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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 09-Apr-15 09:53:57

The colouring craze

Award-winning illustrator, Johanna Basford tells us why she champions colouring in as a way for adults to rediscover their creative sides and de-stress at the same time. There's also one copy of Johanna's beautiful new book to be won by someone who posts on the thread below.

Johanna Basford

The colouring craze

Posted on: Thu 09-Apr-15 09:53:57


Lead photo

Johanna working on a new creation

Four years ago when I first pitched the idea of a colouring book for grown ups to my publishers, they went understandably quiet. A couple of years later and with a million copies of Secret Garden sold around the world, the discussion for the 2nd book, Enchanted Forest was a lot easier!

So why are hard working adults getting to the end of a long day and reaching for the pens and pencils to unwind? For some people it's the nostalgic appeal of colouring. Chances are last time you spent some quality time with a colouring book life was a good bit simpler; no mortgage, no family politics, no worrying about global warming… Put the smartphone to one side, turn the TV off and allow yourself the chance to play again.

There's also the therapeutic effects of colouring. Personally, I experience a certain type of happiness, a sort of mindful and meditative state when I'm drawing and I've been told that's how people feel when they are colouring my illustrations. The act of being completely caught up in the task at hand, so the rest of the world just melts away. It's that sense of being 'in flow' that people find so soothing. I've received emails from a huge range of people from investment bankers to busy mums and those recuperating from illness, all saying the same thing - that colouring in offers them a great way to relax and de-stress.

I believe everyone has a creative spark within them, they just need the opportunity and encouragement to let it flourish. A blank sheet of paper or an empty canvas can be daunting, but a colouring book offers a gentle buffer of sorts.

Finally, there's the creative appeal. I believe everyone has a creative spark within them, they just need the opportunity and encouragement to let it flourish. A blank sheet of paper or an empty canvas can be daunting, but a colouring book offers a gentle buffer of sorts. I think of each page as a collaboration between myself and whoever owns the book; I draw the outline and they bring the colour. Sit down with a colouring book and you don't need to worry about composition or drawing, it's already taken care of. You just need to fill the page with colour and make your mark.

So next time your grandchildren reach for the crayons, why not get your own colouring book out and join them for an hour of creative time? For little people there's the chance to develop hand eye co-ordination and to talk about colours, for grown ups it's a wonderful way to be creative, unwind and of course do something with the grandchildren that doesn't involve an iPad or a screen.

Johanna's new colouring book Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest and Colouring Book is published by Laurence King and will be available from 4 May on Amazon.

*Congratulations MamaCaz, you have won the signed coloring book! Please mail your address to [email protected] and we will post.*

By Johanna Basford

Twitter: @johannabasford

annodomini Thu 09-Apr-15 10:08:34

I had a set of mandalas to colour when I was recovering from a minor operation many years ago and found the abstract patterns very therapeutic. I heard about this new fashion recently and acquired a book of mandalas. It's a very relaxing way of wasting passing the time.

Soutra Thu 09-Apr-15 10:13:12

I can see the appeal. Might even be preferable - and certainly more therapeutic - than spending entire time on iPad/phone/laptop. I always LOVED colouring as a child so I might find another way of wasting passing time too!

aggie Thu 09-Apr-15 10:19:08

I make cards and like stamping an image then colouring it in . I paint and like that too , but not colouring in abstract images

whenim64 Thu 09-Apr-15 10:20:54

I used to use my children's colouring books when they were little and found it relaxing to sit at the table after they'd gone to bed, and colour in a couple of pages before tidying their things away. They would tell me off next day, though. 'Muu-uuum!!' get your own colouring book!' I'm waiting to see if any of them get some adult colouring books for themselves. I think anything that helps adults relax like this is a great idea.

Lona Thu 09-Apr-15 10:26:08

My dgd likes colouring so we often sit together and share pictures. I love it.

Agus Thu 09-Apr-15 10:45:34

I had to google Mandalas Anno. I am in the process of printing a few off as GD1 and I will enjoy these.

I loved colouring books and any design of stencils as a child. Often 'assisted' DDs when they were children and it is now GDs turn to be 'assisted' by Granny repeating, "keep it inside the lines". Great pastime and very therapeutic.

J52 Thu 09-Apr-15 10:46:17

We are 'organised' by our GD 5, to colour. She marks us for neatness and often tells DH off for choosing the wrong colour?!
Very school marmish, I can't imagine who she takes after?

Years ago, I did know a reception teacher who could not go home until shed compled a page in a colouring book! x

J52 Thu 09-Apr-15 10:47:12

Angus, it's not just us then! smile x

J52 Thu 09-Apr-15 10:48:32

Sorry Agus, auto correct! Apologies. x

Agus Thu 09-Apr-15 10:55:03

J52 I have to work hard at not having a tantrum when being instructed by our 5yr old GD which colours 'have' to be used before I am allowed to contribute. I know exactly who GD gets it from. blush

Mishap Thu 09-Apr-15 11:09:30

I have just bought an adults' colouring book from The Book People! I am hoping it will be a restful pursuit.

Agus Thu 09-Apr-15 11:15:27

J52 I hadn't even noticed the error! grin

J52 Thu 09-Apr-15 11:26:48

I always thought that there were two important things when involving adults in traing sessions; chocolate and colouring in. They both seemed to eliminate anxiety and get people working together, also I liked both of them! x

MiniMouse Thu 09-Apr-15 11:33:35

Have just had a peep inside the book on Amazon (other online stores are available!). I love the idea that a) I could wander back to the safety of a 'lets's pretend' world b) There aren't great swathes of areas to colour, just small, intricate designs c) It would feel as though one is being productive - and, let's face it, it's a lot more fun than 'productive' housework wink

harrigran Thu 09-Apr-15 12:04:01

I bought the Enchanted forest colouring book for GD1 because she is very artistic and I thought she would enjoy it, the bog standard colouring books for children are not enough for her. DD used to have geometric pattern books in the 70s but my sister brought them from Germany.
I bought a book of press out masks to colour in and GC love to create their own individual ones, youngest spent Easter Sunday with a butterfly one on while her elder sister wore bunnie ears smile

J52 Thu 09-Apr-15 12:51:46

I bought some Doodle books for GC. They start off the picture, to be coloured in, but the rest of it is left to the child's imagination. Great fun! x

Aurelia Thu 09-Apr-15 22:26:08

YY to colouring in.
It's restful and calming and you get to buy glitter pens! What's not to like? grin

etheltbags1 Thu 09-Apr-15 22:31:13

I colour in/paint/draw with DGD every week. Love it. Ive just bought stickers with eyes as she has a fascination with eyes and tries to paint them everywhere.

ninathenana Thu 09-Apr-15 23:09:47

I have bought several adult colouring books in the past. I love mandalas, anno which book do you have please ?

Has anyone bought the first edition of the new magazine advertised on TV ? DH brought it home, it looks quiet promising.

CeeCee Fri 10-Apr-15 00:20:31

I have seen several adult colouring books in the shops recently, I think I might be tempted to buy one, I used to love colouring. Will have to buy new crayons as well though, ours are rather well used by the GC's.

milkflake Fri 10-Apr-15 15:52:17

I was interested to read this as I have just purchased pencils and 2 colouring books, I didn't know you could adult books until I saw them on Amazon. Just about to start on my first one.

Lunchtimelady1 Fri 10-Apr-15 19:49:37

I have a set of 'Aboriginal-type' animal design templates that are just so relaxing and satisfying to colour in.

Jomarie Fri 10-Apr-15 20:19:32

This reminds me of many many years ago when my mother bought my younger sisters a spirograph set which she then comandeered for herself spending many hours creating beautiful designs - I don't remember her colouring them in though. I can certainly see the appeal to colouring in as on your own it would be so peaceful - will give it a go.

cazthebookworm Fri 10-Apr-15 20:31:52

This is the first I have heard of colouring books for adults, what a great idea. The simple act of colouring in something already drawn, sounds very appealing and I shall be searching for one tomorrow. I imagine it would be very therapeutic, very relaxing, nothing to think about, just colouring in shapes. Lovely, and some glitter pens to choose. I think I am just a child at heart.