Why You Should Start Coloring

After mulling about in the back of my mind for a month or two, it was still an unplanned moment when I bought my first adult coloring book.

I’d been avoiding it the way I used to avoid Harry Potter back in the day; all the hype, flurry, and fuss makes me think “Gimmick!”

The mere thought of saying “I’m coloring” made me feel weird, and I put off the moment where I’d find out for myself what this fuss was all about.

I am so glad I took a chance on this.

The Secret Garden by Johanna Basford was my first book. From there, I purchased her Artist’s Edition, which contains 20 of the Secret Garden drawings, only on single-sided, thicker paper that you can detach, as with Mr. Owl here:


Owl from the Secret Garden: Artist’s Edition, using colored pencils


Our house now contains an adjustable easel so I don’t get a stupid crick in my back by bending over the sheet.

A Real Zen Moment

I don’t even know if I can call it leisure time when I’m coloring. It’s really time that I have suddenly decided that yep, I am going to sit down here with my easel and do this thing for awhile.

For when I’m coloring, I’m coloring. I am not thinking about dinner, tasks to be done, or even doing something else in this precious free time that we so often want to fill up with Meaningful Activities.

Instead, it’s just me and this book, my hand and these pencils or markers.

I don’t even seem to think about which color to choose next; it all seems to unfold naturally.


Peacock from the Artist’s Edition, using markers.

And Here’s What Else Happens

Even though I’m not doing what I call active thinking, I find that this mere act of coloring stimulates my brain. Ideas are forming and ticking over in the background, and often burst into being the moment I am “done” for the day.

Ideas such as writing this blog post about it!

Incidentally, I keep my colored pencil and marker sets, erasers and blending sticks in this long-coveted steamer trunk that belonged to Samantha from the American Girl collection. (I never had any of those American Girl Dolls, but I always wanted their accessories.)

And now I have an even more legitimate use for it than having it just gather dust in the basement!


Samantha would have been proud.


Notes on supplies:

  • Colored pencils–I’d say any brand & set will do. The more colors the better, of course, and try adding metallics, watercolors, and pastel pencils to the mix.
  • Markers–If you’re using markers on anything but the thick stock paper from the Artist’s Edition, be aware that they will bleed through. I did some research and found that Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens will NOT bleed through on those thinner papers.

P.S. I am glad I took a chance on Harry Potter, too.

Are you into coloring books? What magic have they done for you? 


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