Get Ready to Paint the Town


Artist and mother Shelley Hodges brings iconic landmarks and scenic landscapes to homes and imaginations in Color Boise, A Boise Coloring Book

By Jamie Hodges Photos by Kimberlee Miller

When you think of Boise, what colors fill the picture in your mind?

Wait. Better yet, imagine popping the lid off a new box of crayons. The perfectly sharpened tips arranged row after row wait for their single-most import task – to spark creativity. Think of which ones you pull out first to fill in the landscape just the way you see it.

Maybe you choose carnation pink and dandelion for the morning skies behind the iconic Table Rock Cross. Perhaps you pull apricot for the foothills and indigo for the for the Boise Ridge mountains behind them. Is that the Boise you know?

Now there’s a way to color Boise any way your technicolor heart desires. Local artist Shelley Hodges has dozens of canvases waiting for everyone.

“Color Boise: A Boise Coloring Book” is the inspiration of Hodges, a mother of two young children, both of whom are the source of her accidental inspiration for each of the three-dozen-plus images.

“The best ideas always happen when you’re not planning on it,” Hodges said. “When Sarah was a baby, I was literally drawing pictures for Jacob to color, to give him something to do, when the idea came to me. I did a few drawings, and I thought it would be fun.”

But it wasn’t until months later that she brought the idea to stores and homes and the imaginations of children and grownups.

In January, Hodges mentioned the idea to college friends during a vacation with them to her birth state of Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Thrilled with the idea, Hodges’ friends carted her to to the store to get a stylus for her tablet. By the time the wheels touched down back at the Boise airport, Hodges had created 20 drawings for Color Boise.

“All of these ideas had been brewing, and they just poured out on that trip,” Hodges said. “And it just continues.”

In a year when most families find themselves at home more than ever, she hopes bringing bits of the city that’s familiar and fond to so many of us to inside helps make life a little brighter, Hodges said.

“All these parents and kids I knew were couped up, so I dropped off 70 or so coloring books to families of first responders and others I knew,” said Hodges, who published the first edition of the book in March and continues to add pages as more ideas come to life.

Images include families sledding on Simplot Hill, paddle boarding at Lucky Peak and skiing Bogus Basin. Other pages feature iconic landmarks such as the Egyptian Theatre, Boise Depot and the slide at Jack’s Urban Meeting Place (JUMP).

“All of those things in the book are things my family loves to do or places we’ve been,” Hodges said.

As the months roll on, more and more local shops offer the coloring book for purchase, including Guru Donuts, Coffee Supply and Co, Mixed Greens, Hyde Park Mercantile, Tazikis and Flying M Coffee House. Out-of-towners can buy Color Boise at

“The community of local small business blows my mind. Everyone has been so supportive while I’m figuring out the ropes,” said Hodges, who has been doing commission paintings for 20 years. “And to meet so many people through it all has been an unexpected blessing.”

Like any artist, Hodges’ mind continues to think of new ideas for future projects. And while this mother and artist dreams up new images and the lines that will create them, it’s entirely up to you on the colors you choose to fill them all in.

Find more information about Shelley Hodges and Color Boise at