In early April 2015, I went on a Play Adventure where each day for 30 days I ‘coloured in’ a mandala colouring page (that I had previously created).
Unless you’ve been living in an internet-free cave during the last year, you might have noticed the growing popularity of colouring books for adults – yes, for adults, that’s right :-). And I’m not talking about cartoon or franchise inspired designs, but intricate, detailed and complex illustrations created by artists.
I’ve been happily watching this space with interest over the last year. There has been increasingly more press about the benefits of colouring. And I am still blown away that my Colouring For Grown Ups board on Pinterest is my most popular board, with around 4 times as many followers as most of my other boards. But I really knew that it was a “thing”, when I walked into my local bookstore to see their front display table full of adult colouring books! And then again, when I saw a big display at a large department retailer.
Colouring in has become associated with the growing interest in mindfulness and seeking ways to destress and unwind in our increasingly high paced 24/7 lives. It’s even being used by companies to support staff in relation to workplace stress. And while colouring in can create some beautifully stunning results, is it really being creative?
So the 30 day mandala Play Adventure has come to an end. It has been challenging but it was definitely worth it. It’s been so rewarding, and I had so much fun! And I think that keeping a playful mindset was definitely a contributing factor.
The final week of the mandala Play Adventure!
In the last 9 days of the Play Adventure I started to wonder if I would run out of good ideas. I was worried that I mightn’t be able to produce interesting and unique designs. So it got me thinking about the part that inspiration plays in creating new ideas.
We commonly view inspiration as that light bulb ‘aha’ moment where in a moment of clarity we come up with the solution out of the blue. But that’s not totally true. Our ideas are never formed in isolation to anything else (although it may often seem like that).
Our brains are pattern-seeking machines, looking to make sense of any new information we receive through our experience and senses, by forming connections and associations with what we already know. Continue readingPin It
Wow! It’s hard to believe how fast I hit the week two mark of my mandala Play Adventure (you can see how it all started here). This week I really tested the limits of what I could do through this exercise in terms of ‘colouring in’ a mandala every day.
This week’s mandalas were very different from what I created in week 1. I purposely didn’t try to colour within the lines. But I also tried to remain respectful of the original mandala form within the mandala colouring page. Needless to say, it created an interesting tension and dynamic between following the rules and wanting to break out of them.
So my key insight from this week related to the value of self-imposed limits in sparking creativity.
At face value, one might think that the opposite was true – that rules and limits would be counterproductive to creativity. But I think that it relates to the nature of the task and its timing. Continue readingPin It