A couple of months ago, I was introduced to the subject of colouring books for adults. Not only did someone mention it in conversation, but there was even a video about it posted on BBC News less than a day later.
Puzzled by this bizarre synchronicity, I decided to think more deeply about this strange new genre and offer some of my thoughts about it (as well as lots of my own lineart at the end of this article that you can print out and colour in, if you want to – albeit with the caveat that you don’t post any re-coloured versions of my pictures online).
I’m ashamed to admit that my very first reaction when I heard that there were colouring books designed for adults was to laugh out loud. I mean, to me, colouring books were something I used when I was a kid but quickly grew out of when I got a bit older.
When I first heard about it, it seemed hilariously absurd.
My second reaction was to ask “why the hell would anyone want to miss out on the most fun part of making art?“. As a self-taught artist who comes from a drawing background, the most fun part of making art is actually designing and drawing the pictures that I create.
Adding colour can improve a picture and it can also be kind of fun to mix various colours and experiment with different colour schemes but, to me, it’s kind of an additional secondary part of making art rather than the main point of it.
However, from all I heard about the subject, many adults enjoy using colouring books because it’s supposed to be meditative and relaxing. I can sort of understand this, I mean adding paint to my own art is kind of the “easier” part of making art. Although most of the fun of making art comes from the challenge of thinking of something to draw and drawing it well, adding paint afterwards can be kind of relaxing.
Secondly, it also apparently allows people who don’t have the time or energy to learn how to make art to have the experience of creating art. And, well, I can’t argue with this. The most fun part of being an artist is actually making art. So, if some people have found an easier way to enjoy this, then I can’t exactly begrudge them that.
Thirdly, I guess, it’s a type of childhood nostalgia. I mean, we all still enjoy things that we enjoyed when we were younger – I still regularly play some of the computer games I loved when I was a kid and a teenager (and, yes, they are better than modern games) and I listen to the bands I liked when I was a teenager.
I was a fan of both “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” when I was a kid and I still absolutely love both shows even today. So, I guess that colouring books for adults are just an extension of this.
Finally, I was quite surprised to see that some artists have become incredibly successful just from producing these colouring books (one of these artists is interviewed in the BBC video).
On a purely cynical level, the idea of becoming a successful artist just by making a few unfinished paintings sounds like a pretty cool one. Plus, if people actually get a lot of genuine enjoyment out of this type of art – then it’s hardly a scam or anything like that.
So, in that spirit, here’s a large collection of “work in progress” lineart from my own paintings which you can print out and colour in, or you can digitally re-colour if that’s your thing. There is a little caveat though.
(Caveat: Even though I originally released many of these lineart pictures under a type of Creative Commons licence which includes a “no derivatives” condition, I give you all permission to re-colour these pictures (either traditionally or digitally) for your own private enjoyment. In other words, don’t post your recoloured versions of these pictures online. If you want to privately recolour any of my other pictures for your own enjoyment, I have no problem with this either. Just don’t post your altered versions online and/or try to pass them off as entirely your own work.)
Anyway, that said, here’s lots of lineart (of landscapes, still life pictures and cartoons) for you to colour in. Enjoy 🙂
Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂 Have fun 🙂