Drawing the lines on coloring books

 Personal coloring page created by Jean Frank-Stark

Personal coloring page created by Jean Frank-Stark

I was delighted and reserved when I saw an adult coloring book.  Delighted we acknowledge art is personally rewarding. Reserved because it reinforces a negative message about our own creativity.

When I as in college, I was taught templates and pre-drawn images enable dependence.  Learning to draw builds self-esteem, confidence and is personally satisfying. It is a higher order thinking.  Drawing is a learned skill and is best done without a crutch.  Creativity is an art in itself and is outside the realm of pre-prescribed activities.

My coloring book reservations are this: the drawings are computer-generated very intricate and complex designs.  They give the message you can't do this on your own and you should buy a book rather than attempt to do your own drawings.  

This sad commentary is what we say to ourselves already.  Most adults who do not draw have been told by an art teacher, parent or friend that they are bad at art and are not creative.   No one is bad at art, there are all types of art and artists.  Everyone is a creative individual!

Teaching students to draw means helping them see, slow down, observe and build confidence.   In my art classes today when I work with children and adults the techniques are simple, and take a little time to learn.  The techniques are sometimes fun and sometimes challenging but always rewarding.

 Personal coloring page created by Jeanie Brandt

Personal coloring page created by Jeanie Brandt

Making your own art is far more rewarding, relaxing, enjoyable and affordable.  The time it takes to color in an intricate drawing from a coloring book is valuable time that could be used to make your own unique art from your very own unlimited imagination.  

We often think that drawing with the imagination is "child's play."  Picasso would be proud to hear everyone is trying their best to draw like a child.  He said it was easy to draw like Michelangelo but more difficult and a higher goal to learn to be as a child in art.

The next time you're tempted to purchase a coloring book, walk over to the art section of the bookstore and pick up a blank sketchbook instead.  There are also plenty of "how to draw" books and on-line resources that are easy and fun.  I started by learning to draw Fred Flintstone.  What will be your first attempt?