I found myself a new hobby (to add to my ever-growing list of things to get done, that is, haha) these days: coloring books! Which can be both a noun and a verb, come to think of it.
I saw a lot of people over Facebook getting into adult coloring books and at first, I didn’t give the endeavour any mind, but after seeing finishing products of their work (quite pretty) and hearing how therapeutic and stress-relieving it is (wouldn’t that be nice?), I thought why not give coloring books a try.
So I went to my favourite online shopping site and scoured for some of the most sought after adult coloring books there are. I found the Mandalas (based on the spiritual and ritual symbols in the Indian regions, and said to provide peace, inspiration and a deeper connection to the world around you), the scenic variety from Creative Haven, the popular “Inky” coloring books by Johanna Basford, and so many others. Since I’m really into scenery and nature (plants, trees and the like), I picked the famous Secret Garden from Johanna Basford (plus lots of people were getting it so my curiosity got the best of me), a couple of scenic pieces from Creative Haven, Daria Song’s The Time Garden, and Nautical Scenes by Dot Barlowe (I love anything Nautical!)
Basically these are what I got:
Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book by Johanna Basford
They’re all good, but if you’d ask me which is my personal favourite, I’d say it’s Secret Garden without any hesitation. Not because it’s by far the most popular among the five, but really because it’s well made and such a joy to color! There are tons of pages that you can color to your heart’s content (even the outside jacket, the cover, opening pages and more are colorable), the drawings are clear and sharp which makes them easier to color, the paper material is thick and sturdy (felt-tip pens won’t go through the back; in fact, they’re recommended), and overall, you can see it’s well made. I’m so inspired to keep on coloring it that it’s hard to put my pens down.
I wanted to get Johanna Basford’s Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest and Coloring Book as well, but it was unavailable when I purchased these colouring books. I’m planning to get that one in the near future along with the author’s soon-to-be-released Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure and Coloring Book. I do hope the author would make some scenic coloring books like some country scenes or beach ones because I’m a big fan of them and would surely be the first to fall in line to get them.
Nautical Scenes by Dot Barlowe is also nice. The drawings depict nautical scenes like the sea, sailboats bobbing in the water, lighthouses—typical New England scenarios, which are adorable. There are 23 plates which are drawn only on one side of the paper so paints and markers won’t show through. The pages are also perforated for easy removal should you wish to maybe frame them.
As to CityScapes and Whimsical Garden, they are okay, I guess. The drawings, however, are not well-constructed. On the other hand, I find the drawings in The Time Garden quite small and difficult to color. While it has the look and feel of Secret Garden, it isn’t quite at par with the latter in terms of the quality of the drawings and the materials used.
So with five new coloring books (Oh, there’s another one which I bought at our local bookshop called Colour Me Mindful by Anastasia Catris. I got the Tropical version with birds and other things you see in the tropics. It’s a small one, pocket-size, which is also available at Amazon.com) on hand, I’ll expect to be coloring my way through the year and maybe even for the rest of my life since there are just tons of things to color in just one book, let alone five! What have I gotten myself into, I sometimes wonder, lol. But, hey, I found out for myself that it’s really therapeutic, relaxing and quite addicting. Better than sitting in front of expensive cable TV, I dare say!
So if you’re looking for a new hobby that’s therapeutic and stress-relieving and happiness-inducing, take it from me: coloring books is the way to go!