You’re never too old to revisit childhood activities

Ruminations

 

An activity traditionally used to keep children busy is making its way into adult hands and eventually into my own hands in the not too distant future.

Call me strange, but I have loved poking through the various pens, pencils and crayons in the office supply aisles. The purchase of new markers or colored pencils leaves me with an eager feeling of starting a new art project.

In the past few months, chatter on Facebook has been about adult coloring books.

I have occasionally picked up an old children’s coloring book and some crayons I have found lying around at home and colored a page. It was an enjoyable activity but the simple, comical drawings just weren’t appealing for a repeated coloring session.

However, adult coloring books are different. They are childlike and not childish, as one avid adult colorer said.

Artist Johanna Basford heads the top-selling adult coloring book list. Her elaborate hand-drawn designs appeal to my inner child-coloring nostalgia.

Luverne’s Martha Nowatzki is an owner of one of Basford’s coloring books. She recently shared Basford’s “Enchanted Forest” with me and invited me to color a page.

It took every ounce of restraint not to delve into Martha’s book. Just looking at the coloring book’s design was the best thing since the creation of sliced bread and canned beer. It was that special.

Opening the coloring book’s paperback cover revealed hundreds of creamy, heavy-quality pages full of black-and-white designs waiting for color to be applied.

I felt like I found a forbidden activity. After all, I am too old for coloring. Right?

Coloring is Martha’s new relaxation technique.

She’s tried meditating and other techniques, such as reading a book before bed, but those activities take her away from nightly family activities. Reading a good book often called for staying up late to find out how the story ends.

Peering through Martha’s coloring book, Basford’s creations also include seeking hidden shapes, much like the find-the-object in the children’s “Highlight” magazines. I used to love looking for the objects such as a thimble, top hat or pencil hidden somewhere in the page-sized drawings.

However, the adult coloring book craze has left Amazon’s supplies of Basford’s creations out of stock.

That could be attributed to a recent story that aired on NBC, focusing on the popularity of adult coloring books.

Coloring has a calming effect, experts say.

“It allows us to be innocent again, in some respects,” said Shyla Jannusch, whose Facebook group called “Coloring for All” has gained nearly 1,500 members in less than 3 months.

Make that 1,501.

One of the perks of adult coloring is that it can be done alone or with a group of people. The simple task doesn’t require total concentration on the part of the artist. Conversations can be carried on while sipping a glass of wine, taking the childhood activity to a whole different level.

Another perk is that coloring books such as Basford’s can be found on EBay — which is connected to my (adult) PayPal account.

My new coloring book arrives in 5-7 days.

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