Sunday, April 26, 2015

Coloring: Everything old is new again

(I've been updating this post regularly to include new articles on the topic.)

For a long time, I had a secret: I loved to color.

A friend turned me on to adult coloring books at least 10 years ago. She gave me a book and some markers and I rediscovered the joy of choosing colors and filling in sections of designs, large and small, simple and intricate. It didn’t take long before a bought a couple of books and added a couple of packages of brilliantly hued Sharpies to my collection. In no time, I completely filled a Susanne Fincher book of mandalas. 

I had spent a little time coloring with some kids a while earlier and was disappointed that today’s crayons didn’t have the brilliance I remembered from my childhood. The Sharpies definitely filled that bill. 

I would color at night when it was quiet. There was no one to judge whether that shade of green went with the orange; blended together with blue, purple and shades of pink and red; it all worked.

Being an artist was never in the cards for me. I always amazed me how people could transfer a vase of flowers onto canvas. In school I was stymied by the grade-school art classes where the teacher showed the class how to draw the human figure.

However, I always liked color and loved the art history classes I took in college, so coloring filled the artistic niche in my soul.

Life intervened and my books and basket of markers sat unused for a number of years. However, several recent articles about the benefits of coloring for adults, combined with way too much time spent in front of the computer, led me to pull out my books. A treasure trove of online mandalas to print out also was inspirational.

There are lots of different genres to choose from at Coloring Pages for Adults.  

In progress.
Best of all, the downloads for both sites are free.

Apparently lots of other people feel the same way. An adult coloring book by Johanna Basford, “Secret Garden,” is on backorder at Amazon. (Yes, I’ve placed my order.) It was discussed in a New York Times article extolling the virtues of adult coloring.

My absolute favorite book this time around is Creative Haven's Creative Cats (Dover), a myriad of themed pages featuring a sweet-faced cat, or two or more. 

From Creative Haven's Creative Cats.
 A HuffPost article, originally published in HuffPost Spain, and another in GalleyCat described coloring as a stress reducer, and the fact that it’s an international pastime. Another HuffPost article touted the benefit of coloring mandalas for relaxation, mentioning a book by Wendy Piersall, "Coloring Flower Mandalas." Yes, I’ve ordered that one, too. 

Shelf Awareness, a book industry newsletter, also has a good article about the adult coloring craze with information about a lot of new books coming out. Even Publisher's Weekly is writing about it. 

Major mainstream media has written about the phenomenon. There were spots on NBC and NPR.

Parade has a good article about coloring for beginners. And even The New Yorker is on the bandwagon with an article about coloring and adult play in general, albeit a tad disparaging by implying that adults are avoiding confronting the world around them. The Associated Press also published an article. And the website Upworthy has posted an article as well.

Wonder/Wander/World has a good article that focuses on the incredible variety of books available.

The ever-ubiquitous Facebook has a group of coloring aficionados, Coloring for All! It's an excellent resource for newbies and a place to share your works of art. There are also pages available for download, tips on the best tools to use, and information about new books and artists. Be careful, however. The group is addicting as coloring itself. 

In case you need to justify your new hobby, here are seven reasons.

CBS's morning program had a spot extolling the virtues of adult coloring with a couple of people mentioning they were "closet colorers." Johanna Basford was also interviewed.  

Sales of Basford's Secret Garden in China totaled 3 million is less than three months, according to its publisher, and was the hit of the Beijing Book Fair. Sales of the book worldwide have reached close to 7 million. And that's just one book out of an overflowing market. (Dover Publication even has a coloring book featuring the Pope.) 

Here's an updated Shelf Awareness article from Feb. 10, 2016, confirming that there's no slow-down. This article shows just how the diverse the subject matter has become -- feminism, gays, anarchists, pregnancy, Elizabeth Warren...  

Add to this, Donald Trump, swear words (two! here and here), and divorce!

There's something for everyone!

Katie Couric posted a video on coloring on Yahoo. 

As with everything, there are detractors, this from a sociologist, who just doesn't get it. My response: "Try it, you'll like it!"

Coloring has become a truly international phenomenon and has even led to a global pencil shortage.

I also indulged in two new packages of Sharpies; one has silver, gold, and bronze markers! Well, they were on sale at Staples. And I’ll save them until I get the new books. (Update: I've since purchased a set of Staedler Triplus Fineliners, some neon Sharpies, a couple white gel pens, a set of 36 Bic Markits ultrafine (they're wonderful) and – drum roll – a 72 set of Utrecht premium colored pencils at a firesale price.)

Someone please stop me.

For my own experience, I enjoy the feel of the markers on the paper (crayons or colored pencils were recommended, but for me the color is just not intense enough). I like choosing the colors, either contrasting them or keeping them in the same family. 

I take that back. Since that statement above, I've purchased two sets of pencils, in addition to the Utrechts, a set of Marco Raffines and a set of Staedtler Noris Club. I'm lusting after Farber-Castels and discerning the difference among the different brands. Learning the fine techniques of shading has also been so enjoyable.
Kitty by Między Kreskami Kolorowanki, one of my favorites.
It’s a way to get myself away from the addiction of the computer, whether it’s Facebook or the threads of research I often get caught up in. 

Have I slept better without the excessive evening blue screen exposure? That remains to be seen.


Dina Fullerton said...

Hi Sally! I love coloring too. Like you, being an artist was never in the cards for me though I have a deep love and appreciation for color and am often told I'm artistic. Hmpf! Can't draw, can't paint but I knit and will soon take up coloring again following your advice to get Sharpies as I prefer the intense color, too.

WoaWomen Urra said...

thx for liking our link Sally & sharing it with your viewers

Coloring pages said...

Awesome Content.....
Here are some also nice Coloring pages for adults ..... So check it You love them....

Priya Singh said...

Halloween Coloring Pages