In Praise of Coloring

I read the articles after I bought the coloring books. You know the articles, the ones that praise coloring books for adults, like this one. Of course, I like that there is science behind what I already knew. Coloring rocks. It also helps reduce stress, and has benefits not unlike meditation.

I’d relearned how much I loved coloring when I had nieces and nephews, and would color with them. Simplistic books for small kids, but I’d add a pattern to Strawberry Shortcake’s dress, or make one of the Muppets multi-hued. It was a great way to spend time with them, and to share an activity we all liked. When two of the nieces (now teens) were coming over to spend a few days, I went to Barnes and Noble and found a table full of “adult” coloring books. I bought them each one, and threw one in for me at the last minute.

The patterns are complicated, and the options are endless. All you need is a box of colored pencils and your imagination. And time. These patterns (my book has a lot of paisleys) take time to work on. They force you to slow down, think, sharpen pencils, live with mistakes, move forward. They also require no artistic ability, and yet you can create lovely pictures.

Coloring helps me write better. It requires focus, but allows me to think about plots, rework scenes, develop characters. So much of writing is a mental game, and coloring gives me space to create.

Here is a link to some coloring pages you can look at and download. Give coloring a try. Justify it by pointing to the articles. But do it because it is fun.


Julianne Holmes writes the Clock Shop Mystery series. Just Killing Time debuts October 6. J.A. Hennrikus writes short stories. They both look a lot like Julie Hennrikus.


30 thoughts on “In Praise of Coloring

  1. I do the same thing but with stitching. There’s a ready canvas with patterns printed on it, and all I have to do is sew on the required patterns. I absolutely love it!
    Awesome post BTW! Please do check out my blog as well!

  2. I have a lovely fabric – covered, green box that houses 5 to 6 grownup coloring books, pencils of all types and other such equipment. My kids know not to mess with mama’s green coloring box! πŸ™‚

  3. I find colouring very relaxing. I can mull over the day or work out something in a story that didn’t seem quite right. I use watercolour paints – only because I already had them – for my colouring, rather than pencils. ‘Experts’ don’t know everything πŸ™‚

  4. I have printed a copy of your post to take to my “Color me Calm” group next week when we meet again. Open to all ages but mostly seniors meet at the Town Center twice monthly. Love it. I also love coloring with great grand-children but their attention span does not allow long peaceful settings like meeting with adults.

  5. I got a couple myself recently, one that’s Secret Gardens, and one that has various types of geometric and flower shapes. It’s quite enjoyable to do at night on the couch. There are SO MANY options out there now!

  6. Thank you for sharing the post. I believe that coloring is a better, controlled substance than drugs or drinking after having a hard day at the job. I draw, and paint my drawings although they are being sold, but it totally relaxes me and helps me to be more creative and have great ideas to write my blogs, or my books that I am writing. I also love to color with my nieces, nephews and grand kids. It is very relaxing and I know that a therapist can’t argue with coloring for relaxation purposes over using controlled substances.
    Hands down drawing, painting and coloring will always win for me.

  7. When I color, I prefer the kids books. Big areas to color in, simple pictures, nothing too complicated. Those ‘adult’ coloring books have way too many designs and patterns and I just get all OCD’d about them. This color can’t touch that color, and there has to be a pattern, and… and… ARGH! So, yeah, Winnie the Pooh, Minions, Disney, and some other simple things, I’m all good. My biggest issue is that those ‘coloring’ books tend to be all activities you can color. Highly annoying. πŸ™‚

  8. I’m a writer and entertainer. An adult coloring book has been better than meditation. I need the mental breaks, and the coloring does the job. (Now if I could just afford that $100 set of Prismacolor pencils then …)

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