I read a post on social media this week about the validity of adult colouring as an art form. It was in response to a Pears Before Swine comic strip (link here but this wasn’t where I saw the comment). I don’t believe it was a wholly unreasonable statement – colouring a pre-drawn picture isn’t really art in a commercial sense (after all, who is the artist?). However, I think it does miss a couple of interesting points:
- If it makes you happy and want to show it off, does it really matter (unless you’re hoping for some kind of material reward)
- What if you make some changes to the original art and change it in some way?
This second point was something that I picked up on last year when I saw the Banksy Dismaland show. One artist in particular had taken some old artwork and had coloured over it in grey and added a few small figures to the frame – as if they were redacting the picture. Additionally, I noted that (Banksy again) had bought a picture from a thrift store, added details to it and it was now considered a new piece of art.
I have quite a few of the adult colouring books – I particularly enjoy the post card sized images as they are more transportable in my case (for credit, the ones I have been using are produced by pepinpress.com). But what I had started to do was to take the original line art, add a few extra items – a word, an image – and suddenly I had a wholly unique image. Plus in some cases I would also add a background to them?
So are these art? Well, I don’t claim credit for the original line art and I’m not in it to make any money from these, so ultimately I don’t care. But they do look pretty in my opinion.