Most people have probably contemplated making their mark on history, but perhaps not this literally. The Montreal-based, non-profit organization Never Apart’s colouring book, Colour by Icons, provides the opportunity to colour in and augment queer historical figures and icons. Created as a way to promote queer history and provide ideas for those seeking role models — something many of us lacked while growing up — this book includes images of 25 colourful (and soon to be even more colourful) figures. Proceeds go to Never Apart’s youth programming.
The following comments may inspire you when you sit down to colour in your favourite icon.
Alexander the Great was such an ancient Greek that we don’t really know what he looked like. Insert any generic image of a curly-haired Adonis and people will take your word for it. But maybe, just maybe, he had a unicorn horn. And maybe he would let his right-hand man (in and out of the sack), Hephaestion, rub it now and then, and then they would use the resulting unicorn horn powers to conquer Persia. So, pop a horn on there if you want — who’s to say you’re not right?
No, this is not a commemoration of that time when the art-deco spacemen invaded Earth and cowed us into submission using their severe-looking bowties. It’s actually the avant-garde ’70s and ’80s pop sensation Klaus Nomi. Given his penchant for unusual costumes — in 1978, he sang an aria in New York City while wearing a skin-tight spacesuit and plastic cape — he probably wouldn’t mind if you sketched in a ray gun, or, really, anything you’d like.
No, you poor unfortunate soul, you don’t have to trade your voice for some legs. It’s an easy mistake to make, though: this is drag queen and actor Divine, an associate of John Waters, and the inspiration for Ursula the sea witch from Disney’s The Little Mermaid (1989). If you do choose to give her a purple and black colour palette, don’t worry, it still counts as gay — the author of the original The Little Mermaid story, Hans Christian Anderson, wasn’t terribly straight.
If this image is any indication, when Freddie Mercury sings “I want to break free/I want to break free/I want to break free from your lies,” it’s probably in reference to the straitjacket somebody told him was a coat. Here’s that critical moment when the lead singer of the rock band Queen actually broke free of the straps and thrust his groin out in celebration. Feel free to make rainbow colours emanate from his tight crotch and glistening lower lip.
She may have had the same hair as every character from every ’80s sitcom — Carla from Cheers, Maggie from Growing Pains, David Hasselhoff from . . . anything — but Sally Ride is special. A physicist and astronaut, she was not only the first woman to go to space, but the first known LGBT person to do so. Pro tip: if you sketch a little space shuttle in the background, try to include an image of a screaming Kirk Cameron lashed to one of the rocket boosters.
(Colour by Icons is available at neverapart.com)