Patterns by Lizzie Harper and Christina Hart-Davis
COLOURING books for grown-ups?
In case you haven’t noticed, that is now, very much, a thing.
It was Pablo Picasso who observed: "Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up."
Whether intended as a stress-buster or a tool to reconnect with the inner child, these books have become big business over the last few years.
In an introduction, art therapist and mindfulness practitioner Imi Lo points to the major draw of this simple concept. The claims made for mindfulness — being in the moment — range from reduction o stress, an increase of joy and the enhancement of social intelligence.
If you think it’s all about sitting in cross-legged in an uncomfortable position chanting ‘Om’, you’re way, way behind the times. Here’s how Lo sells the concept: "Feeling burdened by the chaos of modern life, many adults have found that colouring helps them reconnect with a simpler, more spontaneous way of being."
Reassuringly, we’re advised that regardless of what your art teacher may have told you at school "there is absolutely no right or wrong way of colouring."
The winter pictures awaiting the attention of your crayons, coloured pencils of felt tips range from sledges on snow-capped mountains to Christmas stockings hanging over fires and deer sheltering from the cold. Scattered through the book alongside the full A4-sized page pictures are quotes along the lines of "Those who are awake live in a constant state of amazement" (Jack Kornfield) and "The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything than be yourself" (Lao-Tzu).
There are also a few attempts at explaining what this strange concept of mindfulness actually is: "Mindfulness simply means being aware, being present," says Soren Gordhamer. "When you are breathing and know that you are breathing, that is mindfulness of breathing."
Can you colour your way to better focus, as the dust jacket suggests? Draw your own conclusion. Having watched a full-grown adult absorbed beyond possible distraction working on one of these books, I’d hazard a guess that, yes, you probably can.
And even if you can’t, you’ll enjoy reconnecting with that child who so enjoyed drawing and colouring in.
Can’t lose, really.