For many adults, the thrill of colouring books has been long forgotten. But encouraging the memories can easily turn into a new obsession, says Win Dinn, creator of Colour from the Centre, her second colouring book aimed at adults.
“I kind of think adult colouring books are kind of a gateway drug to creativity,” said Dinn. “It opens up that compulsion to be a maker.”
While selling her first book, Colour Me Up, at markets and craft fairs, she’s seen many customers realize that colouring isn’t just for kids, although not right away.
“I found the only way to get them slightly interested was to give them a colouring stick, be it a felt or pencil,” she said. “Once they started, they couldn’t stop.”
It’s about more than remembering fun, though — colouring can help seniors with hand-eye co-ordination, and also rekindles creativity and reduces stress, as Dinn discovered after a family tragedy.
“I didn’t realize adults needed a colouring book till I went through a huge trauma in my life,” she said.
So she picked up a book and began colouring.
“I found it very soothing,” she said.
And that got Din started on an artistic journey: She began creating her own mandalas (from the Sanskrit word for “sacred circle”), the usually circular designs from many cultures — Turkish rugs, for example, start at the centre and move outward — representing the universe, and symbolizing unity and harmony. She would then have friends add colour.
“We’d sit in the hot tub and when we weren’t in the hot tub, we’d colour my designs,” she said.
Part of the allure of mandalas comes from the fact that circular designs can be found in nature — in flowers, for example. Evan a high percentage of logos are based on a spiral.
“It calls to us,” Dinn said. “Even the way our blood moves in our body is a spiral.”
She designed all of the mandalas in her colouring books, and although her initial fascination was with geometric shapes, Dinn’s mandalas have changed over the years.
“I tend to find myself enjoying organic with a lot of soft lines and complex movements,” she said.
She starts with a circle grid, usually creating from the centre outward with pencil before making a final version with ink.
“That’s when I mess them up and have to do it all over again,” she said with a laugh.
In the back of the book is a circle grid that can be copied so people can create their own mandalas, from geometric to organic, complex to simple.
“I think it’s a fun way to test our geometric muscles,” she said.
Din enjoys seeing the different ways her designs end up being coloured — never the same way twice.
“Everyone has their own esthetic about the ‘right thing’,” she said. “I love that they’re all so very unique and seeing the differences. The image is unique but the design isn’t anywhere close.”
Colour from the Centre is available at Puffin Designs, Creative Fix, Black Bear Books and Creston Card and Stationery. To see more of Win Dinn’s art, visit her blog at windinnart.blogspot.ca. For more on Dinn and her work, check out our 2012 feature on her here.