I have a new obsession: coloring books paired with audio books.
I place most of the blame on Andi (Estella’s Revenge) and Heather (Capricious Reader), who have been sharing beautiful photos of their coloring book adventures on Instagram (Andi is here, Heather is here). I’m definitely not as talented as they are, but seeing their beautiful work is inspiring.
When I was in the Twin Cities a couple of weekends ago, I went to Barnes and Noble and bought a couple of coloring books I’ve seen quite a few images from – Secret Garden by Johanna Basford and Splendid Cities by Rosie Goodwin and Alice Chadwick. I wasn’t really sure when or how I’d use them, but I do find that creative crafts – crocheting and cross stitch, mainly – are good ways for me to turn my brain off at the end of the day when I don’t feel like reading.
I stumbled across the nearly perfect marriage of audio books and coloring books when I got home that Sunday. The boyfriend and I had been listening to Armada by Ernest Cline in the car and I wanted to keep going, but the weather wasn’t conducive to walking and I was too worn out to think about chores, my two main audio book activities. After listening to the book while eating dinner, I grabbed Splendid Cities and my new box of Crayola colored pencils and decided to give it a try.
Perfection. I need some activity while I listen to an audio book, otherwise my mind wanders. But that activity needs to be nearly thoughtless – and absolutely cannot involve words – for me to follow the audio book. Coloring is just the right mix of movement and mindlessness I need to listen to an audio book at home. I think I ended up reading and coloring for a couple of hours that first night, not quite realizing where the evening had gone. It helped me relax without making me feel like a slug (hello, bingeing on Netflix), and led me right into reading a book before bed.
I’m hoping that this little hobby will continue. If it does, I think I’ll eventually get another coloring book with some less detailed designs. As much as I like both Secret Garden and Splendid Cities, they make me feel a little cross-eyed after staring at them for too long. And while basic Crayolas are nice, I can see investing in some more high-quality colored pencils… if the hobby sticks.
For now, I’m in the middle of An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (a fantasy/dystopia – my audio catnip) while trying to finish up my first full spread in Secret Garden. It’s looking pretty awesome so far.
Have you hopped on the coloring bandwagon? Any recommendations for great coloring books or coloring supplies? Where do you get your coloring inspiration?