What Skills Does Coloring Develop In Adults?

Believe it or not, all of us can foster our inner artists regardless of skill. Since the boom of adult coloring, many hobbyists have begun to reap the rewards that many artists and previous coloring enthusiasts have known for decades. These artistically practiced rewards come in the form of skills that develop as a result of consistent coloring.

The nine skills adult coloring develops in adults are fine motor skills, sharper focus, and visual analysis, as well as opportunities to practice strong body posture, creative exercising, and emotional health. It’s important to note that adult coloring also includes some added benefits such as reduced stress, better sleep hygiene, and, best of all, fun.

Build Fine Motor Development

Believe it or not, you don’t have to spend six hours outside or in the gym for more dexterous fingers; you can just color! Coloring helps strengthen the hand, forearm, and small shoulder muscles while performing a creative exercise. Coloring is a great exercise for strengthening your eye muscles as well. By dedicating at least thirty minutes to an hour’s worth of coloring every day, you’re developing a stronger relationship between your hands, further increasing hand-eye coordination.

However, please keep in mind that although yes coloring does provide physical benefits, these benefits will mean nothing at all if you are coloring with poor posture. You may end up doing more damage to your body in both the long and short run by ignoring healthy posture while coloring. Hunching over with a crunched spine, curling your wrist and pinching your carpals, and straining your fingers for more impactful coloring are all tell-tale signs of a sore body tomorrow. It’s worth it to invest in your physical health while coloring; after all, you have to take care of the artist, not just the art supplies.

Practice Strong Body Posture

By practicing good posture while coloring, we also develop structural stabilization in our bodies. The meaningless hunched and sloped posture that encourages back and neck pain from static pressure damages our bones, muscles, and nerve endings when we don’t engage in strong posture.

For the best posture results, it’s recommended to sit with both feet on the floor, knees bent at hip height, elbows resting gently on the desk, and your back and neck straight. That said, it takes a good amount of discipline not to eventually slump over in the chair, especially if you’re trying to break a previous bad habit. We also recommend switching it up between sitting and standing. By taking frequent breaks and moving from a sitting position to a standing position (or vice-versa), artists keep their bodies from getting stiff and melting into poor posture. On top of that, your body isn’t the only artist’s tool that needs a break…. So make up your mind. Getting up and walking around or even doing a push-up helps give the mind a breath of fresh air during the coloring process, as well as keeping those muscles holding you together awake!

Sharpen Your Focus Over Time

Unlike fishing, where you can wait around next to the water day drinking until literally anything exciting happens, coloring requires presence and focus. Not so much that it feels like a full-time job, but enough to require your mind to be in the moment. This is great for building a serenity that doesn’t let you as easily wander into ruminating on the past or stressing out about the future. The whole idea is that coloring keeps you engaged and creatively alert on what is happening in the live stream of your coloring activity.

However, if coloring does begin to feel stressful like a middle-aged journalist working for a failing newspaper and raising three teenagers, then it may be time to switch coloring books/pages or rethink your coloring strategy. What I mean by that is in the world of adult coloring, there are tons of coloring books to choose from, many with very different styles and demands. Of the many coloring books available in the adult coloring world, coloring books with lots of small spaces to color and an abundance of repetitive patterns can be stressful to color, especially if you’re just starting or don’t feel like coloring the same object twenty times in one picture. If your coloring book is stressing you out, get a different book, there are a plethora of options.

Stress-Reducing Activity

Speaking of stress, coloring is a top activity for stress reduction. Similar to how a musician’s brain lights up under an MRI while playing music, colorists experience the same creative serenity while engaging in artistic practices. Allowing your brain to be present and dive into the creative sphere allows your mind to forget the stress and anxiety of bad memories or impending feelings of doom.

Think of it as a creative outlet similar to meditation. Both meditation and coloring activate the mind’s critical thinking centers and frontal lobe cortex. It’s the practice of sitting down and being patient with yourself that reduces the heavy and obtrusive paranoia that anxiety induces.

Better Sleep

Another mindful benefit from coloring comes in the form of sleep. Coloring before bed has a similar effect to reading a book before. First off, there is no harmful blue light exposure from coloring since there are no computer or TV screens involved with a paper medium. Every year a fist of studies come out that prove looking at your phone or watching TV before bed is damaging to healthy sleep patterns. Yet, every year I end up binging two episodes of a friend-recommended series or hipster movie and proceed down the road of a nearly sleepless night. Whether it’s waking up and having a hard time going back to sleep or tossing and turning endlessly while your mind races, sleeplessness comes in many irritating forms.

Thankfully, coloring as a nightly routine helps ease the demanding attention that TV and the internet require. It sounds like an oxymoron, but the active resting your brain enjoys while coloring is a seamless lead into laying down for sleep. Don’t be surprised if your coloring eventually influences your dreams!

Improved Color and Texture Recognition

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s still worth a mention. This may not be the case for everyone, but I have to say, out of personal experience, my daily walks are more visually intriguing. Being able to look at an object or landscape in real life and critically analyze the art in what I’m seeing has impacted the way I think for the better, at least in my opinion. Visualizing color patterns and breaking down the tones and hues of colors used according to surrounding light sources is a skill that develops in what professionals call The Artists Eye… pretty cool, right?

Continual coloring practice routinely activates our muscles and brains to analyze more artistically what is visually presented. Developing your artistic eye through coloring is a two-fold benefit. On the first hand, you’re sharpening that eye-to-brain recognition of what you’re looking at, and not just on a color level but also a textural level. For example, recognizing that although wood flooring and sandy brown hair have similar color palettes, the textures are just dissimilar enough for each object to have its character. Your artist’s eye will develop stronger shape recognition as well.

Mood and Memory

Since the late 1800s pseudoscientific interests and alternative medicine advocates have championed the idea of chromotherapy, or color therapy, as a means for improving mood and memory. Though your doctor or nurse practitioner may not prescribe you a coloring book and a set of Prismacolor Premiers, the lifestyle benefits of chromotherapy are well worth the personal investment.

Chromotherapy has been used by psychologists and child psychologists alike; advocates for chromotherapy generally agree with the idea that certain colors influence our mood, such as a calming effect from tones of green or blue. On the other hand, colors such as orange tones stimulate creative enthusiasm, and purple is associated with spiritualism. Though chromotherapy isn’t a hard science or a standard medical practice, coloring is still a frequently scheduled activity for school students and the elderly in assisted living programs.

Creative Exercise

Though this developmental skill is later down our list, coloring as a means of excreting your creative brain may be the most beneficial side effect of consistent coloring practice. Creativity is an enigmatic force full of definitions that range from creating to unorthodox problem-solving or the skill of producing something influenced by imagination. Either way, the act of creativity is more important than defining the exact parameters of creativity because the truth is told… we don’t know. Leading scientists wouldn’t be able to tell you what creativity is with 100% certainty, so really, nobody knows the limits to your or anyone else’s creative ability.

By engaging in coloring regularly, you are working out your creative brain. This is because coloring requires you to be present and to think freely without punishing yourself for making mistakes. Making mistakes is part of becoming a better colorist as well as further stretching your creative knowledge by doing. The best part is, that the more you make mistakes and progress as a colorist, the stronger your creative brain becomes. Furthermore, all the other benefits and skill developments that come with coloring are attached to the creativity neurons firing in our brains.

Learn how to get started HERE.

Having Fun

Lastly, and most importantly, the purpose of coloring is to have fun. If you’re not in it for love, then don’t play the game. Coloring can be frustrating at times. If it feels like there are a million objects on the page that are going to take nine months to color, or you have to make separate gradients for each leaf in an autumnal-themed book, then maybe you should take a break. It is possible to get burned out on coloring.

However, as many of us in the coloring world have accepted, coloring is a long-term hobby with generous rewards. The feeling of creating something and the visual stimulation of vibrant color are feelings that you can’t get anywhere else aside from artistic endeavors. Furthermore, there’s something to be said about the social opportunity of meeting other colorists through coloring groups or casual conversations. Topics of art and visual critique/appreciation are a whole new area of conversation for you and other like-minded individuals to engage in. Say what you will; coloring has a community. A community that is having fun creating art and engaging in skill development and benefits from consistent coloring practice

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do I Need To Color To Start Seeing Benefits?

At least twenty minutes a day uninterrupted. It’s okay to miss a day or two during the week because life just gets that way, and it’s understandable. However, practicing infrequently won’t do much of anything for you other than refresh your memory from the last time you were coloring. In other words, without frequent practice, not only is it much harder to progress as a colorist, but it’s also much harder to access the natural benefits of coloring.

I Want To Keep Coloring, But My Hand Hurts!

Coloring isn’t Olympic lifting; if it hurts and you’re pushing yourself, stop. Coloring uses a lot of small muscles and can damage your carpels in reckless colorists or colorists with damaging forms. If this sounds like you, you may want to adjust how you hold the pen, pencil marker, or brush. Additionally, it’s acceptable to take a break and heal before returning to coloring. Overusing your colored muscles can result in injury. Now that I think about it, you probably shouldn’t push yourself during Olympic lifting either.

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Shawn C

Hi! I’m Shawn and I Love Coloring and Art and the people in it! I created this website as a resource to help those who are considering getting into adult coloring. My website is your one-stop destination for all the inspired instruction and resources you need to start and grow your adult coloring hobby. From geometric to floral to zen doodles and from time to time even mandala’s when I am in the mood. I have researched and gathered the information to help you in your goal of starting your adult coloring hobby.

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