Coloring Isn’t Just For Kids

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While paging through my Wreck This Journal, I came across the “Test Page” where there are instructions to use the space to test out crayons, paints, and other art supplies. The test page reminded me of something I always did in my coloring books as a kid and now as an adult. As a five-year-old and a 34- year-old, I’ve always created color swatches on the inside cover before coloring anything on an actual page.

Scribble, scribble!

Yes, I still color.  Even though it’s an activity mostly reserved for children, I find immense joy in the practice of filling blank spaces with color whether it be Garfield or an intricate Medieval tapestry.  I love how the image changes when color is added, the smell of crayons and colored pencils, the swishing sound of a crayon going back and forth, and the feeling of accomplishment when the page is completed.  The process is very relaxing and cathartic when real life threatens to turn everything black and white.

My drawer is filled with at least twenty coloring books.  Some are brand new while others have been with me since I was a little girl.  The oldest one I have is a Bullwinkle and Rocky coloring book I’ve had since I was about eight years old.  My juvenile scribbles scrawl across half of it, right beside the pages I colored just last week.  Yup, I still color Bullwinkle and all his friends! The inner child in me rejoices, (and she really giggled when I bought a new Smurfs coloring book a few months ago).

Garfield, Barbie, and Bullwinkle are relics from my childhood, but I still color in them on a regular basis. The Smurfs coloring book is a brand new addition to my collection!

Last week’s coloring creation.

When I’m looking for a challenge, I delve into my collection of Dover coloring books which contain highly artistic plates ranging from intricate tile patterns, butterflies, Egyptian art, and complicated geometric designs.  My muse is always challenged to come up with interesting color palettes to fill in all the blank spaces.

Dover coloring books offer unique and artistic images.

From my Medieval Tapestry Coloring Book. It probably took a total of 4 hours to complete.

I stock a wide variety of coloring supplies and I’m always a sucker for something new.  I have everything from crayons (regular, glitter, metallic, variegated,), colored pencils, markers (fat, skinny, classic, bold, and bright), Twistables, glitter glue, and metallic gel pens.  Every time I sit down to color, I make a huge mess and lay out all my coloring utensils.  The possibilities are endless and I love the sense freedom that comes from all those colors.

Part of my collection of coloring supplies.

Once I’ve chosen what coloring book to play in and what image to color, I set about finding the color combinations.  That means making color swatches on a piece of scratch paper or on the inside cover.  After a while, the swatches make for an interesting piece of art in and of themselves.

With all the colors chosen, I let myself get lost in the moment.  If the image is particularly complicated, two hours (or more) will easily fly by without my knowledge.  I’m totally absorbed and the outside world just disappears.  All that matters is color.  No one is ever too old to bask in shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

Go ahead and grab some crayons.  You know you want to.

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c.b. 2012

38 thoughts on “Coloring Isn’t Just For Kids

    • I’ve used them in my classroom, too. The Egyptian art coloring book is one I’ve used many times to give my students some great visuals on Egyptian writing and religious practices.

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  1. I could not agree more. Coloring is just ridiculously relaxing. In fact, at a recent family gathering on Easter, my inlaws and I found ourselves gathered around a table, picking at crayons and coloring books while the two actual children the gear was purchased for played with other toys on the floor. lol Anyone who hasn’t color something since child hood, try it! It really is terribly cathartic!

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    • I have wonderful memories of coloring with my mom when I was a kid, and now even more great memories of coloring with my sister and grandmother. Its really a wonderful activity to share with loved ones. 🙂

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    • Love Prismacolor . . . they blend so beautifully. I do a lot a lot of drawing at work (most of my lesson plans are very visual) and I do love adding color to make the assignment pop for my students.

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    • Bullwinkle has been my coloring book of choice lately. Work has been crazy and all I want to do is focus on something simple. I’m so glad that coloring book has survived my childhood and still has a place in my life. 🙂

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  2. Perhaps the easiest thing about coloring in books is that the picture is already done for you (me). My talents aren’t drawing! i don’t remember the last time I colored. That means it has probably been too long. May 25 🙂 It will be nice to spend time with my inner child again. Can’t believe you still have stuff from your childhood. I don’t even have stuff from last year!!

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    • I have my grandmother to thank for saving a lot of my childhood books and toys. I have a few prized items (namely a wooden iron my grandfather made, books I read as kid, and a few other trinkets), and the Bullwinkle coloring book is definitely one of them.

      After May 25th we should get together and color, seeing as we’re already hanging out for creative purposes. 🙂

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  3. Great post!! This one totally appealed to me, cause I love colouring and engaging in playful, “kid” activities 🙂 haha. I realize that I should be using more of my free time these days to delve into free-flowing, non-pressure, creative pursuits like these, rather than mindlessly searching for things to read online all the time….Playfulness leads to creativity! My partner and I have this awesome “adult” colouring book, with lots of cool intricate designs in it.

    Thanks for sharing! You’ve always got such great ideas 🙂

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  4. My favorite cartoon of all time is Rocky and Bullwinkle. Watching it as a child probably is responsible for my weird sense of humor as an adult. I have the whole videotape collection. But I never had a Bullwinkle coloring book.
    I love the Dover Celtic Knot coloring books. And a very long time ago I had their mandala coloring book which was very cool. What human anatomy knowledge I was able to stuff into my brain was thanks to, you guessed it, “The Anatomy Coloring Book.”
    They color in broad strokes so they are not good for detail work, but I love using water-soluble oil pastels to lay down and blend lots of color. And yes to Prismacolors – totally wonderful! I realize it’s been too long since I had a new box of crayons – I will have to remedy that. I always loved the smell when you opened a brand new box of crayola crayons. I hope it hasn’t changed.

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    • I’m busy looking for Bullwinkle and Rocky on DVD (a set that doesn’t break the bank!). 🙂

      A friend of mind has the Celtic Knot coloring book – it’s gorgeous and I’ve always been a little jealous of it! 🙂

      What an interesting way to learn anatomy! I wish they make some history . . . then I wouldn’t have to make so much of it myself. 🙂

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  5. I haven’t held a crayon in ages. I miss this. I must’ve thought that since I’m a bit older I should stick to paintbrushes. You just got me back to coloring with crayons 🙂

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  6. Me too! I love colouring (or I used to when things weren’t so bad here). It used to be a wonderful past-time – it’s like adding joy to a very dull life! It allows for some creativity, at least I get to decide the colours of my roof, children’s clothes and all. What an empowerment after the daily toil! 🙂

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  7. I used to love colouring as a kid but haven’t done much of it lately, except to help my students, hand-over-hand, make their mark on the work. It’s not really the same as carefully keeping within the lines and creating a work of art. I love those Dover colouring books. I don’t think I’ve seen any quite so exotic and complicated before – except maybe DoodleArt. Hmmm, I remember seeing some colouring books in the basement, remnants of the kids’ toys that I keep handy in case the young nieces & nephews drop in. Now where are my crayons? 🙂

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    • You may have to go out and buy a brand new box of crayons. 🙂 I swear there’s nothing as wonderful as opening a fresh box. They are all sharp and that smell of new wax is just intoxicating!

      Have fun!

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  8. What a wonderful thing! My 2 boys are not that interested in coloring – they are painters – so I had really forgotten the joy of crayons. I may have to break them out again and revel in color. THank you for this reminder!

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