You will sometimes hear it said that colouring-in, however restful or satisfying, isn’t especially creative. However there are in fact lots of ways to get creative with colouring. The beauty of colouring is that it is so very accessible, and requires a minimum of equipment. It is low-cost and low-tech, and can offer an ‘unchallenging’ or ‘safe’ way for those new to art to get started creatively.
My particular favourite style of colouring page as a child was landscape scenes – as I coloured them I would pretend I was exploring the scene, and develop stories around it. Now, I find I love the dense detailed all over patterns best, which look beautiful even before they are coloured in – and which offer so many possibilities for creativity.
Colouring (unsurprisingly) is all about colour – and how each person chooses to use colour with a colour-in design is what makes the activity really creative and personal. I’m sure there are people who feel that they cannot draw at all, who discover nevertheless that they have a genius for the use of colour. The beauty of it is that there are no rules (unless you choose to create some for yourself) so for example it can be effective to experiment by limiting yourself deliberately to a particular small range of colours or tones, all cool tones maybe, or all warm tones. Pastel tones, or darker richer tones. Even using a single colour tonally can be really striking. Or just go for it and use every beautiful colour in the packet – the choice is yours.
You can of course also be creative with how you use colouring pages, so for this post I thought I would look at a few different creative ways of using them:
For the example below I decided to print out some free colouring pages onto thin card, and punch out heart shapes to colour in, which I then used to create a simple Valentines garland.
Next, I printed another sheet onto sticker paper, and punched heart shapes out of that too to create my own colour-in stickers. I used these to decorate stationery, but also kept some back to use in the future if I want to make an impromptu gift tag or greetings card.
I also used some of the design I had printed onto card, to create my own unique cards by adding a heart design. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter as a stencil, I coloured in only the area within the heart shape, to create an effective card fairly quickly! After all there are no rules that say you have to colour in everything, and a bit of selective colouring can also be really effective. I think a series of these using different shapes would look pretty good framed too…
With the remaining card I had punched the hearts for the garland from, I made a small photo mount for mini photographs, and mounted it onto black card. I just need to find a frame to fit it now…
And finally I printed out some mandala designs onto tracing paper for colouring, which opens up a whole new range of possibilities. They look beautiful with the light passing through, even before you colour them. Although I normally prefer to use pencil crayons for colouring, as it is easier to vary the shading, for the colouring sheets on tracing paper I used felt-tip pens, for a richer effect as the light passes through. I made one into a sun catcher, and another sheet, after a bit of selective colouring, was trimmed to size to fit round a glass tumbler. With a night-light placed inside, it looks really effective. You could also use the same idea to create some greetings cards with windows for the light to shine through.
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