How the Grinch stole my Christmas Colours!

Christmas is the season of giving so here is another treat for you all.

Colouring tricks are great for younger audiences. I go into more detail on this in my book, Becoming Magic in the chapter ‘Kids will be Kids.’ When I first got into magic I used to use the flick Colouring book however, I personally don’t rate this effect for a few reasons. This effect is overused and generally kids from around 7 years old upward know the method.

Many years ago I bought a colouring in trick from Practical Magic (a fantastic resource for children’s magic tricks in the UK) that intrigued me greatly.

I have searched high and low for the instruction’s of this trick – which I believe was titled ‘Over the Rainbow!” Sadly they are now lost in a magical abyss.

FizzWizzPop has been performing this effect for many years so I am not exactly sure what is mine in terms of innovation. However, I owe this little trick to the late Jeremy le Poidevin. He sold this to me at an Irish Magic Convention and it’s a cracking wee effect for family shows and seasonal performances.

What is required to colour in the Rainbow?

  • Slightly oversized A4 Z folder. (See pictures below).
  • A stand for the Z folder to sit facing the audience from the beginning of my show.
  • Two images: A line drawing and one coloured in. The Rainbow image came with the trick. Over the years I have adapted it for both my Halloween show: Making a rainbow pumpkin. And my Christmas show: Using a Christmas tree.
  • A Hank Ball
  • 7 Square 9 inch silks/hankies in Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple.
  • 1 White 18 inch hankie

Preparation – The Z folder

Begin by placing the coloured image in one side and the line drawing in the other side of the Z folder. The pictures have to face the correct way. (See pictures above – flap opens downwards on both sides).

Preparation – The Hank Ball

This unusual little gimmick is a bit alien to look at. Funnily enough, I remember it came with no instructions (exactly why we all LOVE magic right?). Through playing and working with it I have found a few subtleties. I thought it best to make a little video tutorial for it below.

The key I found to successfully loading the hank ball is Direction.

When loading the Hank ball you must stuff each hanky in one after the other in the same direction.

Using my right hand I push the hankies into the ball in an Anticlockwise direction.

There is also a method to make each handkerchief naturally reveal itself. You can watch this on the video below. Kids tend to recognise the colours of the rainbow in this order – R, O, Y, G, B, P. So load the hankies from last colour to the first.

Video Link to see the loading the Hank Ball

Loading a Hank Ball for my Christmas Trick

Bringing the Season to this Effect

This is usually the second effect in my Christmas show. It works good at this point because it is visually magical. In the beginning of any show you have to guide the audience to experience magic. Providing a trick where they actually make the magic happen solidifies a sensation of realness. They are more willing to be convinced and to believe what they are seeing is real.

  • This trick is what I like to call a ‘group effect.’ The Magic happens because the whole group get involved to solve the puzzle.
  • When the tree is coloured in at the end of this effect it normally gets a loud cheer.
  • I believe this is because the audience feel they have accomplished the magic all together. Nothing is more powerful than teamwork in a magic effect – hence if performed correctly it gets a strong reaction.

What to say and do next…

“Not only am I a Magician, I am also an artist.”

Lift the Z folder and hold it to your chest. Today I drew a Christmas picture for you all and I wonder if I describe it can anyone guess what it is.”

Try to think up really abstract ways to describe the picture inside, as you don’t want the group to get it in one guess – that’s just no fun at all!

“This thing is wide. This thing is tall. It’s hairy – no furry. It’s green and has something shiny on top.” Usually by this stage the kids are screaming Christmas tree at you.

“Iam good at drawing but not colouring in.” Next. you begin to fish for answers to a series of questions revealing all the colours that are about to appear. For example what colour is a Christmas tree? (Green) The star on top? (Yellow) etc. Decorations red, orange, blue etc.

The 1st Reveal

“Would you like to see my tree – now don’t laugh…Tada! Isn’t is gorgeous?”

You reveal the drawing and begin reciting off all the colours until the children make it very clear that nothing happened.

Here you can make reference to the Grinch that he has stolen the colours from my drawing. The idea now is to get the boys and girls to help you get the colours back. “We need some colours…”

As you go and search for colours in your case you pick up the hank ball and silk. Remark on the white hanky, “White’s a colour but not the one we are looking for.”

Video unpacking the Hank ball

Unpacking the Hank Ball for the Christmas Colour effect

Load the hank ball into the white silk as shown in the video above. Then ask the kids to look for colours on their clothing – “Anyone see any red?”

“Take a bit of red from your clothing and throw it to the hanky.” This section should be playful, get adults involved too. Find all the colours and get them thrown at the hanky.

“We have the colours, we need the magic, point at the hanky and say the magic word – FizzWizzPop!”

Reveal the first hanky from the ball. Do this extremely slowly, you want to highlight the madness and wonder of what has just happened. Your audience just made a red hanky appear – from nowhere. “Well I need someone to hold onto this for me.” You repeat this reveal process seven times giving out all the coloured hankies.

Time to use the hankies to colour in the Tree

“It is time to colour in my tree”

Open the Z folder showing the blank Christmas tree drawing.

Who has the red hanky?” I go to the child with the red hanky asking them to rub their hanky all over the front of the wallet. “Perfectly done, just like Picasso.” I repeat this process for all the hankies – you can have a lot of improvised fun with each child/adult who are holding the hankies here.

“We’ve used all the colours, now you tell me did we do it, did we colour it in.”

Open up the Z folder to reveal that it did not work. It is important here that your disappointment is genuine. This down beat will heighten the response to the change – big time.

The Switcheroo

Sadly, I look and bring focus to the picture and folder in my hand.

“Of course!”

Snap the folder closed bringing it vertically down by your side. This brings the coloured picture inside the folder to the front. (The one you just shown is now at the back).

If you execute this sudden movement at the same time you look up at the audience they will not notice the switch.

You immediately continue speaking.

“We forgot the colours” say this line as you place the Z folder back onto the stand ready to show the coloured picture.

Collect the hankies, pick up the folder, give it one final rub with all the hankies. “Point at the picture, it is now time to use the magic word to colour it in – FizzWizzPop.”

“I don’t want to look, can you guys tell me…” Let the front of the Z folder swing down…“Did we do it?”

When the audience see’s that they have coloured the picture, it gets a natural applause. One that I have never had to cue.

“I’m going to take this home and it will remind me of all you lovely boys and girls who helped me colour in my drawing.”

The Colouring in trick

I would like to take the time to say Merry Christmas to you all. I hope it is merry, magical and bright!

Nikola Arkane

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