Review: Form Drawing and Colouring

This review was written for the SWSF newsletter by Kevin Avison, and we’d like to thank him for letting us reproduce it here.

Form Drawing and Colouring cover

Once a diversion for children with few claims to be serious or educational, colouring-in has become respectable enough to be taken up by adults. Often this is explained as a form of “mindfulness practice”. Indeed, one such book is called The Mindfulness Colouring Book, and, for example, Hephzibah Kaplan, director at the London Art Therapy Centre, is quoted in the Independent newspaper saying: [colouring-in]… “requires a relaxed focus where the outline is containing and the mark-making repetitive and smooth…a bit like repeating a mantra where repetition is a means to relaxation, colouring-in is also a type of mediation….Meditation, whether secular or otherwise, has known benefits to mind, body and spirit. When focusing deeply on a simple yet safe task, other anxieties become less present, less pervasive.”

So, colouring-in has become a “thing”; newspapers, such as the Independent, publish lists of best buys, while Amazon’s website includes seventy-five pages of books and colouring materials. Angela Lord’s book is, however, a little different, offering a cleverly though-through sequence of patterns to help users practice and be enabled to create a variety of fourfold patterns, both guided and individually-designed. Someone working with this book will thus experience a “breathing” between concentrated linear form drawing and a relaxed colouring-in process. Needless to say, Angela Lord provides examples for the latter as well as step-by-step help to produce the forms. Someone who did not attend a Waldorf school can use this book with confidence and produce beautiful results. Those involved in the education will also enjoy these books and teachers will certainly find them helpful alongside the same author’s Creative Form Drawing for class teaching. A further book for adults is promised, this time with fivefold patterns.

The book is nicely produced, although the binding can be restrictive and the user might be advised to break the spine – which is a pity to have to do – so that the book can be opened flat (a spiral-bound format, or some other system of the sort, would work better). It is a little pricey too compared to other books of this general type. On the other hand, the unique qualities of this book make it particularly attractive and potentially creative. The claim that working with it will harmonise “body & soul” may depend as much on the user as the evidently deeply-considered patterns themselves. However, I rather imagine that the sound of colouring might well become a feature of some school meetings: perhaps for the better!

Buy the book here…