“Art Therapy”… Not Really

There has been a huge craze around adult colouring books recently, regularly labelled as “art therapy” or a way of stress relief. I’m really creative, in pretty much every single aspect of my life, so I couldn’t let this pass by without giving it a try. I bought a pretty book, some coloured pens, a fancy set of colouring pencils in their own little carry case and settled into what I hoped would be a new life-long hobby. Art is and always has been a huge part of my life, and it’s safe to say I had really high hopes…

Art Therapy Colouring Book
Art Therapy Colouring Book
Instead, I found that this was one of the least stress relieving and most stressful past times I’ve tried in a long time. Sat there in my pyjamas and glasses, all settled for the evening, colouring between the very detailed and intricate, tiny patterns, my heart races with concentration. And God forbid I leave a drawing uncoloured – it drives me insane.

Leonardo Dicaprio Shutter Island Gif
I know exactly why though. I’m a huge perfectionist, so the lacklustre act of sitting back and not particularly bothering with the importance of the colouring is foreign to me. I take everything a bit too seriously. That’s not saying I don’t still enjoy the challenge of colouring in all of the pretty patterns, but it definitely isn’t therapy for me!

Have you tried one of these colouring books yet? How did you find it?


61 thoughts on ““Art Therapy”… Not Really

    • Can’t go wrong with watercolour. I’ve recently bought some new watercolours and watercolour card in the hope of making some silhouette type portraits but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’m sure a blog post will follow soon after!
      I’m such a doodler.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. O wow. Yours is a different reaction to what I usually hear. Thanks for sharing. It’s relaxing for me. It lets my mind wander. I have one on Basford’s books. I think it’s the Enchanted Forest. I only get a little upset if I select the wrong color. Or use the right color in the wrong place.

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  2. I’m hopeless at arts and crafts!! Not that I can’t do it, I don’t have the patience for it. Even writing, I don’t write at my desk, instead I write everywhere on my iPhone. Haha! Great post!

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  3. I bought one for my best friend and I haven’t asked how she likes it. They call my attention, too, but I barely have time to do the little extra things I would like to do so I may not be trying it any time soon.

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  4. I bought so much coloring books and they are now lying in the deepest part of my cupboard…untouched, uncovered, uncolored. Haha! I was so excited to buy the Enchanted Forest and Secret Garden but when I got it, my stress doubled! It can get so frustrating…but I guess it also teaches us to be more patient and slow down a little. It is always nice when you finish coloring one page. πŸ˜€

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  6. I see a lot of these books about and the patterns are very seductive. I am glad I read the comments here before indulging in the amount of money they sometimes ask for them. I am guessing that in a year or so these poor books will end up in the bargain bin. I like the thought of relaxing, but doodling might work better than to be constrained by the lines….

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  8. I’m doing this right now…my son received a wonderful print of an illustration (from a children’s book, I think), and it was all left uncoloured…which was cool….is cool…really, it is…

    The problem for me is that because it’s so detailed and there are so many little things to keep track of (oh, that animal is in the tree, so be sure not to color some of the leaves the same color as the animal’s tail…etc.)…that it requires a lot of concentration. After completing one section at a time for the last few days, I’m taking a break. And while I feel a sense of accomplishment, and it’s marvelous looking, I agree…

    For real therapy, get a kids’ coloring book and some crayons. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! If you’re proud of your own work, it’s not therapy because the concentration is too much haha :).
      That sounds lovely though, and has actually got me back in the mood to do some colouring. I’d much rather scribble over a page with crayons – we’ll call it modern art ;).


      • I used to do that, interestingly before I had kids…I think at the time there was a sense of nostalgia and calm associated with it…to heck with the rules, do what you want, like a 5-year-old would. πŸ™‚

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