Firstly an author’s note here.
I must state that I am, in no shape or form and in any lifetime, an artistic person. Creative, yes. Artistic, no. As a youngster, I would be rather found reading or writing my own stories rather than painting, drawing or colouring. And as a 21 year old student, my skills have barely progressed past stick figures and doodles of roses. But, when I heard about the new craze of adult colouring books, I found myself drawn to them.
And was immensely pleased of what it unlocked in me.
Now, not only are the books themselves beautiful, but they have mental health benefits that I could not believe. Psychologists say that because the act of colouring is such a absorbing task, it calms the mind and takes the focus away from worries and stress, alongside stimulating motor skills, senses and creativity! And, as omebody who deals with depression, OCD and paranoia day-to-day, I thought that owning one of these books surely couldn’t hurt.
And now, I’m a proud owner of two equally stunning books, and a sore hand from colouring for hours at a time.
The two chosen books – The Art Therapy Colouring Book by Richard Merritt, Hannah Davis and Cindy Wilde, and The Time Garden by Daria Song, are both significantly different.
Song’s book brings both a
story of a young girl, and illustrations that you can colour in. The story is sweet and innocent, and with the addition of the brief words on every couple pages, the text does not overcrowd the pictures, but gives the illustrations chance for you to read the story through them. Song’s illustrations are also highly detailed, and for first time colourers, this can be slightly overwhelming. But, the finished product is completely worth it.
The Art Therapy Colouring Book is larger and doesn’t have a story attached to it, but has hundreds of different pictures that are all completely indepedent of each other, but each one is as detailed and beautiful as the last. This book also features a doodling section in the back of it, with half-completed pictures that you can fill up with your own pictures, or words if you want to. The Art Therapy Colouring Book also draws from nature, buildings, cultures and patterns from all around the world. And they are such beautiful pictures that you could even take them out of the book and frame.
I work on these books as often I can, but with a full-time job and a bustling social life, I do find it difficult. But the best thing about these books is that you can leave them, and with a spare five minutes you can pick up your pencils and just do a tiny section. These tiny sections eventually add together to make something beautiful. And with the market just teeming with different styles of books – from nature ones, tattoo inspiration and stories like The Time Garden – there is also a host of pens, pencils and watercolour pencils that you can chose and select from. There is no limit to your imagination either. You can do a girl with blue skin, or a owl with purple feathers or whatever you decide.
As I said before, having OCD and paranoia can be overwhelming at times, and despite counselling and CBT sessions, there are periods in my day when I feel at a loss. But the instant I pick up one of these books, go back to my current picture I’m working on, I feel a lot more relaxed. And instead of sitting around, moping and not doing anything, I’m keeping my mind active and I always feel productive after just half an hour of doing it.
As for millions of people around the world, Sunday is the last day off before you get back to the 9-5, Monday to Friday grind. So I’ve spent the day just relaxing. And you can bet that blogging, colouring and finishing off pictures was on the top of my list.
Also, for all you guys who are on the go constantly, yet want to experience this colouring revolution, there are postcard versions, with a variety of different designs. These ones can be easily slipped into a bag, along with a small selection of pencils. And, if you’re sending them out to friends and family, they add a little something personal and thoughtful that the recipient would love.
So yes, colouring is not just for children. And I know that I’ve been sitting in different cafes around town, and whip
ped out my Art Therapy Book with a few chosen colours, and just found time to unwind and get my mental health in check for a little bit.
The Guardian on Adult Colouring-In Books – Click here.