Colourful lives: meet the artists of Lake

How a colouring-book app has changed the careers of creatives.

Lake: Colouring Books

Relax & paint the stress away


“Most people say, ‘I don’t know how to draw, but I can colour',” says Katrina Lotrič, cofounder of Lake Coloring, the developer behind Lake, a colouring book app for adults. The popular app won an Apple Design Award in June 2017.

“Some people make fun of colouring apps, but it does calm you down and help you be creative,” says Lotrič. “We coloured as kids and then we forgot. Life happened. But that doesn’t mean we should stop... With Lake, anyone can create something beautiful.”

Lake currently has more than 20 artists on its roster, who create the line drawings for you to fill in. Those artists benefit directly from the success of the app, since all of Lake’s illustrators receive a portion of proceeds from in-app purchases and the overall subscription revenue.

“We want to help them make a living as artists,” says Lotrič. “We are more dreamers than economists.”

Lake is the only app of its kind to share earnings directly with its artists.

To find their artists, Lotrič turned to Instagram. “We were looking for people who created great art but were not necessarily artists full-time.”

Maja Säfström from Sweden was one of Lake’s first artists and is one of its biggest cheerleaders. “It was such a cool idea and I was honoured to be on board from the beginning,” she says. “I have learned a lot about how to make artwork so that the colouring experience is even better.”

New artist packs are available on the app every two weeks. You can subscribe or buy à la carte.

Here we talk to three of Lake's artists for whom working with the colouring app has transformed their careers.

The surreal sketcher

Walid Rusdianto, from Indonesia, became a professional artist thanks to Lake.

Walid “Embe” Rusdianto, is a visual communication design student from Indonesia. “Working with the Lake team has changed me a lot,” he says. “Previously, I only worked on my illustrations for myself.”

Rusdianto’s colouring book, Imaginary Friends, contains surreal scenes of people, creatures and objects floating in space.

“I’m from a village where ‘artist’ is not a good job,” Rusdianto explains. “When I was a kid, I really liked cartoons on TV so I started to draw them – on my textbooks and even my wall at home. My parents caught me and told me to stop drawing, but I didn’t.”

The cutesy creator

Adorable animals are Canadian Laura Uy’s trademark.

Laura Uy from Canada has two colouring books, The Whimsical Wild and Foodoodles, which are, respectively full of cute forest animals and personified pastries.

“I used to draw burgers and fries as a kid. I did this giant burger terrorising a village of vegetables,” Uy says.

“My parents were very supportive of my art when I was young and that’s good because I would make a pretty bad scientist.”

The peculiar painter

Sam Moore, from New Zealand, says he prefers to draw “ugly things”.

For Sam Moore, from New Zealand, being an artist was inevitable.

“My mum painted, my grandmother painted and my dad was an art director, so I really had no choice,” Moore explains. “I was always drawing, usually a giant space battle or some sort of alien creature.”

Moore’s colouring book, UglyInk Part 1, is full of aliens taking part in earthly activities such as drinking coffee and taking baths.

“I find ugly things way easier to draw than pretty things... There aren’t many supermodels in my world.”

    Lake: Colouring Books

    Relax & paint the stress away