I’ve tried to color as a destressing activity a few times before. I’m very intrigued by the adult coloring trend. I think it’s because it’s nostalgic, a little bit nerdy, and because I could spend hours in an office supplies store, coveting all the organizational and writing tools.
Any time I am in a book store, I’m gravitationally drawn to the gorgeous adult coloring books. It’s true. They’re just so darn pretty.
But in reality, I have always found coloring to be a tad bit frustrating and, well, stressful. I could never find the right medium, and silly as it might sound, I’d stress about the aesthetics of color balance and any mistakes (with 3 kids in the house aged 3 and under, bumps and mistakes are inevitable).
In essence, it was not relaxing, much as I desperately wanted it to be.
But still, I persist. So recently I decided to do some research on various coloring mediums, hoping I could find one that was affordable but that also offers a satisfying coloring experience with enough color saturation.
I had previously only used Crayola colored pencils, and while fine (and excellent for shading), the saturation and vibrance made for a less-than-satisfying experience for me.
I persisted. I researched. I was advised that fine point sharpies are saturated, but they bleed through a lot and they’re a bit too wet for a pleasurable coloring experience.
I also saw that a lot of folks suggested gel pens. I decided to look on Amazon and I found this set for about $30. It’s a set of 120 unique gel pens (Gelmushta brand) along with 120 refills for said pens.
My concern was that it was an incredibly good price for so many pens. How good could they be? They arrived yesterday, and I have to tell you, they’re awesome. They don’t seem to be scratchy. They’re quite uniform and smooth in ink release. The colors are brilliant and deep. They’re a joy to use. I was shocked, if I’m to be absolutely honest.
But now to move onto my secondary problem with coloring: me. I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I wasn’t relaxing when I was coloring. I was stressing about color balance, which pen to use, how it looked aesthetically, whether the picture itself was balanced, mistakes and nudges to the picture, which darn color to use (mentioned twice because it was just that stressful for me). What can I say? I’m just a rather tightly-wound individual.
So I did more research, because I’m an academic in my soul, whether I’m employed as such or not.
And one suggestion I stumbled across is to truly randomize. Pick an image. Randomly pick a color from your selection, eyes closed. Sometimes, it’s lovely. Sometimes, it’s less so. But it’s an exercise in letting go, and I’m working on that in my life, just in general.
Here’s the result so far.
As you can see, some of the colors are gorgeously distributed and balanced. Some are not. But I love the saturation and brilliance of these gel pens, and for the first time, I’m actually enjoying the coloring experience, so I call that a win. I’ll post again when it’s finished.