Illuminating the dark with Peak Printing

17 May 2023

New coloring book uses innovative process to bring local artists’ designs to life on black paper

Winter/Spring 22-23

Written By: Susan Gilmore | Images: Lara Agnew

In Greek mythology, even before the Titans roamed the Earth, there was Nyx. The daughter of Chaos, Nyx was the goddess of night. She was the mother to many creations, and she is now the namesake for a series of coloring books created by Reed Sullivan and illustrated by several local artists including Shauna Crandall, Victoria Hollingsworth, Cy Whitling and more.

When Reed, the owner of Peak Printing, was searching for his new project he didn’t have to look far, gaining inspiration from a new machine in his shop.

“I bought a copier that printed with white toner and thought, ‘Wow, that’s so incredible.’ I was excited at the potential of printing on dark papers,” Reed says.

This printing process itself may have sparked Reed’s passion, but it didn’t take long to blossom into an idea for a new project.

“I went to a graduation for my niece and I just had the idea for outlining the photos I had taken and printing the outlines in white-on-black paper as a novel coloring book for my niece for her graduation,” Reed says.

From there, Nyxbook was born. The unique coloring books use white toner on black paper to bring artists’ visions to life. The next step was securing those illustrations from local artists.

Reed contacted local artist Shauna Crandall and commissioned drawings for his first Nyxbook: Topsy Turvy Fun & Groovy. Within a week he had images and they were really beautiful.

So far, two books have been printed, one with playful designs by Shauna, which Reed says “bend reality” in interesting ways. Shauna, who lives in Driggs, Idaho, is a watercolor specialist and the cover artist for the We’Moon 2021: “The World” Calendar. She draws inspiration from women and the power of transformation, which works well in a coloring book that often escapes classification. It’s basically child art, but the illustrations are engaging either through composition, humor or imagination.

“All the artists have just knocked it out of the park. Their work is so playful and fun,” Reed says. “It’s basically child art, but the illustrations are engaging either through composition, humor or imagination.”

Customers have purchased the coloring book for their aging parents with rave reviews and for their kids. “Coloring on black is an invaluable exercise in perception,” Reed extolled. “It really makes one aware of color and how we see it.” Using either construction paper crayons or specialized colored pencils available at Peak Printing, the designs come to life in vivid colors against the dark background.

The coloring book also comes with a unique opportunity for colorists to show off their skills and earn some cash. By turning in a colored page to Reed’s shop, participants are entered in a contest for $2,500. Reed wanted the Nyxbook coloring contest to be as inclusive as possible so he setup three prizes, one for adults 18 and older, one for youth of ages 10 to 17, and one for younger children ages 9 and younger. Details for the contest are on the coloring book and online as well.

This is just the beginning for Nyxbook, as Reed is continually working on new books and more Nyxbook coloring contests. “Because the contest features a substantial prize which is awarded at Thanksgiving, I envision Nyxbook becoming a tradition during the winter holidays,” he asserts. “And because it is such a dramatic medium, I suspect we’ll see a trend of framed Nyxbook pages on the walls of homes across America,” Reed says.

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