Remember when you were a kid and you got a new colouring book and immediately grabbed your crayons and had at it? Yeah, good memories, right? It didn’t matter if you stayed in the lines or not — not is always better anyways — you just got your creative groove on and it felt good. Like, think of it, is there such thing as colouring in a book and not smiling? (Maybe doing a little chair dance? Just me???) Why did we ever stop as adults? Thankfully, Millennials were here to show us we didn’t need to.
In the last few years, adult colouring books have exploded and I find myself once again smiling like a fool as I colour in a book. I do like to create my own art, but that takes work and inspiration, and lately, I don’t have the time. So enter colouring books to take most of that effort out of the equation. Whether you’re artistic or not, you can create a masterpiece in a colouring book. All that’s needed is a good amount of coloured pencils and a few hours to spare. The lines are there to keep you focused, and the blank space is there for you to do your thang. And colouring, like many solo hobbies, takes a stressed, sometimes scattered mind, and calms it, gives it breathing room, cheers it up. Here are a few illustrations that cheered me up, while once again looking down at a colouring book…
Game of Thrones colouring book
I’ve had the Game of Thrones colouring book for awhile now, but many of the spreads didn’t interest me. Except this one. I don’t even care about the Sons of the Harpy narrative arc on the show, but the illustration was too good not to colour. I especially like how the fire turned out. But the main dude’s skin tone is way off; I’m a mess with getting skin tones right.
Leila Duly’s Floribunda colouring book
Hands down, Floribunda is my favourite book. The paper is super heavy and meant to be pulled out of the book. Perfect for watercolour paintings. My friend picked it out for me at Tiny Feast and I couldn’t wait to start painting in it. I think I’ve framed four so far.
Harry Potter colouring book
Yes, I have a Harry Potter colouring book, Obviously. The drawings in it are ok, but most seem a little too weird for an adult to colour. So, love the Potter books, not so in love with the Potter colouring books. However, that Snape pic is where I first discovered the benefits of a fine black Sharpie when using coloured pencils. It creates great depth in a pinch and makes your pictures pop.
Daisy Fletcher’s Birdtopia
I found these lil birdie postcards in the exceptional gift shop at the National Gallery of Art in D.C. Each postcard in the booklet boasts heavy paper that lends itself perfectly for watercolours. And the drawings are straightforward and small, which makes them fast and easy to paint. I’ve mailed one out so far to a friend. If you want one mailed to you, let me know in the comments. ??
Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom
Millie Marotta creates the nicest colouring books, full of whimsical wildlife illustrations. Her intricate drawings will have you looking at them long and hard trying to figure out how to tackle them with colour. Should you fill in all the geometric shapes individually or should you ignore all that and try to colour realistically? My first few I did the ‘keep-in-the-lines’ thing, but my best ones were when I broke out of the lines. Probably a metaphor for life there.
Do you have a favourite colouring book? Let me know in the comments! I’m always on the lookout for another cool book. And if you have colouring tips, I’d love to know those too!