2015: The Year I Discovered Adult Coloring Books

2015: The Year I Discovered Adult Coloring Books December 31, 2015

I kept telling myself that they weren’t for me. Why color when I can make original art? What is the point of a coloring book? The concept seemed like a waste of time.

But every day at work, when I went to the food court for lunch, there they were in the campus bookstore: rows upon rows of beautiful coloring books. Finally I caved and bought Valentina Harper’s book of mandalas. Then, for Christmas, my mom–operating from some vague memory of me being really into Loreena McKennitt in high school–got me a Celtic coloring book and a set of 48 Prismacolor pencils.

I’d previously only had the set of 12, plus a few extra I bought for skin tones. I ogled all the colors. I think I might have drooled a little.

Design by Valentina Harper. Coloring by yours truly.
Design by Valentina Harper. Coloring by yours truly.

Turns out I love coloring. And there’s a bonus: since the designs are plentiful and low-pressure, I have an opportunity to practice my color work. I’m experimenting with shading and color theory in ways that have always felt too risky with my own illustrations.

But mainly I’m just having fun. See, a few weeks ago the cards gave me an interesting message: Doing is not the same as becoming.

I tend to fill my time with doing. I devour books. I knit and knit. I meditate. I do magic. I write. I’ve always had a fear of wasted time; when I spend too long on Facebook, I feel guilty. How many pages could I have read or written in that amount of time? How many rows could I have knit?

I create work for myself in order to become: to become a wiser person, to become a better knitter, to become a writer people have heard of. So the message from the cards was a nice reality check. You don’t have to do a bunch of things in order to grow. You’re constantly becoming something new even when you don’t notice, and although you can certainly establish good habits, you don’t have to force your destiny. It’ll happen. You’ll become.

Tomorrow I’ll turn 35. In August I’ll begin my Kohenet training. May 2016 be the year in which I’m able, in some small way, to right the wrongs of 2015. May I continue becoming. May we all never lose sight of our audacious dreams of peace.

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