When life’s a silent stretch of night
In fading shades of grey -
I take a world of black and white,
And turn it into day.1
My foray into colouring began with some random books that I ordered online — I cheaped out, and ended up with books that were definitely more interesting than children’s books in terms of subject matter, but were not very detailed at all. I drooled over friends’ images of intricate designs that felt way more adult, and it wasn’t long before Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book arrived at my door.
Secret Garden is a great book, with lots of variety between really detailed pages and larger expanses that are less challenging to colour. It was the first book I really tried out, and it definitely captivated me! I have since expanded my colouring abilities (I think) and can see how I would have done things differently, but it was a good way to start. I still have tons of this book left to finish, but…
Around Christmastime I saw Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure and Coloring Book while I was grocery shopping and had to buy it for myself. At the time, it was Basford’s latest (she’s working on a jungle-themed book now) and I was drawn to the idea of getting to use some cooler colours — Secret Garden has a lot of green!
I’ve read some complaints about the paper choice for Lost Ocean, as people don’t like it’s thinness compared to earlier Basford books. I can’t really complain, though — I haven’t encountered any problems so far, and I like the brighter, whiter stock. The challenging part for me is that this book is super detailed, so it’s hard to just sit down and complete a page in an hour or two. This is definitely more of a project book.
At the same time, Matt and M gave me two books for Christmas. Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book was one of them, and I finally flipped it open when I didn’t feel like tackling little tiny fish one day. Enchanted Forest seems to have the most manageable colouring pages for people who don’t feel like colouring in every tiny detail, of the three books. It’s the one I grab when I have a shorter time frame available but still want to do something.
I also have Daria Song’s The Time Garden: A Magical Journey and Coloring Book, from Matt and M, and I’ve flipped through it but have yet to put pencils to paper. It appears to be a nice mix between detail and ease, from what I can see, and I’m excited to open it up and colour a few things that aren’t nature or animal related.
That being said, I couldn’t resist Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom: Color Me, Draw Me when I saw it last week (grocery shopping again!) and there are some beautiful outlines in that book that are calling my name, too. I’m partway through a toucan drawing:
So, you can see that I spend a lot of time colouring! It is seriously stress-relieving, though. I kind of scoffed at people who jumped onto the adult colouring book bandwagon, when it started, but I’m a convert now and will totally evangelize about it to anyone who tells me they’re dealing with stress or anxiety. I sit, I colour, I have something to do with my hands, and my mind can go free, working through whatever it needs to work through, without getting that pent-up must-do-something-now feeling at the same time.
I’ll share a bit more about colouring in the next little while — I’ve become a collector of colouring supplies, and there are a few profanity-themed books I’m awaiting in the mail (seriously!), plus a different book that I really want to highlight on its own because it’s so awesome.
If you’re a colourer, what are your favourite books?