The City in Color

photo by Jennifer Robertson

As adults with jobs, bills and countless other stresses and responsibilities, it can be quite alluring to harken back to the carefree attitudes and artistic freedoms we experienced as children. Kelly Miller’s Raleigh Coloring Book helps you do just that, transporting you to a time when you had no worry in the world other than coloring inside the lines.

Published in January, the coloring book, which Miller sells through her Etsy shop Design Bright Raleigh, features some of your favorite Raleigh landmarks. The acorn sculpture, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, a scene from the State Fair, and the iconic Krispy Kreme building on Person Street are all rendered in black lines, just waiting for you to fill them in with color.

Miller found inspiration for the coloring book on walks around Raleigh this summer. She photographed what she saw, then sketched—and eventually painted—what she captured. Miller, a North Carolina native and Raleigh resident since 2015, wanted to share her love of her home city in the coloring book’s pages and to educate people about all that it has to offer.

“I grew up here, and I absolutely love the state and I think that people genuinely love Raleigh, too,” Miller says.

Though Miller graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in Exercise Science, arts and crafts have always been her true passions. While working in the HR department for Red Hat, Miller entered an annual arts and crafts fair to showcase some of her artwork, including greeting cards and wall decorations that she had created.

“I was really nervous because when you put your art out there for the first time, it’s a very personal experience, and I generally only created art for myself,” she says. “It was just something I enjoyed doing.”

But Miller’s self-described “authentic and childish” creative style proved popular, and she sold $500 worth of her art in just a few hours.

photo by Jennifer RobertsonThe feedback Miller received was energizing, so she quit her job at Red Hat to follow her passion for art and design. She enrolled in the Iron Yard, a coding academy that allows students to become software engineers in just 12 weeks, and now works as a web developer designing and creating websites.

“I realized that this was such a pivotal point in my career, where I really felt like I found my passion,” Miller says.

Miller decided to turn her sketches and paintings of her explorations of Raleigh into a coloring book last fall, a process that took about five months. She believes coloring provides a creative outlet for people of any age, as well as a therapeutic break from the fast-paced grind of modern society.

“That’s kind of what Design Bright is founded on, that authentic, creative journey and self discovery,” Miller says.

In addition to her Etsy shop, Miller’s coloring books are for sale at local stores downtown, including at the City of Raleigh gift shop, the bookstore Read With Me and the Local Squirrel in Cameron Village.

So next time you’re looking for a creative activity to give yourself a break from your busy lifestyle, grab some crayons or colored pencils and Miller’s Raleigh Coloring Book. You’ll learn a thing or two about the great city we live in, and you may even learn something about yourself as well.

Visit etsy.com/shop/DesignBrightRaleigh

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