The Joy of Colour (ing)

The Joy of Colouring

According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, colouring isn’t just for kids. It’s also a great stress reliever for adults.

I’ve experienced this personally. On my recent trip to Holland I discovered how powerfully colouring could help me cope with my fear of flying.* I was amazed to experience my body settling and my mind relaxing through the simple act of adding colour to a page.

Time flies when we colour.

Remember the hours of rapt attention you spent with your crayons as a kid? Maybe you remember watching your kids do the same. Or your grandkids. Maybe they’re colouring now. Are you?

Why did we leave colouring behind?

Where did we get the idea it was just for kids?

For such a simple act, colouring sure has a lot of “rules” associated with it. Colouring must be done within the lines. But cool kids colour outside the lines. Giving colouring books to children is bad because they lose their imagination. Drawing a shape and then colouring it in is for children. It isn’t how real artists draw.

And that’s on top of all of the other art rules we have (e.g. what we create has to be good, what we create has to be useful, what we create has to be sell-able…)

What if we just let colouring be colouring?

A big part of the joy of colouring is the kinesthetic experience. It’s in moving your body and watching something happen. It’s in seeing our impact. It’s in the repetition, the focused release of energy. It is the act itself. The practice.

Re-experience the joy of colouring.

Grab some markers or crayons or coloured pencils and put some colour on the page. Don’t know where to start? Draw a triangle and colour it in. Draw a circle and colour it in. Draw a whole page of circles and colour them in. Grab a flyer and colour in all of the holes in all of the O’s. Tear off a previous month of your calendar and colour each day’s square.

Have fun. Keep it light. Who knows? Maybe colouring will become one of your favourite creative pastimes (again!)

Some Colouring Resources

These days there are some wonderful colouring books to explore, like Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book or the Just Add Color series.

Mandalas are also a great way to enjoy colouring. Here’s how I got started with them.

* Thank you again, John, for the suggestion.

The Joy of Colouring Journal


  1. Shannon says:

    I am 100% with you Jamie on The Joy of Colouring. I love the tactile feel of it, and of course choosing the colours. It’s one activity where you can be totally engaged one moment and completely mezmorized under it’s spell the next. You can build up colours or block them in wildly. There are so many choices, but you always get that satisfying “I did that!” feeling when it’s complete.

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