Adult Colouring is a trend you can't escape, so why not embrace the phenomenon with gusto this Christmas? You might be surprised by how much you and your loved ones enjoy it.
I first became fascinated by the growth in popularity of adult colouring a year ago, and although sure it would not appeal to me as a personal hobby I thought the format provided the perfect forum for artists to showcase their work. So I posted a brief on Amelia's Magazine and set about making Amelia's Colourful Colouring Companion. In the interests of research I decided to try adult colouring myself, and before I knew it I was a total convert: from intrigued sceptic to full on addict, here's what I've learnt during my colouring journey so far.
1. Colouring Can Be Daunting
Yes, really! Making marks on a blank bit of paper can be daunting to most, but colouring is not necessarily the easy route out. Choosing the right medium and colours can be a scary process, so don't be surprised if you occasionally find yourself stumped. Colouring is given a bad rap as uncreative but as a colourist you impose your own creativity on that page. Yes, I said colourist. Being a colourist is a thing in the adult colouring world. And I'm not talking hair dye.
2. Colouring Is For Everyone
Don't let the above put you off: there are many ways to make the creative choices less stressful. Try the wonderful website Color Hunt for simple colour palettes if you're stuck on what to use. Or, don't think about what colour you pick up, just use whatever medium you have to hand and be impulsive. There are no rights and wrongs so enjoy the process; it's supposed to be fun and relaxing. Colouring builds creative confidence so it is a great entry point into further artistic endeavour.
3. Colouring Is A Creative Collaboration
You may be colouring someone else's creation, but your decisions enable that line drawing to come to life - so don't underestimate your input. When you spend a lot of time colouring in you get to know the artist's artwork intimately, so it really helps if you like their style. Go for a theme that appeals to you: from mandalas to mohicans, there are thousands of books now available with designs to suit all tastes. Why not seek your interests out? A good colouring book artist will keep you inspired for days on end.
4. The Colouring Community Thrives Online
You know how colouring is touted as the best way to switch off and step away from the screen? Well that's true, but there is a thriving adult colouring community sharing artwork online, swapping tips and admiring each other's work. Facebook is the best place to ogle at some true masterpieces, learn how to achieve the best shading and get into discussions about the pros and cons of vaseline versus baby oil (for blending, nothing nefarious I promise.) No one person will colour a picture the same way and it's a real thrill to see how differently everyone approaches a similar image.
5. Be Prepared To Be Peaceful
If you really want to get in the zone it's a good idea to set yourself up with the right equipment. Colouring at night with scratchy pencils under a low wattage lamp without a sharpener to hand does not make for a pleasant experience, so be prepared to invest in some super duper accessories like a lap desk with integral lamp. Headaches are far from restful!
6. Colouring Soon Gets Costly
The online colouring world is full of colourists with hundreds of colouring books and cupboards that spilleth over with pens and pencils. There are many options and they all give different results, so be prepared to spend money on your new habit and become a pencil/pen geek with alarming rapidity. If you are anything like me you will need only the merest excuse to buy new art materials: so before you know it you'll be salivating over Marco Raffines, comparing Prismacolor colours and experimenting with Gelly Rolls.
7. Colouring Pages Get Hacked
It seems that everything can be hacked these days, and by this I do not mean steal - you should always get your colouring pages from a legitimate source and ensure the artists are paid for their work. But why not have a bit of fun and hack an original colouring page image? There's no law to say you have to stay within the lines, so go wild and add your own elements to the original creation, such as these Disney characters in a Johanna Basford tree by Colour with Claire.
8. Lastly, Colouring Is Addictive
It's exciting. You can make an image come alive with colour, and there's a real sense of achievement when you finish colouring a page, especially one that has taken a long time to complete. Which probably explains why colouring is so darn addictive... and can become very time consuming if your addiction really takes hold. Don't say you haven't been warned!
Amelia's Colourful Colouring Companion is funding now on Kickstarter and features 40 artists from all over the world.