Adult colouring is exploding in popularity and I couldn’t be happier about it! I lack creative ability when it comes to drawing – stick people and poorly shaped flowers are about the extent of my ability, so I usually don’t bother trying. I do, however, enjoy colouring in the artwork of other (actually talented) artists and will admit to owning a pencil case FULL of colouring pencils for many years now. I never used them on a regular basis, but that was mostly due to a lack of interesting materials to colour. There was generally a choice between princesses or big trucks, which, while great for munchkins, didn’t do much for me. Well, no more.
This niche market is huge and there are now many options, some free, geared towards adults. Some are mood-based, like wanting to recapture the joy of childhood, while others are goal-oriented, such as for relaxation. You can choose patterns that will spur creativity, complex patterns that require concentration and pull you out of your current headspace, and others that are simply for pleasure’s sake. The spectrum is rich and there are now scientific studies about the positive reasons for choosing this activity. A major benefit is stress reduction. This applies to those facing PTSD, a cancer diagnosis or any other type of stress-inducing circumstance. People who have taken colouring advice from Dr. Nicole Martinez had only positive things to say in this Huffington Post article, and they aren’t the only ones. Art therapy has a strong following and there are many schools in the Vancouver area that offer training in this helpful field.
Regardless of your motivation for giving it a try, rest assured, it works! I used colouring quite a bit during my own studies, and found that nothing could compare to sitting back and using my favourite colours for a particular piece. I found it especially useful right before a big exam or presentation. My choices often revolved around complex colouring pages as they are the most effective in distracting me from internal agitation and the “What if I’m not ready?” thoughts, even though I had invested the necessary studying and planning time. I’m convinced the need for focus in completing these pages kept me sane! I always walk away from the experience feeling calm and centered. Plus, I leave my creations in random places for someone to discover, bringing colour and vibrancy into another person’s day.
Now it’s time for logistics. My original preferred brand was Laurentien, for their colour variety and ability to withstand degrees of pressure used when shading. Unfortunately, the company was sold and the quality suffered so if you’re new to buying coloured pencils, check out bestcoloredpencils.com for their informative list or visit Michaels or Staples for their local options. There is a seemingly endless variety of colouring pages and books – here are four free page options that are also printable. Thanks to the artists who share their wonderful artistry! The Secret Garden from Johanna Basford is a personal favourite and I’m excited that she has new creations on the horizon.
With the holiday season just around the corner, it’s a perfect item to add to your wish list. Since the fast pace of our world creates stress for so many, why not give the gift of stress relief to your friends and family this year?