Adult Colouring at P4A

Derwent Artists Pencils Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils Faber Castell Albrecht Durer Pencil Pentel Sign Pens

Adult Colouring - what's that all about then?

So exactly why does it seem that wherever you go these days the chances are you will bump into an adult carefully and conscientiously partaking in what many would consider to be an activity they left behind in childhood? Colouring books for adults are a publishing phenomenon. "Secret Garden : An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book” has sold over 2 million copies worldwide and there are numerous publications fast approaching that figure. It is a craze which is taking over the globe.

It has long been known that colour can influence the psyche. Noted psychiatrist Carl Jung was a pioneer of colour theory and encouraged his patients to colour geometric patterns and mandalas as a way of therapy. He was interested in the colours they chose and how the act of colouring itself alleviated stress and anxiety. Jung believed there was a universal language or code in colour and spent many years trying to unlock it. The benefits of his work can be seen in Glasgow’s decision to bring blue street lighting into certain neighbourhoods, which had the effect of reducing crime.

In 1942 British artist Adrian Hill came up with the term Art Therapy when he was recovering from TB. Art Therapy has many different strands but really just means any form of artistic expression that has therapeutic qualities, either through the act or interpretation of the finished work. The recent success of colouring has certainly come about by the aligning of its positive qualities with the Art Therapy movement. So, to many, colouring is a form of meditation, a stress relieving aid to well being.

But that can’t account for all of its popularity surely? Let us not forget the fact that it is, in fact, great fun. Who hasn’t felt a glow of satisfaction at a colourful and perfectly filled template? It satiates a need to be creative, for the talented, and for those with no discernible artistic talent at all (like myself) to produce something that looks nice. Does that make it any less creatively valid than following a knitting pattern or favourite recipe.

 Caran D'Ache Luminance Pencils

The bottom line is that adult colouring is a lovely way to pass a few hours and, if you are going to do something, it’s always best to have the right tools for the job. With that in mind I asked the Pencils4Artists Head Pencil Elf what they would recommend.

There are any number of cheap packs of pencils out there, but we all remember beavering away furiously as children, tongue poking out, trying to get any semblance of even colour from the pencils your Nan had given you. For me it usually ended up with thick colour at the start by the lines tapering out to a wishy washy hue as my lack of patience formed an alliance with my rapidly numbing arm! So, to alleviate the vague sense of disappointment my younger self used to feel, P4A believe that a good starter pack would be Koh I Noor Polycolor Pencils or Bruynzeel Sakura Colour Pencils which offer good pigmentation, meaning smoother, even colour lay down at a very reasonable price point. Alternatively there are the Stabilo Aquacolor Watercolour Pencils which can be used as a straight colouring pencils or, after you have finished you can apply a water wash to give beautiful watercolour effects.

If you decide to go to a slightly higher expense there is a fantastic choice of beautiful pencils out there. P4A has a huge selection but some of the more popular are Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils, Derwent Artists Pencils and Lyra Polycolor Pencils All of which offer superb rich and vivid colours which will make any finished template jump from the page. Again the Derwent Watercolour Pencil and Faber Castell Albrecht Durer ranges are water soluble but look just as wonderful as straight colour. These ranges are available in sets, which make great starter packs or gift as the best primary and secondary colours are always present, or they can be bought individually so replacements or additions to your set are easy to source. Alternatively, if you are doing specific themes, such as portraits or wildlife for example, you can just buy the colours best matched for your subject. 

 Pentel Sign Pen

For something bolder and brighter why not try pens.  The Tombow ABT Dual Brush pens are among the nicest around, fully blendable and in an amazing range of coloours, they give you a brush tip at one end and a fine tip at the other for the detailed stuff.  Or for bright, beautiful colours look no further than the Pentel Sign Pen and Pentel Brush Sign Pen

There are two main things to remember if you are new to colouring pencils.

Firstly the old cliché of you get what you pay for really does apply. There are numerous, unbranded low cost pencils on the market which will allow you to colour your template. However, invest a little bit more and you really will see greater pigmentation and smoother lay down which will lead to a more vivid end product. The trick is to find the level that you want to operate at, decide how you want it to look, and be happy with the result.

Secondly, relax and enjoy it!