When I say adult colouring in, I’m not referring to raunchy silhouettes just waiting to be filled with fifty shades of grey, I’m referring to the worldwide phenomenon of beautiful, intricate drawings and patterns found not only in bookshops all around the globe, but also via ebook and phone and tablet apps.
There is an enormous range of adult colouring in books, from those that declare your undying love for your favourite celebrity, to all things indie rock, to the best-selling beauty, Secret Garden by Johanna Basford.
These books can be funny, creative and beautiful, but they also serve a deeper purpose. As you can probably tell by titles such as Colour Me Calm and Color Me Stress-Free, they are being widely used not only as a general tool to unwind, but also as a type of therapy for people suffering from depression, anxiety and attention deficit disorders as it calms the amygdala, the part of the brain that deals with emotions and stress. “When you’re colouring, you’re not really thinking about anything else. In that moment – when you’re sitting down with a traditional piece of paper and some pens, no apps, no noise – you almost go back to being a kid again. Colouring provides a bit of escapism,” says Richard Merritt, the co-illustrator of Creative Therapy. “If you put a piece of paper and a crayon in front of a child, they’ll start drawing, but I think as an adult you lose that spontaneity.”
As a child, I suffered terribly from anxiety. I would have panic attacks regularly, to the point where I couldn’t stand because my hands and feet were scrunched up so tight. My therapist recommended that I carried with my a small notebook, and whenever I felt anxious, I was to draw. I don’t claim to be a good drawer – in fact, I’m seriously terrible (everything I draw seems to loosely resemble a hot dog), but it worked. The simply act of drawing was enough to make me focus on what was happening on the paper instead of the huge muddle in my brain. It centred my thoughts and slowed my breathing. This is what adult colouring in does. While I mostly have control of my anxiety, colouring in does help to calm me down whenever I feel anxious or stressed.
Plus, let’s be honest, it’s damn cheaper than a therapist’s couch.
There are many people creating their own adult colouring in pages and sharing them with the world through social media, and the lovely Jodie, aka Ooodles of Dooodles, is one of them. Jodie creates adult colouring in pages for therapeutic purposes and has been wonderful enough to offer Ramblings of a Fake Redhead readers three free, exclusive patterns to either get you started on the adult colouring-in trend, or to give your already-formed habit a little boost! Click on the links below to download each image, and make sure you check out her Facebook page to keep up with her amazing designs!
Whether you use colouring in books to unwind after a long day at work, to calm yourself down in times of stress or simply to have fun, there’s no doubting their wonderful charm and growing popularity.
Do you use adult colouring in books? Which one is your favourite?