Right off the bat when you were working on the first volume of The Pop Punk Coloring Book, did you already have in mind what to do next?
The first volume was really just an experiment– I brought the idea up to a few friends and they thought it was funny, so I spent a few months hammering out ideas and messing around with how to draw it. It wasn’t until sales started picking up that I realized I could and should do another one.
What did you learn from that first experience?
My art got a LOT better. I’m almost entirely self taught with digital art, I only ever had formal training in drawing and painting. I had to figure out how to abandon what I knew about shading and color and teach myself how to make a recognizable figure out of nothing but lines. I also learned that no one is ever going to agree with you 100% on your definition of what counts as pop punk.
After the success of your first installment – did you feel any pressure while working on the sequel?
The biggest pressure for me was making sure I improved on the first book. There are a lot of pages in that first book where I’m not fully proud of the drawings or the activity concept. I wanted to make sure I gave people their money’s worth.
I love music. I love pop punk and post-hardcore and emo and every sub-genre in between and being able to contribute something to that community is an amazing feeling.
Were there any particular selection process on the bands that were going to participate or how did that come about?
When I decided it was time for a second book I sat down and made a list of about 50 bands, and then started pulling the ones that I felt resonated the most with classic pop punk and the bands that have had a strong presence in the scene over the past year. So I would take a classic like Simple Plan and then an up-and-comer like Waterparks to give the most even balance possible between nostalgia and novelty.
How was the writing and designing process?
It was a lot of hours sitting at my desk with a tablet pen. I’m lucky that I have an extensive portfolio of concert photos that I can pull from so the search process for references was pretty painless. You have to have really high quality reference photos if you want a line drawing to resemble someone– you don’t have color or shading to help make them more recognizable.
What new things can we expect this time around?
A much larger focus on coloring! The first book probably should have been called “The Pop Punk Activity Book.” Volume 2 is all coloring, and the art is more detailed so you can go more in depth with your crayon or pencil of choice. I tried to pay extra attention to things like tattoos and hair because in alternative music those are such defining parts of what makes an artist look the way they do.
What else is happening next in Emily Becker’s world?
I’ve been working on a clothing line that will hopefully be dropping this summer! I’m going to be collaborating on designs with local New York bands like Approaching Troy and In Loving Memory so I can do more to bridge the gap between my design world and the music world that I love so much.