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Artists depict favourite Ottawa spots for new city-themed colouring book

The idea was born at a local bookstore, when Jason Cobill spotted a stack of colouring books while despairing over the lack of arts grants in Ottawa.

Jason Cobill and Maxime Gauthier-Kwan are the two Ottawa enthusiasts behind the

Haley Ritchie/Metro

Jason Cobill and Maxime Gauthier-Kwan are the two Ottawa enthusiasts behind the "Ottawa in Colour" project.

Do you love Ottawa but think it could use some more colour? Better sharpen your pencil crayons: an Ottawa-themed colouring book is coming soon to the city.

The idea was born at a local bookstore, when Jason Cobill spotted a stack of colouring books while despairing over the lack of arts grants in Ottawa.

Inspired to create something custom-made for residents of the city, Cobill and his co-worker Maxime Gauthier-Kwan started contacting artists.

“I’ve done a lot of travelling and I think Ottawa stands out. I want people to be excited about their city,” said Cobill. “People are so excited when they see the drawings and get that glimmer of recognition.”

Eighteen different local artists were commissioned for the book and each brings their own artistic style and their own favourite places in the city. The project was also helped with a $1,000 grant from the Awesome Ottawa foundation.

The result is a colouring book that includes familiar scenes from Hintonburg to Chinatown and the National Arts Centre to Rideau Falls.

Adult colouring books have seen a quick rise in popularity owed to childhood nostalgia and their use for stress-relief. Both creators said Ottawa in Colour is designed to appeal to everyone – from kids to adults.

“Everything is going digital right now,” said Gauthier-Kwan. “Drawing, especially for adults, can make you take a step back and relax. You have to focus on the task at hand.”

Gauthier-Kwan and Cobill are self-publishing and currently in distribution talks with local stores. The goal is to have a final product available for purchase by July 1, 2016.

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