Don’t be embarrassed. Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore. To be honest there is such a large market of adults who are smothered by responsibility and in desperate search of a creative outlet, that it’s surprising that this fad wasn’t monopolized on sooner. Coloring books for grown-ups are here and only gaining in popularity.

The coloring craze has been lauded for its effective way of combatting stress. University book stores have sections devoted to them and in fact you would be hard pressed to find any book store that does not have a table devoted to these colorful happiness inducers.

I purchased Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford to try my own hand at adult coloring. I can tell you I’ve had my ups and downs with it. The pictures are nothing like what you would remember as a kid. Instead of scribbling in a thick-lined silhouette of Winnie-the-Pooh, you will be confronted with intricately detailed patterns that can provide hours of distraction for just one picture. For me this was exciting, but I must have missed the memo about this being de-stressing at that point.

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Looking down at these often-mazelike designs I don’t even know where to begin. Perfectionist that I am, my mind explodes with concerns about losing my place, accidentally coloring outside a line, clashing colors, and filling in a spot that I meant to leave blank.

Take for example this drawing in which an attempt at blending colors led to a smudged disaster. With the amount of time that you can pour into these pictures, it can be very disheartening when you make a mistake. As you can see, after messing up big time, I rage quit and scrawled a large red ‘X’ across the page.

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I thought at first that this was a fault of the product, and that coloring at this minute level of detail was not at all de-stressing. However, after calming down I gave some other pictures a try, and to my delight had a much better time. I quickly realized that perhaps the fault was my own, not the book. Adult coloring can be very relaxing when you go in with the right mindset.

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The point, my friends, is not to try to make a masterpiece. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Go in to have fun. It doesn’t matter what color you choose, or how perfectly shaded your fade effect looks. Keep a smile on your face, and use this as the one place in your life that that your product is not graded, measured, or compared to anyone else.

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There is nothing immature about adult coloring, and it is not a waste of time. It is an investment in yourself, and an outlet for your creativity. So, take some time out to bring a little bit of color into the world, and don’t take it too seriously.