I don’t wanna grow up…

Yes, my obsession with organizing extends to my crayons, and keeping them spectrally oriented!

At least not if it means leaving coloring – traditionally a “childhood” pursuit – behind!

I’ve had several discussions about coloring lately, with friends and family alike.  It seems like a lot of people carry around the dirty little secret of liking to color – even though they are grown ups and, as such, supposed to be past all that.

But why?

Pocahontas in Crayola, from a Disney Princess book
Pocahontas in Crayola, from a Disney Princess book

I’ve never outgrown the desire to color, and for good reason.  It’s relaxing.  It’s a stress-reducer.  It is almost meditation – it’s similar to the Buddhist pursuit of walking meditation, where you can let everything else in your life drift away and concentrate only on filling in the blanks, each new color driving away one more space of white, bringing the page to life.  You can concentrate just on the movement of your hand, the flow of ink or lead or wax onto the paper, and for that moment, you are aware, awake, alive within your life.  It’s an easy way to practice mindfulness and being in the moment.

Also?  It’s a lot of fun.

Mulan in Crayola from a Disney Princess Book
Mulan in Crayola from a Disney Princess Book

In recent years, many adult coloring books have been published, which seems to be drawing more and more people into the hobby, as well as making people more prone to admitting their love.  And while I adore the fabulous grown-up books that publishers like Creative Haven and Dover publish, I’m also fond of good old fashioned Disney books.  They’re the best ones for crayons, with their larger spaces.  Though I’ll let you in on a little secret; grab a dollar store pencil sharpener and use it on your crayons for tiny spots to get a nice sharp point.  Just don’t use dollar store crayons for this!  They tend to crumble with a sharp point!

Plus, there are a lot of benefits to coloring in crayon; you can get some great blended effects (as you can see in the background areas of some of these) by layering colors, you can achieve great, vivid shading, a great difference in color depending on pressure used, and of course there’s that great crayon smell.  Who doesn’t love that?

More of my work in crayon, click on any thumbnail to enlarge:

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From Creative Haven’s Steampunk book – coloured pencils

But there are benefits to other tools as well.  I’ve been known to use everything from sharpies to gel pens to oil pastels in coloring – it can be a great introduction into using mixed media, if you like to experiment with how different elements can work together.  But I’ve found that for many of the “adult” coloring books on the market, absolutely nothing beats coloured pencils – or as they call them here in Canada (and I can’t quite wrap my head around the term, sorry!) pencil crayons.

Coloured pencils give you many of the same options as crayons, though some blend more easily than others.  The crayola brand, surprisingly, are not very good at blending or at layering colours, which is why I am hoping to get my hot little hands on a set of Prismacolor pencils at some point.

More of my work in coloured pencils, click any image to enlarge:

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Then of course there is my favourite for travel: markers.  I like cheap, colourful markers and have several sets from the dollar store.  These, I don’t have to worry about forgetting in a hotel or losing somehow while on the road.  I have nicer sets for at home, but sometimes I get the best color from cheap sets!

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My colouring supplies box, full of crayons, markers, pencils and of course colouring books!

I like these for travel for a couple of reasons.  First, when travelling, I usually don’t bring my books, but print-outs of coloring sheets tucked into my other travelling papers.  It’s easier and less bulky.  Because of this, all of my sheets are one-sided.  Markers can have a tendency to bleed through even nice coloring book pages, making the other side of double-printed pages unusable.

Secondly, I tend to do less blending/fancy stuff when travelling.  Coloring on the road is about stress relief.  I want colorful, bright, charming, not necessarily brilliant works of art.  I use markers at other times for stress relief as well, usually for pattern-heavy pages where I just really want a brilliant burst of colour.


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My current work in progress AKA part of what inspired this blog post!

Some pages just yell formarkers.  Like the one I’m working on now, seen here to the right.  I mean, what kind of jerk wouldn’t give those froggies the right kind of psychedelic toadstools??

If you’re wondering where I find the printable coloring pages, some of my favourites come from the Dover Sampler – a weekly email newsletter that contains samples of – among other things – the hundreds of coloring books Dover has on the books.  You can subscribe here if you’d like similar freebies!

Others I’ve found in various places on the web, and some are pinned to my general crafts Pinterest board here, or other boards for kid-related, Halloween and Christmas pages.

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So, ‘fess up!  Are you an adult coloring addict?  What are your favourite books and/or publishers?  Show us your work or tell us why you aren’t ready to join in the colouring love in the comments below!!

2 Comments for “I don’t wanna grow up…”

Patt O'Connor


Wow! Yesterday I said you should write a blog on coloring and here it is! You are such a great writer and express yourself so well. You got me re-interested in coloring which I did with you when you were growing up. I am working on my second picture with colored pencils and I have to go buy some crayons and thin markers. Thanks for getting me back into this great relaxing activity. My blood pressure will benefit for sure!


Aww, thank you!

I was trying to figure out what to write about when we were texting yesterday – I was coloring (the frog piece) at the time and talking to you about coloring, so it seemed to make sense! I fell a bit behind on blogging while I was sick the last few days and needed to come up with something quick!

I’m so glad you’ve been having fun with it. I like to convert as many people to the hobby as I can!!

What did you think?