Coloring’s the new in thing for grown-ups

Published 1:24 am Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Remember getting a new coloring book and a box of fresh crayons? Oh the smell of Crayolas. Ah, the potential hours of fun contained in a book of pictures waiting for you to add a touch of color.

I loved coloring when I was a kid. It was wonderful to get lost in the desire required to create a coloring-book masterpiece. So much thought went into choosing the perfect shade for that flower, the exact right hue for a puppy’s fur.

I will admit I was an outliner. Yep, I believed in staying inside the lines, so much so I drew a dark line of color around the outside of my pictures. I liked those defining borders. (I am sure there must be some deeper meaning there.)

It was also my greatest desire to have a box of 64 crayons (we called them colors instead of the more correct “crayons“). That was the biggest most expensive choice when I was a kid. The standard box most students got for school had only 16 colors from which to choose. Not nearly enough for me.

However, that was a big improvement over the eight basic colors Crayola unveiled more than 100 years ago when they created the crayon box. I discovered there are now 120 colors in the Crayola color wheel. Wow, what I could create with that many options.

Oh, I loved the names of the crayons too. There was rose, blue/green, violet, magenta, light purple, grape and on and on. I read every name before I started coloring a picture.

In fact, crayons are one of the reasons I loved the end of school. On the last day of school, we cleaned out our cubbyholes and brought everything home. That meant my school crayons were mine to do with as I choose.

Since there was a bunch of kids in my house unbroken colors were almost non-existent. So, at the end of school, I finally possessed my own at-home box of colors, still whole with the wrappers showing their names firmly in place.

Those first few days at the beginning of summer were a marathon of coloring book madness. I spent hours lying on my bedroom floor outlining and filling the outlines with streaks of sky blue or forest green. All of the lines needed to go in the same direction to make the picture turn out right. (Yep, probably some deeper meaning in that too.)

Coloring was magical. Coloring carried me to a place where everything else slipped away. There was just me and the glory of creating something wonderful.

Recently, I read that adults are rediscovering coloring. In fact, experts say it is good for what ails you.

“Psychologists are now telling us that coloring, an activity that they say, ‘generates wellness, quietness, and stimulates brain activity related to motor skills, the senses and creativity’ isn‘t just for kids.” Turns out coloring is a great technique for relaxation and even an aid for better sleep.

In response to research showing its value, there are now hosts of “adult” coloring books. There is the “Breaking Bad” coloring book. And there is one for “Downton Abbey” fans. One labeled “The Adult Activity Book” looks like it might be a bit naughty.

I guess all of those are fine, but I will take a book filled with puppies and pansies, or maybe butterflies and birds. Some how I don’t think coloring naughty pictures will relax me.

The best news for me in all this news about coloring is the existence of 120 choices on the Crayola color wheel. They have names like screamin’green, razzle dazzle rose, denim and dandelion.

Can you imagine having a box of 120 crayons? Oh my, if I had one you might not see me for days.