Posted in Writing

Coloured Judgement

A post in praise of colouring

cover of colouring for calm
More effective than Prozac but much more addictive

One of this summer’s publishing sensations has been the adult colouring book. In this context, “adult” doesn’t have the same connotations as in “adult films”. They are simply colouring books designed to appeal to grown-ups.

Why colouring? Why now?

In a culture characterised by quick response times and a general desire for instant gratification, any activity that cannot be hurried, from colouring to crochet, from needlepoint to knitting, provides a welcome excuse to slow down and savour the moment. The regular activity of rubbing a pencil back and forth to fill in a defined space without going over the lines can no more be hurried than knitting can ever be a speed sport. Colouring relaxes the brain into a meditative state.

But what I don’t get is the need to create special colouring books for adults. I’m happy colouring children’s books, filled with mermaids, unicorns and other distractions from the stresses of daily life.

cover of Lady Chatterley's lover
Literary colour

Just as J K Rowling’s publishers brought out special editions of Harry Potter books to facilitate unembarrassed reading on the commuter train, I think they should simply camouflage the covers of children’s colouring books for adult consumption.

So if you spot me any time soon hunched over a book covered in brown paper, wielding a blue pencil, it doesn’t mean I’m personally censoring Lady Chatterley’s Lover. I’ll just be colouring in Bob the Builder’s dungarees.

cover of Bob the Builder colouring book
“Can we colour it? Yes, we can! “

This post was originally written for the September issue of Hawkesbury Parish News, the local community newspaper serving the village in which I have lived for nearly 25 years and for which I write a monthly column on any topic that takes my fancy as the deadline approaches. (There’s nothing like an imminent deadline for focusing the mind.) If you enjoyed this column, you might also like these recent articles: