Review: Form Drawing and Colouring: For Fun, Healing and Wellbeing

Form Drawing and Colouring

This review appeared in the wonderful New View magazine, 4th Quarter Autumn 2016, and was written by Trevor Dance. This is an edited extract. To find out more about New View, visit their (new and beautiful!) website here. 

Form Drawing and Colouring: For Fun, Healing and Wellbeing will be available from the 31st October.

Form Drawing and Colouring: For Fun, Healing and Wellbeing is a form drawing book for adult beginners, developed as a result of requests by parents who have been fascinated by the work of their Steiner school attending offspring. Form drawing has been used in Steiner schools for nearly a century, to help pupils develop their motor skills – hand and eye co-ordination, spatial awareness and relationships – and in preparation for handwriting. Angela Lord is the author of two books for schoolchildren: Creative Form Drawing with Children aged 6-10 years Workbook 1  and  Creative Form Drawing with Children aged 10-12 years Workbook 2.

This book for adults uses ‘fourfold structures’ i.e. squares, diamonds and circles. The introduction takes the form of a discussion between Angela and a hypothetical reader, who is told: “ A fourfold structure is stable, regular, balanced, and easy to line up. So it’s a good place to start.”

This would seem to be true. I did some of the exercises and found myself to be at ease with the book. Form drawing is in a way akin to meditation – ten minutes a day, when purposefully executed, confers considerable benefits. For those who like the right brain/left brain (creative side/logical side) theory, it definitely engages the right brain functions. In anthroposophical parlance, the drawing and colouring especially benefit the etheric and astral bodies. In this book the author encourages the reader to, if they feel so inspired, strike out on their own and improvise, creating their own forms, thus engaging other soul aspects.

Angela Lord’s books are usually well-structured and this one is no exception. There are three parts. The easiest forms – which are accessible to all, no matter how adept (or inept!) with a pencil you may be – are at the very beginning, and the more intricate final stages are gradually worked up to. It is particularly helpful to have unfettered access to a photocopier, but a rubber will suffice to repeat the tasks for extra practice.

This is a stimulating book and, partly through the encouragement to use colour and partly through the way the forms metamorphose from simplicity to intricacy, it feels more user-friendly to its adult audience than others in this particular realm.

There is a pleasingly multi-cultural element to the forms. Christian symbolism is intermingled with imagery derived from Islamic art, Buddhism, Native-American sources and Hinduism. The forms and colours are original, but the sources relate to world religions covering a lengthy time span. This development of work that is entirely relevant to contemporary culture, but rooted in such rich traditions seems especially commendable.

Many of the forms are derived from the world of nature. In the words of the author: “In turn nature (especially flowers) provides inspiring ideas for colour combinations and beautiful new forms so that you can develop original imaginative drawings of your own. In this way drawing and colouring become integrative healing processes which provide focus and harmony through form, colour, beauty and balance with the potential to cultivate individual creativity.”

More about New View here…

More about the book here…