People everywhere have discovered the relaxation and therapeutic value of coloring. Adult coloring books are even on sale at the checkout of my grocery stores! I think it is a great idea, but I also think we should take this love of coloring one step further:
Allow our own creative vision loose!
Not instead of using the coloring books, but along with them.Beautiful Creatures: A Grayscale Adult Coloring Book of Animals
What does the use of a coloring book encourage?
I think it helps us feel inspired by another’s vision. The beauty of a talented artist frees us from worry that we won’t make something “artistic enough”. We aren’t held back by that fear. A coloring book is for our own creativity what training wheels are for a young bicyclist. It allows us to build confidence in our own abilities and strengthens the muscle coordination.
Using another artists picture does that for us, too. That is why children love their coloring books and paint by number sets.
But I am venturing the opinion that we ought to allow ourselves some freedom to be creative in our own right as well.
Copying For Practice, Not For Sale
We can start with copying ideas, there is nothing wrong with that when working on our own art therapy, but at some point we ought to take a chance on our own vision and style. To copy is an age old way to learn technique, but is never meant to pass off as one’s own.
Now get your supplies, spend some time in your coloring books, make a similar design of your own, and finally set your self free with your markers, pencils and blank sheets of paper.
Are you ready?
A Gift List For Coloring
Some Pretty Books To Get Started
Don’t forget to have a sketch book on hand for when you feel like freehand drawing.
Using a coloring book and pencils makes art easy and attainable. It sidesteps the worry that we will not be a “good artist”.
“Mindful art” has been shown to reduce stress and provide a sense of comfort. (1)
Why does it work?
- It helps switch off an overactive brain and center the mind’s focus.
- It was observed that the repetition of coloring creates changes in heart rate and in brainwaves.
- Activates the creative side of the brain.
- Ritual that helps you unwind from the daily grind.
What Medium Should You Use?
It really depends on what you like, but I would start with pencils because they are so easy to use and blend. Pastels, markers, and pens,are other possibilities. Paints are also something you could try, along with good old crayons. If you have any doubts about how to color- since it may have been a few years since you attempted to try your hand at art, go ahead and view some how to videos on Youtube. I was surprised at the number of them that either showed tips and tricks ( like how to color leaves) or just recored someone coloring..
Don’t forget to do the drawing yourself, though!