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Coloring-in for grown-ups

Can you believe I’ve been thinking about this post for a full month?

For some reason it’s become important to me to persuade you that coloring-in is a beautiful, relaxing, wonderful pastime for grown-ups. And that you buy yourself some lovely crayons, pencils or felt pens, brushes, quills, fine-nib fountain pen and inks, big, fat markers or an expensive set of soft pastels, choose a coloring-in book or two that you fancy and allow yourself the sweet, innocent, liberating pleasure that coloring-in brings us.

Why do most of us stop coloring-in when we love it so? I guess we take up more challenging endeavours in late childhood and then forget all about coloring-in. And, as I have been discovering thanks to my daughter, coloring-in is a deeply satisfying, simple escape from the hurly-burly and weirdly therapeutic.

My daughter and I often sit at the table and color in a picture together, in a free-form way where she may suddenly decide we start a new picture so I have to be flexible in that area! And all the while she is talking, talking, talking and I am listening. This is a brilliant way to let your child tell you things they’ve been wanting to say, in a relaxed, side-by-side way. But that’s an aside.

I really don’t want you to think you need a child or need to be child-like to color-in. There is an amazing array of colouring books with special appeal for grown-ups. Some are designed especially for grown-ups. Now, I am all for the gorgeous pre-school kind of big pictures like the one above (my daughter colored that one in, her coloring is much more textural and pleasing than mine). So grab one of those at your local store for a bit of nostalgia.

I am not really good with fiddly, fine-lined drawings but an enlightened friend gave me a Rosie Flo’s coloring book ages ago and I loved that. What a beautiful range of creative coloring books! Please check out the coloured-in gallery.

How great it is to be faced with the exact boundaries of solid black lines and white space inviting you to color it. How good a chunky, soft crayon feels in your hand. The smell of felt pens. How tricky it really is to stay within the lines (well, for me it still is anyway). In fact, maybe coloring-in is even more fun for adults than children.

But do we allows ourselves the fun? Says Sara of darling Etsy shop Kitty Baby Love, “We often get a lot of adults who love our items, but then sigh and say sadly that they don’t have any children to buy them for. It’s nice to have more encouragement for adults to enjoy these cute things too. Fun/cute/creative need not be for children only!”

OMG – look at these crayons from Kitty Baby Love! —->

Feast your eyes on these and see if you can resist getting yourself a coloring book next time you’re down the supermarket or — yes, the art supply store (most have them!). And remember to get yourself your favorite media; crayon, pastel, paint, colored pencil, marker, ink …… ah.

For those who are both hip and charity-minded:

The Yellow Bird Indie Rock Coloring Book

“I like coloring books. I also like charity. So as you can imagine, I definitely like this!”
– Russell Lissack of Bloc Party

“This is the greatest coloring book since coloring was invented. I’ve decided to have kids just so I’ll have somebody to give this book to.”
– Matt Berninger of The National

For the fashion aware:

My Wonderful World of Fashion: A Book for Drawing, Creating and Dreaming.”

If you love vintage items (or want to color the exact style of coloring book you did when you were little!) you can still find – amazingly – pristine vintage coloring books like these Cowboy and Holly Hobbie ones I just found with a quick search on ebay.com.

AND Prestel Publishing brings us FINE ART coloring-in books based on Warhol, Klimpt and Dali! Previously I would have thought this was sacriligious but now I’m thinking WOW! We found the Klimpt one at a charity shop and it’s great!

You can find these and more than ten thousand more coloring books on ebay in both the US and UK. Now, if you are an artist who creates coloring books or you want to recommend particular coloring books, please share your links with us in the comments section below.

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