Daniel Predmore never forgot that moment in high school when his art teacher told him he had talent.
"He would spend every minute in the studios," said Caroline “Bunny” Leighton, who is now retired from Sweet Home High School. "He just belonged there surrounded by others who were like him. He was totally absorbed."
Her words inspired him to pursue a career in art and to create a his 54-page coloring book that he hoped will give people a chance to create their own art and to raise awareness "about the beauty of the city we live in."
Predmore already had dipped into the city’s rich stock of landmarks with great success. His line of glassware showcasing the city’s architectural treasures include Shea’s Performing Arts Center, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Darwin Martin House.
But the renderings of the structures etched in glass didn't transfer well to paper, said Predmore, 45, who spent hundreds of hours researching, vetting and creating the Buffalo-themed coloring book.
“It just didn’t work," he said. "I had to revise all of these drawings. I thought I was done six months ago, but I kept on doing them over. My drawing style for the glasses was not conducive for a coloring book."
Again, he reached out to Leighton. He also consulted Doris Collins, restoration consultant for Shea’s.
“Dan is a natural artist who drew what made him happy,” said Leighton. With coloring books, "every space must have an outline. People don’t know what to do with a color if the space they’re filling in does not end. He should be thinking of it as a stained-glass window.”
At first Predmore did not understand what his mentors were talking about. His work as an eclectic abstraction designer had no limits on space, design and color. Adapting to a strict style was a challenge.
Clouds were a problem. Water, too. Adding people to the picture complicated the process. "City Hall was challenging," he said. "The Peace Bridge required incredible detail.” To accomplish the bird’s-eye view of the city that is depicted on the coloring book’s cover, Predmore chartered a plane and saw it for himself.
Working from his studio in the Wurlitzer Building in North Tonawanda, Predmore accomplished revision after revision.
“I had to think of how someone would color my drawings," he said. “...I had to teach myself a new style. Every element had to have closed shapes for people to fill in with color."
The finished product contained historical information about each structure written by the artist’s father, William Predmore, professor emeritus of history at Daemen College.
Predmore’s girlfriend Vanessa Nicholls designed many of the artful bison figures located throughout the book. Inspirational quotes from well-known artists also find a place in Predmore’s book.
“Everybody’s talking and Hillary and Trump, and I just want this to be a positive and inspirational tool, a way to communicate where you tell people about the city and inspire artistic spirit,” said Predmore.
The coloring book sells for $13.95 and is making its way to gift shops, art centers and book stores throughout the area. Premore said 500 coloring books were sold in the first three weeks.
Emil J. Novak Sr., owner of Queen City Bookstore on Main Street in the University District, added the coloring book to his product list.
“He actually illustrated it as opposed to digitally drawing, plus the paper quality is nice,” said Novak. "Coloring books are simple but they’re good for your brain."
Novak plans to mail the coloring book as a gift to his brother and sister who live out of state. “It will give them a little piece of home,” he said.
Predmore dedicated the book to family and friends who inspired his career as an artist. One in particular stood out: His mother Sandra Predmore, who died in 2014.
“My mother was a major inspiration,” he said. “When I didn’t have a car, she gave me rides. When I didn’t have the money for a $3,000 sandblaster, she and my aunt gave me a loan. What I’m experiencing now is what she said would always happen. 'Just stick with it,' she'd say. 'Do what you love and everything will follow.' I want to tell her thank you.”