It’s the trend that’s taking the world by storm. Friends will lean into each other and ask, with a laugh at the edge of their voices, whether the other has taken up adult colouring-in yet. For the longest time I didn’t participate in the trend – it’s not that it didn’t look like the most fun ever but I was never really that good at colouring-in in the first place.
That was until I was given Secret Garden, The Artist’s Edition by Johanna Basford and Laurence King Publishing. This is an absolutely stunning pull-out-and-frame colouring book featuring large posters of Johanna’s work printed onto high quality card. It is safe to say that the book won me over the minute I saw it.
Of course, I was hopelessly unprepared for my gift. I searched online to find out which would be the best pens to use for this purpose. I knew that I wanted fineliners and decided on a set of 20 Staedtler Triplus Fineliners as I thought they would give the best control in these often intricate drawings.
I also thought that these would accentuate Johanna’s drawings and display the most vibrant colours and I was right.
I realised that while they produced gorgeous results, working with fineliners is careful, detailed work and best for small surfaces. Some of Johanna’s drawings are quite big!
Next I tried some Crayola Twistable crayons and some Staedtler Ergo Soft pencils. I was pleased with the results of the pencils but was unable to keep in between the lines with the crayons (even though these are pen-styled crayons).
Ultimately I realised that what was needed was for me to set aside a couple of hours to sit back with a constant supply of tea and biscuits and to tackle one of the bigger drawings with my fineliners. The results were stunning and I honestly felt that I’d like to print out and frame this work of art – if I ever finish it! This took me a good 90 minutes to do so I’m obviously in for a lot more colouring-in.
I’ve been chatting to a lot of people about the relaxation and mindfulness factor commonly associated with adult colouring-in. They are indeed very relaxing and you can sit for hours doodling away (remember to stock up on tea and biscuits!) or even just a couple of minutes at a time. I found them very useful for helping me forget the stresses in life, such as a busy study and work schedule.
They are also a great exercise in mindfulness. It takes concentration to colour within the lines and to plan your colours and approach and in that moment, all you are thinking of is the colouring-in book and your pens. You are in the moment and not thinking of the past or future beyond what pen you’ll use next.
I would absolutely recommend Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden and would specifically recommend the Artist’s Edition. Her drawings are also available as note cards, a calendar and the original Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book.