Sunday, January 22, 2017

Adult Coloring

            One of my favorite Christmas gifts in 2016 was an adult coloring book my sixteen-year-old bought for me, along with a gorgeous set of gel pens.

            You may have heard of adult coloring books; in fact, I would be surprised if you haven’t heard of them and the splash they’ve made in the last few years among adults all over the world.

            Lest you become confused, I can assure you that adult coloring books are not akin to adult bookstores or adult toys. They are simply coloring books much like the ones you used as a child; the difference is that they’re generally printed on higher-quality paper with much more intricate designs and complex patterns.

            If you’ve never tried it, now might be a good time to give it a whirl. I’ve been doing some research on the benefits of adult coloring and it turns out the activity is good for people in lots of ways.

1.      Coloring in adult coloring books increases mindfulness in the artist. The activity is sometimes even prescribed by mental health professionals in lieu of meditation, as a way for clients to calm down and decrease anxiety.

2.      Because adult coloring takes concentration, it diverts focus away from negative thoughts. It’s for this reason that adult coloring is sometimes used as part of the therapy regimen for people suffering from emotional and mental health issues. And because it allows the brain to rest, thereby calming the fight-or-flight response in the brain, it can also be helpful in treating PTSD.

3.      Adult coloring uses both the right and left sides of the brain. Not only is the artist using the creative and problem-solving part of the mind, but he or she is also using the part of the brain that controls focus, concentration, and organization.

4.      Adult coloring takes us back to childhood, when times were simpler and responsibilities were far fewer.

5.      It forces us to unplug!

6.      Though I keep referring to the person coloring as the “artist,” you don’t have to be an artist to create something beautiful. Anyone can do it, anytime, anywhere.

7.      The use of adult coloring books may aid eyesight, because of the intricate patterns and designs that are employed.

8.      As hobbies go, it’s not too expensive. A total of about $25 should buy you a nice coloring book and a good set of colored pencils or gel pens. When compared with hobbies such as surfing, needlepoint, cooking, and a million other activities, it’s a bargain!

9.      It can be social! As writers we’re often isolated, spending our days alone with the exception of the characters peopling our imaginations; adult coloring is a healthy hobby that we can do with other people. Host a coloring party: have people bring pens, pencils, crayons, and coloring books—you supply the snacks and drinks. That’s all you need. I’ve been to an adult coloring night at my church and it was one of the most relaxing evenings I’ve had in a long time.

So if you haven’t had a chance to partake in the coloring craze sweeping the globe, do it now! I bought my first coloring book at a local independent bookstore, and that’s still one of the best places I can think of to pick up a coloring book of your own. But you can find them in lots of other stores, too, and online. I know you’re dying to see examples of my own coloring, so here are a few photos:

A completed picture

A Work-in-Progress

Another work-in-progress

If you’re interested in reading more about adult coloring, take a look at these articles:




Unknown said...

I too love adult coloring. As a matter of fact, I colored while I was in NY with my granddaughters, They loved having grandma color with them. Question for you, I have only used pencils which are easy to use and keep in lines.. which do you prefer, pencils or gels?

Enjoyed your article, have a wonderful week!


Amy M. Reade said...

Hi Sharon! For a long time I only used colored pencils and I liked them a lot. Now that I have the gel pens I find that they're really vibrant and beautiful. The downsides to gel pens are that they run out of ink much faster than a colored pencil wears down and if you make a mistake it's harder to hide. Bottom line: I like both. If I absolutely had to choose one, I'd probably pick the pencils. I also splurged and bought myself a pencil set that comes with neon pencils and metallic pencils, too. Here's the link so you can get an idea:

Have a great Sunday evening and thanks for stopping by!

Unknown said...

Thank You!

Susan Bernhardt said...

Enjoyable post, Amy, regarding the benefits of coloring. I always enjoyed coloring as a child, with my children, and as a Sunday school teacher. I haven't gotten on board yet with adult coloring as a meditative activity. I might just try it. :) said...

Fascinating to read this, Amy. I'm not sure I enjoyed coloring much as a child - I certainly don't remember doing so. I'm fascinated, though, by watching children (including my own very active young grandkids) settle down at a restaurant when given a coloring sheet and crayons as soon as we sit at the table. The kids quiet down immediately and, as you say, FOCUS on color, form, design. Their tongues hang out a bit from the concentration, and they are obviously enjoying themselves. Now I understand why this can be just as important/fun for adults to do. Meditative, calming, creative. I just may have to try this sometime. Your designs you've shared with us here are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Coloring was part of the program for a contemplative prayer retreat that I attended. I loved it and must get back to it. I have a half-finished version of your last one, Amy.

Great post!

authorlindathorne said...

Sounds great and very interesting. Honestly, it does, but I'm the bummer in the group. No time. I'm glad to hear it is something people are doing. I always liked it as a child and got serious about artwork in my teen years.

Joyce Ann Brown said...

This sounds like great fun, and your colored pictures are lovely.

Liane Spicer said...

Your pictures are lovely! I haven't paid much attention to the craze thinking it was just another fad but the benefits sound impressive. Plus, I love gel pens and those pencils you linked are very, very tempting.