JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. – A reservist with the 459th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs Office recently created the 2nd edition of the Air Force Reserve coloring book released December 2020 by the Air Force Reserve Command Office of History and Heritage.
Technical Sgt. Katie “Kat” Justen is a Combat and Heritage artist with the AFRC History Office and the non-commissioned officer in charge of the 459th ARW PA office. Her name may sound familiar to many as her artwork is displayed in the Pentagon and at the 459th.
She was approached by her historian office leadership last year with the idea of creating the coloring book.
“The art director and fellow combat and heritage artist, Lt. Col. Warren Neary, asked me to create the second edition of the coloring book for the AFRC HO,” Justen said. “Having created a few projects for the program already, and acquiring layout and design experience as a public affairs specialist, it was a good fit. I was immediately excited and on board.”
The process for designing the coloring book started in 2019 with research and brainstorming before Justen and her team decided on what direction to take: to capture a snapshot in time of today’s Reserve members in various mission sets.
“There were a few goals in mind when deciding what career fields to feature,” she said. “We wanted to highlight the many science, technology, engineering, art and math related occupations in the Air Force Reserve. We also wanted to support Air Force Reserve Recruiting Service by illustrating exciting missions in critical need of skilled manpower.”
As a Combat and Heritage artist, Justen has several creative projects ongoing in the studio simultaneously.
“Artists with the History and Heritage Division of the AFRC HO often have multiple projects going at once,” she said. “It is our mission to instill unit pride and enhance esprit de corps by connecting today’s Reserve Airmen with the storied legacy of the Air Force Reserve. We do this through the creation of art products in various mediums. Currently in the works are two bronze cast busts of a fallen Citizen Airmen, as well as an oil painting of one of AFRC’s woman pioneers in aviation.”
The coloring book is designed with the intent to entertain colorists young and old.
“There are some really tight and intricate details, as well as larger forms to fit any coloring styles,” she said. “My favorite part of this project was designing the front cover. It’s the only page with color!”
Justen said she will continue to work on special projects and would create the third edition if the opportunity is presented again.
“I would be honored to do the 3rd edition of the AFRC coloring book, but would also love to see one of our other talented artist in the program design the next one,” she said. “That way each book will have its own distinct artistic style.”
Whether she is in the studio designing quality artwork for the AFRC HO or supporting the 459th as a traditional Reservist, Justen leaves a lasting impression on those with whom she comes into contact with.
“We are extremely proud of our very own Tech. Sgt. Justen,” said Col. Janette Thode, 459th ARW vice wing commander. “Her creative role in celebrating our Reserve Heritage in this AFRC effort epitomizes the incredible talents of our Reserve Citizen Airmen.”
The coloring book can be found online in a printable format here. The History Office also hands out printed versions at various events throughout the year.
“At future Air Shows and Air and Space Expos, keep your eye out for the AFRC History tent where we hand out copies of the coloring books and lithographs of our artwork,” Justen said.
To view the coloring book, click on its front cover image below.