I may be a 53-year-old grandmother, but the intense satisfaction of colouring-in pre-printed generic outlines I’ve enjoyed since childhood has never left me. The current trend for producing adult colouring books has been brilliant for me – I have three A4 sized books, all slightly different, and alternate them depending on my mood. Some pages have full-page abstract designs, some with only central circular mandala-style shapes; some with recognisable subjects, some no more than doodles.
Colouring-in for me nowadays is a completely harmless way of creating some semblance of control over my actions in what can sometimes feel like an otherwise uncontrollable adult world – I can choose which colour to put next, one after another, finally building up a complete picture that is uniquely mine. Even someone else with the same book will no doubt choose to colour the same image very differently – perhaps using felt-tipped pens instead of coloured pencils, or pressing lightly and shading larger areas rather than pressing more heavily, concentrating on smaller sections.
Personally I prefer applying relatively dense colour by using the same kind of coloured pencils I used as a child – I first lay them all out on a tray to locate each colour more easily, before becoming completely engrossed in the rhythmic patterns of small movments, simply letting my imagination run free going with the flow of colour in whichever direction suits me best at the time. Some pages I work from edge to edge, and others I begin somewhere in the middle and radiate out. And I don’t tend to plan each design in advance – I simply move on playfully from one colour, one shape, to the next until I’m done.
Colouring-in soothes me in a way I can’t quite describe – it connects me in the simplest and most inclusive of ways with the immersive joy of creative artistic expression. Perhaps not everyone can draw or paint, but everyone can colour in – it’s not as daunting as facing a completely blank page as the outlines are already there in principle, providing the perfect framework to entice you in. When life feels drab and grey, it really does help me put a little colour into my world… 🙂