Permission to Color!

Get out the Crayolas with no apologies! A report in this week’s Huffington Post on coloring as a great stress-buster for adults is making a splash on Facebook and other media outlets.  It seems coloring—for adults—is all the rage in Europe, and just starting to be trendy in the U.S.

Well, ha! We’re on the cutting edge!

So in honor of our super-trendiness, I have three treats for you this week:

  • two coloring book pages you can download and color—for stress-relief, or just to look ever-so-trendy, AND
  • a fun technique for making drawings with magical multicolored lines (which you probably learned in kindergarten, but might have forgotten about), PLUS,
  • links to the article I mentioned earlier and two others on the health benefits of kid-style art-making that you can use to silence the scoffers

Oh, and my personal permission to buy a GIANT box of Crayolas with NO SHAME! Just tell ’em I made you do it.

In case you need a quick fix, here are two mandalas for you to download and print at home for your coloring enjoyment.  (This might not work from within the email.  If the links don’t show in the email, click here to go to this article on the website.)

Geometric mandala for coloring.

Geometric mandala for coloring: Download mandala as PDF

Hummingbird mandala.
Hummingbird mandala.

To be honest, colored pencils (as I used here) or markers might work best for these at the size you can easily print at home. (But you can also take them to a copy shop and make them bigger, if you like.)

Hummingbird mandala for coloring: Download mandala as PDF

Hummingbirds colored.
Hummingbirds colored with colored pencils.

If coloring in someone else’s design isn’t your thing, how about making “magic rainbow-line” drawings?

Remember this from kindergarten?  Take a line drawing, flip it  over and scribble all over the back with different colors of crayons or colored pencils.

Line drawing of a lion.
Start with a line drawing. Any line drawing will do.
Scribble all over the back with crayons or colored pencils.
Scribble all over the back with crayons or colored pencils.

Then place it scribble-side-down on another piece of paper and trace the drawing, pressing firmly.  The color will transfer, leaving a multi-colored line.

Multi-colored line drawing of lion from tracing.
Place scribble-side-down on another sheet of paper and trace.

I sometimes like to color in my my multi-colored line drawing, letting the rainbow-colored outline inspire my colors.  But, if you are clever about where you put what colors, you can create some very interesting effects as the traced line changes color.

Multicolored drawing of hummingbird.
Drawing colored in, using the multicolored line as inspiration.

Instead of coloring in a simple outline drawing, as I have here, you might choose instead to traced a more complex pattern.  People who have forgotten this little kindergarten trick will wonder how you managed to get your line to change colors.

But, you don’t have to make too much of it.  It’s the color, the repetitive movement of your hand and the opportunity for your brain to focus on something besides responsibilities and chores for a few minutes that alleviates stress.

Oh, and probably that intoxicating crayon aroma!

Happy coloring!

For more about the health benefits of kid-style art for adults, see

“Create more than you consume.”—James Clear