Monday, August 10, 2015

Adult coloring - the newest art trend! Review

I remember as a child I had a coloring book that I loved (late 70's) consisting of geometric patterns.  It was part of a small series and at the time there was not really anything else like it.  Ironically the same books are still sold today but there are now SO many other different options for what is more recently referred to as "Adult Coloring".  There are books in the geometric patterns that I still love, but also books with designs in or inspired by mehndi, mandalas, art deco, art noveau, fantasy, wildlife, nature, butterflies, fairies, fashion, flowers, etc.  Whatever strikes your fancy really.

I actually recently decided to color as a way to practice shading for drawing (which I had also recently taken a renewed interest in).  I have a vast collection of colored pencils and I was brushing up on different techniques and thought that an intricate coloring exercise would be a good way to practice both shading and working with different color palettes.  I remembered the books that I loved as a child but when I researched books to buy I was shocked at the vast variety of books available.  Soon after I read that "adult coloring" was a hot new trend.   I cannot tell you how many times I get an idea and take up or purchase something and shortly after it becomes very popular.  It is times like these that I consider myself a trend setter LOL.  Not really but it does seem to happen quite a bit :)

Initially I did start out coloring with pencil and found that while it was very helpful for practicing shading techniques, it was also relaxing.  Recently I was talking at work about how I had tried adult coloring and another co-worker shared that she also had taken up adult coloring but with Sharpies, not pencil.  I enjoyed the coloring but not the time involved when using pencil so decided to give markers a try.  I now prefer using markers but will probably continue to use both colored pencil and marker depending on how intricate the design is and what I am trying to accomplish.

I was recently given the opportunity to review  books for Skyhorse publications.  Given my new found love of coloring I happily offered to review.  The books are very different from one another stylistically but I am genuinely enjoying both.  If I had to pick one, the Whimsical Designs would be my favorite.:
Art Nouveau: Coloring for Everyone 
Whimsical Designs: Coloring for Artists

If you are considering purchasing an adult coloring book look no further - these books are great.
- high quality paper
- a large number of designs - 46 images in each book!
- different levels of complexity in designs some more basic and some extremely intricate
- examples of colored pages in the beginning of the book
- a page for color swatches - create your own color combinations
- preforated pages for easy removal


One thing I found that was funny (in a good way).  Take these out when around kids or a few friends.  You will be surprised how many people want to stop what they are doing and start coloring - seriously!  People love to color!

If you do take up this fantastic new, yet not-so-new, trend here are a few pointers
- invest in some good cardstock - if using permanent markers make sure to put a piece of cardstock underneath to absorb excess ink so you do not ruin the page underneath OR the surface you are coloring on if you rip the page out to color on.  You can see above how the color can tend to bleed through.
- invest in a good variety of pens / pencils.  I discovered that even with the most careful hand, the thicker permanent markers will not do well with the fine lines.  I actually purchased a set of fine line markers from the dollar store and these are working just fine.
- If you accidentally color outside a line or put the wrong color in a certain section do not get worked up about it - Chances are that the mistake is not very noticeable.  By the time you finish coloring you yourself will probably not even notice!

- I have a variety of markers (a TON actually).  For permanent marker I find that Sharpies offer a lot of color options but are not acid free.  Bic Permanent markers are acid free so I use these in my mixed media artwork as well as for coloring.
- For fine lines invest in a fine line marker like Stablio,

If you want your work to last a long time without fading, use colored pencil or acid free markers.  Some good examples of acid free markers that I own and love are:
Tim Holtz Distress (waterbased)
Zig (dye based - these are also light fast)
Le Plume (dye based - brush marker on one end and fine point on the other!)

If you are looking for a little glitz, consider glitter markers or gel pens.  Some that I have are Zig's Wink of Stella (LOVE these), Fiskars Gel pen set and Sakura's gelly-roll pens in Stardust.

If you opt for colored pencils there are a ton of options.  I prefer the softer, waxier pencils like Prismacolor or Crayola - I find these offer strong color saturation and easier to blend / pull colors into one another but on the negative side it is more difficult to get the fine detail without constant resharpening.  If you are OK with less color saturation but more fine detail a harder lead may be preferable.  A good example of this is Sargent-Art - these pencils are too hard for my taste but I have my set to my 14 yo daughter and she absolutely loves them.

If you find that you love adult coloring, find what medium works best for you!.

Almost finished!

Page I am currently working on

Finished page!

Press Release!

Skyhorse presents 12 new titles to help you achieve mindful meditation through creation. Since 2013, coloring books targeted to adults have topped bestselling charts, selling more than 1.5 million copies in over twenty-two languages. Five of the top thirty titles on Amazon’s bestseller list are coloring books aimed at adults. Skyhorse Publishing’s first four adult coloring books featuring the paisley and mandala motifs have already sold out four printings, selling at bookstores like Barnes & Noble, on Amazon, and at specialty stores like Michael’s Arts & Crafts and A. C. Moore.

Not unlike the adult summer camps and wine-and-painting parties that have surged in popularity over the last couple of years, coloring is a nostalgic activity that allows people to unplug and fend off the stresses of daily life. With our screen-weary culture, it’s no surprise that adult coloring events have begun to pop up across the US attracting “colorists” to unplug and unwind in social settings.

The recent surge in adult coloring is not just attributed to nostalgia but also its therapeutic effects. Coloring encourages creativity without the intimidation of staring at a blank page. In fact, research suggests that coloring within a premade design might help fight anxiety. Clinical psychologist Kimberly Wulfert of explains that “In coloring, you’re being mindful, and when you move in a rhythmic fashion for an extended period of time, that becomes a meditation.”

Unlike most coloring books, Skyhorse’s books have sixteen pages of full color for inspiration along with perforated pages, allowing budding artists to photocopy, gift, or display their beautiful creations! This twelve-book series features vibrant illustrations and detailed introductions highlighting the histories of themotifs, including paisley, mandala, art nouveau, zen, mehndi and whimsical designs.

Whether you’re interested in the mindfulness movement, in therapy for seniors, or in a business trend that’s dominating the book business, adult coloring books are hot!

Thanks to Skyhorse publishing, here is a download available for free to Momanthology readers!

Disclosure:  I received two books for review purposes.  I did nt receive any monetary compensation.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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