Sunday, January 10, 2016

3D Colouring In and other Challenges

One of the trends of 2015 appears to have been colouring-in books for adults.  It's not a trend that has passed unnoticed at TML Towers and the fad shows no sign of abating yet if my local book store is anything to go by:

One of two displays
 Who is the audience for this; Hipsters just to be different? those doing it ironically?  Perhaps, but equally there seem to be a proportion of custom amongst those doing it for reasons many miniatures painters might recognise.

The main reason I came back to painting after hiatuses of from one to several years has invariably been that it was a calming, relaxing activity that helped get me away from the daily stresses prevalent at the time.
My current colouring in project
At the end of the day (and it often is the end of the day when we as adults can paint) it is hard to think about much else other than the process of painting whilst brush in hand.  In another situation I might put brush to canvas, but as a gamer there is an additional reward to completing miniatures, that a colouring in book can't offer me.  But then the audience for these books doesn't need additional reward, so who is richer for the experience.

I'd say it's a matter of perspective and neither side is wrong.

What I've moved away from personally is production at an enforced pace.  Many of the blogs in my feed presently are involved in a Painting Challenge, you may well know it, or be involved yourself.  It's a great motivation to productivity, and I myself ran to the pledge - to paint more than I bought - for a few years; but eventually self imposed minimum targets and output monitoring took some of the pleasure away from the activity of painting for me.  When I was churning product to hit my own quota, it meant my choices of output were less varied and more mechanical (how many WW2 Germans did I paint purely for sale and as they were easy production points I wonder).  There was little time for side projects or fun exercises.

Nowadays whilst I still have long term goals, such as my 15mm Austrian army last year (completed and then some as it happened) I am much happier to allow them to be interrupted by whatever takes my fancy at the time, including breaks if I so wish.  Painting should never be allowed to become work.

As another blogger observed from the outset; painting is therapy.  That's why those without a draughtsman's skill, or a painters eye (or our particular set of talents for making dull lumps of metal and plastic vibrant reflections of life in miniature) can enjoy the simple childhood pleasure of filling space with colour.  And maybe creating a humble piece of art in some way.

It works for me.


  1. Definitely agree, I have almost convinced my wife that I need to paint each evening as therapy !

  2. My wife had a brain tumor removed about 16 years ago and it has left her with a number of physical difficulties (her mind is as sharp as ever thankfully). Anyway earlier this year she started doing some of the "adult colouring books" and has found it to be very relaxing and it helps fulfill her artistic impulses as well.

    And yes, I too have cut back on my painting in order to be more selective of figures I "want" to paint instead of "have to" . . . sure production is way down but "so what?".

    I agree with your post, sir. Thank you.

    -- Jeff

  3. My mom has one of those coloring books. A hipster she is not.