Coloring Outside (Childhood) Lines

Ashley Evans  |  Contributing Writer

When it comes to creativity, it can be easy to compare artistic talents and to doubt one’s own imaginative spirit. However, the recent rise of adult coloring books is reintroducing grown-ups to their childhood imaginations, bringing adults everywhere a stress-relieving world of color and whimsy.

Adult coloring books are an upgrade from typical childhood coloring pages, offering an abundance of sophisticated and detailed designs. We’ve graduated from the simplistic, animated templates into a more refined and dignified book of images.

Lacy Mucklow, art therapist and author of the coloring books “Color Me Calm” and “Color me Happy,” explains her childhood appreciation for coloring books and the newest trend that has sparked for adults.

“It started as a trend in France, which carried over to the U.K. and then the United States, but I remember as a kid always coloring in adult or advanced type coloring books. I always enjoyed the advanced ones as a child. So they’ve been around for a while, with more choices now than there used to be,” Mucklow said.

While you can easily find these adult coloring books at your nearest book or craft store, you can also engage in this newest trend without even leaving your home. By outlining your own designs and shapes in black ink, you’ve suddenly turned into the artist of your own homemade coloring pages.

While most homemade activities often require a lot of time, energy and money, creating your own coloring pages is a trendy and innovative way to not only express yourself, but to release pent-up stress.

“We’re looking at screens all day; you don’t have to do anything on paper anymore, so with that happening all the time, people need a break from technology. Coloring gives them a nice eye and hand break and brings people back to paper. I think they’re popular because it gives people a template who don’t consider themselves artists,” Mucklow stated.

The silence and focus that falls over a person when coloring is therapeutic in itself. Rather than spending your time at home staring at your phone or mindlessly watching television, drawing turns your house into a creative and peaceful place and reminds you of your inner child­­–the one brimming with imagination and carefree thoughts.

“It wouldn’t become a big trend if it didn’t help people in some way; it definitely has a therapeutic value,” Mucklow explained. “People who are giving coloring a chance find it has a calming affect.”

Adult coloring books are filling the shelves of stores with a vibrant variety of floral prints, detailed mandalas, luscious nature scenes, inspirational quotes and even simple abstract patterns. Coloring in shapes may seem childish at first, but you might come out as a more refreshed and imaginative person.

The next time you find yourself overwhelmed with stress or doubting your inner creativity, think back to your childhood years, pick up a colored pencil or sharpie and rekindle that creative side of you.

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