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Colouring for Grown-ups

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by Carolyn Hopping (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
Published September 16th 2012
Not just child's play: why should kids have all the fun?
When I was a little girl, colouring was one of the great joys of my life. My coloured pencils and crayons always had pride of place in my room, and my mother still fondly remembers how I'd concentrate intensely, making sure that I kept each colour in its proper place within the lines. In those days, colouring books were always a popular present to give to friends for Christmas and birthdays and throughout my childhood there was never a time when they were scarce in our home.

Colouring doesn't have to be child's play!
Colouring doesn't have to be child's play!

However, as with every childish pursuit, all things must come to pass. The pressures of studies and other responsibilities during my teen years meant there was less time for creative activities, and my art supplies got pushed away to the back of my cupboard. However, many years later, when as a mother I observed my own daughter gleefully engaging in my favourite childhood hobby, I wondered if there was some way I could rediscover the pleasure which I used to experience colouring.

Times had certainly changed over the years, and one of the biggest developments since my own childhood was the omniscient presence of the world-wide-web. Unlike days of yore when you needed to purchase a colouring in book before you could get started, with the advent of the PC, internet and home printer, access to hundreds and thousands of beautiful colouring templates were suddenly at my fingertips, just waiting to be completed with my choice of pencils, paints or crayons. With such an assortment readily available, it was comforting to know that I obviously wasn't the only grown-up with a penchant to engage in some surreptitious colouring.

Image from and is based on the Flamarrion woodcut. Drawn by Joseph Francis.
Image from and is based on the Flamarrion woodcut. Drawn by Joseph Francis.

Colouring in for adults is just one of the many wonderful paper crafts which have become popular over recent years. It's great for people like me, who have fond childhood memories of it, or for those who've always wanted to be artistic, but who don't quite have the technical skill to make a go of it without some help. Elderly people often enjoy it as a hobby, while others of all ages approach it as a way of making their own personalised cards, posters, gifts and scrapbooking decorations.

Image by Norma Burnell from Wonderwhiskers and posted on
Image by Norma Burnell from Wonderwhiskers and Posted on

Unlike many arts and crafts, it's also refreshingly affordable, especially if you have a home printer and can print up your own templates. Apart from that, all that you need to purchase are your pencils, paints and / or crayons, and you're ready to begin. How much you want to spend really depends on what you want to make, and how much you can afford. While a three dollar pack of coloured pencils from a supermarket will undoubtedly suffice, if your budget will allow, why not head to your local art supply store and see if there are any other media you'd like to experiment with. Although paints are trickier to apply, perhaps you'd like to try using them: by mixing colours, it's possible to create an unlimited spectrum of wonderful shades. Some kinds of colour-in designs can also be enhanced by adding glitter or even some stick-on artificial gemstones, so you might like to get some of these as well from a craft store.

Colouring-in templates for adults are only differentiated from those for children by the fact that they're more detailed, and will usually take more time to complete. The following are a few of my favourite links:

Coloring Pages for Mom has several pages of lovely floral designs which could be used for hand-made cards or a variety of other purposes. There are also other designs on the website.

The website has an assortment of gorgeous mandalas, intricate circular designs which have a spiritual significance in Hindu and Buddhist traditions, to colour in.

Lee Hansen Graphics also has lovely mandala designs as well as some vintage Santa Claus templates which would be gorgeous for hand-made Christmas cards.

Image from Lee Hansen Graphics website
Image from Lee Hansen Graphics website

Posting on Pinterest, Wonderwhiskers has a variety of wonderful fairy, elf, and other fantasy images suitable for colouring.

Some lovely butterfly bookmarks and other butterfly themed colouring sheets are available from the Butterfly website.

Many other designs are also available online, and it's also possible to purchase specialised colouring books if you would like to pursue the hobby further.

In a nutshell, colouring-in doesn't have to be child's play. After all, why should kids have all the fun? Therefore, dig up your old crayons and paints from the back of your cupboards, get on-line and get started. Enjoy.
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Why? Colouring is not only child's play, and it's creative, relaxing, fun and affordable.
When: Anytime!
Where: Anywhere!
Cost: Once you have purchased your pencils and paints, it won't cost much at all, especially if you have internet access and a printer at home.
Your Comment
Now I have an excuse to buy a brand new pack of Crayolas!
by Carly Ogborne (score: 3|4626) 1615 days ago
What a great idea! I love playing" Colouring in', and I am 60!!!
by penma (score: 0|4) 2006 days ago
you could also try Mandalas as a template for colouring in. The internet is a great source for them. It's great to keep you focussed but relaxed at the same time. You learn to shut out the noise and concentrate on the colouring in. Colours are also a great for therapy.
by yumes (score: 1|40) 1876 days ago
Many thanks for featuring my printable adult coloring pages ( Colouring is truly a popular hobby and relaxation pastime for teens and grownups. I enjoy drawing and sharing my art this way.
by leeha (score: 0|4) 1618 days ago
I am 71 and have always loved colouring-in. Dabbled in Hobbytex a few years ago but this is something to really look forward, must find the time.

by shodl (score: 0|4) 1597 days ago
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