Remember the days when everyone gathered around the table for a board game or a jigsaw puzzle during the holidays? Well, I have a fun cooperative alternative to offer for this season: hosting a coloring party. This is a wonderful, low-stress way of gathering with friends or family for some shared creative expression.
As the author/illustrator of 5 coloring books and the Magical Garden coloring calendar, I have hosted a number of these events in my community and beyond: in libraries, bookstores, brew pubs, and in-home gatherings. I am here to tell you that everyone comes away from this experience with a sense of joyful accomplishment and the gift of connecting with one another through this shared creative experience.
If you’re looking for a way to unplug, connect with multiple generations, and share creatively with any number of folks, you will find this event to be a door to community building and to stimulating positive family interactions.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO HOST A COLORING GROUP EVENT
You will want to supply individual books for everyone in the group. You can pick up good-quality coloring books for around $10 to $15. You might want to focus your books on a theme for the gathering. My books focus on the spiritual seeker genre. But there are so many options to choose from: fantasy, fairies, botanical, mandalas, humor, or even religious-themed titles such as Hebrew Illuminations or Celtic Art. It’s also a nice takeaway for guests, as the joy can be sustained through home practice as well.
If supplying books isn’t in the budget, you can find low-cost or free downloadable coloring pages online. Remember, you will still want to purchase a package of high-end, heavyweight paper on which to print your pages. I recommend Classic Crest, 80 lb. text, acid-free, from Neenah Paper, as well as a good inkjet printer.
There are so many types of pencils available it may be hard to choose in the beginning. I recommend a medium-quality oil-based pencil; my personal favorite is offered through Dick Blick Art Materials, their store-brand pencils. These are made in a 200-year-old factory in the Czech Republic – they know how to make a good pencil. As an alternative, Prismacolor, Marco, and Faber Castell are also good brands. They offer both wax- and oil-based pencils.
I generally like to offer a set of 24 for every 2 people. If you’re hosting a gathering for 6 or more, you might consider investing in a larger set of 72 or 96. This will offer more variety of colors for the colorists.
Again, like pencils, there are a number of options. The most important question to consider is: Is it a water-based or alcohol-based marker? The water-based ones will not bleed through the pages as strongly. I prefer Tombow markers, but they are not inexpensive. I’ve also gone to a discount store and picked up inexpensive alternatives. I do like a brush tip when available. Continue reading