(Published in Bounce magazine, issue 1 April 2019)
Whether you like to colour inside or outside the lines, colouring is the latest way to relax and de-stress. Indeed, colouring books are no longer just for kids, with a plethora of books hitting the market in recent years specifically designed for adults.
Forget those freebie colouring sheets handed out at restaurants, designed to keep little ones amused. Colouring books for adults are filled with stunningly intricate designs, which when completed are works of art.
And, just like art therapy, adult colouring has many reported benefits, including helping to reduce stress and anxiety.
Now, self-confessed colouring addict Kristi Anderson has developed a Cayman-inspired colouring book, Colour Me Cayman, aimed at stressed-out professionals, residents, and visitors who are looking for a way to escape busy day-to-day lives and find a little Zen.
“I love adult colouring because it is one of the most relaxing past times I have ever come across,” Kristi says. “Colouring and bringing to life a page or a recent doodle lights up my soul. Putting colour into a drawing truly allows me to relax and come out of my busy mind for a few hours.”
Colour Me Cayman
Kristi was inspired to create the 27-page colouring book while she was establishing her online art blog, Pretty Darn Creative, in 2017. The website is filled with intricate island-themed designs for art enthusiasts to download and colour in, alongside completed artworks for inspiration.
“The colouring pages are designed to help encourage mindfulness and relaxation through creative expression,” Kristi explains. “They aim to help people relax, explore their inner artist, and gain some appreciation for our little island in the sun.”
Born and raised in Cayman, Kristi explains that the idea for Pretty Darn Creative came about while she was in-between jobs.
“I was really drawn to the idea of being my own boss,” Kristi says. “I have been drawing for my entire life and creating is a big part of me, so combining these two passions seemed like a dream come true.”
Following some market research Kristi discovered that there was no one in Cayman providing Cayman themed colourables, and so Pretty Darn Creative was born.
Developing the Colour Me Cayman book took Kristi some four months, including sketching, outlining, and deciding what images to include.
The book is filled with outlines, all done by hand, of historical Cayman homes, local flora and fauna, and popular tourist attractions. All that is needed is a dash of colour to be added by art enthusiasts to create stunning one-off works of art.
“The fun for me is in the intricate details and the familiar sights from around the island that I use in all my drawings,” Kristi says. “I am a very visual person and Cayman is such a great source for my inspiration. I do my best to try and craft images that invite you to slow down and enjoy the art piece.”
One of Kristi’s favourite images is on the front page of the book, a depiction of the old wattle and daub home located at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.
On her blog Kristi also posts monthly colourful calendars which depict a local event. She shares these with her online followers for inspiration, as well as printable “to do” lists and grocery lists.
“These printables are great for people who are not all the way into the adult colouring hobby but like to meddle with a highlighter or two while sitting and constructing lists of daily items that need to be accomplished,” Kristi explains.
Developing a talent
Kristi’s artistic side was sparked when she was at primary school and was tasked with drawing the ship depicted on Cayman’s 25 cent coin.
“Once I completed that task the rush that I felt was too exciting to ignore,” Kristi enthuses.
“Although I did not attend art school, my passion for art has always remained and Pretty Darn Creative is my way of expressing my passion for art and a way to continue to develop my style. It is also a place to bring my art to life and give people a way to interact and enjoy it, even if it is just a colouring page.”
For those hesitant about how to start their own colouring journey, Kristi advises that there is no right or wrong way to colour.
“Adult colouring is a hobby with a low barrier to entry, without the need for fancy equipment other than a few colouring pages and some pencils, pens, or markers,” Kristi explains.
“There is absolutely no pressure in colouring. It is an expression of yourself. Colouring occurs at every level in our life. It starts when we are young, with those amazing wax crayons, and moves into being a form of stress relief and a creative outlet as we get older.”
Kristi adds: “Mostly, I love that adult colouring forgives imperfections with no one being the wiser. The benefits outweigh the fear you may be feeling in terms of your level of colouring.”