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Roz in studioRosie Flo colouring books evolved through hours of sitting and drawing with our daughters when they were young. They gave me instructions as to what I must draw and each time I promptly obeyed.

Dresses were the most popular items demanded of me and Sophie (now 20!) would then draw in the faces, arms and legs. She was fascinated by facial expressions and the  drawing of new characters. Sasha (now 16) became obsessed first and foremost with colouring-in.

The book ended up as a collection of dresses, all of them lacking the head, legs and arms required to give them a personality. I was fascinated with how they both maintained such prolonged interest with this way of drawing and felt there must be other like minded children around. I printed my first book in 2005 and chose to call it Rosie Flo’s colouring book (a name made up from Sasha and Sophie's middle names).
In designing the book, I paid attention to all things which irritated me as a child, and then as a parent. The paper quality is thick enough to avoid showing through or damaging the picture on the next page. It is sturdy enough to withstand a few journeys without falling apart and small enough to fit in a child's hand luggage. The lines are intentionally not too thick, as this makes it look like it is only for preschool children and it adds to the prolonged age range of the books (4 to 12).

Taking encouragement from successful sales I went on to design and publish further Rosie Flo colouring books. Two Johnny Joe books also evolved with more action-led scenes but still requiring the addition of heads, legs and arms.

With thirteen colouring books now in the range, all on different themes and some with unusual paper stock, we have also introduced other colouring products. Rosie Flo’s Fashion Show and Rosie Flo’s Pool Party, both award winning activity gift sets, are now joined by Rosie Flo’s colouring Art Gallery. While remaining true to the initial interest in the encouragement of drawing and colouring, with the activity sets we also like to encourage construction and play.
For the last five years I have been commissioned to draw the colouring book for Camp Bestival’s family music festival and alongside some part-time teaching at Bath Spa University I have held workshops at the Bath Kids Literature Festival and given talks in various schools to a wide range of ages. Alongside my husband and fellow graphic designer Steve Kamlish, we’ve recently designed the Pop Up Pets.

There's no need to colour in these, they just come out of the pack and you fold them into a little pet friend – from Pugs to Penguins and Guinea pigs we now have 11 in the range.  Happily for us these Pop Up Pets are proving very popular, reaching as far afield as Australia. We work from our home in Bath and try out new ideas - so far in paper or card but we never quite know what’s coming next.

Roz Streeten

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