TCAT Coloring Book
The TCAT coloring book was just an idea when I first started at The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR). It was a idea that the director had and got put on the back burner until they hired me.
At that point all they knew was that they wanted a coloring book that promoted TCAT careers and a fun main character to tour the world of possibilities that TCAT careers had to offer.
TCAT stands for Tennessee College of Applied Technology, which was managed by TBR as well as all of the State University and Community College System of Tennessee.
How It Started
Searching for Tommie
The initial sketch of the cat was inspired by my own cat, who has prominent teeth, but this and other aspects were taken away after receiving feedback. It was decided that Tommie's shirt should be the TCAT logo so he could be branded. The over all desire was for the character to be a friendly and inviting icon for TCAT.
After the sketch was polished and everyone was pleased with the results, the name Tommie CAT was agreed on.
Since this project didn't have much push behind it, I drummed up interest by drafting up a lead character for the project. I researched animals that might have a good reason to star in this coloring book. Raccoons are Tennessee's state animal, so my initial pitch was the raccoon you see before you. Stars were added to the shirt in reference to the Tennessee state symbol. The Director thought it over and wanted to see a cat drawn up, for TCAT, so I got to work on that!
First Cat Sketch
Nursing Page Sketches
Cosmetology Page Sketch
Center Spread Drafting page
Organizing the Contents
Now that we had our lead character, he could finally take us on the tour of TCAT career possibilities. The next step was to decide what possibilities should be included.
A list was drawn up of all the careers and a number of pages for the coloring book was decided. The next thing to do was to decide what make it into the book and what order the careers were to be displayed. The picture to the left was the guide to organizing the pages. As I drafted pages they were added to the collage to decide where they should go in the book.
A story was drafted that would give context to the adventure and help give structure to the flow of careers that were visited. We would start in a class room and end in reflection.
The center spread was to be a map of Tennessee that displayed what made unique and beautiful. Since Tommie was touring the TCAT opportunities, why show not the whole state? It ended up being my favorite page. I learned so much while researching Tennessee to make the page accurate and informational.
Center Spread Final
Cover to Cover
1st Cover Sketch
While the inside was black and white outlines the cover, front and back, were a different story. My first draft of the front cover, my idea was for Tommie to be floating in all the possible careers, with items from each one surrounding him.
The problem was the lack of space this allowed a title to fit. Feedback from the team decided the covers reflect the beginning and end of the story. Changes were made and we ended up with what you see below.
Front cover being Tommie at the start of his career journey, considering the possibilities and the back cover showing him with his TCAT Diploma ready to take the on world!
2nd Cover Sketch
Final Front Cover
Final back Cover
Once all the sketches were finalized into polished outlines the only thing left to be done was get it ready for print!
TCAT Coloring Book
TCAT Childrens Book
TCAT 2 Electric Boogaloo
After completing the coloring book, a children's book was needed. The public demanded it! Well sort of, TBR wanted to make a children's book to further Tommie's reach. The story would remain the same, but we would be adding a new character, Tammie CAT, Tommie's sister. Drafts of Tammie would need to be made. Also the final color style needed to be decided on.
These were the colored options I offered for the children's book. You can see I put pants on the chosen one.
I made Tammie a long haired cat to give her a slightly different look. The first concern was her clothing and where the logo would go on her. The final look that was chosen was the top left. With her wearing a dress, it was now decided that Tommy would have to wear pants for consistency.
Once the color style was chosen for Tommie and Tammie all the pages need to be colored as well. Tammie was added along the career journey and some layouts were altered to better suit the children's book.