We were surprised to learn to that some of the most popular books on Amazon these days are coloring books for adults, with titles like
Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book and Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book. One bills itself as Balance (Angie’s Extreme Stress Menders Volume 1) . All feature mandala-like patterns and storybook imagery to color in. “Stress menders“? Ahhh, we see why they are so popular.
We remember our momentary childhood delight at Venus Paradise Paint-by-Number Coloring Sets — numbered colored pencils which you’d use to fill in the corresponding numbers on the template: et voila: A nice, somewhat-stilted artwork, exactly like hundreds of thousands around the country.
They were incredibly satisfying to complete. We could lose ourselves in their simple, very literal imagery, and the colors. But we don’t think we learned a thing about drawing or art or seeing. We WISH someone had said: Here, take this and figure out a way to change it, mess it up, MAKE IT YOURS, or better yet: here’s a blank piece of paper. MAKE SOMETHING!
A review of one of Johanna Basford’s popular coloring books raves:
Elaborate and challenging, Basford’s fans have found that completing one of her pages is as rewarding as it was filling in a coloring book as a child…This implicit satisfaction has awakened the nostalgia for childhood coloring in well over a million adults, who have reconnected with their youth, and creative side…”
And so we wonder, HOW these adults are connecting with their creative side? Or are they simply losing themselves in a very safe childlike view of life, where there are directions and limits, and orderly boundaries? There’s nothing wrong with that. But for sure…
…It is much easier to color within the lines than it is to create our own designs. THAT can be incredibly scary and difficult, and we show us the limits of our talent, and open paths we never knew about.
What if you just started seeing what you doodle, draw, write, photograph, look at…
…What would happen if you wandered OFF the path…?
Note: The most illuminating part of this article is the Comments, which we recommend reading, for a much bigger view of this subject…(with thanks to our very thoughtful readers).