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  • Writer's pictureKate Taylor Design

Using Coloring Books for Self-Expression: A Journey in Color

In our increasingly digital world, coloring books have transitioned from paper to screen, becoming more accessible and versatile than ever. They are not only a tool for relaxation and stress relief but also a powerful medium for self-expression​1​. This article will delve into the potential of coloring books as tools for self-expression and explore how they can be effectively used to this end.

Someone listening to music while coloring
Someone listening to music while coloring

The Power of Color

Colors have an emotional language of their own. They can communicate feelings, ideas, and personal identity. From the red of passion to the blue of tranquility, the colors we choose to fill our coloring books can be as unique and individual as we are. The beauty of coloring books lies in the fact that they provide a structured canvas on which we can freely express our emotions and personality through color.

Digital Coloring Books: An Expanding Palette

With the rise of digital coloring book apps, the scope for self-expression has expanded significantly. Apps like Pigment, Colorfy, and Recolor offer thousands of designs and a variety of coloring tools, allowing users to experiment with different styles and techniques​1​. For those seeking a more guided experience, apps like Color by Numbers provide numbered sections for easy coloring, while more advanced users can create their own coloring pages using apps like Procreate.

The Evolution of Coloring: A Story of Inclusion and Diversity

The evolution of coloring tools has been a journey towards greater inclusivity and diversity. Consider the story of Crayola crayons, which started with just eight colors in 1900 and expanded its palette over the years to reflect cultural changes and growing awareness of racial diversity​​.

The company came under criticism in the early 1960s when it was found that its "Flesh" crayon was being associated solely with light skin color, leading to prejudices and exclusionary behavior. Responding to this, Crayola renamed the crayon to "Peach" in 1962, marking a significant step towards promoting inclusion and diversity in coloring​.

In 1992, the Multicultural Crayons were introduced, including a range of colors for different skin tones. Yet, it was not until 2020 that Crayola introduced the Colors of the World crayon set, which aimed to represent all-inclusive shades and undertones​​.

Coloring as a Tool for Self-Expression

The Colors of the World initiative illustrates how coloring can serve as a tool for self-expression and identity affirmation. By providing a diverse range of colors that accurately represent different skin tones, Crayola enabled children and adults alike to portray themselves more authentically in their artwork.

Coloring books can be used as a tool for self-expression in many ways. They can help us explore our feelings, express our identity, and even communicate our worldview. Here are a few tips on how to use coloring books for self-expression:

  1. Choose Colors Intuitively: Let your feelings guide your color choices. The colors you gravitate towards can reveal a lot about your emotional state.

  2. Experiment with Different Styles: Don't limit yourself to coloring within the lines. Feel free to experiment with different coloring styles and techniques.

  3. Express Your Identity: Use colors that resonate with your personal identity. If you're using digital apps, consider creating your own coloring pages that reflect your personality and experiences.

  4. Share Your Creations: Sharing your colored artwork can be a powerful act of self-expression. Many coloring book apps have social features that let you share your creations and get inspired by others.


Whether or not a coloring book can be used as a form of art therapy is subjective, but regardless, it's undeniable that coloring books can be used for therapeutic purposes. Coloring books have rapidly gained popularity among adults because there’s substantial evidence showing their effectiveness in coping with some of the most common and widespread issues facing adults today. Ultimately, the therapeutic power of the coloring book lies in the experience you have while coloring.

In conclusion, coloring books can be more than just a relaxing hobby - they can be a tool for self-expression, a way to reduce stress, and even a means to improve cognitive functions. So, why not pick up a coloring book today and start exploring your creativity? The colors and patterns you choose will be a reflection of your unique self, and who knows? You might discover something new about yourself in the process.


ColorIt. How to Use Adult Coloring Books as a Form of Therapy.


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