As children, most of us spent time passionately doodling in colouring books. Sometimes we coloured on those restaurant colouring pages with crayons that fell apart in our hands. We spent our childhood being creative while failing—or not even trying—to stay inside the lines.
Then, as we got older, we became busy with cool adult stuff like bills, overtime, and three exams within 48 hours of each other—also known as real life.
But recently, something changed. Colouring books have come back with a vengeance, only now they’re aimed at a totally different demographic: the stressed-out adult. These adult colouring books can be based on themes that cover fanbases likes Harry Potter and Marvel or just simple representations of gardens and wildlife.
The point of using them again is to chill out and be creative as an adult without feeling pressure to make something original. I have personally used one that my friend brought back from her trip to Tokyo, and it was disgustingly pretty. They distract you and get you to focus on something else, something colourful and creative that takes you back to being a kid with no responsibilities.
Personally, I’m in an interesting position in regards to using colouring books because, as a freelance illustrator, my job is to be creative. I spend many hours per day either working on specific commissions or sketching up new ideas and practicing. The idea of using a colouring book to relax seemed ridiculous to me since, well, it kind of falls in the camp of what I do and what currently stresses me out: creating on a deadline. But I spoke to one of my friends who insisted that the point was to feel no pressure to create, so I decided to give it a shot.
Overpriced coloured pencils in hand, I picked a random page in the book and went at it. By the time I was halfway through the page, it dawned on me that I felt calm and focused on something that was actually enjoyable.
The more I thought about it, the more I figured that students could really benefit from this. It provides a creative outlet without having to come up with an idea, draw it out, and then work out on revising. You just get to jump right into spewing a nauseating rainbow of colours all over the page.
Being creative is healthy. It gets your brain working in a way that is different from taking notes during a class or reading a textbook. It also takes your mind away from life and to-do lists for a while without having to meditate.
There’s no need to feel uncool for using a colouring book. Anyone who would make fun of that is missing out big-time. If you can get your hands on one and some cheap coloured pencils, give it a try!
Students always need an outlet to de-stress with, so you might as well make yours colouring in Harry Potter’s forehead scar and giving Snape an adorable pink robe.