Like most artists, I have blazed a unique trail through life. Mine has always focused on a blend of art with science, and the medium of photography has allowed me to comfortably bring both worlds together. A deeper understanding of all living things has fueled my creative passions; and for me, wild places are holy places. During graduate school, I lived on the remote Caribbean island of Mona for three years, with no running water or electricity, a wondrous, life-changing experience. For 11 years I offered educational photographic safaris under the name Wild Horizons® and then turned to self-publishing. I love books and enjoy following trends in this industry.
In summer of 2016, I attended the Book Expo America trade show in Chicago, and the buzz of the show that year was coloring books, coloring books for both adults and children. Shortly after the show, I received an email solicitation from an overseas illustration company. I had been considering a coloring book to accompany my film DESERT DREAMS: CELEBRATING FIVE SEASONS IN THE SONORAN DESERT, so I decided to accept their offer for a free sample. I wanted photo-realistic illustrations and the sample they sent looked promising. To make a long story short, 12 months later I had a dozen completed illustrations in hand, enough for the adult coloring book that I had hoped to produce. I had no direct contact with the artist(s)—all communication was handled through the company’s business office. Over time, I found it easier to make photo-composites in Photoshop for each illustration before submitting my ideas to their art department. All of the illustrations feature plants and animals seen in my film and are suitable for colorists of any age.
I hired local artist/designer David Fischer for the book layout and chose Tucson’s Arizona Litho for the printing. We selected a heavyweight 9”x12”paper stock that accepts all commonly used media for coloring, better that what can be found in most coloring books. We were aiming for quality, not quantity. And for those who like to frame their finished artwork, we sized the illustrations to fit in a standard 8”x10” mat window for framing.
As a bonus, buyers who prefer to color realistically can visit my website,
to see the color photographs and photo-composites used in the creation of this artwork. And I’ve added natural history notes about wildlife featured in these images. Coloring books can be purchased alone or at a discount if bundled with our popular DESERT DREAMS DVD: http://www.wildhorizons.com/wp/gifts/gift-items/#ddcb.
NOTE: After finishing this project, a friend told me that a California publisher adopted our DESERT DREAMS name for their coloring book, so there are now two very different books by the same name. Both can be found on Amazon and at Antigone Books here in Tucson.
Thomas Wiewandt, owner of Wild Horizons Productions, is an educational media specialist with an MS in zoology from the University of Arizona and a PhD in ecology from Cornell University. He is a visual story-teller, with broad experience ranging from editorial features, book publishing, filmmaking, art photography, and ecotourism. His diverse archive of natural history work includes photographic close-ups to landscapes, sound recordings, 16mm motion picture footage, and video content. He also represents the photographic imagery of Barry B. Brown, a coral reef underwater specialist with a comprehensive collection of Caribbean photographs.
Thomas' work has been featured in many books, calendars, and magazines worldwide, including Audubon, Arizona Highways, OMNI, Nature's Best, Smithsonian, National Wildlife, GEO, and publications by the National Geographic Society. His four films for the National Geographic Society and the BBC earned him an Emmy Nomination in cinematography and a Gold Apple Award. And his 2012 film DESERT DREAMS: Celebrating Five Seasons in the Sonoran Desert (www.DesertDreams.Org) showcases this desert's beauty and biodiversity without narration. This film has been screened in eight film festivals, has won honors in three of them, and is now being telecast across America as a fund-raising program for Public Television.
His self-published book THE SOUTHWEST INSIDE OUT--now in its 4th Edition--has captured three gold national book awards and the Best Book Award (across all genres) from the Arizona Book Publishers Association (2003). Mountain Press Publishing Co. published his latest book, HIDDEN LIFE OF THE DESERT (2010).
Thomas' professional memberships include ASMP, ASPP, the Authors Guild, and the Species Survival Commission of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.