dream about for years and years as they slowly take shape and come to fruition. This colouring book is not one of those stories!” Love this!! :). We try to use art in my organization (which does leadership development in the orality sphere) as a way for participants to interact with biblical stories, current stories, and life stories. We are not naturally gifted in art ourselves, but it is fun to dabble and appreciate it. It is amazing, though, the kind of sketches and designs our participants from South Asia and Africa come up with! Images and art can be powerful things!

  6. Amanda March 17, 2016

    Like an earlier commenter said, I don’t find myself artistic but I am a colorer. For my sixteenth birthday the only things I asked for was a trip to the DMV for my license and a jumbo box of crayons. I carried the crayons and a coloring book in my backpack in high school so I child color between classes and at lunch. So, halt this adult coloring craze has hit and bright back this love.

    1. Amy Young March 18, 2016

      I love that thought of you coloring in high school! You were before your time 🙂 . . . or maybe we are all late to the party!

  7. Annalisa March 17, 2016

    I took up coloring in college as a way to kill stress. It’s actually probably the only reason I passed my biology class as I could not dissect a fetal pig and it was a requirement for my exam; so the professor let me identify parts on a drawing instead. It was still pretty traumatic, but a friend of mine, knowing I liked coloring, suggested I just pretend it was another drawing.

    Here in Guatemala, much of the art is in weaving whether it is baskets or fabric. (I have one I’m very slowly working on, but the one in the picture is not it.)

    1. Amy Young March 18, 2016

      What a great professor, finding some way for you to work with who you are! And that basket is beautiful! I love seeing the local art :)! You go with your weaving self!

  8. Brittnee March 17, 2016

    Although we live in a remote place, my friends and I have quite the collection of really nice coloring books and materials. I only color every once in a while but I would LOVE to color things with more meaning and purpose than the coloring books we have now.

    I’ve enjoyed  turning the words into colorful images for some time now but I’ve never thought much of it because I usually leave them in my journals or hang them in my room. I should totally do it more often!

    Ive be uploaded a Valentine’s Day card I made with only images inside, based on scriptures.



    1. Amy Young March 18, 2016

      What a beautiful Valentine! Thanks for sharing :)!!

  9. Naomi March 17, 2016

    I love art and being creative but I don’t make it a priority and so it doesn’t happen very often. On occasion I get out the watercolours with my kids though, something we all love and it’s not very messy to boot! I had my first alone time in months last night and practiced these peonies like @bekahblankenship does. Of course peonies don’t grow in this climate but we can always dream!

    1. Amy Young March 18, 2016

      I love peonies too! And as you said, through art, they can “grow” anywhere :).

  10. Sarah March 17, 2016

    I am not particularly artistic, although I appreciate beautiful things.  Coloring scripture inspired pages sounds relaxing and encouraging!  My art loving girls would love these too!

  11. Valerie March 17, 2016

    One of my dreams would be to take drawing classes and actually learn how to draw (if I’m even able!). I am a photographer so I love to capture things the way I see them and often that is enough for me. But sometimes I have a picture in my head and I haven’t seen that place in real life before and I can’t draw it so it just stays stuck in my head. Maybe sometime I’ll take that class….

    1. Amy Young March 18, 2016

      Taking a drawing class sounds like fun!

  12. Sarah March 17, 2016

    This is so cool! I always say I am not artistic, but in my head that means the ability to draw, paint, etc. I love to color and am an avid knitter. I would love one of these books to incorporate into my quiet time.

  13. A March 17, 2016

    I recently got into the whole idea of adult coloring. I usually color a picture while I am doing my language study listening. I find that it actually helps me focus on what I am listening to better than if I just sit and listen while doing nothing.

    I have also colored a picture for a specific person and lifted up their needs to the Father while coloring for them. Sometimes I give them the picture and tell them I was thinking of them but other times I just keep it between me and the Father!

    1. Amy Young March 18, 2016

      I can see how helpful it would be for listening . . . having your  hands busy :), but your mind not overly taxed.

  14. Amanda McKinney March 17, 2016

    I don’t really consider myself an artist, but I do enjoy cross-stitching and creating my own patterns to cross-stitch. I don’t market them, but are just for family, friends, etc. But I have recently joined the adult-coloring phase that has become popular in the U.S. and love it! I especially love the pictures with verses and am soo happy to now know about Lorien’s work!

  15. Andrea March 17, 2016

    Coloring has become one of my sabbath activities recently!

  16. Elizabeth March 17, 2016

    This is so cool! Especially with Lorien having cross-cultural experience too! The name reminds me Lothlorien in Tolkien’s books. Is there perhaps a connection? 🙂

    1. Amy Young March 18, 2016

      Good question . . . I’ll ask her and hope she’ll comment 🙂

      1. Cecily Paterson March 19, 2016

        I’m Cecily, her publisher. Yes, I believe her Dad was a Tolkien fan.

  17. ELIZABETH March 17, 2016

    So cool! I love art, even though I don’t have much skill. 🙂 I find that drawing is a great way to relax. I have a couple of aspiring artists.

  18. Joyce Stauffer March 17, 2016

    Fascinating blog and comments!  Love to hear from artists and about art and how it’s so much part of our lives! Drawing has been part of my life ever since I was a kid.  Recently I have discovered watercolor pencils which has been fun.  I must be very tired and usually don’t show my work– I guess I figure almost of you don’t know me, so here it goes. It’s fun!   🙂

    1. Amy Young March 18, 2016

      Comment more when you are tired :)! I like seeing your work!

  19. Angie March 17, 2016

    I would love to win something that would spark the creativity that is hiding somewhere inside me! I am starting to alter some clothes and I have some pastels and small canvases but no idea what to do with them. I used to be “crafty” but left everything in the States. 🙁 I keep saying I need a hobby!

  20. Amy A March 18, 2016

    I am not very artistic but love this idea of coloring and mediating on scripture. I looked at some of Lorien’s drawings and love the influence of Henna. Where I live in Central Asia we have recently started using Henna to tell stories. It is so effective here to share!

  21. Michele Womble March 18, 2016

    I love this idea of the verse and the design to color.  I tried teaching my kids to spend time with God through art about a year ago – to draw or doodle their “prayers” as they prayed, or to draw/doodle, (or something their response to a passage – I didn’t pursue that the way I wanted to, but maybe we’ll go back to it….I think my daughter especially might like to try this.

    Have really enjoyed seeing everyone’s art in the comments!

  22. elizabeth March 18, 2016

    I consider myself creative, but not artistic! However, we are raising an incredibly artistic son who is now 16. At the age of two he started asking for printer paper and drawing with a pen. He hasn’t stopped. All of his art come from his imagination (think Tolkien-like scenes). He draws and shades with artist/manga pens. We live in the bush in a central African country so his art learning opportunities are a little limited, but lately he has been working through some online illustration courses.

    1. Amy Young March 18, 2016

      Your son sounds very talented :). (as so you, elizabeth. Good distinction between being creative and artistic!)

  23. Belinda Chaplin March 18, 2016

    I linked up my blog to this post as I discovered this week for the first time how great colouring can be. I am recovering at the moment from a bad bout of bronchitis and so the Lord deliberately put me in a place where I would have time to colour… and now I will try and do it more often so I won’t have to be stopped to have time 🙂 Thanks for the good reminder!

    1. Amy Young March 18, 2016

      Ah yes :). If we won’t stop . . . God, in his mercy, reaches a point where he will stop us :). I enjoyed seeing your work!!

  24. Rachel March 18, 2016

    I love coloring and art even though I’m not very good at doing it often. But whenever I do it is such a good thing. I especially love how Lorien has incorporated scripture into the coloring pages to really bring the verses to life. Such a cool idea!

  25. Denise March 18, 2016

    I am currently in the states on home assignment and coloring clubs are all the rage. But I have been coloring with my Mom. She has Alzheimer’s now and “color” has been her life. She has always been more fashionable than I, she is a blue ribbon quilt maker and she should have been an interior decorator. So doing coloring pages for short periods of time gives her some creative outlet that is hard to find otherwise.

    1. Amy Young March 18, 2016

      Denise, I am not sure why (Okay, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one!), but reading this comments brought tears. The thought of you and your mom coloring . . . I am touched she is able to still be creative. I imagine, this being a HA year, this is a rich and hard season. Cyber hugs and prayers.

      1. Denise March 18, 2016

        Thanks Amy. We are still sewing together too. I see a lot of losses, but these are deep memories. I am treasuring these times until I return to China in June. That is going to be hard.

  26. Tammy Brouwer March 18, 2016

    Living in Tanzania I met an expat who wanted to share her love of art. I totally fell in love with painting!

  27. Allysa H. March 18, 2016

    I have never been an artist in the sense of drawing painting, etc.  I enjoy trying it, but am not very good.  I might would have been better, had my high school are teacher not said “you’re right, you really can’t draw.”  At that point, I just kind of stopped trying.  My art is music.  Singing is a real joy, and I can play a little piano.  I began teaching myself guitar, but got busy and kind of stopped, but hope to get back to it soon. I have also made a quilt and really enjoyed that.  I do love a good coloring book.  My daughter is very much into drawing, painting, creating and I enjoy watching her in that. Can’t wait to see some of these pictures at the retreat!

    1. Amy Young March 18, 2016

      Not that we have to be good at everything, but come on, that teacher! Those are the kind of words that stick, don’t they? Glad you are creative in many other ways :)!

  28. Cathy Lessig March 18, 2016

    I have loved doodling my whole life and find that as I’ve gotten older I’ve become a “scripture doodler”. Making the outline image is always fun when presented with a blank page…but I must admit the relaxing part comes when I can pick up my colored pencils and fill things in with glorious color. I have never tried an adult coloring page but I bet I’d love it!

    1. Amy Young March 18, 2016

      Love this! Thanks for sharing some of your work!!

  29. Michelle March 18, 2016

    I loved to color as a girl, and still do when I have a good excuse, like coloring with child. 🙂  This coloring book sounds beautiful…

  30. Pam March 18, 2016

    I love to color!! These pages are so beautiful. The idea of meditating on scripture, listening to music, and coloring resonates with my soul.

  31. Dawn Davidson March 18, 2016

    Art therapy has been super useful here in Belarus in allowing women to open up & express themselves! I love the texture of layering paper & my daughter works with anything available. Thanks for the ideas & connection!

    1. Amy Young March 18, 2016

      Beautiful! And I love that I can’t read it . . . but know many people can!

  32. Aliyah March 18, 2016

    I discovered art 2 years ago when I was sick. I had never lifted a paintbrush or knew anything about colour but while I had no words to describe the fears I was dealing with, while I was journeying through illness. I found myself connecting to pictures in my mind and so when I started getting a little better, I found an art class. God ordained it – my teacher turned out to be a Christian! And she gave me the freedom to paint exactly what God was showing me in my own life. Two years later I only feel like I am discovering myself now as an oil painter – I am told it takes years to discover yourself as an artist and I am okay with that. Will share one of my pics below – although the quality isnt good. Many blessings!

    1. Amy Young March 18, 2016

      I love how calm she looks . . . and picture this is how God had you picture yourself and offer hope to you in the midst of your illness. I love the long view you hold :). Thanks for sharing!

  33. Dorette March 18, 2016

    I always loved drawing and colouring – since I’ve been a little girl but I never really made time for it. Now I’m secretly excited that my little boy will be learning to draw and colour in the near future – what better excuse do you need to pull out the paint and pencils.. (Here is a picture of the first painting attempt mostly brush and finger strokes made in an attempt to prevent him from trying to eat the paint).

    1. Amy Young March 18, 2016

      This brings such JOY to me. All of it. The potential eating. The colors. The way it awakens part of you :).

  34. Amy Young March 18, 2016

    Everyone!! I am loving seeing your work and hearing more of your stories. Keep it up :)!

  35. Ruthie H. March 18, 2016

    I am not very artistic in terms of drawing or painting, but have had a lifelong fascination with paper, pens, markers, etc. Stationery was my favorite aisle in my hometown pharmacy as I spent my time studying (and drooling over!) the different types of pens and the new marker sets Crayola would roll out. I have recently returned to coloring and love, love it! A friend and I call it our ” therapy.” I often listen to a sermon or podcast as I color. I enjoyed Amy’s interview with Lorien and to read about how God led Lorien into and through this creative process.

  36. LeAnn March 18, 2016

    A local partner and I have been using art as a media for seeing a group of people who have been resistant to the Gospel be willing to interact with us, and seeing many pieces be used by our Father God to dialogue with their hearts about life, light, hope, freedom …. That has opened the way for more tangible sharing of His Story with them.  It has been amazing to see how He works through the creativity that He designed in each one of us. Check out

  37. Kim A. March 19, 2016

    Yippee for art!!  We love art – making it in the form of art journalling, painting or cardmaking or memory keeping (photo books etc. of our time overseas and ways to remember events and people that are special to us).

  38. caristy March 19, 2016

    How fun to be an artist! I love coloring books so fun & interesting to look at.

  39. Cecily March 19, 2016

    I’m not an artist AT ALL, but I like coloring.  I love colors, I just have no ability to draw anything that looks like anything.  That’s why coloring pages are perfect for me!

  40. Gretal Ulrich March 19, 2016

    I was just recently introduced to this website and am addicted. I was so impressed to see the emphasis on art this week. I am by no means professional but I enjoy toying around with paint and crafts. Right now that part of my life is on the back burner due to a baby and language learning…but once life settles a bit more and I become more familiar with local materials I hope to let my art take on a bit of an African twist.



  41. Jenifer March 19, 2016

    Coloring pages have helped my over analytical mind relax when I need a creative outlet. ?

  42. LW March 20, 2016

    I loved coloring in high school!  It helped me to relax and regather my thoughts.  How neat to hear that there are coloring pages with scripture now!

  43. Ruth March 20, 2016

    Thanks for this interview. Lorien’s beautiful Scripture-based artwork is reaching around the world and helping people to centre on God’s promises in a busy world.

  44. Bonnie schilling. March 21, 2016

    We are an overseas worker family living in Ethiopia. Would love to have a copy of your book! Thank you.

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