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My New Coloring Book!

A couple of months ago, I discovered that adult coloring books were A THING. They are credited with reviving the print books industry (vs e-books) in various countries, causing a worldwide pencil shortage and are even outselling cook books on Amazon! All that for humble coloring books? Hard to believe isn't it?

Well it is true. But why do adults need their own coloring books? Can't you just pick up something from the nearest supermarket? I can hear you wondering. I can only assume that you don't have kids or haven't been around kids for a while. If you look around the supermarket in the art supplies section, you will stumble upon coloring books for children. Unless you are a huge fan of Disney, you will want coloring books for adults!

I actually stumbled back into coloring when I visited a toy & games store. As I flipped through Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford, I immediately had to have it. It was only later than I found out that adult coloring is a thing. Some people swear by it - coloring clears away stress, is relaxing, is artistic and so on. There are people on the other side too - it's juvenile, time waster, it's the Netflix of art etc.

I don't know how much of the 'coloring = therapy' is true or if it even works but I do know why I love it. I loved drawing and coloring as a kid, even went to art classes for some time. But as often happens with life going by, I lost time for it in favor of other pursuits. Now I've re-discovered my love of art. Yes, I said art. To those who pooh pooh coloring and say it isn't 'art' by any means, I only say this: just because I follow a recipe doesn't mean I'm not cooking.

Coloring let's me play with color without having to draw something myself. Not all of us can draw, paint or sculpt but should that stop us from enjoying the process of creating a piece of art? True my coloring may never grace the walls of the Louvre but I can still frame it and hang it up on mine! It has even sparked my interest in drawing again.

Coloring lets me relax and unwind. Many of us are familiar with coming back from a vacation only to realize we're not actually relaxed. That's because while your body may be lying on a beach, your mind may still be filled with all your worries. It's why meditation is good for you - it lets you clear your head. Coloring is meditation for me. It's mundane enough that I don't have to concentrate on each stroke but also involved enough that I don't think about anything else but the lines, color and my strokes.

I've been learning new techniques and experimenting with different color palettes. It's slow going with each image taking as many as 20 hours to complete! Yes, adult coloring books are nothing like the ones we used as kids. Some of them are so intricately drawn that my color pencils can't possibly fit in the spaces. That's why I also use color pens, though I do prefer pencils. I'm working on my fourth page right now.

Some of my completed pictures:


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Book Review: Tropical Wonderland

Wow, it's been a long time since we had a post around here! I do apologize for the long gap but the job search is taking up quite a bit of my time. The rest of it is filled with frustration at not finding one, so yeah. This means while I have all the time in the world for coloring, I'm too anxious or depressed to pick up my pencils sometimes. And I don't quite have the energy to blog about it. Anyway onto today's book review.

Book - Tropical Wonderland
Author - Millie Marotta
Artists like Johanna Basford and Hanna Karlzon have special editions of their popular books. These books have better paper – often card stock, are printed on one side and can be removed from the book for putting up on your walls. My only issue with these books is that they have only a handful of pages from the original book.

Millie Marotta's deluxe editions are very different. So far there have been three deluxe editions of her early books and they are exquisite. They are printed on …

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Last week we talked about color harmonies and I promised to show you a couple of tools that I use regularly for coloring. Even knowing about the color harmonies doesn't mean it's easy to pick out colors for a page. Given the many colors in our pencils and pens, it's not hard to get stuck before you even begin. 

For all those times when you are starting a page and don't quite know which colors to pick, you need inspiration. You can get inspiration by just looking around your home or out the window.  Open your closet and  look at your clothes, see a pattern that you like? Use the same colors on your page.  You can also check out photos on the internet to get some ideas about color palettes and combinations. 

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My favorite thing about coloring is that it takes away much of the stress of drawing. I've seen disparaging remarks by people against colorists, mostly in the vein of 'just learn to draw already!' But I think that they are kind of missing the point. I know I can get better at drawing if I practice everyday. But being a full-time student with a couple of part-time jobs doesn't leave me much time for creative pursuits. Why shouldn't I enjoy playing with color just because I can't draw well?

Once I jumped into the world of coloring, I faced the biggest question for a newbie colorist - how do I pick colors for something? I loved looking at the finished pictures posted online by advanced colorists and even actual artists. I wanted to be able to create something like that! I started learning some basics about colors and how they work to get better at coloring my books.

So if you have ever wondered about color combinations or why some colors tend to look better toget…