Adult Coloring: Not Pornographic
I started reading at 3, so I’m assuming I started coloring about that age as well. I most likely started with a pencil and whatever surface was available. Then I was introduced to a box of 6 crayons and a coloring book.
I did not try and define myself. I was not a colorist or a child colorer nor was I an artist (not for lack of trying…another blog). I was most likely shown how to draw a picture by my mother who had found another way to get me stop talking all the time. Also good for a funny story. As a child (and a senior), I hated being talked down to. I was plunked in front of the television set. It was the Detroit franchise of Romper Room with Miss Frances. We (Miss Frances, all the unseen children and I) had finished “Romper Bomper Stomper Booing” and Miss Frances had said “Hi!” to all the generic names (which never included me) and it was time to get on with the program. Miss Frances spoke in a sing-song you-are-all-stupid voice. In this particular edition she said, “Now, children, go and get your crayons and paper. Miss Frances will wait.” (Yes, she spoke of herself in the third person. This is me typing and not smiling, I’m still annoyed.) I did as I was told. Miss Frances continued, “Now, children, dooo yooou know what weee are goooing to do toooday?” Apparently, Miss Josh said in a testy little voice, “No. But I know what I’m going to do today. I’m going to color” and turned off the television with a determined click and proceeded to sit there and do just that! My mother told this story until she died.
Thank you for sitting through that commercial break, now back to Adult Coloring. Unfortunately, I had a father who was an amateur artist (with friends who were real artists) and a portrait photographer. Therefore, at a very tender age, I was yelled at. “You colored outside the lines! Where is the shading? Where is the sun coming from? Ducks are yellow or white!”
A couple of tips here. If you want to stay in the lines, outline the area you want to color in the chosen shade. For some reason, the eye connects to the brain which connects to the hand and wah-la! you stay in the line whilst coloring. Use a pencil to draw a little arrow for reference: right top corner pointing to left bottom corner, left top corner pointeing to right bottom corner, top middle pointing to bottom middle. This will remind you where the sun is located for proper shading and can be erased later. When you are 3 or 4 you need reminding.
Does Bugs Bunny need proper shading? Does Donald Duck need trousers? (Okay, legally in some countries that one is “yes.”) Welcome to the wonderful world of being told how to color.
Then, I met Nancy. She lived up the street and was younger than me but there were very few kids in my neighborhood. We both liked music, American Bandstand, and the hunky guys on ABC nighttime programming. When we colored, we would ‘sign’ the photos with initials and then try to guess who we colored as! *sigh* One day Nancy’s father, who was a milkman (who drove a truck and delivered milk to houses and stores and would occasionally take us on a ‘run’ and we would get free comic books with the covers removed from the store owners and at the end he would give us a dime each for helping) brought home a huge roll of paper on a stand with a cutter. He got it from a butcher shop. We tore off a piece of paper each and colored. When I finished, I went to get another piece but Nancy’s father yelled at me that “paper isn’t cheap!” and I didn’t color on that paper again, I stuck with books. Even that didn’t help. I had an Aladdin book and colored three dancing girls with blond, brown and red hair. Nancy yelled at me that Arabians all had black hair!
Needless to say, I stopped coloring until 1974. I was in the checkout line at Waldon’s Book Store and glanced at the ‘crafts’ shelves. I got out of line to check out what I thought I saw (been nearsighted since age 7) and, sure enough, it was an Adair Adult Coloring Book! I pulled it off the shelf and flipped through it. What was this? Just squares and stuff? I bought it! And my father couldn’t complain that I was coloring out of the lines (too confusing) and using the wrong color. There is no wrong color.
Well, there never was a wrong color. If a kid wants to color the sky green and the grass blue…shut up!
I still have all my books from the 70s and 80s and Dover free pages I had printed out in this century but then I saw a Facebook ad for adult coloring and joined. I may be up to over 20 pages at I’m writing this. And I was doing fine! I went to smile.amazon.com and bought some really cool books. I printed out free pages online (with credit to the artists). I got new pens and crayons and pencils. I was one happy camper. I’m never a happy camper for long…
Now, I have been told that despite numerous articles in magazines, like O Magazine, and newspapers, like The Detroit Free Press, and even late night ads for relaxing coloring books, that they were all wrong! Dang them!
I go to a Facebook page and find cartoon people in a sex act and am told that this is adult coloring! It always has been. And we are stupid to think otherwise. People jumped right in with, “I’ve always just called myself a colorist.” “I tell people I like to color and leave it at that.” “I always wondered why people looked at me funny when I mentioned Adult Coloring!”
I, for one, have never been looked at funny over Adult Coloring. No one has backed away from me. No one has covered their children’s ears. Men have not sniggered, “she said Adult Coloring…snort snort.”
If people want to color nudes and call themselves Peter Paul Rubens (or Peter Paul and Mary), that is fine with me. But when you see an ad or an article about Adult Coloring, or when you hear someone talking about Adult Coloring books, calm yourselves down! No book burning here! No tying people to the stake and starting a bonfire. No hangings in my town square! Adult Coloring is not witchcraft or voodoo or pornography! It is just coloring! And if I go outside the lines, put your gun down! If I color a tree purple, keep your thoughts to yourself. Could I, just once before I die, be allowed to just color? Is that asking too much? I don’t think so…unless you live in a country where Donald Duck is banned for not wearing trousers. I live in The United States where Donald Duck originated just as he is!
Now, I will type this with pride:
I AM AN ADULT COLORER!
Bugger off, thank you very much.