About Alexandra Heep

About Alexandra Heep: The internet has allowed allowed Alexandra to maintain a semblance of life when encountering an unexpected, lingering health crisis. The Internet is a lifeline which not only allows her to remain connected to friends, but also survive, via writing.While Alexandra Heep is her pen name, she does not hide behind it. Instead, she used it to brand herself on the Internet and to create opportunities.

Alexandra published her first book, a collection of her best poems, on July 11, 2012. You can buy it at Lulu.com

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Adult Coloring Book Adventures

Adult Coloring Books for Stress Relief

I found out about adult coloring book on an online support group for chronic pain sufferers. Many members raved about them and stated that they were coloring in them as stress relief and to take their mind off pain and other problems. As Tom says, I am the great over-researcher, so I decided to see what all the raving was about.

Adult coloring books are just that: Coloring books for adults (not coloring books with adult themes, although you can get those too). It means that the designs are more detailed when compared to children's coloring books. The motifs aren't necessarily "grown up," they can be quite whimsical. However, if you chose to, you can get "grown up" designs. For example, I have found books that let you color in your own Van Gogh, Boticelly and Monet paintings.

Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Alas, I actually did come across an article online that warned readers about the dangers of using adult coloring books as therapy. The article stated that adult coloring books aren't therapeutic and that one should see a real therapist. Surprise, surprise. The author was a therapist. No, I am not going to link to it because I'm not driving traffic there. And no, I'm not suggesting that adult coloring books take the place of a therapist, nor have I seen anyone online do so.

I also read that they supposedly don't encourage creativity because someone else created the design and if you wanted to truly be creative you should create your own designs.  I guess you can't please everyone. However, in my case, trying to draw (I lack that talent) would just bring on frustration, not stress relief because it would take me back to school days and the words of my art teacher who always criticized, but never really taught how to do it "right."

Besides, people who can draw probably already do so and don't need to be told by an article to engage in that activity for relaxation or whatever.

Now, back to the designs. It's really amazing at the variety you can find online. I've seen cats, birds, flowers, mandalas, landscapes, abstract designs, psychedelic, geometric, hippy, furniture, butterflies, horses, foreign country themes, skyscrapers, dolphins, Christmas themed, autumn themed, dream catchers, sea scapes, dinosaurs, cosmic scapes, celestial designs, steampunk, Bible themed, insects, horror themed, etc.

Now, you're probably wondering how some of these themes can be stress relieving. For example, I would not want to look at big insect pictures before going to bed, much less hover over them for hours and draw them in. Same with horror-themed books. Eek. So, I stay away from those. But, there really is something for everyone. Sometimes, the lines blur between adult and children coloring books.

Okay, so after I researched some designs that might interest me, I researched what you use to color in these. See, I can't really use regular color pencils because of wrist and hand problems. There are gel pens, brush markers, regular markers, glitter markers, metallic markers, twistable crayon pencils, oil pastels, soft pastels, and a bunch of other coloring options.

Interestingly enough, when I browsed blogs online to see what other users recommend for adult coloring, I noticed a recurring theme: Everyone wanted to go expensive. The markers, pens, pencils they suggested were usually more than what I would pay for (except for one brand of gel pens that I actually ordered and love). One person even talked about $800 coloring pencils! No, that's not a typo, it's supposed to be 800. Now, to keep the stress relief theme going, why would one spend hundreds of dollars on one box of pencils or markers? I don't get that.

Well, that was a few weeks ago. Since then, I have acquired a few supplied and books and tested this phenomenon myself. Daily, actually. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it. I will be sharing more tips on adult coloring books later as this post is already too long, and I have some coloring to do.  All in the name of research. :-)


Conny said...

Yes, it's a great hobby Alex. Since I started, I'm feeling less stressed and I sleep better.

Glorygarden@msn.com said...

what a great idea! I always thought of coloring as a calming thing to do. Ought to pick it up again. I'm sure the kids left some coloring books around here along with forgotten toys! Thanks for the nudge, Alex!