Things I Love: Coloring!

I am not artistic, at least not the way one might pick up a paintbrush or drawing pencils and create something from scratch.  I can barely draw a stick figure, and that is not an exaggeration; I seriously cannot draw a straight line.  However, just like I can follow a recipe pretty well, I can color inside some pre-determined lines.  (While I can follow a recipe, I am not good at just whipping something up from the leftover ingredients in my refrigerator.  I seem to need guidelines; rules, if you will.)

I have liked coloring since I was little, but I never really gave it much thought.  I actually have colored on and off during my adult life, but it never became a habit at all.  When the adult coloring craze came along, well, I got hooked.  In addition to it being fun, there are many reports that it’s good for you, that it promotes mindfulness, and gives you the same (or near) benefits of mediation.  (How true that is, I cannot say, because, as I understand it, the point of meditation is to do nothing and let your mind reflect on nothing, which coloring doesn’t exactly provide.  But I have yet to actually meditate, so perhaps I’m wrong in my assessment.) 

I can tell you, though; I do feel calmer after making coloring a habit.

When the craze came about, I decided that I would pick up coloring again, specifically for the calming effect.  But I wasn’t interested in the “adult” books; I felt that they were too intricate and detailed.  I wanted something big and bubbly.  So I checked out the toddler offerings at my local Target.

I came home with these:

They offered exactly what I was looking for—big drawings that I could just mindlessly color without having to change markers too often.

My medium of choice for these books was Crayola’s markers.  My husband gave me the Pip Squeak tower for Christmas, which he mainly chose because of the vast color offerings.  I, however, took them out of the tower and put them into a container with a closable lid.

For Christmas I also received two adult coloring books.

The one on top is The Time Garden book from Amazon.  It is very intricate and also contains a story inside.

Because of how intricate it is, I decided that I should start my coloring adventure with something a little less so in order to perfect my coloring technique.  Enter the Michael’s coloring books.

The one shown in the picture above is “Stress Relief.”  Once I started on that book, I was instantly hooked and went back to buy the rest in the series.

Michaels does offer more books than these five, but I decided this was a good start.  Even then, I might have gone a little overboard.

Now, for the tools—I have a bit of a selection, and what I use depends on the picture I’m working on.

This set offers the basic colors, so they are a little limiting as far as color choice goes.  Initially, I thought I’d use pencils for every picture, but I have quickly learned that they are my least favorite medium, though they are sufficient for certain pictures.  I tend to use them for larger pictures and/or pictures I don’t love.  (In true OCD fashion, I am very methodical in my coloring—I go picture by picture, never skipping one or jumping from book to book.)  Pencils make the picture go quickly, as in I can finish it in only one or two sittings.

The flower picture could also have been done in marker, but here I wanted to play with using different colors in one area of the picture.  The violin is an example of a larger picture, as well as one that I don’t love as much.  I used pencil to finish it rather quickly.

This particular set of 36 was purchased through Amazon.  This collection offers me the most color choice.

I love the triangular barrel shape, as it sits comfortably in my hand.  I use these on pictures that are more intricate and have smaller coloring areas.

The pens allow me to get into those teeny, tiny areas without any bleeding outside of the lines.

Finally, I also use the Staedler Triplus Fibre-tip pen (which is actually a marker).  

Just like the pens, the barrel is triangular for a comfortable grip.  I tend to use these on pictures that fall between the larger ones and the more detailed ones.

These markers allow for a bolder picture while offering many color options.

Without a doubt, I do prefer the Staedler products, and as I’m perusing their site now, I see that they also offer pencils, so I may have to check them out in the near future.

I will say that the markers do cause a little bleed-through on the pages, so I tuck two blank pieces of paper behind the picture I’m currently working on.

This also comes in handy for testing colors I might want to use together.  Win, win!

If you’d like to get started with coloring books, I highly recommend the Michaels books.  Not only are the pictures great, but they also give you tips on coloring in general.  They discuss coloring mediums, giving examples of different tools (gel pens, colored pencils, standard markers, water-based markers, alcohol-based markers, blending pens), how to use them, what type of picture each would be good for, and general tips for using each one.  They also cover patterning techniques and color repetition within patterns.  Finally, they discuss coloring techniques and media, illustrating using different mediums and colors together to get a specific desired effect.  They also touch on color theory, showing which colors compliment each other.  They include a few of the pictures colored in to give you some ideas of how to go about coloring because it’s not just about putting color down on paper (though that’s currently my habit)—there is no limit to how creative you can get with these pictures.

Coloring is definitely an art form, and it allows me to feel just a little more artistic than I really am.  However, the main benefit to me is the mindfulness of coloring.  It allows me to focus on one thing while my mind subconsciously works out some stressful situations.

I make time to color every day, though some days just do not allow for it.  But to make sure I get in as much time as possible, I leave my current book out on the table, open to the current picture.  When I have a few minutes, I sit down and color, sometimes while watching TV, sometimes while talking with my husband, sometimes while sipping coffee—whenever the mood strikes or the moment presents itself, my book is ready and waiting for me to get creative.

*Note: I am in no way affiliated with any of the companies or products mentioned.  I am not getting any kind of compensation for mentioning them in my post.  I am simply a satisfied customer.


  1. Yay, you're back! I've been loving coloring too -- whenever my heavy study workload allows me to, anyways. Works wonders for stress and anxiety relief although I found that the calmer I am, the prettier the end result. But it's the journey, right? Mine tend to look pretty messy afterwards, like a really angry child with no taste did it LOL (a sign that I should tap into my inner little girl more often, maybe?).

    I'll definitely check out those books. Is there any book of flowers by chance? (I have a think for flowers, they make me so happy!)

    1. Yes! Hopefully it will last. :)

      Hmm, I've never noticed a correlation between HOW I color and my mood. Maybe I'm too OCD to color any other way except "perfectly"...? I'm going to have to start paying attention now and look back on what I've done so far. But just sitting down and focusing on something else helps me to let go of whatever is bothering me.

      I don't recall if they have a book just of flowers (though maybe Amazon or Barnes & Noble has something?), but the books I do have offer lots of floral/tree pictures. Let me know how it goes!


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