Six months ago, I discovered adult coloring quite by accident. It all happened as part of the daily haunt seeking out quality eBooks being offered for free on Amazon, I kept running into adult coloring book titles in the top ten ranking of all non-fiction books. What was this? Something new? I had to check it out.
When my first adult coloring book and set of pencils arrived, I dug right in and become hooked from the get go. Adult coloring became a time when I could take some downtime to listen to music and escape the stresses of blogging, a hectic work life and an uncertain world.
Not being an artist, nor having a single artistic gene in my body, I felt myself mesmerized by the process and also by the sense of pride and accomplishment that was garnered by completing a page and creating a beautiful design.
Adult Coloring: The Phenomena
Over the past year, adult coloring has become something of a phenomenon. Although coloring may appear to be a crazy fad, when you take the time to stop and think about it, it is not at all crazy.
There are several reasons for the current popularity of adult coloring books but two clearly stand out for me. We live in stressful, if not dangerous times, and we have a growing fear that life as we know it may change. Although we do our best to prepare, there are so many things to prepare for that we can’t do it all. Like a spinning top, we go round and round, until we are finally exhausted.
In my opinion, it is this combination of stress and uncertainty that fuels the popularity of coloring within the prepper community. We use it as a tool to relax and to separate ourselves from reality if only for an hour or two.
Apparently this is nothing new. I recently learned that Carl Jung calmed his patients by giving them mandalas to color. And indeed, it is the mandalas that personally preferred when I began to color. That said, I have now branched out to explore the huge range of subjects that are out there, often for free, for our coloring pleasure. There are garden designs and flowers, lace patterns, tattoos, animals, underwater scenes, and even books of swear words. (The later are very popular according to Amazon but not particularly interesting to me.)
9 Reasons Preppers Should Take up Coloring
1. Coloring is both a solo and a group activity. It is the perfect way for families or groups of friends to spend some quiet time together. It fosters camaraderie, networking, and bonding among like-minded people who potentially will become part of your survival community.
2. Coloring does not cost a lot of money. Coloring pages can be downloaded from the internet plus, quite often, Amazon will offer up eBooks for free. Obviously, you can’t color an eBook so virtually all of these eBooks include a link where you can download a printable book for free.
3. Stress reduction. For many, this is the number one reason to embrace coloring. By focusing on the coloring instead of the world around you, you can achieve respite from the worries and concerns of the day.
4. Improves the ability to focus. We all tend to multi-task 24/7. It is exhausting but we all do it. Add prepping to the multi-tasking mix and our focus get side-tracked. What this means is that whereas things get done, nothing is done exceptionally well. Coloring helps our ability to focus and therefore trains our minds to better compartmentalize the tasks at hand. As a bonus, adult coloring allows you to live in the moment to the exclusion of outside woes that trouble you.
5. Increases the ability to think creatively. We all know that when the time comes, we are going to have to think on our feet. Creative thinking offers us a way to view situations from a fresh, and perhaps unorthodox perspective. Coloring, especially for the artistically challenged, allows us to look at a drawing then explore the use of colors and shading without concern for the traditional color wheel. We can practice looking at a blank slate and coming up with an imaginative solution. Some might even call this problem-solving.
6. Improves motor skills. It is a fact of life that over time, motor skills diminish and become less precise. The mere act of grasping pencils and coloring within the lines helps exercise hand muscles and keeps them flexible and limber.
7. It does not take up a lot of room. You can store a stack of coloring pages and a few boxes of pencils, markers, or crayon in a small space.
8. Coloring is totally portable. You can take your coloring anywhere.
9. Coloring fosters mindfulness as an alternative to meditation. Mindfulness is somewhat of a buzzword these days, although I did find a pretty decent definition at Psychology Today:
Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.
Preppers are easily caught up in the what-if’s. What if there is a pandemic in my town? What if there is a terrorist attack? Or even what is going to happen if martial law takes over our country. In our mind we know that “live, love, and laugh” is the way to go but sometimes, that is hard. Really hard.
Coloring lets you escape to the moment and stay there for awhile.
You need two things to get started: something to color and something to color with. Let’s start with something to color,
You can find free coloring pages online but honestly, you will be much happier with coloring books. They come in two types: printed books and eBooks that you print yourself. To be honest, I mostly color in books. They just feel better to me.
That said, I have downloaded dozens of eBooks and printed out the pages so I have coloring pages available with a wide variety of design options. Additionally, these pages come in handy when experimenting with different color schemes or techniques. If you mess up, no worries. Re-print the page and start over. Plus, of course, they will be there in my survival library to share if the SHTF.
You can easily find these free coloring books on Amazon plus, I regularly post links to them on the BDS Facebook page.
Currently, these are my favorite adult coloring books. You can’t go wrong with any of them.
These are some samples of my own coloring.
This was my first purchase and if I was just starting out, I would choose this again. The beauty of this book is there are a wide variety of designs so you can try them all to determine what types of design you prefer. I learned early on that a couple of the designs were not for me; coloring them became a chore, On the other hand, I was drawn to the florals, paisleys, and the mandalas.
This is a book of Mandalas. There is something peaceful about the geometry and symmetry of coloring these designs. Once you select the colors you want to use, you can pretty much turn your mind off and go with the flow. This is the perfect coloring book to use while watching TV.
This is a more advanced book, with beautiful scenes as well as traditional mandalas and geometric designs. The paper is high quality and you just feel good using it. Color Me Calm is my current favorite
Best Pencils for Adult Coloring
Next you are going to need some pencils, markers, or crayons. I suggest you start with a set of basic pencils with a minimum of 36 colors. I have tried a number of brands but have whittled my recommendations down to the top 3.
These were the first pencils I purchased. After going through a number of marginal sets that look similar but perform poorly, I now cherish these pencils and their price point, currently less than $11 for 36 pencils. The leads on these pencils are soft enough to do some serious shading, yet hard enough to hold a good point and not break off in the sharpener.
2. Artists Loft Colored Pencils, 48 Pack
I purchased these at Michaels with a 50% coupon I found online These are a bit harder than the BTOOPs so they do not shade as well. On the other hand, they do not smeal, the color selection is fantastic, and, if you can find a discount coupon, the price is right.
These were a complete splurge. They have a softer lead which I find more difficult to use in tiny, intricate areas. That said, these are fantastic pencils and the ones I now use almost exclusively. For those really teeny tiny details, I use marker pens or the Artist’s Loft pens.
If you are interested in some beautiful marker pens at a bargain price, consider these. Along with traditional pens, there are neons, sparkles, and metallic.
There are also a few accessories you may want. A good pencil sharpener is a must. I learned the hard way that the wrong sharpener will destroy your pencils by breaking the leads during the sharpening process. I have had good luck with my battery operated desk sharpener and also this sharpener from Prismacolor. Warning, you do not want the “Scholar” sharpener. It will break your leads (and break your heart in the process.)
If you don’t already have one, invest in a good eraser. Again, I have tried a few but my absolute favorite is this pen-style stick eraser. It allows me to remove stray marks that are outside the lines without messing up my design. The eraser on the top of a regular, #2 pencil works well too. What doesn’t work is a traditional gum eraser typically sold to artists; they are not precise enough.
Hint: if you find the color you have used is not to your liking or too bold for the design, carefully erase over it until enough color is gone to lighten it more to your liking.
There are two other accessories you may like: a blending pencil and a carrying case. I tried one of those folding cases but did not care for it. Instead, I favor this style, with multiple zippered compartments. Before I purchased the cases, I stood the pencils in a drinking glass and that worked fine too.
The Final Word
Coloring has made a huge difference in my life. Since most of my coloring is done in the evening, it allows me to unplug from technology and become mindful. I find that I am totally relaxed at bedtime and no longer have issues with sleep. Instead of tossing and turning, thinking about a messed up country, missed deadlines, and a never-ending list of chores, my head hits the pillow and I am asleep.
Within the context of the bigger picture, if the stuff hits the fan, I know my coloring supplies will be a welcome addition to any survival community I join, Coloring will bring a brief respite to the woes of the day and to weary bodies that will be working hard simply to survive.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Bargain Bin: Below you will find links to the items related to today’s article.
Amazon Adult Coloring Books (eBook format): Ebooks are a low cost alternative to print books. Virtually all of them have a link at the back of the book where you can print our the designs. The advantage of an eBook (other than cost) is that you can print the designs over and over again. Did you mess up? No worries. Reprint the page and start over.
Adult Coloring Books: A Coloring Book for Adults Featuring Mandalas and Henna Inspired Flowers, Animals, and Paisley Patterns: This is a bargain priced print book and a good choice or someone just starting out. The beauty of this book is there are a wide variety of designs so you can try them all to determine what types of design you prefer.
Balance (Angie’s Extreme Stress Menders Volume 1): This is a book of Mandalas. There is something peaceful about the geometry and symmetry of coloring these designs. Once you select the colors you want to use, you can pretty much turn your mind off and go with the flow. It is very easy to lose yourself in a Mandala.
Color Me Calm: 100 Coloring Templates for Meditation and Relaxation: This is a more advanced book, with beautiful scenes as well as traditional mandalas and geometric designs. The paper is high quality and you just feel good using it. Color Me Calm is my current favorite
Colored Pencils 36-color Art Drawing Pencils (BTOOP): These were the first pencils I purchased. After going through a number of marginal sets that look similar but perform poorly, I now cherish these pencils and their price point, currently less than $11 for 36 pencils. The leads on these pencils are soft enough to do some serious shading, yet hard enough to hold a good point and not break off in the sharpener.
Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, Soft Core, 72 Pack: These were a complete splurge. They have a softer lead which I find more difficult to use in tiny, intricate areas. That said, these are fantastic pencils and the ones I
LolliZ Gel Pens 48 Gel Pen Tray Set: If you are interested in some beautiful marker pens at a bargain price, consider these. Along with traditional pens, there are neons, sparkles, and metallic.
Prismacolor Premier Pencil Sharpener: Getting a good pencil sharpener is totally worth it. As you are shopping around, look for a sharpener with metal blades. Here is a trick: put the pencil and turn the sharpener, not the pencil.
Staedtler Stick Eraser: This is the eraser I prefer. Because it is pen-like, you have good control of how little or how much you erase. I have had mine for months and although I use it a lot, only a small amount of the white eraser has been used up.
Prismacolor Blender Pencil: This is one of those things you did not know you would want until you used it for the first time. Not a necessity but nice to have.
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