Do you remember when you were little the waxy smell of new crayons and a brand new colouring in book? Even better if you could persuade your mother to let you paint at the kitchen table (“of course I’ll wear an apron, no I won’t make a mess/paint the dog/terrorise the cat”)
Pass any book shop at the moment and chances are adult colouring in books are featured in their window display. Recently “Publishers weekly” released an article pwne.ws/1pbrtax which poses the question are these colouring books the future of publishing? I do not believe that the future of publishing houses will be a wordless one. We read for a variety of different reasons: research/knowledge, mental stimulation: think of a piece that can move you to tears or make you laugh out loud, expand our vocabulary: yes it’s true the more we read the larger our vocabulary becomes. However just because I don’t see a ‘wordless future doesn’t mean I don’t envisage a future for these books. Adult colouring in books have thereupeutic values and that’s what I find most interesting. These days our minds are rarely still, even when we are quiet we are most likely checking out something on the internet. Look at the amount of news feed that comes through constantly on twitter. How many times do you “login ” to any of the social media sites to see what’s happened while you were away? We never stop. Not really. Think about this: how many times have you went to a restaurant with your children and they were offered crayons and colouring pages? More often than not that’s all it took to channel their (sometimes) chaotic energy. And it’s the same for adults.
We need time to unwind, to zone out from all of the stresses around us, even if it’s only for a short time. Now for the science part: When we are colouring in we activate different areas of the brain. The action involves both logic (colour forms, staying between the lines) and creativity (mixing and matching colours) The relaxation that it provides lowers the part of the brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress. To put it simply colouring has a de stressing effect because we are focusing on a particular act and not our worries. Interestingly it has also been proven that people use different colours depending on the moods they are in. And that’s got to be a good thing, right? any past time which encourages relaxation , and helps us to de -stress without the use of drink/drugs has to be beneficial. Adult colouring in books first came to prominence in 2013 when Joan Basford published “The secret Garden” the book was an instant success selling 1.5 million copies, she has since released “The enchanted Garden” and has another book due for release in October. The pictures are much more intricate and complex than in a child’s colouring in book. Her illustrations are beautifully drawn, elaborate and unique, every illustration has a character hidden in it, a robin or a butterfly – there are layers of depth and detail in every piece she has illustrated. Bassford was so impressed with the variety of styles that her public sent in to show her that she opened a gallery on line for them to display their work. However she’s not the only one, different illustrators have their own “take” on what pictures to colour in. In uk Mel Simone Elliot draws pictures of celebs : lady gaga, Kate Moss (Tatum Channing anyone???just wondered….) What do I think? pass me the red crayon I see a gap I need to fill in.!