Colouring books

I had read articles about colouring books for adults and seen some in bookshops in Australia and Korea, but on Saturday, while filling in two hours before a movie started, I bought a book and a set of 12 pencils. There were also sets of 24 and 36; I had to decide how serious I was going to be about this. I bought a set of 12. When I opened the tin, the first thing I noticed was that the colours on the tin don’t match the colours inside. The second thing I noticed was that two or three of the pencils are decidedly non-basic.

IMG_4902.JPGThe only name I can find for the third pencil from the left is apricot, and for the sixth, mauve. In either case, I would not choose them for a basic set of twelve pencils. In 1969, Brent Berlin and Paul Kay identified the basic colours, cross-linguistically, as black, white, red, green, yellow, blue, brown, purple, pink, orange and gray. English easily divides green into light green and dark green, and blue into light blue and dark blue. Assuming that a white pencil is redundant and that gray can be created by a light touch of the black pencil, this gives a basic set of black, red, light and dark green, yellow, light and dark blue, brown, purple, pink, orange and one more colour. The eighth colour in the photo is called ‘classic gold’, and, to me, has a hint of olive.

So, for the last few days I have made a semi-serious start on colouring while listening to educational podcasts or music. It would be possible to conscientiously continue colouring one drawing, but I have found myself doing little bits here and there. While I am an artistic/creative person (notably music and photography), I can’t draw or paint to save myself. I would call myself ‘meticulous when it matters’; some people close to me have called me ‘obsessive/compulsive’, but one look at my desk shows that that’s not true.

PS (added 4 Feb). Each pencil has a code number on it. I went to the Faber-Castell website, but the numbers didn’t correlate to any of the colour charts I was able to find there. But I learned that Count Anton-Wolfgang von Faber-Castell died last month. The Wikipedia article about the family (more information than you need to know for the purposes of this post; basically the Fabers were common craftsmen (hence the name) and the Castells were nobility (hence the name)) hasn’t caught up yet.



2 thoughts on “Colouring books

  1. Agree that your colours aren’t exactly what I’d call basic, but they are workable. My own set of pencils (the third set of these I’ve owned) contains 72 colours and I wish there were more! I use them for hand tinting photographs but after seeing the work you’re doing in the colouring book, I may have to get one of my own. It looks like fun!


  2. I have been using these colouring books for about seven months now since I did some intensive therapy for my MS. My left hand is definitely less coordinated and it helps keep the functionality in it. Jess gave me a cat colouring book for Christmas and I do it most evenings after I have finished eating while I am waiting for people to finish eating and talking or while I am waiting for them to get ready to do our evening activity – which at the moment is watching ‘Allo, ‘Allo!


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