the art of mindbending

the life of zooey who happens to be Bipolar 2

stained fingers and colored leaves

slide_370922_4284232_compressedRemember as a kid when a fresh box of colors and a new coloring book were the shit? I remember pouring over the various subjects and designs. It took considerable consternation to commit to that one coloring book, which would give me hours of fun. The Wild West, dinosaurs and other animals, comic book characters and Disney were among my choices. Without a child or niece/nephew of our own, many of us abandoned the color past time, until recently:

Ordering a coloring book that suits adult tastes online is easier than walking into a bookstore where the only options have Barbie or Thomas the Tank Engine themes. Plus, everyone’s favorite online crafting hub, Pinterest, is a treasure trove of adult coloring pages, with themes ranging from nature and animals to classic paintings. – CNN

It is now ‘in fashion’. A flood of coloring books for adults has hit the market. It gives grownups a way to concentrate on something else instead of the worries of the world. Coloring designs has benefits including relaxation, reduction of stress and anxiety, meditation and just plain distraction. Although currently popular, coloring books have been used as tools by psychiatrists for decades. Coloring also helps you to focus in on something using both sides of your brain. Both the logical and creative halves are used in coloring.

Cost for a book varies from a few dollars to over $15 for a single book. There are also lots of free printable pages as well. I’ve tried some of these coloring books with some success. These can be purchased at most book stores, craft stores or online.

Books I’ve tried: (Check out a ginormous number of them on the adult coloring book Amazon page.)

Balance (Angie’s Extreme Stress Menders Volume 1) by Angie Gracesec1
Very intricate and balanced. Repetitive. Easy to make up rules and follow them. Great for those who love detail and want something meditative.

Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book by Johanna Basford
A wonder of flowers, plants and creatures in a garden setting. This is a #1 best seller for a reason. Organic design at its finest. Beautify drawings by a talented artist.

Creative Haven Creative Cats Coloring Book (Creative Haven Coloring Books) b Marjorie Sarnat
Sweet, designs in various settings for feline lovers. One-sided paper which is thick for various coloring tools. Cat faces are cute. Pages can be torn out individually.

Color Me Calm: 100 Coloring Templates for Meditation and Relaxation by Lacy Mucklow
Various designs, textures and patterns. It includes Mandalas, Water and Wooded Scenes, Geometric Patterns, Flora & Fauna and other natural settings. This gives me ideas of how to create patterns inside of larger areas on other coloring books

ad0425kPinterest Look-see here:
Pinterest search on Adult Coloring


Printable pages
Picking the design is one half of the equation. The other thing to consider are your coloring tools. Gel pens blend, but be careful running your hand or fingers over an area drying. It will smudge. Color pencils are an option which won’t bleed through to the next page but may not be saturated with enough color for your liking. Markers are an option, but depending on the quality of paper and whether there are images on both sides may decide whether or not those are a good choice. And there are crayons, too!

St.-Patricks-Day-Inspired-Zentangle-Art-Image-1If you don’t like coloring between the lines, another option are Zentangles. These are very small studies of whatever you want, created in a small shape such as a square or circle. Again, you choose the shape. The idea is to keep them around 7 inches or so height/width. This is to keep the exercise from becoming too big with a huge blank page. I’ve see descriptions where they instruct ONLY black ink on white paper, meh. I’ve seen examples of pictorial, patterns or just plain doodles, either black and white, monochrome or full of color. Again, you’re the boss, here.

What Zentangles have in their favor is a larger factor of creativity than coloring someone else’s’ designs. Of course, if thinking of something to draw is stressful, then something ready to color would be better. Some prefer Zentangle freedom. Some prefer to meditate coloring designs. Neither is better than the other. It’s really a personal preference. They both foster creativity, combat stress and promote calm.

I’ve used coloring books and Zentangles as tools. They both work pretty well for me, but not in a depressed state. I think this is because I have no motivation to ‘do’ much. I honestly don’t want to associate depression with this activity either. But for calming the mind and leaving the cares of the day as I color pages? Spot on.

“Soon it got dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon fields; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgundy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries.”

― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Lavender and tangerine and chartreuse,


Adult Coloring Book Links

Zentangle Websites

Art as Therapy


3 comments on “stained fingers and colored leaves

  1. Rory
    October 6, 2015

    I love, love, love Zentangles. I’ve done a bunch at work over the last couple of years. Jenny and I also have coloring books, and they are the best things ever. Pretty much that. Hugs.


  2. zooey
    October 7, 2015

    I’ve tried Zentangles 3 times. As you know, I’m having a hard time getting back into expressive, original art. Trying to make peace with that. Hugs.


    • Rory
      October 7, 2015

      I know. We all have to find our own things. Just gave me a happy to read about them.


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This entry was posted on October 6, 2015 by in Art, fun, Health, perspective and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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