Remember when you were a kid and loved to color pictures of animals, trees, flowers or favorite story characters? Kids spent many happy hours coloring between the lines. It was fun to decide which color to use or to color something a different color instead of what it was “supposed” to be.
Later the art critics decided that coloring pictures someone else drew was not creative and that kids should be able to color outside the lines, or even better, draw their own pictures. That pretty much took the pleasure out of coloring books, and so we moved on and creatively colored the wallpaper in our bedrooms instead.
Coloring has now become the new rage. And it isn’t just for children who scribble on walls anymore. That’s right; we now have “coloring books for adults.” The designs are not the simple ones we remember from childhood; they are incredibly elaborate renderings of geometric kaleidoscopes, floral patterns, mandalas, stained glass and ornate designs that defy imagination. Once adults become involved, simple things always become complicated.
Can you believe coloring books are among the top ten best sellers on Amazon, which shows how much trouble books are in. Favorite coloring books, such as “Secret Garden” and “Color me Calm” encourage a break from other activity. Adults love the quiet relaxation provided by coloring. The activity seems to require just enough concentration to relieve stress, but not so much that it becomes a burden to do, unless, of course, you have misplaced your eyeglasses.
I was introduced to the new concept of adult coloring books by my sister. “Do you want to color?” she asked. “I think not; I’ll just watch.” “Is she crazy?” I wondered. But it did look like fun, so what the heck, I might as well try it. I selected a design and some markers and went to work. To my surprise, it was mesmerizing. Some of the patterns were symmetrical and you had to be careful to keep the colors balanced and be sure to use a pen that still had enough ink.
It becomes addictive. Once you start coloring a design, you are compelled to finish. You can’t quit a design before the picture is complete. Some designs are relatively easy while others have very small design elements and are difficult to color without messing up. We colored for days on end. I posted some of mine on Instagram for bragging rights.
Once finished the pages are not really good for much, but they do not require a lot of space, a wall to hang them, or a place on the coffee table. The purpose is more the process rather than the competed project, sort of like working a crossword puzzle. It is the task of coloring that provides the pleasure and it gives us something to do while ignoring housework.
So, I decided to get some books of my own and was surprised to find dozens of them online – dozens and dozens. I ordered some books. I couldn’t wait for the books to arrive, however, and decided to look for some books at Walmart. I tried the craft section and found nothing. I struck out in toys also. Finally, I gave up until I stumbled across the books in the sewing section, of all places.
The naysayers still say you are not creating because it is someone else’s design and it isn’t really art. I say “Phooey!” It’s a great time killer and an alternative to staring at the computer screen. They don’t call them coloring books for adults for nothing, and that pattern with the butterflies is calling my name.
Want to color?
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