De-stressing shouldn’t be Distressing

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or you just detest social media, in which case, more power to you!), there is a 99.9% chance you know about the relatively new phenomenon of Colouring Books for Adults.

I’ve always loved colouring. When I was a child, it was an encouraged activity, but when I was a teenager and still wanted to colour, I sometimes thought whether I was just the most uncool kid on the block.

And now, as I obsessively look for good colouring books for adults, I am reminded why I liked it so much…you just have to follow a simple mantra – stay inside the lines – and you soon end up with something that looks great (most of the time) and which you can say has been made by you! Win win!

I realized a few things however…

  • The kind of spontaneity that we had as children (which helped us eschew all the norms and colour the sky purple for all we cared) is very hard to harness as an adult now. There are quite a few pictures of real life things decorated with abstract designs, and it’s taking me a lot of inner turmoil to stop worrying about how it “should be”, and just use colours which would look good. Take this owl for example…


Believe me when I say it was not easy introducing the purple, blue, pink and red into an owl.

But then I reasoned that it was an owl which was already tattooed like a hairy biker, so I wasn’t deviating as much as the illustrator already had. I still ended up using a lot of browns and yellows to sort of balance the hippie-ish colours. And of course I adamantly made the leaves only green and the sky blue. LIKE IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE.

*repress anxiety on being deviant*

I think we should ponder upon the fact that society has prepared us so well, that most of us generally tend to scream in fear (exaggeration, yes) when faced with an opportunity to be a rebel. Let’s sit with that thought for a bit, shall we?

  • There are some pictures which have such ridiculously intricate designs that it’s giving me a headache just thinking about how much time and concentration it’s going to take me to finish those. Like, seriously…am I supposed to paint with those single-strand-of-animal-tail-hair brushes that Mughal miniature painters apparently used?! Look at this one…


(blunt) Colour pencil for scale. Look at the detail in the wings! What’s the use of so many dots when I’ll have to just scrawl the same colour over them all? *stop from getting hysterical*

So basically, this de-stressing is sometimes a bit distressing too. Not all the pictures are my cup of tea.

  • This is still quite a novel idea, so it means that there are not as many of these books out there, and most of the ones that are available, are pretty pricey. Now, I didn’t want to spend a thousand bucks on something which I haven’t even tried yet, so I tried hard and found some relatively cheaper ones. They’re good too, and I’m hoping more of such books are released soon.


Fact is, whatever  I might say against these books, they’re exciting, they bring you back in touch with things like crayons and sketch pens and colour pencils (unless you, like me, keep doing something which lets you use these things *shameless plug*), and they help you feel like a naughty kid again.

I’ve even been colouring a little outside the lines now. I think I can safely say I’m an absolute rebel now.

Have you been using colouring books for adults too? What’s your experience been?


2 thoughts on “De-stressing shouldn’t be Distressing

  1. I love watching my kids colour – like you say they pick colours they like rather than what they think they should (why shouldn’t Santa have a green face and purple clothes according to my then 4 year old).

    I have one adult colouring book and was initially overwhelmed by all the detail in it but soon figured out that I could colour in chunks, over the intricate patterns rather than get bogged down in the detail.

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