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Colouring NQ

When COVID-19 hit, Queensland’s arts companies got creative. Townsville-based Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts developed Colouring NQ, a digital colouring book featuring artwork from emerging North Queensland artists which engaged children and the young at heart.



Townsville’s Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts (Umbrella) instigated Colouring NQ in early 2020 in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions around delivering physical arts programs. The downloadable digital colouring book engaged children aged 3-11yrs+ (and the young-at-heart) with a visual arts project that could be completed in their own homes.

Developed in partnership with the Regional Arts Services Network (RASN) North Queensland, Umbrella commissioned 10 emerging North Queensland artists to create one artwork each about the region. RASN NQ supported the project with funds and by distributing the call-out for artists and the digital book itself.

The final product, Colouring NQ, features artwork by artists Jasper Reading, Benny Mac, Peter Minon, David Sewell, Katya Venter, Stephen Coutts, Jack Macale, Erin Ricardo, Zuni Drake and Karen Williams, with artwork in a range of styles covering a variety of themes from animals and events to superheroes.

Colouring NQ is available for free download on the Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts website.


When and where

April to May 2020, North Queensland Participating artists are based in Ayr, Magnetic Island and Townsville.


Key stats

  • 10 early career North Queensland artists
  • 352 downloads of images or colouring book (as at 27/08/2020)
  • 780 unique page views (1,011 total views) (as at 27/08/2020).
  • 30 web-submission entries and 5 Instagram entries to colouring-in competition


Colouring NQ was a partnership between Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts and RASN North Queensland Service Provider, Queensland Music Festival.

Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts receives multi-year funding to contribute to its core operations through Arts Queensland’s Organisations Fund 2017-2020.

RASN is an initiative of the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland. The Queensland Government committed $6.5 million to RASN from 2017-18 to 2020-21 to build capacity, support collaboration, and leverage the value of the arts to achieve social and economic outcomes.



  • Colouring NQ facilitated a paid opportunity for 10 emerging artists in North Queensland during the heavy COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Umbrella continued to engage with and broaden its audience, providing creative activities despite social restrictions. Umbrella has received positive feedback from audiences.

“Eeee, what a great idea! I'll have to see if I can find some time to bust out the pencils.” (Facebook comment, 2 May 2020)

“Great engagement idea! Thank you” (Web submission, 23 May 2020)

  • Colouring NQ is being used in schools in Queensland and nationally to complement the curriculum.



"What a great idea!” (Facebook comment, 3 May 2020)

“Just downloaded some of the images, love them”  (Facebook comment, 27 April 2020)

“The kids haven't done any colouring yet but I couldn't resist colouring this beautiful drawing…” 5 May 2020 (Facebook comment, 5 May 2020)

“What a great initiative for lockdown! Thank you to all those involved!” (Facebook comment, 1 June 2020)

“Eleanor loves to paint and draw… She chose to paint all [the] pictures.”  (Web submission, 29 April 2020)

“[Finn] had a lot of fun doing this and spent days on it, literally. He shared it with his class at Cannonvale State School - Year 1LM and his classmates enjoyed it too. He felt proud to be the star of a colouring in book.” (Web submission, 31 May 2020)


Learnings and reflections

Umbrella director Kate O’Hara had the following reflection on the project:

"During challenging times people often get creative and we have seen amazing examples of this from across the globe", ….“This project is a way for us to use our skills to connect not only with our members but the wider community, it has also been an opportunity to employ and showcase the talents of some local emerging and early career artists.” (Quote from Townsville Bulletin)

Supporting local artists and images of relevance to the local audience was a great initiative – the audience loved those aspects, the project and the images.

It would have been great if we had more money to support the artists but otherwise we probably wouldn’t change too much.


Tips for others

We could have set up a better system on our website to track downloads.


What next

Umbrella may further this project with a physical iteration of the book in the future.


Find out more

Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts – Colouring NQ project

Story on WIN News Townsville