Colouring isn't just for kids.
Adult colouring books are all the rage.
You may have dismissed them (as I once did) as being for people with too much time on their hands. Or for those having some kind of midlife crisis that has turned them into a dribbling wreck of a toddler, screaming for their crayons.
How wrong I was.
My friend and former colleague - project manager extraordinaire Claire Grantham - has been crafting for some time now. But it's when I noticed her social posts about colouring, alongside the crafting ones, that I truly understood the absolute joy and pleasure Claire derived from what she was doing. Not part of a business plan. No hustle involved. Just pure, colouring fun.
I'd seen her mention The Daily Marker's #30daycoloringchallenge (US spelling folks) a few times over the years. So when I was having a little mental health break, I decided I'd join in and see what the fuss was about.
It was a minor epiphany.
First off, it may seem obvious, but you don't need to be able to draw to do colouring. This gives every single person an entry point. Many use a colouring book or pre-printed outlines called 'stamps', which can be printed digitally or stamped with a good old fashioned stamp pad.
I personally drew out the things I would colour in. I discovered an utter joy I'd not experienced since I was a kid. I totally got it. I was connecting to a sense of childhood creative play.
For the #30daycoloringchallenge I created one large A4 drawing of complex shapes and lines - abstract, and just spouted from my subconscious - and coloured a little bit of these every day until it was complete. It looked like a psychedelic vomit trip, but at least an aesthetically pleasing one.
Below: Day 1 and Day 30 of the psychedelic vomit trip...I mean, 30 Day Coloring Challenge.
The lesson learned was that pure creative flow was happening. Not having to think about the drawing, and just focusing purely on the colouring, was a big shift. It wasn't just the process that was creative - the mind-wandering that also resulted meant that ideas about all sorts kept popping up.
My brain went to another place, like a meditative state. I kept having to jot notes about ideas on other scraps of paper.
Colouring helps the creative brain really function. So grab a colouring book, get the felt tips out, and discover what all the fuss is about.
But please put the lids back on properly afterwards. You're an adult now.
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