Coloring Is Finally Cool!

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Years ago my Grandma taught me coloring is fun, relaxing, and even therapeutic. The recent explosion in the popularity of coloring books tells me the rest of the world has figured out that she was right.

When I was a kid, I had the usual simple coloring books – Barbie, Garfield, and Rocky & Bullwinkle. I actually still have them and do occasionally indulge in a little childhood nostalgia by coloring one of the few remaining blank pages.

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My old childhood coloring books. Bullwinkle and Rocky was my favorite.

However, as I got older the need for a challenge and creative inspiration lead to the discovery of Dover coloring books for adults. Intricate images of botanicals, animals, geometric design (everything from Turkish tiles to stained glass windows), mandalas, and even Medieval Tapestries kept my colored pencils endlessly busy.

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Some of my favorite coloring books. I will happily spend hours and hours on a single page.

Not only was coloring a great stress reliever throughout college and beyond, it was something I did with my Grandma and sister. We shared coloring books, colored pencils, and the best conversations. As we sat and colored in teeny tiny spaces, we talked about everything, laughed, and had an all out wonderful time together.

We also created a few masterpieces along the way …

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Both of these came from the Decorative Tile Designs coloring book. Grandma’s is on the left and mine is on the right. 

When Grandma started having small strokes, we immediately saw a difference in her motor skills and speech. Yet, we still pulled out the coloring books. It turned out coloring was an amazing source of physical therapy. Holding colored pencils and having some control over where the color went made it possible for Grandma to retain a bit more dexterity. Not to mention the mental exercise of maintaing focus.

Coloring helped hold her together a little bit longer, even after dementia began to set in. Towards the end colors started going a bit outside the lines, but she was still with us – sharing laughter and stories.

One of the more meaningful things I inherited from my Grandma was her stack of coloring books. I keep them safe along with my own. Every once in a while, I’ll pull one out and color a page or two. It brings back beautiful memories and makes all my stress melt away at the same time.

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Grandma’s Coloring Books. In particular we all loved working the Floral Alphabet book.

At my local bookstore, what started as a small display of coloring books has grown into three entire shelves. People are flocking to it and actually buying coloring books filled with fancy shmancy designs. It makes me smile and I hope they find the same joy I do every time I open a coloring book.

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The coloring book display at my local Barnes & Noble. I’ve got my eye on the travel book. That looks like fun!

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c.b.w. 2015

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16 thoughts on “Coloring Is Finally Cool!

  1. Such joy comes through this post and a gem of memory to be preserved forever…so special and heart warming…thank you, for sharing this. I’m going to see if our small local bookstore has some coloring books! 🙂 I used to love coloring…your old books brought back memories!

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  2. That’s a great memory to be able to have of your grandmother. 🙂
    I’ve always loved coloring too, and it’s very interesting that it’s now being seen as a fun pass time for adults as well as children. ^_^

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    • I’m lucky enough to have many memories of her. We shared so many experiences – I miss her, but at least I have a number of ways to remember her. I’m amazed at how popular coloring has become. Every time I go to the bookstore I see at least half a dozen people stop by the coloring display. 🙂

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  3. Love this post. I miss coloring, and I wish I would sit down and do it from time to time, but It always seems like I’m too busy. That being said, this post is a great reminder to stop and maybe just color. 🙂

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    • After my grandparents passed away, there was no weekly visit and therefore no weekly coloring time. It’s been an adjustment to find time, but I’ve definitely realized how important it is to slow down and take some time to color. Even half an hour can make a difference. 🙂 (It’s also highly cathartic as I grieve)

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  4. I’ve loved learning about your grandma and your memories of her. The glimpses into her relationship with you is so special. 🙂

    I haven’t colored in a coloring book in years, and I had no idea that they had more complex ones besides anatomy books. (And I only know about those because some of my colleagues use them.) Sounds like a relaxing pastime!

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    • I colored the Great Wall of China and a cute little floral design last night. It was so much fun! 🙂

      I’m always going to be grateful for the relationship I had with my grandma. It really was something special.

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