A few weeks ago I was sat with my small son doing some “craft stuff”. While he adorned a piece of paper with feathers, paint, sparkles, pasta, twigs and more, I grabbed his discarded Pirate Colouring In Book and some fat felt tip pens and spent a few rather enjoyable minutes colouring in a pirate and his parrot! I was however rather surprised, at just how annoyed I felt when a large blue streak was painted across the page with the words “it needs blue Mummy”! After just 5 – 10 minutes of colouring, I felt a strange sense of loss!
So a few days later when I saw a news report about the latest craze for adult colouring books, I knew I had to give it a go! Billed as a weapon against stress, and a way to mindfulness, colouring books for adults sell in shocking amounts. I chose a colouring book by the very talented Millie Marotta, who draws all of the beautiful and highly detailed illustrations with a Rotring Rapidograph fine liner. When the book arrived, the first thing that struck me was the quality, this is not a pirate colouring book from the pound shop! Thick high quality paper and printing give the book a “coffee table” book feel.
There is no doubt that the book I choose “Millie Marottas’s Animal Kingdom” is absolutely beautiful, before you even open it up and start colouring.
Millie advises using colouring pencils to give yourself the best shot at the pictures, I purchased some decent ones, and grabbing a little stolen time sat down to hopefully relax and be creative! I should perhaps add here that I am not any way artistic, I am unable to draw or paint, and have little time or patience for anything with the word craft in its title, but I was hoping the easy premise and simplicity of adult colouring in would prove something even I could lose myself in for a while!
The pictures are the results of my labour!
Did I enjoy it? Yes, up to a point, I had a awful nagging feeling every time I sat down and grabbed my pencils, that if I had time to waste colouring in, then really, surely, I could make better use of that time! I actually had to reason with myself that it was ok, I was going to write about it. The funny thing is, I didn’t find it very creative, all that had already been done in the intricate and beautifully presented pictures. My very analytical mind found it impossible to abandon all the colour rules and create highly coloured picture, instead the elephant still had to remain very much like an elephant with a grey torso and legs, leaves are green and tree trunks are brown.
For a few short minutes I did relax and did enjoy it, but for me, it quickly became a chore, and as I knew was writing this, a job that needed to be done.
I think the problem is I am not the target market, I am a mum of small children, I work full-time and write in any time I find spare. There is no room in my life for sitting down and colouring, and I didn’t enjoy it enough to make that room. Perhaps if time is more abundant to you, then this is something which could certainly wile away some time while reducing your stress levels. I also don’t think I am terribly good at it, my creative outlet is writing and that probably says more about my personality than I ever could, I got bored with the tiny intricate bits and annoyed when I couldn’t get symmetry in the pictures.
It’s a lovely idea, and one which is adored by many but for me, I think probably colouring in pirates with crayons is going to be the nearest I will get for a while to more colouring in!
Fancy having a go yourself?