Six Things I Learned from Colouring Books

Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford got me hooked in her intricate colouring book for grown-ups with her latest edition "Enchanted Forest" released February of 2015.

Just like how I got excited with my colouring books and the pleasure of holding a pen back in my childhood days, this collection of black and white tracery of fantastical and botanical scenes rekindle my obsession for colours and frustration in arts. (wink)

As I start working on the first few pages of the book, I am surprised to realize subtle and practical ideas popping out from the colours.

After 2.5 - 3 hours of colouring the title page
1. Life is like a box of coloured pens, each colour has its own use and character and together they can create a masterpiece. Every experience you had both painful and pleasant has a purpose. Every person you encounter in life, people with a wide array of personality, style, ethnicity, appearance and character who come into your life has a definite reason. Your experiences and the people you met makes you the person you are today. You are one kind of masterpiece.

My coloured pens
2. Every art work(colouring page in my case) begins with a first stroke. Those colours and lines may not make sense during the early stages but as you continue the momentum of consistent strokes, you are closer to your next best work of art. Perseverance is a way of life, it enables you to bridge uncertainty towards your full potential.

3. Art is a matter of perspective. While people may look at the same pattern for each colouring page, it's fascinating to witness that the same page transformed to a new level of art by colouring it differently. In the same way you may experience the same adversity with other people but your perspective in life keeps you apart from the pessimistic.
4. With colouring books anyone can be an artist because you will never get stuck in a blank space, there will always be something to get you started. Pablo Picasso once said, "Every child is an artist ..." and I am a believer of him, you just need to find ways to tap that hidden gem in you. You may thank yourself after, or maybe, you'll never know, the next generation may thank you as well.

5. Don't get intimated by the complex designs and images in the book, as long as you have the right tools in your hand you will definitely come up with something beautiful. The same thing with life, people or circumstances may overwhelm you but if you have the right attitude and proper skills you can make it through.

6. Every page is an opportunity to become better. If you think you messed up the pattern with wrong way of blending, awkward strokes and inappropriate choice of colours, don't loose heart. You have an enormous chance of improving on the next few pages.

My encouragement to adults who have a child-like heart and want to spark that joy or even those who just want to relieve the stress of your day job and start something artistic, give this book a try and let your imagination take you to an enchanting world of arts and colours.

Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford


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