Pick up those pencils because 'Pundit Colouring' is the colouring book for the modern football fan. We spoke to it's creators, Michael Kinlan and Richard Bellis to lift the lid on this "literally" majestic creation.
So first up, how did Pundit Colouring come about?
MK: Richard and I worked together on the Chester FC fanzine ‘The Blue & White’ a couple of years ago and we wanted to come up with another idea that meant we could collaborate again. I’d always wanted to design a colouring book and the super serious world of football punditry seemed like a good subject we could poke a bit of fun at. The idea to add speech bubbles came from a regular feature in the fanzine called ‘Quite Literally’ where we literally illustrated Jamie-Redknapp-style phrases. We had a laugh coming up with new ones for each issue so we thought it'd be good to let people add their own nonsensical punditry while colouring in.
RB: Mike asked me if I fancied doing the writing for a colouring book about football pundits and I said yes. We work really well together and as soon as he sent over a sample page I could see it was going to be great, especially because of the speech bubble idea he'd had. Putting hot air into the pundits' mouths was just too good an idea not to follow up.
How long have you been working on it?
MK: It actually only took a couple of months from idea to having it almost fully illustrated and written. I’d been working for Ockley Books on a few design projects and they were really keen to publish it. Having them on board was great but we had to everything by the book. So it took a while to sort with the lawyers what we were allowed to get away with. In that time we had tweak it to keep it current. We moved Alan Hansen from the MOTD studio and replaced him with Danny Murphy. Then Paul Scholes started talking so we had to fit him in too. Roy Keanes in-out attitude to football also caused a few problems.
RB: It didn't take a huge amount of time to write the descriptions, probably a few hours per pundit including watching videos of them on youtube, though some were trickier than others. The really difficult bit was going back and updating things when they changed. Adrian Chiles was the hardest. He was replaced by Mark Pougatch just before the book was going to be printed so I had to do a very quick rewrite that took ages to get right.
Most definitely a colouring book for all ages, what did you enjoy most about putting it together?
MK: Coming up with the little details was the really fun bit. Though colouring in pundits is a funny idea, we felt it needed a surprise every few pages to keep the reader entertained. There’s activities through the book like: drawing new hairstyles on Graeme Souness and a Garth Crooks inspired word search. Some of the background settings and poses add a few extra laughs too.
RB: I did enjoy writing it but definitely the best thing about it all has been seeing people's reactions to it. It's had a great response which has been oddly relieving I suppose! We were both keen to get people tweeting their creations to us and there's been some really hilarious stuff come our way. Pundit Colouring is slowly growing beyond being just our creation I think, people are using it and appropriating it in ways which really suits them which is amazing.
Who was your favourite to illustrate?
MK: I’m quite chuffed with Jeff Stelling and Chris Kamara pages. They came half way through the illustration process so i’d perfected the right level of detail we needed and it's also got the customisable Sky Sports News style graphics which I loved replicating in the colouring book style. Keys and Grey still gives me a chuckle.
RB: I didn't do any of the illustrations, but the Des Lynam spread (and it is a spread) was my idea. Sorry everyone. I seem to remember at one point we had some sort of Godzilla-esque monster behind John Motson partly due to my original description of him, but thankfully we all thought better of that idea.
Do you know if any of the pundits have seen it?
MK: Ha! We hope not. We sent one to the Colin Murray Show on Talk Sport so maybe Danny Murphy has seen it. His lawyers haven’t rang yet anyway. Seriously though, The Ockley lawyers gave the thumbs up and we’re really quite nice to most of them (ish), but we don’t want to poke any legal bees-nest just yet. We’re planning on doing another big push at the start of next season so I reckon we'll probably start buttering them up then.
RB: I don't think so, but that's probably in their best interests. I wasn't needlessly mean to anyone but I haven't held back either. I think the only one I'd change is the Mark Lawrenson one. I wasn't too complimentary at the time but he's found his place on Football Focus where the relaxed feel suits him a lot more.
We want more! What's next to follow this triumphant masterpiece?
MK: Theres loads more pundits we could have put in, so we’re just planning who can be in ‘Pundit Colouring - The Second Half'. But we’ve got another 5-6 other non-pundit ideas in development that use the equation of 'Football+Colouring+SpeechBubbles', so keep a big stock of colouring pencils handy.
RB: We have loads of ideas but I don't know what's going to be next. We had a big brainstorming session the other day and I can tell you, whatever it is it's going to be - in the words of Jamie Redknapp - literally the best thing ever printed since the last Pundit Colouring.
Brilliant eh? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. You can get your hands on a copy here.