Have you caught the colouring in bug yet?

Karen Haller 01
Karen Haller

Blog Post - Have you caught the colouring in bug yet

My neighbourhood is full of cafés. And recently there’s been a wonderful buzz of activity – adults colouring in. It seems to have become quite a phenomenon that’s sweeping the world.

There are literally hundreds of colouring in books for adults in book stores and stationery shops and with millions sold there must be something to it.

Permission to play
I remember many years ago when I was still living in my hometown of Sydney I would often meet friends for dinner at a lovely restaurant in a suburb called Paddington. Instead of tablecloths they had butchers paper with tubs of crayons and pencils. And there was hardly an adult there who wasn’t doodling or colouring in in some way. Chatting away we would find ourselves unconsciously colouring in – I remember it being really soothing.

Think it’s all child’s play? the psychology of colouring in
It was almost like having an ‘adult’ colouring in book, we were given permission to colour in again.

The way I see it, colouring in brings out the inner child, it reconnects us to happy memories.

Holding a crayon or a pencil and the act of using our hands connects the brain and the heart in a way a computer, a keyboard, or a mobile phone never can.

The reason I think adult colouring in books have become a hit is because they allow us to reconnect with that inner child part of ourselves we often neglect.

The pictures in some colouring in books are very complex and I’ve often been asked how that can be relaxing or calming – “It just causes me more stress just looking at it!”

Yes, colouring in does require focus, but that’s a good thing. Especially for those of us who are big multi-taskers, because it requires us to focus on one, single thing.

I’m the queen of multi-tasking and when I allow myself to focus just on picking a colour and focusing on colouring in it can be quite meditative. The meditative state comes from putting all your attention to a repetitive activity – the action of colouring in. My biggest decision is which colour will I pick and often that is intuitive so I’m not even using my brain for that.

Colouring in books in Australia

Just four colouring in books I spotted in a local supermarket (Australia)

The joy of being unplugged
It’s such a joy, such a simple pleasure to spend time colouring in. It gives you the opportunity to unplug from technology, from gadgets and go analogue.

The simple act of picking your favourite colours and connecting colour to paper frees your mind from stress and worries and connects you back to your playful child self.

If you think it’s silly or a bit daft, you don’t have to go to a café and be in public. Squirrel yourself away at home and give it a try.

The perfect present
If you’re wondering what to give as a gift this Christmas, a colouring in book might be the perfect thing. I was given this colouring in book as an unexpected gift and it really did fill me with joy.

And don’t forget to throw in a packet of crayons as well!

It’s not just for Christmas. You can colour in all year round. And it’s a really fun thing to do with family or your friends – so give some for gifts and then gather together for a bit of fun, calming colouring in in the New Year.

I’d love to hear what you think about the idea of picking up a crayon again, or if you’re already a convert, what it has given you, so please leave a comment below and help spread the colouring in bug 🙂

And if all this talk about colouring in has fired up your desire to know more about how to use colour in your work, then you might want to take a look at my free e-book that helps you understand better how you relate to colour. You can download it for free over here.

Have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy giving yourself permission to play!

Karen x

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  1. Molly on April 14, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    I was a huge colourer-in as a child, was always buying felt tips in as many colours as possible, so totally welcomed this new adult colouring craze. I just love the process, and find it very meditative, like gardening, and creative – as you said the colour choices just seem to make themselves, no effort involved.

    • admin on April 21, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      Hi Molly,

      I agree, isn’t it wonderful. Not that we needed an excuse to play! and when you are having fun then it’s effortless. Next time I’m visiting the Gold Coast I’ll come and join you 🙂

      Happy colouring-in!

      Karen x

  2. Julie on April 25, 2016 at 9:58 am

    I love to colour in, especially if I can use different textures to create! Here on the Gold Coast we have an adults painting workshop where you take along a bottle of wine and cheese and paint a picture along with other women…..it’s so theraputic!!

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