By David Taylor, Dan's Papers
With families cooped up indoors for several weeks now, it’s easy to fall into the trap of zoning out in front of a screen for days on end. Thankfully, Jake Rose, creator of the Color Our Town coloring book series, is offering a creative alternative. Curating what he considers the most appealing pages from his numerous published tomes, he’s put together a trio of digital coloring books available for free download, each capturing the most iconic landmarks of the Hamptons, North Fork or New York City.
“In these challenging times, I want to do something to help others. I know that it is important that we stay home, but I also know that being cooped up for long periods can be trying,” Rose says, adding that he wanted to provide his community with a non-screen creative opportunity. “I hope that this small gesture helps people in some way and brings them a bit of enjoyment and relaxation.”
The printable books showcase a collection of recognizable locales, each with a coloring sheet and a page adding some historical insight about the landmark. COLOR THE HAMPTONS While You Are Stuck Inside (download at https://bit.ly/freehamptons) features the Springs General Store, Stevenson’s Toys, Sag Harbor Cinema, the Sag Harbor Windmill, Montauk Point Lighthouse, Deep Hollow Ranch, LongHouse Reserve, Guild Hall, Cooper’s Beach and the Basilica Parish of the Sacred Hearts of Mary and Joseph.
“It can, at times, feel like you’re really there because the drawings are really really amazing,” Rose notes.
COLOR THE NORTH FORK While You Are Stuck Inside (download at bit.ly/northfo) showcases the Big Duck, Jamesport Country Store, Bug Lighthouse, the Greenport Carousel, Preston’s, Clarke’s Garden, Suffolk Theater, Vail-Leavitt Music Hall and Briermere Farms.
Coloring page of the Basilica Parish of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Image: Courtesy Color Our Town Press
In total, the two East End digital books pull from eight of Rose’s published works— Color the Hamptons, Color Sag Harbor, Color Montauk, Color East Hampton, Color Southampton, Color North Fork, Color Greenport and Color Riverhead. And COLOR NYC While You Are Stuck Inside (download at bit.ly/colornyc) pulls from four city-focused books to highlight the Grand Central Terminal, Times Square, Guggenheim, American Museum of Natural History, Brooklyn Bridge and seven other locations. Visit issuu.com/colorourtown for even more coloring sheets courtesy of Color Our Town Press.
A Manhattan resident who has summered in Greenport since 2010, Rose came up with the idea for the Color Our Town series in 2016, publishing his debut book, Color Greenport, in August of that year. After graduating college in 2017, he started the Color Our Town Press company, which has published a number of enriching coloring books, postcards and guidebooks. Having covered New York extensively, Color Our Town has expanded the cities highlighted to include Philadelphia, Miami and, most recently, Washington DC.
“We just published Color Washington DC,” he says. “We just finished it before the pandemic really hit hard in America.”
For each entry in the series, Rose acts as history researcher, writer and photographer, taking reference photos of each location for his freelance artists to use when drawing the coloring sheets. He’s even drawn a couple of pages—Oculus and Rowdy Hall—himself.
In November 2019, Rose published his first project that diverges from the place-based model, The Coloring Book of Really Bad Ideas. This satirical tome, made in collaboration with the AdaptLab Filmmakers group for neurodiverse innovators, gives people ages 12 and older a chance color 20 of the “dumbest things” one might think to do (and absolutely shouldn’t do), such as bathing with a microwave oven and synchronized swimming with piranhas.
There are currently 24 stores in the Hamptons and 16 on the North Fork that carry Color Our Town Press products—including Hildreth’s Home Goods, Wharf Shop, BookHampton and Shark Bites—with some of them offering delivery and pickup during New York’s current state of social distancing. The entire collection can also be purchased directly from colorourtown.com.
“Don’t give up hope, Rose adds in closing. “Do the best you can and try to think positively!”