Updated: Sep 21
I recently received this book as a gift.
This is actually the second time in my life I've owned a copy of Panda Bears's Paintbox, the first time I was somewhere around the age of three. My husband tracked a copy down and surprised me with it because I consider this book to be the origin of my life-long desire to be an artist.
I don't know if this was a story I picked out myself, or if it was a gift. How I got the book may be a mystery but the influence it had on me isn't. It left an indelible impression, one that can still be seen in my paintings today.
The story is about a panda bear who creates a self-portrait using a watercolor set. While painting, the panda discovers color mixing and learns how to make all the colors needed to complete the painting.
I loved the story and have vivid memories of asking to have it read to me over and over again. This book is absolutely where I learned to mix colors. At the time, making a new color out of two others seemed like magic. I memorized which colors made what from the story, and performed this alchemy with my own newly acquired watercolor set.
I even tried to recreate this illustration from the book.
The book inspired me to create art and at the tender age of three and turned me into a student of color theory. Today I'm still a student of color theory, and the joy I get from using color has influenced my art every step of the way.
Color seemed magical then, and it still does now. Today is Read Across America Day, so give a child a book because you never know where it might lead them.
Panda Bear's Paintbox was written by Michaela Muntean, illustrated by Christopher Santoro, and published by Goldencraft.