Coloring Nightmares


Credits: George Hodan; Public Domain

I have always been terrible at coloring because I never seem to have the patience to do it properly. In fact, my mom still makes fun of me for coloring all my drawings with scribbles when I was little. There would be a character, and I would get one color and draw a few straight lines through them —going over the coloring borders, and leaving a lot of uncolored spots. This is also one of the reasons I enjoy painting, and dislike shading; shading uses the same principles as coloring, while painting you can spread the paint much more easily. Indeed, for me, the best part of using my computer to draw is the coloring bucket.

Recently, we have seen a spike in the creation of coloring books. You must have seen these kinds of books being sold somewhere; the ones that are supposedly made to help you relax. I got one of these books—Reino Animal (the title in English is Animal Kingdom) by Millie Marotta—, and I decided to keep it. For some reason, I didn’t give that book to my sister, or tried to exchange it for something else. It is really difficult for me to explain why I kept it, although I can say that I thought the drawings were beautiful, and that, after many years, I wished to give coloring another chance. I thought that magically I had become better than my old self.

I wasn’t exactly wrong, but I wasn’t right either. To be honest, I have improved a lot in coloring, since I now keep to the inside of the lines. However, my patience hasn’t improved as much as I expected, since I have had the book for a year and I haven’t finished a single illustration. More than that, I have started only four of the thirty drawings. I even tried coloring one with pens (instead of pencils), but that is definitely worst. More than that, I have taken this book on trips, and I spent an entire afternoon coloring it. Still, somehow, I have not managed to finish my flamingo—the first drawing I began coloring, and the one that I seem to have made the largest progress in.

Either way, the book is amazing. The lines are all very clear, and the amount of divisions while coloring allows you to create a sort of mosaic. That is, you can use a variety of colors while painting a single animal, and it will have a larger sense of depth because of it. Not only that, but unlike many of the coloring books that I have seen, the drawings are not back-to-back (although, admittedly, the version I have was made especially for you to take out the drawings). That means that you can hang them as decoration after you are done, without having to choose one of the drawings to remain hidden.

It also has very thick pages, and I suspect that you can use paint to color it in (but I haven’t tried, so don’t take my word for it). The pages are not only easy to rip out, but they can lie completely flat, even when the book is open in its center, because of its different spine. That, to me, eliminates one of the most annoying aspects of coloring books, the curve on the page. Lastly, the book is the size of a hand, which makes it easy to take on trips or to carry inside your backpack, to work on during a free block.

All in all, I think this book was the perfect choice for me to test myself. It is conveniently sized, has numerous physical aspects that rid it of certain coloring book annoyances, and it can hold my attention. However, you don’t need to go out there and buy a coloring book, not unless you want to. One thing that I have learned with entertainment is that sometimes you have to give things a second chance. Sometimes, you just have to challenge yourself, to see if you have changed. I know I’m not the fastest or most apt person for coloring, and I don’t particularly enjoy it. Or, at least, I didn’t. This applies to movies, music, or games. Maybe the first time you tried it, you just weren’t in the mood. Or maybe, like me, a long time has passed and you think you might enjoy it now. This, this is my challenge to you: reread, re-watch, or re-play something you didn’t enjoy before, and surprise yourself (or not) with what you achieve.