Coping, with Coloring

At the moment, I think many of us are coping with some extraordinary external stresses. I’m not sure it’s a simple generational shift. This feels bigger. It reminds me of the hippie years.

I’m in the U.S., so I’m watching an unfolding political scene.

But, we’re planning to move to England, so today’s British General Election is important, as well.

Yes, I find the news stressful. I also feel as if history is unfolding in front of us. I want to witness it, or at least remain aware of what’s going on.

Also, I like to make my own decisions, not rely wholly on others’ interpretations.

So, I’m on the sofa, watching the TV, more often than usual.

And, though I check facial expressions and body language during some news coverage, I can usually just listen to what’s being said.

So, I color. And, I like to color “happy” images.

For me, that’s hippie-style art, and — currently — hearts. In my head, I’m often recalling a song that was popular during my childhood, with lyrics that said, “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love… that’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”

This week, I’ve been coloring pages from my Hearts! Volume 4 book. I printed them with my home printer, on regular printer paper. Then, I put a few sheets of paper beneath the page I’m coloring, and use a clipboard for support.

Here are the three pages I’ve colored, so far.

Hearts! Volume 4 - 3 pages
Three pages from Hearts! Volume 4, colored by Aisling

For me, this is a relaxing way to maintain my sense of calm and balance, while still being current on important world events.

Today, I’ll color at least one more page from this book.

And, when I’ve completed at least four pages, total, I’m planning to sign & frame them as a birthday present for a family member.

At the moment, my favorite YouTube video of the “What the World Needs Now” song features the composer, Burt Bacharach, with Tom Jones. (YouTube has removed that video now, but if it reappears, I’ll include it here.)

Hearts! Volume 4 – Example and Free Coloring Page

Hearts! Volume 4 is available now, and I’m really pleased with it.

You see, I draw the kinds of designs I enjoy coloring, too. Here’s a page from Hearts! Volume 4. I colored it yesterday, while sitting on the sofa, catching up with a TV show I can listen to (and don’t have to watch, closely).

Hearts 4 - my first colored page

I colored it with pencils, mostly Pluqis Premier, but also some Prismacolor Manga pencils, and a few Staedtler Ergo Soft.

My current thoughts about coloring pencils…

Pluqis are soft-ish pencils, but if I had to choose just one label (hard or soft), I’d probably categorize them as hard.

Despite that, Pluqis blend fairly well. In my coloring, they also play better with Prismacolor than the Staedtler pencils do.

Prismacolor is easily my favorite brand of really soft coloring pencils, because they’re so blendable. However, at a certain point (no pun intended) they suddenly stop blending, and I can add more colors because they just won’t “stick” as I color.

That’s when I go back to Pluqis. So, if I could use only one kind of pencil for an entire coloring page, I’d probably use Pluqis. It’s the brand I take with me when I travel.

Staedtler Ergo Soft is still a fairly hard pencil. And, it doesn’t always color over Prismacolor easily. However, I’m able to get really dark colors with Staedtler than other brands, and it’s not as shiny as Prismacolor. So, when I display my pages, the Staedtler dark colors (midnight blue, dark brown, etc.) appear darker in any light.

Hearts! Volume 4 - coloring bookHearts! Volume 4 is among my favorite coloring books, so far. (The cover is shown, at right.)

Drawing these designs, I realized I’d keep drawing (and creating these coloring books), even if they weren’t popular.

You’ll find Hearts! Volume 4 – A Hippie Coloring Book at Amazon.

And, of course, you can download a free sample page, to see if you enjoy these kinds of coloring pages, too.