Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Fads and Crazes

As a general rule, I have never been one to jump on the latest bandwagon, go gaga over the latest fad. So my reaction to the adult coloring book craze has been lukewarm. Oh pulleeze, I remember thinking. And yet the enthusiasm for this craze has not waned. My initial feelings about it have not changed either, as I see others hoping to get in on the monetary gains to be made by offering coloring opportunities beyond the basic coloring book. Just...not...interested... mostly because I don't need someone else's designs to color in, have plenty of creative outlets to keep me busy. And yet, I have recently purchased a pocket planner with blank designs to meditatively color in. My excuse is that I only had three designs to choose from - one with horses, one of Italy and this one. Nothing against horses or Italy but they were not compelling. The flowers, even left black and white, at least appealed.

I still can't figure out why this craze suddenly took off like it did as similar coloring books have always been available, just not marketed to adults. I remember back to 2012 when I accompanied my friend Judi to the Mayo Clinic. We had both brought along some things to fill the time with something a bit creative - yarn for knitting, sketchbooks for drawing, things like that. We were both ripped from our studios with this trip and could not create like we would at home. One of Judi's friends understood this and gave her a coloring book, pages of flowers as I recall, thinking it would fill that need to be working on something. Judi tried a page or two and then threw it down in disgust. I sensed it felt like busywork to her and she stated that it was boring just coloring in someone else's designs. I could see her point. One of my gal's in the art group told a similar story about her daughter who as a child would take a page she was supposed to be coloring in, flip it to the back, draw her own version and then color that in. 

I've been trying to remember my own feelings as a child working with coloring books. I mostly remember designs with children in them, perhaps flying a kite or playing with a dog or picking flowers or standing near a house. I remember carefully choosing the right color for the knowns like blue for the sky, green for the grass, flesh color for the skin. I don't remember how my mind worked for the parts where there were options. I do remember keeping the colors within the lines. See? These are the same traits I exhibit to this day, an aesthetic possibly in my genes, and I'm sure I argued with or at least looked with disapproval at classmates' work that broke the rules I was adhering to. At any rate, perhaps the adult craze is so popular because people have good memories about their coloring days and have not allowed themselves to pursue anything very creative for awhile. Or don't feel they are talented enough to work without guides. Or recognize the therapeutic value of working with a drawing and coloring it in and this is a quick way to access that.


Whatever the reason, I guess I need to ease up a bit on my eye-rolling whenever I see yet another product geared toward adult coloring. I told myself I didn't have to color in those pages (one design for each month). Then again . . . I had this set of cheap colored pencils bought years ago with the idea they could be used to try out different color schemes when drafting out designs on paper. Only twelve colors rather frustrated me and they've been sitting unused ever since I started investing in good quality Prismacolor pencils in many colors. I wouldn't "waste" those good pencils on something like this, but perhaps the limited selection of the Crayolas would be a challenge and they'd finally get some use. And in my usual meticulous way, I am working through the motifs that will be green, which in this case are in repeats of four, in odd moments here and there, before choosing the next motif and color to attack. Yes, there is something oddly meditative in the movement of the pencil laying down the color. There's also something a little guilty about it too. I really should be working on something else. But I am rather enjoying working with these shapes. And I have lots of time to finish this prelude to January.  

10 comments:

Connie Rose said...

I think you've analyzed this thing to death! Just enjoy it and stop feeling guilty!!

Living to work - working to live said...

I don't get this colouring thing either! I'd rather fill my own sketchbook. But I guess if it suits some we should perhaps be a bit more forgiving.

Like your idea of just using the cheap pencils on this. Though I'd have just left it black and white!

The Idaho Beauty said...

How funny, Connie. What you call analyzing to death, I call reflection, observation, musings, not to mention an attempt to put together an interesting post! ;-) It's just the natural way my mind works and wanders about, and irony is not lost on me when I am adverse to something only to find myself wrapped up in it. As for the guilty part, I wasn't quite sure that was the proper word for the emotion I was feeling. It's just that I have so many other little projects going that to spend time on something I wasn't all that invested in seemed questionable use of my time. Something on the order of procrastination, something I've mastered quite well, unfortunately. :-)

The Idaho Beauty said...

Hilary, nice to know I'm not alone on this. And we'll see how many of these black and white pages I end up spending time on. As I say, it can feel a bit relaxing and could be a place to try out mixing my limited colors to create additional ones. Ah yes, I always make a learning experience out of almost everything I do!

Chris said...

I loved coloring books as a kid and nothing was better than getting a new box of crayons. Someone gave me an adult coloring book and pencils, but I have had no desire to do any coloring. The designs are complicated, but not very interesting. Filling them in just seems tedious to me. I think I would rather do zentangles for relaxation or just some good old sketching. At least the sketching could lead to a quilt idea.

I offered the coloring book and pencils to my daughter, but she did not want it. Overall however I think the books are a good thing for many people. At least they are better than people just watching TV or being on their phones constantly.

MulticoloredPieces said...

ha ha ha! I just like to "color" my own ink drawings. Can't get into the coloring book thing...it'd drive me nuts, everybody's doing it! take care! best, nadia

The Idaho Beauty said...

Chris, I agree with you on all points, and find it interesting that your daughter rejected the adult coloring book too. I've done more thinking about this and am reminded of the paint by number kit craze of the 1950's, equally looked down upon by "real" artists but loved by the unskilled public. And then there is my own use of needlework kits complete with yarns or floss, needle and charts of where each color would go, or knitting and crochet patterns (where I could choose to duplicate the color scheme or not) back before I discovered quilting and thought I had no design skills. I just enjoyed the doing and the finished product. I still do not have the skills to develop a knitting pattern on my own and think nothing of seeking out a pattern. Seen from this viewpoint, I guess I can understand the adult coloring book people better.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Nadia - a kindred soul in the everybody's doing it, I'll pass! Having followed your blog, I can attest that you do so much sketching on a regular basis and are not afraid of color and adding it to your sketches. The last thing you need is a coloring book!

Featheronawire Sally Bramald said...

I think I am like you. I feel my life is too short to do things like this. I bought my daughter bits and pieces of it though when work was stressing her out. I bought her one with rude words ha ha

The Idaho Beauty said...

Oh goodness - one with rude words? I guess they make these for all types! I was just working on the March page of this calendar and thinking how just the movement of the pencil over the page within the predetermined lines had a calming effect on me. It's such a no pressure thing and there does seem to be something to that putting pen or pencil to paper that disengages our gerbil minds. An escape if only a momentary one. Hope it helped your daughter.