All of us remember going through pages of coloring books when we were young. There are also coloring books for adults that people use to lower stress and anxiety. Most of the coloring books available in Nepal are ones that have sketches and drawings of different characters and things that are prevalent in western countries. But Laibary Publication came out with Color Nepal that is a collective effort of Laibary and eight different Nepali artists to bring out a coloring book that people of Nepal can relate to.
Laibary is an independent publication house that promotes local artists and writers. Binup Shrestha, one of the founders of Laibary, claims that a big long-term goal the publication house has is to increase and develop the culture of readership among the youth. He further adds that a majority of their content is specifically targeted to raise awareness among young people about the importance of reading and that they also involve local names to implement this agenda. Beside Shrestha, Nikita Siddhi Bajracharya, Sudeep Sayami, and Prajjwol Kunwar are the founding members of the publication house.
The publication house started about two years ago as an online platform where readers could buy new or used books and exchange books amongst themselves. Shrestha mentions that although their main focus is still on the exchange of books between users without any charges (their customers can simply upload their book for exchange on their page and, if anyone is interested, they can directly get in contact with each other and exchange their books) a lot of their customers are still unaware about this feature. Shrestha states that they are planning to come up with schemes – like a book exchange event – to promote this particular service.
Shrestha mentions that the Laibary team had initially wanted to work on a project that would bring Nepali doodle artists together. But while researching for the project, they found out that literally nobody in Nepal had ever worked on a coloring book. After this realization, they decided to launch Color Nepal, which is possibly Nepal’s first mainstream coloring book.
They wanted to frame this coloring book in a way that would bring attention to both the authentic Nepali style of art and the talented artists of our country at the same time. And they have done this pretty well. If you flip through the pages of Color Nepal, you will see that every single artist involved in the making of this book has been given a page to introduce themselves and their art style to the buyers. The book incorporates a tear-off page system so that you can pass a page or two to friends and family and color together to make it a fun event.
Once the concept and the themes of the coloring book were finalized, the Laibary team scouted artists who would fit right in with their concept through social media (especially Instagram). They contacted and shared the idea about the book with numerous artist through that and thus gathered eight artists, namely Ajit Kumar Sah, Alina Chhantel, Archana Adhikari, Bikash Shakya, Noorima Shakya, Rajani Shrestha, Suneha Shrestha, and Mrigaja Bajracharya. Once the artists were on board, they immediately started working on the book. Shrestha and Sayami gathered the artists for this book, Bikash Shakya oversaw the artwork and finalized them for print, and Bajracharya edited the written content of Color Nepal.
“It took us six months to finalize the pieces for the book after several meetings and discussions with the artists. Since it’s our first production, we wanted to ensure that the book was of the best standard,” says Shrestha adding that he and the Laibary team flipped through every single book once it came back from print to check for misprints and missing pages. He reveals that he thinks all of that meticulous checking paid off and that he is very happy with how Color Nepal has turned out. He mentions that their customers have also praised the quality of the book.
Besides being used as a fun coloring book, Shrestha claims that the Laibary team had also hoped that Color Nepal would provide therapeutic benefits, help generate wellness, mindfulness and comfort, and de-stress its users when they color its pages. He reveals that the team is happy that a lot of buyers are reaching out to them to mention that it is helping them relax and unwind after a long day at work. The Laibary team has also been urging their customers to upload pictures of the colored pages of Color Nepal on social media using #colornepal and #laibarypublication to build a community that respects and values Nepali art and artistic ventures.
Till date, more than 600 copies of Color Nepal have been sold and around 100 of those copies were sold in the first week itself. Shrestha reveals that a reprint of the book will be out this coming week. “We also have a bunch of other projects in the pipeline for this year with themes surrounding local festivals, children, and women empowerment. But supporting budding local artists still remains our prime objective,” concludes Shrestha.