Crayon Corbusier

Thibaud Herem’s new book for architectural ideas, inspiration, and coloring is, to judge a book by its cover, simply great-looking; whether what’s on the inside matches up is partly up to you or your kids. In Draw Me a House the illustrator provides 100 pages of templates for kids to use as jumping off points for their own architectural drawings. Combined with text which presents important architects, buildings, and architectural principles in accessible ways, Draw Me a House is a creative and beautiful introduction to the world of design. We are thrilled to offer a free printable from inside the book, courtesy of Cicada Books. Click here, here, and here to experiment on the Chrystler Building and create an organic building in the style of Frank Loyd Wright. For best results, print on thick card stock and remember to color outside the lines!

With their simple yet distinctive style, many of the pages in Draw Me a House stand alone as black and white line drawings; moms might even be tempted to buy two copies, one for the nursery and one for the coffee table. In this conversation with the author, Herem explains how kids can learn to appreciate architecture the way they already love music and art, and how he came up with the ingenious idea for an architecture coloring book. —Artie Niederhoffer

How did the idea for an architectural coloring book come about?
There are a few interactive coloring books around at the moment, and we thought this format would be great for the theme of architecture, which is not usually presented in a playful and interactive manner.

Do you think that architecture is a particularly kid-friendly art form?
I think architecture can be hard to access for children; it’s traditionally less interactive and seems less accessible to an amateur than, say, art or music. This book was a way opening the subject up by bringing in an element of manipulation. That way, kids can bring their own vision into the subject matter.

Can you share some tips for introducing kids to art and architecture?
For me, drawing and craft is the most fun and educational way to introduce kids to any subject. Through interaction they can look at the world around them and bring the things they see into their own work, which in turn makes them notice more things around them and become more engaged in their environment.

Do you remember any experiences of appreciating architecture as a kid? What about coloring books? Do you have fond memories of using them as a kid?
Drawing has always been part of my life. I used coloring books a lot as a kid, or I would copy favorite characters from other books and change their clothing or color. Architecture wasn’t something I was interested in at first, but as I grew up it became a recurrent theme in my work, and a personal interested became a passion.

The built environment also features prominently in much of your past illustration work. How did you become interested the subject?
Architecture for me is an open history book. You can visually trace different periods and learn about them just by looking at the buildings around you. Buildings tell us the story of aesthetics: the evolution of taste and ideas through the ages. It’s an endlessly fascinating subject, simple yet very complex.