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Remembering Coloring Books

 

I needed paper, scratch paper to use as markers in a book full of writing exercises I wanted to copy down later. So, I grabbed a page from my son’s old Power Ranger coloring book. As I started tearing it into small pieces I felt a few twangs of guilt. Stop it, I thought to myself, that book is two and a half years old and he was never into coloring, no matter how much I encouraged it. Come to think of it, none of my friend’s kids, nor my niece and nephew, were ever coloring book enthusiasts either.

As kids, my sisters and I would spend hours with crayons, markers, and eventually colored pencils. We would go through entire books, page after page, until we found the one picture that needed us to color it right then and there. It would have had just the right shapes for that moment and, most importantly, it would have been screaming a need for specific set of colors between its perfectly spaced black lines. My son’s generation just does not relate to that sort of need. For us, it was a chance to bring life to a world still testing its legs after closing the door on black and white dreams. We were born with dials for  tint, color, and contrast (three more than our grandparents’ drab world of bright/dark) but we needed more control of our visions. Just as our children (born in a time of pixels and bytes) for whom the world has color aplenty. The need for them is to control how it moves to make it go places we could never have traced, much less colored.

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About HINES

Musician, actor, poet, father, reader, human, alien, otherworldly spirit...Derrick J. Hines is and will continue to be until nothing is.

5 responses to “Remembering Coloring Books

  1. I still buy coloring books for my daughter (32 yrs) and for me. Sometimes I invite a friend over, and I’ll pull out the coloring books and colored pencils while we sit at the kitchen table and color while we talk. I get adult coloring books with mandalas, native American animals and sometimes flower faeries. Loved this little essay. It reminded me that I always discover myself through my hands – and only occassionally through the keyboard.

  2. Christy

    Awe I am having happy flashbacks to my colouring books as a child. Pencil crayons and felt pens! 🙂

  3. smiles…i still love to color with my boys…my oldest is def artistic on that level…and i agree in how they see the world differently than when i was the same age….

  4. claudia

    nice.. i always loved painting and drawing but never in defined lines…and guess this reveals the depths of my rebellious spirit…so..psssshhhh…smiles

  5. Very thought-provoking. I wasn’t hugely into colouring pictures, preferring to draw my own, but I can see the pull of adding colour to an experience still largely colourless. The world outside, of coulrse, has far more subtelty of shade and texture than crayons or magazines could convey, but I suppose a child’s experience of choosing and adding colour was part of how children organised their thoughts about colour in the world outside. Have we now lost something of that, or gained something?

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