Friday, 26 June 2015

Colouring-in Books - A Fad?

Colouring-in books a fad?

What do you think of the recent surge in colouring books for adults. You might have tried them, I haven't. To me coloured pencils are just as good as any other painting medium. But is the use of colouring books a good thing or bad for coloured pencils?

Some coloured pencils users might think this is undermining our wonderful medium and hobby. It might be argued that colouring in someone else's design is not necessarily art in the sense creativity. There is no creativity if it is just a case of filling in the gaps. No thinking , planning, composition, working out lights and darks etc.

Think of it this way: those people who are using coloured pencils with colouring books are in fact spreading the word about coloured pencils, they could become fully fledged artists, they could become people who will appreciate art made with coloured pencils, and may even buy coloured pencil art. So its not a bad thing, coloured pencils as medium will benefit from the publicity. I just wish the media stop calling them crayons!

The only reservation I have is that the colouring books are a fad or craze, how long it will last your guess is as good as mine. What will happen when the fad has gone stale? Will people start to think of coloured pencils as an old fashioned medium? Or worse still as a beginners medium which should not be taken seriously? Or even the public might think coloured pencils are not a serious medium if people use it to colour-in books!

What do you, coloured pencils practitioners, think?

Guest blog post by Mo Awkati


Michael Maguire said...

Colouring books, along with Paint-by-numbers and Scratchfoil products have been in circulation since I was a child. I’m not prepared to reveal my age, but we’re talking about growing up in the mid 60’s to late 70’s. This sudden surge of adult colouring books is propagated by advertising and a growing need to occupy time wisely, not to mention the therapeutic benefits some may find in this form of creative activity. I don’t see any negative issues in anyone, regardless of age, ability or skill using colouring templates – they’re a product which doesn’t age, unlike the user, and an ideal way of learning about art. Of course there is a point at which the mind matures and often like a child who discovers that moment when Santa doesn’t exist, we tend to hear the negativity only and this persuades us to abandon our creative journey before we even get started.

Belief plays a significant part in how we view creative activity. Speaking as the husband of a successful CP practitioner, it’s not “crayoning” that deters any artist from this medium, it is lack of conviction in ability. We criticise ourselves too harshly, we’re our own worst enemy and we allow others to undermine us. Media writers who use the term, crayons, fail to understand the versatility of the medium and it’s a naive viewpoint to sell the creativity short of any comparison that can be made against oils, acrylics or pastels. At what point in the process does the original idea, composition, thinking, planning and colour saturation turn an ordinary drawing into an oils masterpiece?

As English as we are, it’s not weak to admit our flaws as creators and turn our attention further afield to such as the US where coloured pencil has a firm foundation and much respect in the art world. Tradition in the UK is the breaking mechanism which holds creative souls back. Fads will come and go, crazes take on retro proportions and the means of learning as an apprentice will always involve gradual steps by trial and error, of which copying plays a major part. Create your own templates, use graphite, trace, practice, make lots of errors, draw freehand if you must and have the judge of your next exhibition worry about its contextual meaning because subjectivity will be his or her final decision anyway. Then go back to your own colouring book – and paint!

Diana said...

I think they are a wonderful idea. I know many people who are disabled and in chronic pain who are looking for something to distract them. They think they can't paint or draw so they turn to these. They then discover that there's far more to it than just colouring in a space; there's planning, colour choices, texture and hue. Many have gone on to try out their own designs. Some of the books available are not worth the paper they are printed on but many are excellent and give lots of scope to develop the design and several people, having seen my own work in CP have decided to go further and make their own pictures having realised just what variety there is in coloured pencils. Yes, they are probably just a fad and interest will eventually wane but what a great way to get people interested in art, design and pencil work.


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