I’m not adverse to therapy, far from. For many people it works wonders. I came across this Art Therapy Blog which talks about all of the benefits of art therapy for all people, not just those with ‘disorders’. But I’ll be honest, my post isn’t about discussing the pros and cons of therapy or which types of therapy I rate more than others, this post is about crayons, felt-tips and colouring in.
I was always a fan of the humble colouring book as a child, with very little actual artistic flare I was much more a words than pictures kinda gal, I would happily pass away many a hour creating masterpieces of houses and flowers in flimsy little cheap books on of white ‘recycled’ style paper. Imagine my delight when shopping one day and I came across ‘Adult Colouring Books’. Now at first thought I thought my mind took me down the root of suggestive/naughty pictures, perhaps that says something about me more than it does the title but when realizing that these books were in the supermarket I quickly assumed they were above board.
After discussing my amazement at this revival of such a childhood flash back over the dinner table one night I was so excited to get home from work a few days later to be gifted one.
Purchased for just £4(!) the ‘Creative Therapy – Anti-Stress Colouring Book’ is such an amazing buy. Which is why I am starting the crusade to get us grownups colouring again! There must be 100+ pages of high quality paper, literally I think you could use permanent markers and there would be no bleed through. As a self confessed stationary hoarder too I did not need too much encouragement to dig out the Crayola twistables and a pack of pencils!
The simplicity of coluring and doodling means you don’t have to worry about making any mistakes, because there is no right or wrong technique…you can start anywhere you want so pick up a pen or pencils and get creating.
What coloring teaches us
I think as an adult we get carried away in sourcing the end result of everything and we forget to acknowledge or enjoy the process of getting there. Colouring in is a process, it teaches us that no matter how we get there, there was a process we followed and a pattern we created or adapted.
The pictures in the book are so intricate and detailed that one starts with a method in mind but soon learns that you have to change and adapt to meet your end goal and whats more, in the end it looks incredible. Setting little challenges to complete in a set time or following a particular pattern we are able to set ourselves a goal which only we are answerable to and that we can modify to suit our change of direction of new idea.
We can take these lessons into life with us. At university the craze was, and still probably is all about ‘transferable skills’. The skills, and I use that word loosely, required for colouring are essential in life, patients, completion of one task before starting another, assessing your initial choice and understanding the variations of depths and texture. It’s all very much linked and very very calming.
I coloured in a gorgeous headshot of a Lion on a recent short haul flight. 2 hours of non-stop creativity. It makes you mindful of the task in hand therefore worries fizzle to the back of your consciousness, you feel more in control as you hold the colour choices and methodically make each choice.
So what may sound childish and like a throwback past time is important for us to continue to grow, who doesn’t like a bit of escapism every now and again? I’m not saying its for everyone and trust me I know many who will laugh at the thought of my sat there for two hours with a pencil case full of crayons but I don’t care, it works for me and the sense of achievement upon completing a page is fantastic!