Amateur Adult Artistry: Drawing to Destress is a Draw

Photo courtesy of Flikr user Starsapart.

Nothing suits 30-year-old Matthew Ryan Limmerick more after a long hard day of work than to sit, relax and color. His Harry Potter and “Game of Thrones” adult coloring books are therapeutic and allow him to take a breath and block everything else out.

Limmerick started using adult coloring books when they emerged out of the United Kingdom as anxiety treatment. His therapist advised coloring would relieve his anxiety and depression.

“My therapist recommended that I start coloring to destress and so I’ve been using them since then,” Limmerick said.

Limmerick wears many hats. On top of being a full time college student taking on 20 credits, he works as a costume designer at SUNY New Paltz, a freelance designer, as well as a freelance book designer. He uses coloring books as a form of escape from his many demanding duties.

“I can set my work aside, go back to play with colors, play with schemes, texture, and things,” Limmerick said. “And I use that in the work I am doing.”

Dark colors like purples, blues, burgundy, gray and black are often found to fill Limmerick’s books.

“A lot of times I end up going with these dark palettes,” Limmerick said. “I don’t know. It’s where my mind sits.”

Second-year creative writing major Mackenzie Lofrese said color schemes depend on how she feels when she sits down to color.

“Sometimes I’ll do just cold colors,” Lofrese said. “I’ll do blues and greens, but I’m a big fan of orange. So sometimes I’ll do whole sections of orange with different amounts of whites in it.”

Second-year elementary education major, Christina Payne mentioned she uses greens and blues for her maritime coloring books and pinks and purples for the floral ones.

Barbara Moschitta, a certified dietician and nutritionist, believes the students’ color choices depend on where they are mentally.

“I’m not well-versed in the ‘goth crowd’ where they tend to do dark colors and lighter, more effervescent personalities resonate in pastels,” Moschitta said. “So I think it’s a matter of taste and where they are in life.”

Moschitta suggests people shouldn’t depend solely on adult coloring books to relieve their stress and to use different forms of art.

“It doesn’t have to be a coloring book,” Moschitta said. “It can be just releasing yourself with color or a medium that feels right for you. It may not be paint. It might be working with fabric or it might be working with a different medium-like sculpture.”