Despite the internet offering aspiring sneaker designers a universe of digital possibilities such as Nike iD and MiAdidas, the need for hands-on, tangible interaction, especially when designing kicks, can never be replaced. Knowing this, Berlin based illustrators Daniel Jarosch and Henrik Klingel created a neatly presented 216 page line-art collection, aptly titled The Sneaker Colouring Book. We decided to track down the authors to find out how one dedicates an entire book of silhouettes to 18 of the world's leading sneaker brands!
Firstly, tell us a little about yourselves and how you both got into sneakers...
Henrik: We both live and work in Berlin together as PKNTS where we realise products and work on projects like The Sneaker Colouring Book. We love sneakers and have had an eye on them for a very long time now.
Daniel: I first got into sneakers in the 90s by skating them down on my board. In those days the skate brands became bigger and bigger, and the shoes more expensive. That's the reason why I always looked for the old classics, which were usually more affordable, such as adidas Stan Smiths, the PUMA Clyde... oh, and I remember Henrik was into adidas Superstars...
Are sneakers your first love, or do you share that bed with any other hobbies?
Daniel: They're my first love and over the years my weakness has turned out to be a real fetish which has grown into a passion.
Henrik: I still like to flirt with a few other hobbies to make my day. To be perfectly honest, sneakers have been love at second sight but now we're paired for life.
You're here today as the authors of The Sneaker Colouring Book, how did the idea come about and why a colouring book?
Henrik: Mechanical drawings and line-art, especially side views of cars, are very popular, mainly because these drawings have a unique aesthetic appeal. We wanted to create a collection of line-art illustrations from one source, with one flow.
Daniel: Line-art is the purest way to present an object and while the relevant sneakers are available in multiple colours, materials and editions, their silhouettes have remained the same over the years. The colouring option is the customising of these classics.
Take us through the production time for the book, has it been a long time coming? I know a little about Adobe Illustrator so this must have taken you both some serious man hours to produce...
Daniel: Researching the facts, taking photos of the sneakers and drawing each and every line-art was made quickly and willingly. We know this work from our jobs as designers and it helped that we got faster with every model. Doing the pre-press and the on-going communication with the various companies and our publisher took a little more time.
Henrik: Altogether, we had a lot of fun during the project, a sneaker-freak enjoys investing time in his passion.
When putting the book together, was there any specific order you had in mind? Did you consider running them in chronological order?
Daniel: Every decade and every subculture has its own fashion and favourite sneakers. So in the beginning, we were confronted with a chaos of far too many models which all had to be in the book.
Henrik: Our aim was to create a catalogue, neutral and archiving like a database. Because of that a chronological, alphabetic order was obvious. Finally, in this way the history of sneaker badges the best.
Are you also surprised that you've been able to fill an entire book with classic sneaker illustrations?
Daniel: No way! We did a lot more but if we were to run them all we would have had to create The Thousand Sneaker Colouring Book.
Henrik: Due to the cooperation with publisher Laurence King, we had to draw up a short list and got the opportunity to print the 100 most popular classics on quality paper, which has been married with the perfect distribution for the book.
Were you big on colouring books as children?
Daniel: I coloured my work book in class and of course I tagged my shoes.
Henrik: I didn't have any colouring books when I was a child but I corrected that as an adult by creating The Sneaker Colouring Book. Plus, the need to customise your sneakers gets stronger when you are a big kid.
Do you have a favourite shoe model in the book?
Henrik: We tried not to produce a book for ourselves, so the shoes we presented are in accordance with the share of the brands in the market, and their success in the past. Do we have any favourites? Of course we have but that would be telling...
Did any sneakers get left on the cutting room floor? If so, are there any you wished had made it into the book?
Daniel: We would like to point out that with a limit of 100 images we couldn't include every favourite model for all shoe enthusiasts. However, we're sure that we'll include something for everyone when we start to look to publish The Sneaker Colouring Book: Part 2.