Troubador Press: Zodiac Coloring Book (1969)

Zodiac Troubador 1969

Zodiac Troubador 1969-2

Zodiac Troubador 1969-3

Zodiac Troubador 1969-4

Zodiac Troubador 1969-5

Zodiac Troubador 1969-6

I’ve talked about several Troubador books so far: The Official AD&D Coloring Album (1979), the Science Fiction Anthology (1974), Tales of Fantasy (1975), and Space WARP (1978).

According to Wikipedia, artist-designer Malcolm Whyte “founded Troubador Press in 1959 as a job printer and designer/printer of greetings cards.” The San Francisco company published its first book—The Fat Cat Coloring and Limerick Book—in 1967.

Troubador Fat Cat 1967

Troubador Fat Cat 1967-2

Troubador continued to target the booming counterculture, specializing in intricately illustrated children’s educational books and alternative cookbooks. More esoteric material followed. Dennis Redmond illustrated the psychedelic Zodiac Coloring Book above, and the weirdest item in the company’s canon, The Occult Coloring Book (1971), was illustrated by Japanese-American Gompers Saijo, who was interned with his family in Pomona and Wyoming during World War II.

Troubador OCB

It’s easy to bash the hippies today, but credit where credit is due: they’re the ones who embraced and cultivated the kind of cerebral sci-fi that led to Roddenberry’s Star Trek and Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and they’re the ones who pulled The Lord of the Rings into popular culture. “Frodo Lives!” was an enduring hippie meme before anyone else knew where Middle Earth was.

(Images via eBay, Etsy, and the Countercultural Books Wiki)

21 Responses to “Troubador Press: <em>Zodiac Coloring Book</em> (1969)”

  1. 1 leftylimbo August 14, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Holy crap! The Occult Coloring Book. Dood. I wish I could see what was inside. Classic.

  2. 2 2W2N August 14, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    I’ve never actually seen one for sale, but I guarantee you it comes with a hefty price tag.

  3. 4 2W2N August 14, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    I have this bookmarked. Not all the books are rare. I just got a copy of Space Warp for less than $10 (YES!). I think they’re all saved in the archives because Whyte graduated from Cornell and Troubador was a really influential publisher.

  4. 5 Malcolm Whyte September 17, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Great to see these old books being appreciated – again! I’m the publisher of old Troubador Press and have some mint copies of some of these books.

    (I’m not on FaceBook, linkdIn , etc)

  5. 12 tia October 5, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    i had that zodiac coloring book when I was in middle school. It was so precious I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and ripped out the pages to disperse among my friends.

  6. 13 Tamara Slaten October 18, 2018 at 5:37 am

    I love the troubadour books as a kid. They were a bit difficult to find, and I’m trying to find more. I am having a difficult time finding people who have put them up as pdfs, don’t suppose you could help? I wish I got the whole box of books whenever I went to the store that carried them. heh. I found theD&D one.

    • 14 K.E. Roberts October 18, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      They’re so big that it’s hard to scan them, and plus, the books would get messed up in the process. There are a few floating about on the internet, though.

      I’ve been collecting them for years. They’re out there.

    • 15 M. Whyte October 18, 2018 at 6:12 pm

      If you’re looking to acquires new, first edition Troubador Press books, I have one or two of almost every one…they’re expensive though (as you know).They are not listed on my website

      • 16 Tamara Slaten October 20, 2018 at 6:54 am

        not really looking for first edition. yeah I can’t affor them 😦 All the different animal ones Cat’s and Kittens, horses, Bears, flowers. God I wish I had gotten as many as I could when I would see them.

  7. 17 Michelle Maloney August 14, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    My grandmother was unusual. People on the island would say she was “a hot ticket”. She had a coloring book that my mother said I couldn’t look at. I used to watch them at different times coloring. Me with my loony toons or peanuts coloring book, them with their goat scary looking coloring book.
    Different people would color in the book over the years without finishing a page so the next person could add to it. I am still looking for its replacement since the house was sold and things tossed or given away.

    • 18 m. whyte August 14, 2020 at 6:06 pm

      SOUnds like Troubador’s OCCULT COLORING BOOK (1971) that scared you. You may find a copy on line, but they’re pretty expensive – $200 and up. I haveonee pristine, file copy to sell, if you are interested. M. Whyte

  1. 1 1973 Troubador Press Catalog: ‘Presenting a Colorful World for Creative People!’ | 2 Warps to Neptune Trackback on June 2, 2014 at 11:52 am
  2. 2 Devil in the Details: ‘The Occult Coloring Book’, 1971 Trackback on August 14, 2019 at 2:21 pm
  3. 3 Snoopy Meets Sorcery: The ‘Occult Datebook’, 1971 Trackback on August 15, 2019 at 3:02 pm

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