Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fifty Shades of...Orange

Last Thursday, I was sitting at my desk eating my lunch and reading the daily papers online as is my usual work routine on the days when I actually have time to do that. While I was reading I came across an article about colouring books...for adults.

(which, by the way, is not the same thing as adult colouring books)

The article talked about one artist in particular (Johanna Basford) who has created two colouring books for adults that have become international hits. (One was completely sold out on Amazon when I checked.) Apparently adults all over the world are re-discovering the joy of colouring and it turns out that, in addition to being fun, it is also quite an effective stress reliever.

I used to love colouring as a child and seeing the pictures in her book reminded me of the quiet joy I used to feel while creating colourful 'masterpieces' at the kitchen table.

By the time lunch was over I had located a local store that had the book in stock, researched coloured pencils and markers and made arrangements to take a bit of time before my meeting to stop at the store and pick up a colouring book and some inexpensive coloured pencils (we don't actually have a proper art store in town that carried the kind I wanted to buy so I had to settle).

When I arrived home ready for our four day Easter weekend, I proudly showed Doug my new purchase.

After dinner I picked a page in the book and started colouring. I quickly discovered that my colouring skills had not evolved from the last time that I had done it...some 30 years ago. I tried a few things to make my colouring more exciting but it just kept looking like someone in 6th grade had done it.

So I moved away from my pencils and made my way to my trusty computer. A few websites and videos later I had learned a few things about shading and creating depth. On Saturday we went to a proper art store and I left with proper pencils and markers.

My colouring talent has progressed rather quickly thanks to my research and my new pencils and by the end of the weekend I had progressed from grade 6 colouring skills to at least grade 9 or 10 (in my humble opinion).

Check out the pics below if you want to see how things are going and learn a little bit about colouring trees. The pink tree on the right was my first attempt at shading and is not particularly good. The green tree on the left was my second one and I had things partly figured out by then. The orange tree is the one I want you to look at.

In this photo, all I've done is colour the tree orange from roots to tip. 

I then took yellow to highlight the right side of the tree and red to create shadow on the left. 

I added a bit more depth and shadow by using the red and yellow a little more strategically. 

Cool eh? I like these trees because they are a pretty great way to see the progression over the weekend as I figured a few things out. 

I forgot how much fun it could be to while away an afternoon.  


  1. Ooo! That's awesome. I saw that article too, and decided I should stock up on coloring books before I start nursing school in June. I looked at the Johanna Basford books at my local Barnes & Noble but decided I wanted something even more intricate. I ended up buying some coloring books from Michael's Arts and Crafts. I REALLY would like a Peter Deligdisch book though. His drawings are crazy.

  2. Highly entertaining! I love this.
    I doodle a lot (well mostly in meetings) and sometimes I want a colouring book too. This is great.