New Adult Coloring Book Shows the Beauty of St. Louis Architecture

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St. Louis Splendor is JoAnn Kargus’ first adult coloring book – but it’s not her first attempt at documenting the beautiful buildings of St. Louis. Far from it.

The St. Louis native was born in Affton and graduated from Mehlville High School. Kargus has been working as an architectural illustrator in the region for more than three decades. These beautiful renderings showing future projects in the town hall or in the post-dispatch? This is often their job.

However, Reedy Press reached out to Kargus earlier this year with a much broader project – an opportunity to illustrate 50 scenes across the subway with precise details that allow for beautiful adult coloring. When you look at their gorgeous illustrations, you can’t help but buy a new box of markers and get to work.

And they’re not all landmarks like the Gateway Arch and Cathedral – although those are of course there too. Kargus went for some homely neighborhood scenes as well as the Vess Soda Bottle, Ted Drewes, Crown Candy Kitchen, and even Donut Drive-In.

“I thought 50 would be difficult to find, but when I got around to it I realized I had to stick to 50,” she says. “Now I hope there is a Volume 2 in mine

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JoAnn Kargus


As a girl who grew up in the county and now lives in Imperial, Kargus admits that revisiting some parts of the central corridor was an eye opener. She had fond memories of visiting her grandparents in South City, but can’t believe how much some areas have changed and how beautiful others are.

“My editor wanted Cherokee Street there, and I wasn’t that familiar,” she recalls. So she drove down to take a look – and instantly fell in love. “I just loved this Cinderella building. It’s absolutely gorgeous. As beautiful as all the other buildings down there are, I fell in love with this one.” It now graces page 12 of her book.

Kargus will host a series of book signing and “painting parties” starting Wednesday October 19 at Grant’s View Library to promote the book. Visit them on October 26th at Schlafly Bottleworks or on November 30th at the Wash U Campus Bookstore.

The book is available from Left Bank Books, Subterranean, the City Museum gift shop, Barnes & Noble, and numerous other retailers.

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