Color Your World

It is a happy talent to know how to play.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet

Did you know one of publishing’s hottest trends is adult coloring books?

Now, I’m not talking about animated Disney characters or animals or alphabet letters with thick black lines around them. Adult coloring books feature intricate designs like flowers, mandalas, paisleys, and such marketed to ease stress and encourage creativity.

Designs that one could spend days working on, like this:


The friend who introduced me to coloring started me using felt-tip markers. They make gorgeous, bright colors that are bold and vivid:


But I quickly tired of markers (and they’re expensive!), so I switched to colored pencils. Some are available with two colors on opposite sides, making for a great deal of variation in colors, along with a softer, pastel feel:


According to the New York Post, adult coloring began in earnest in 2011 across the Pond with books aimed at older children. When adults started snapping them up — to the tune of millions of copies purchased — publishers knew they had a hit on their hands.


Now, you can hardly go into any store from Wal-Mart to Hobby Lobby without seeing displays of all sorts of adult “art therapy” books.

And why not? Most of us colored as kids. We enjoyed it, and our grownup lives are so complex that we need a bit of downtime for sanity’s sake.

One can color alone while talking on the phone or watching TV; some even color with friends or during problem-solving sessions at work.

So whether it’s a mandala (a mesmerizing circular design that draws the eye toward its center):


or something in paisley:


or a complex picture:


coloring is FUN! And those who haven’t tried it lately don’t know what they’re missing.

The next time you’re feeling stressed out, why not pick up some colors and indulge your inner child? You might be amazed at how calming this pastime can be!

30 thoughts on “Color Your World

  1. Suffice it to say I’m not so enthused about this new pastime. I know many enjoy it a good bit, and good for them (and you!), but it’s not for me. Of course, I’ve never been one for staying within the lines, so there’s that. I’d rather start with a blank canvas. I always did like finger-painting better than coloring books.

    The designs are pretty, and choosing colors and such could be fun, but at heart, I’m not so sure it encourages creativity. Just my weird opinion.

    • Not weird at all! I appreciate your sharing your thoughts, and I can see where coloring wouldn’t be for everyone. Thank goodness, we have lots of hobbies available to choose from!

      Perhaps the reason I lean toward coloring books is because I LOVE color yet do good to draw even stick people. Not that we didn’t draw as kids, but even then I recognized my limitations and knew enough to play to my strengths! And finger-painting? No way! I just saw that as messy, ha!!

    • Really? It probably didn’t seem warrior-like to you. But I’m not kidding about it being relaxing — unless, of course, you’re going to allow others to judge your work. Then it becomes a burden which no one needs.

  2. Debbie, you’re coloring art pieces are fabulous! I love to color too! I have several coloring bookings, in fact, I have a mandala book and a few children’s coloring books as well. I use colored pencils for the adult books, and crayons for the children’s.

    I find coloring very therapeutic and relaxing. When I was in the hospital last October, one of the nurses brought me in several pages of her daughter’s coloring books and some colored pencils because she I had mentioned to her that I liked to color. I thought that was so thoughtful and sweet of her.

    “It is a happy talent to know how to play. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet”

    Loved that quote! Have a super weekend, my friend. And have fun coloring!

    • You, too, Ron? How cool is that!! My late dad often colored with my niece and nephew (and with little Domer), and it provided lots of bonding time for them. I don’t know why, but kids tend to speak more freely when their hands are occupied than when they’re having to look an adult in the eye!

      What a lovely gesture your nurse made — you know, all we have to do is listen and act to make another person’s day better. I hope others in her profession were taking notes!

      Thanks for reading; here’s hoping your weekend is wonderful — like YOU!! xxx

    • I’m glad you, too, are in the coloring camp, Suzi! Sometimes I question whether I enjoy it so much because it gives me a great place to procrastinate when I should be writing!! But then, I do love the immediacy of turning out something pretty, rather than waiting forever and a day to see my words in print, ha!

  3. It is so therapeutic, Debbie. I bought one for my older daughter and I found myself doing a page and totally zoning out, which was a nice break. Yours look much better than mine though!

    • My mom gave it a try, and she complains mine look better than hers, too. I contend it’s not a competition. If it’s helping you relax and find some inner peace, it’s accomplishing what they advertise. A friend of mine says she zones out so much, she falls asleep while she’s coloring, ha!

  4. Your pictures are lovely! I don’t colour – it wasn’t something I enjoyed much even as a child, largely because I don’t have much eye for colour and I’m not neat! But I do cross-stitch for exactly the same reasons – totally relaxing. Someone else has done the hard work of designing and though I’m not neat with pens or pencils, for some reason I’m a very neat stitcher. And like your pictures do for you, I’m sure, the finished product gives me a lot of satisfaction and pride…

  5. I’ve been aware of this new trend, but haven’t felt compelled to participate until reading your post, Debbie! Another blogger has me wanting to do jigsaw puzzles. I need to figure out how to fit more space in my days for these things!

    • Isn’t that the truth, Tee?? I meet myself coming and going these days — ’tis a good thing I’m self-employed, for no one in their right mind would want somebody like me chained to a desk in an office, ha!

  6. I hadn’t heard about that trend (I don’t get out of my cave much) but it does look fun and the result is some beautiful art work. I’d say anything that reduces stress is a good thing. I’d probably wear the pencils down to nubs, well, assuming I could muster the will to even begin.

    • I expect coloring is a bit of an escapist pleasure, Janna. Like I need some other mindless pursuit to take me away from finishing my work-in-progress, huh?? Anyway, I do find it relaxing, especially when I have a few minutes to “kill” and don’t want to get deeply involved in something more important. Now, what to do with all these finished drawings??!

  7. Debbie, so glad you’ve discovered coloring, too. I love the joy of picking colors and seeing the picture on the page come alive. Plus, it really is so relaxing and soothing and Lord knows in these times, we can use some of that. Love your photos. Here’s to continued fun in the world of color!

    • Thanks, Monica! Any suggestions on what to do with these finished drawings?? I’ve been hanging on to mine and love seeing how much my “technique” has improved, but it’s not like when Domer was little and decorated the fridge, ha!

    • Bet you’d enjoy it, Pat. My mom doesn’t seem to like it — I think she’s just comparing her efforts with mine, and any two people are going to “see” a picture differently. I suppose, being a web designer, I just love playing with colors and such!!

  8. wow…so pretty!! Great job but….not for me! After raising 6 kids, surviving cancer, and having an illness I cannot do that or do puzzles. My brain is fried! LOL! But I do crochet. I think adult coloring is a great thing because it helps to be creative. So Deb…did you have snow? If so Where are the pictures? I will be waiting for your spring flower photos.

    • I used to crochet and enjoyed it immensely, Tanya. My late grandma was a pro at it! Snow?? Uh-uh, none of that going on here! I’m with you, awaiting the arrival of spring flowers (and yes, when I see some, I’ll snap their pictures and post!)

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