This Adult Coloring Thing

I think I’m starting to get it, and realizing that coloring can be viewed as an art form in itself. All of you purists out there, don’t balk. And I’m not digging into the art vs. craft argument either, but as usual, when I’m working at something that allows me to go into the zone, awarenesses happen.

Without trying it, I didn’t understand the interest in coloring someone else’s designs. I’m excited to get my books published so I can color in them, but even coloring on my home-printed copy of the images, I’m finding an artistic outlet.

Mandala Adult Coloring Image

Yesterday I started coloring this image from soon-to-be Meditative Mandalas Volume 1. I used flat markers and took my time going at it. As I got closer to finishing the main design elements I found myself antsy to be able to get on to the background and shading.

I pulled out my Prismacolor pencils and started, then did basic shadows. I found myself wanting to layer more color for more depth and then thinking, “This is a piece of printer paper, not even good quality, what am I doing spending so much time on this???” It reminded me that art is in the eye of the beholder, or something like that. It’s not about what it is, but how it makes you feel.

I felt relaxed, letting my mind drift while streaming my favorite Chicago radio station. I felt accomplished, filling in all those little areas so precisely. I felt artistic, pulling out shading techniques. It reminded me also that I need more time to just sit and do something that isn’t work. Something that has no tangible purpose, something that will keep me in the present moment.

It doesn’t matter what the outcome is. It matters what you’re doing and how it makes you feel in the moment. It’s a weird thing, presence. When you’re fully present you feel like a master. You feel in tune. Nothing else matters. It’s when we start thinking, that we start to feel bad about what we’re doing, or how it’s going. It’s hard to stay in the present moment but I have a feeling that this coloring thing might have the same effect as meditation. The more you do it and the more you achieve that state of just being with it, the more it will spill over into the rest of your life. I bet if I’d read all of the articles that have been floating around about the adult coloring craze that it would say the same thing. I don’t have time for that…I’m busy coloring!

I get it.

My Coloring Journey

I am calling it a coloring journey because, as you might remember, I haven’t considered myself a color-er, let alone a Color-ist. This past week though on a working retreat with friends I picked up the markers and tried it again. Let me just say, the medium you choose makes all the difference. So far, I had tried colored pencils and Copic markers and while I liked them, the Bic markers I used recently felt really good and I liked the even effect of the coloring. Luckily, I have a small stash in the studio so that is what I started with today.

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I gave myself an hour to color, which turned in to almost two hours with little bit of time where I got side-tracked organizing my Copics, which I didn’t even use. Of course, seeing all of the colors just made me realize that I need more shades. When I couldn’t find a color I wanted with the Bic Mark-Its that I had on hand I reached for my paint pens.

I really like them but they’re not for everyone. With them you actually lay down a layer of paint on the surface and they’re opaque so they will cover the black lines if you start to go out of the lines. Also, I’m using regular printer paper and if you scratch back and forth, the wetness of the paint will start to loosen and ball up the fibers of the paper. It’s best to be able to lay the color down in one stroke, or at least as few as possible.
lg100927a03I’ve gotten used to paint pens in my art journals and I quite like them. They do need a few seconds to dry but they don’t bleed through. As you can see above though, not all pens are created equal. One of the yellows I used was a Derwent Graphik’s pen and they have a tendency to explode little blobs of paint when you least expect it. If you’re careful and you watch the tip closely while you color, you can catch it in time and sop the explosion up with a paper towel. I can usually do this but it would probably drive more than a few people bonkers.

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I started out taking notes on my blotter paper of the pens I was using and as usual, one thing leads to another and it started turning into my “Inner Sanctum” thoughts. Things to remember, things I want to come here and tell you about, and other randomness that runs through my brain while my mind wanders. I can’t decide if this is as crazy as talking to myself, or worse.

 

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This is as far as I got. I made a commitment to go into the studio and color (or do something else creative) for at least an hour in the morning, after school drop-off. This page is from Meditative Mandalas – Lori’s Mandala Coloring Book for Adults – Volume 1, due out next month, as well as Volume 2 – Relaxing Mandalas.

Now, back to working on Volume 3 – Calming Mandalas.

Hand-drawn Mandala work.

Still plugging along on the coloring books for adults. All of the images for the first book are finished and about 20 for the second book.

I’m back on the big studio tour this year, in November, and every once in a while I think, “How in the world am I ever going to pull myself away from drawing to make inventory for that show?” I’m trying not to think about it and push it to the back of my brain.

Zoom view of mandala WIP

Above is a super zoom-in of a mandala I’m working on for book two in the series. I’m pretty proud at the neatness of my hand-drawing. I do wonder if it looks too precise though, to the point where people will doubt that I did it by hand. I used a fuzzy line pen so it doesn’t look too computer-generated.

I’ve been thinking about how to describe the current designs I’m working on. They’re not your typical flowery, soft-edge style that you see a lot of. More industrial? Masculine? Maybe I don’t need to describe them at all and just let you all check them out. I can’t wait to share them all. next month, y’all!

I’m missing color a little bit and have spent a lot of time sitting at my computer for the last month. I think I’ll go out to the new, and neglected, studio for a little bit and work with some media that doesn’t require a keyboard or a screen.