As we enter the holiday season of rainy or snowy days, hot chocolate and cozy evenings by the fireplace, it just seemed right to make a coloring book our Day 7 giveaway. Do coloring books make you more creative? The question of whether they enhance or dampen creativity is the topic of heated debate in some circles.
At DoubleShot Creative we’re taking a bold pro-coloring position. Why not?
If coloring books are just for fun, they shouldn’t have to pull any more freight than that, whether they’re in the hands of an engineer, an executive, or a pre-schooler with a full overhand grip on their crayon.
Still—it’s interesting to ponder the trend: more than 12 million adult coloring books were sold in 2015 in the U.S. (That’s up from 1 million in 2014; calling it a “craze” is not overstating it.) And they’ve been flying off the shelves around the globe, lest you think it’s just an American thing.
In fact, a worldwide pencil shortage has been sparked by this international coloring frenzy. The world’s biggest wood pencil purveyor Faber-Castell has been running extra shifts in Bavaria to keep up with double-digit growth they attribute to the coloring book trend.
As the Washington Post notes, “There are adult coloring books for hipsters, “Dr. Who” fans, cat lovers, Taylor Swift devotees, and admirers of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — pretty much anyone with a niche interest and a need to relax.”
So relax, dear closet coloring aficionado. You shouldn’t have to defend a penchant for doodling or coloring. Seriously, pick your battles. But if you do come in for some hazing, here are some thoughts for your back pocket. It’s not like we’re coloring book fanatics here at DoubleShot Creative. But…there are those among us who will look for any excuse to trot out the 64 box of Crayola’s or some colored pens.
Here are our 10 Modest Arguments for Coloring Books:
1. Mo’ fun, mo’ pretty things. Who can argue with this? Some of the designs on offer are truly stunning even in black and white, and come to life with every bit of color applied. What would you rather tack up in your office—a colorful lion or a spreadsheet?
2. Cooling your eyeballs. How many hours of screen time do you clock every day? For work…for diversion…correspondence…shopping, games…we don’t need to belabor this point. Getting your face away from the screen when you can, for any reason, is a good idea.
3. Awakening your analog. Anyone out there notice their handwriting skills deteriorating? Coloring can reacquaint you with some neglected fine motor skills , and work a hand-eye connection that stimulates both sides of the brain.
4. Chilling out. The de-stressing qualities of coloring books are widely discussed both by mental health pros and the coloring fans themselves. People describe the meditative and therapeutic properties of getting lost in a drawing, in the rhythmic process of choosing and applying color, cell by cell. From pop beads to needlepoint to mosaic work to a sand mandala…we humans are drawn to color, pattern, and repetition.
5. No undo button. Did you color in blue when you meant to use red? Did you careen outside the lines? Your mistake will be out there for all to see…unless you turn your mistake into something new and deliberate. This is a fundamental lesson in any early art class…when your hand slips, your watercolor runs, your clay wobbles, good things happen when you follow it instead of fighting it. This is actually a profound principal for fine art, but…why not for the coloring book?
6. Satisfaction guaranteed. If you’re the type who gets the tiniest little micro-thrill checking boxes on your to-do list, you probably get a similar micro-thrill finishing a drawing. It’s not the NYT Sunday crossword you stalled out on, or that amorphous swath of knitting that never seems to turn into a sweater. Nope. You embark on coloring a page, and you’re on a glide path to completion, barring unrelated distractions.
7. No notifications, no hyperlinks, no pop-up ads. Speaking of distractions…this one speaks for itself.
8. Coloring outside the lines is like, totally fine. So is coloring inside the lines. When things are feeling chaotic, it can be very reassuring to restore world order by creating a real-world-faithful rendering. Or, if you’ve been on the straight-and-narrow and want to bust a move, those black-and-white templates are just crying out to be messed with.
9. No one is the boss of your color choices. “Pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, green clovers.” Don’t let a cereal-hawking leprechaun boss you around. Go ahead. Make the moon green. Make the dog blue. Who knows what could happen.
10. Coloring might just be a gateway drug. As long as the colored pencils or crayons are out… why not try a few new exercises, just for kicks. There’s a very popular creative exercise called “30 Circles,” the work of Bob McKim that is referenced in IDEO designer Tim Brown’s talk, “Tales of Creativity and Play.” The talk is well worth watching—and the “30 Circles” exercise is demonstrated and discussed. Essentially, it’s a fluency and flexibility challenge—how fast can you think of stuff and jot it down…and how far outside the expected do your ideas range? We’ve put that exercise, plus a few little jump starters in the back of our coloring book. See what sparks your imagination…
Now that we’ve discussed how coloring books can spark your creativity, it’s time for today’s giveaway!
Our giveaway has now ended! To get more information, including how to spark your creativity, contact us here.
That’s all for today. Don’t forget to check back on Thursday for our next giveaway!
Until then, cast your vote and be part of selecting which charity we give back to this holiday season.