As I’m sure everyone knows by now, colouring-in is the latest in fashionable things for grownups to do. But perhaps not everyone knows that there is actually reputable scientific research that shows that colouring-in actually works to reduce stress, and that it’s a good alternative for people who just can’t take to other strategies such as meditation. I wish I could find the online article that I read that showed that neuroscientists had shown that the brain responded positively to certain types of colouring activities … and that it can reduce blood pressure too.
That article made it clear that it doesn’t work with any old colouring-in. Disney Cinderellas and Nemos are not going to have the same effect on mindfulness: prismatic and symmetrical designs are the best because there’s a kind of rhythm to the way they are completed. What forces the brain to slow down and relax is, as I recall the article, the need to concentrate on keeping within the lines, and maintaining the colour patterns that you choose.
Mulga’s Magical Colouring Book is fun, but restful it’s not. Mulga a.k.a. Joel Moore is apparently a well-known street artist in Sydney, and his designs are quirky and humorous. There’s a toucan with a beanie, Pineapple Head Fred, Captain Gorilla and Pronger the Peacock. These designs are, to use the parlance of teenagers, very cool, and very hip. While not quite in the spirit of mindfulness self-help, it may that this liveliness is a good thing, because so many young people today seem to be stressed about what should be the best time of their lives, and maybe the ‘coolness’ of this book might make using it for relaxation ‘cool’ too.
Just one quibble: some of the designs have large areas that are already filled with black. This might suit Goths, but I think it defeats the purpose of a colouring book if large swathes of the design can’t be coloured.
Artist: Joel Moore, a.k.a. Mulga
Title: Mulga’s Magical Colouring Book
Publisher: Hachette 2015
Review copy courtesy of Hachette.
Fishpond: Mulga’s Magical Colouring Book