Art – Colouring in

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About

Almost all of us had some colouring books when we were young , with dolls, cars, flowers, animals…I personally loved Barbie colourings, I would always first fill their lips with red, because it would suddenly make the doll look very elegant and adult-like – hence why you could often see an empty colouring book with nothing but red “lipstick” on every page.

A few years ago, however, there has been a discovery made, that, apparently, adults like colouring too. And since then there has been a surge in adult colouring books with intricate designs inside. It should not be surprising at all, there is something comforting in endlessly dragging your pencil on paper and filling the page with colour. We could go all psychology-related here as to why is this so satisfying, but I have my simple explanation which comes down to the desire of making something of your own. There is nothing more uplifting than being proud of your achievements, and art provides just that – a way to create your own little (or big) thing. But who got time for dat? If you have a 9 to 5 job you hardly can afford to paint a “Girl With a Pearl Earring” in your spare time – more like a “Girl who needs to do laundry and take the cat to the vet on the weekend” type of thing. So, colouring books are a perfect solution – create mindlessly. It looks beautiful once you are done and not much investment needed, time-wise or material-wise. Well, as you might have understood, I love colouring in, I own several colouring books and often cannot walk past a new gem in a bookstore. Colouring takes the pressure off of me when I spend too much time doing monotone work.

A quick note – one could definitely argue that colouring is not an art. I myself am the first to say: “My dog can do better!” when it comes to certain modern art forms and I absolutely believe that not everything is art and art is not everything. I think art should be clear, whether it is music, painting or dance, but unfortunately it has become a very trendy option to create n’importe quoi and call it a “complicated piece”. “A misunderstood artist, has, unfortunately, been understood.” But what can be unclear about a little coloured flower? Beautiful and simple.

Apparatus

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The “Enchanted Forest” will charm you already from the cover.

My favourite colouring book “Enchanted Forest” by Johanna Basford of Scotland. Probably the most famous colouring book author on the market, Basford has created a series of fascinating carefully-designed colouring books, each with an actual quest story inside. Beware, after opening one of her books you will not stop. Ever. Make sure to turn the oven off because you are not coming back any time soon. Johanna’s drawings are very intricate but at the same time do not have irritatingly small details that may bore you.

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The first page coloured. The cover is also COVERED in drawings.

Johanna’s range also includes beautiful postcards to which you can add your personal touch by…colouring them in. Love it.

Next up is my colouring pad with tear-off sheets. It was a present and I love it damn much. Mostly used for “to-buy” lists, it gives me a bit of meditation time before diving into endless rows of supermarket displays. It could make a beautiful letter too, with instant brownie points coming your way.

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A little colouring before searching for that broccoli.

I also have a few other colouring books which are not as famous as Johanna’s for example, but they have beautiful illustrations inside (and are cheaper) and that is all that matters. The one below, for example, is from the book titled “Floral Grown Up Colouring Book” and it does not have a particular author, with the images created digitally:

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Flowers upon flowers upon flowers.

It certainly provides great fun, just pick your colours and go for it. This picture has taken me around 4 hours, just because I am a little crazy over the shadowing and gradients and I can NEVER choose what colour to use. It is actually pretty stressful for me, why do I even do this.

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My pencils, sharpened for the picture but usually blunt.

I normally use pencils for colouring, these particular ones are Giotto Stilnovo and I use a battery-powered sharpener (for obvious reasons). I find that these pencils are extremely soft and they give a lot of colour on paper, however, that also means that you need to sharpen them more often and you quickly run out of your favourite colours (you can see the end of the dark blue pencil on this picture, as proof). The white pencil at the end is from Faber Castel and was a sole (and expensive) purchase as I often use white to highlight a certain area.

If I am working with a large area or need a more intense colour, I first use a simple felt-tip pen and then go over it with a pencil of similar colour – that way I avoid tiny white spaces that may appear if only pencil is used.

Finally, I have recently discovered an awesome app “Recolor” that lets you colour in drawings – paid AND free. I have thoroughly enjoyed colouring the first few pictures, the free version gives you enough room for creativity, with a lot of shades available. Of course, if you would like to have a full experience and access to colours like “gold” and “silver” or be able to colour some of the exclusive pictures they offer, you will have to fork out $60 a year for the subscription, which might actually be worth it. I will stick to the peasant version as I mainly use paper anyway.

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“Recolor” on the AppStore.

Thank you for reading, share your colouring works in the comments, if you can add pictures?.. I don’t know, but would love to see what tools/books you use.

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