“What do you do for fun?” they ask me, and there was a time in my life where I had no time for anything fun. I had started to miss my all important ‘me-time’, not because I was over-worked or was overloaded with responsibility, I was just bored. Bored of reading, bored of watching Netflix. What makes you tick, you may ask. Travel? Hell, yes! But again, that is not something I can do regularly. So what else then?
I realised I had not developed a hobby growing up. As an adult, most weekdays are spent running to work and back, and weekends involve meeting friends and spending time with family. What then did I need to keep me going? I knew that I needed to do something to relax and unwind, something that didn’t involve household chores, work or other responsibilities. That’s when it occurred to me, I loved coloring as a child, not drawing as much because I wasn’t good at it, but if I was given a sketch or a drawn image, I would colour it. I love choosing the colours, shading, creating highlights and shadows, blending colors to make new shades!
I downloaded a colouring app on my iPad – we are in the digital age after all- and I was hooked. However it wasn’t the same. I looked up YouTube videos, read blogs and scouted Pinterest for the best possible materials to start with.
Colouring pencils have always been my preferred medium to colour. They allow controlled movements and for me that is catharsis. There are many colour pencil brands available, but my colour pencils of choice are the Faber-Castell Polychromos, which are smooth and highly pigmented. Colouring with pencils requires repetition and layering, forcing you to be focused. It is a good 'mind’ exercise. When I colour, I leave my worries and stress aside. It has been so therapeutic and calming. The slow slight circling motion of laying down the colour on paper has actually brought in a sense of purpose, and today I feel I owe everything that I am because of my passion for colouring.
Of course, once you start collecting art materials, there is never an end to it. You need mainstream supplies like brush pens for detailing, soft pastels to create bokeh backgrounds, a good white gel pen for highlights and even offbeat supplies like sponge dabbers, stumpers and electric erasers. I believe that people like me, who re-discover their passion for art or who are aspiring artists are growing in numbers today. I have attended several workshops conducted by artists in quaint cafés and restaurants that teach different techniques and help create pieces of art which you can call your own. This gives me a sense of accomplishment, something I can brag about and put up on my wall. A lot has been spoken about how art and colouring helps people de-stress, lose themselves in the patterns of the mandalas and relax. For me it has helped me think better, organise my thoughts better and just feel good overall.
I have created a special space in my room for my coloring equipment and it has become sanctuary after a long hard week. I take my colouring books and supplies on my travels too, and it is an absolute joy to colour and sketch by the beach. I have now come a long way from just colouring in books – I now dabble in doodling, bullet journaling, and painting with acrylic and water colors as well as mixed media. For me this is meditation, my religion.