Zentangle® vs Coloring Books for Adults

You’ve probably seen those coloring books for adults. They seem to be everywhere for the last couple of years or so. When I saw them for the first time in a store, I briefly considered getting one for myself.

I remember getting lost in my coloring books when I was very young. The thought of coloring pencils brings back happy memories…and the taste of them…I was a pencil chewer.

As I flipped through some coloring books in a store, I became less and less excited about the idea. Please don’t get me wrong…they were very beautiful and I really liked some of the designs. But I felt a sense of dread washing over me rather than the joy that I felt as a kid.

Wow, these spaces that I have to color in are so small…I’ll have to keep sharpening my pencils. A set of 12 colored pencils won’t be enough…hmm…how much do I need to spend on pencils? Maybe I’ll use colored pens instead, but they will probably bleed though to the other side of the page. How long will it take me to finish one? Do I really have time to sit down and just color? Is that what I really want to be doing when I have some free time? What will I accomplish by finishing these?

Sometimes I hate my grown-up brain…

I put these coloring books back on the store’s shelf and have never placed one in my hands since.

What is the huge appeal of adult coloring books? They even have coloring apps! (I’m guessing that they are for people who don’t have time to actually color?) We all need something to help us relax. We have a need to get lost in something from time to time. Some people call it being in ‘flow state’, others call it being ‘in the zone’. Complete absorption in what we are doing is different from numbing ourselves (like binge watching Netflix episodes…ahem).

We also have a desire to express ourselves. Zentangle may look similar to adult coloring books, and is in fact similar in the sense that anyone can do it and it is very relaxing, but there’s so much more to it. I learn something new every time I practice. Each piece is my own original artwork, not just filling in spaces of printed pages.

I think this adult coloring book fad will be over soon, once enough people have unfinished copies in their homes. If coloring is your thing, keep on coloring. If you want to take your creativity to the next level, why not try Zentangle?

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