The Zen of Coloring


There’s a NEW! feature in our Library Media Center Makerspace area!

It’s Coloring!

I have to admit when I first heard about how coloring books for adults and teens are all the rage, I was a bit skeptical. Then I saw the beautiful new coloring books with loopy, fabulous, mesmerizing line drawings and I was sold! I also just like the smell of a new box of Crayons!

I then did some research on the Zen of Coloring and found out that teens find coloring very relaxing, meditative, and stress relieving – perfect for middle school! I also think in this world of multi-tasking, coloring keeps our hands busy and let’s our mind wander free- it’s also related to another hot topic mindfulness.  I know that when I’m in a group setting without technology, say a staff-meeting, a conference, or a lecture, I find myself doodling and making line drawings.

So, I got permission from our principal Mr. Wasileswski and bought a variety of coloring books, a huge box of Crayons, and a passel of colored pencils. I tried to get a good mix of coloring books – for boys, girls, grownups, and also appealing to the rich multi-cultural tapestry and different interests that make up our student body.

Star Wars, Minecraft, Dragons, Ocean, Hispanic & Celtic heritage, Indian Mehndi henna designs, Afro and Luv My Curly Hair designs… a cornucopia of creative coloring books! See?

After a few weeks, I did find that we had to have some guidelines for the coloring corner – I don’t like to call them rules! (Teachers & School Librarians: You may want to read the more “How To”  blog post here on my professional blog)

Some of the guidelines are: claiming a page, sharing a page, giving us permission to Instagram or blog about the artwork & most important – not tearing out the pages. Because there are designs on the other side of the page and that would just wasteful and not fair.

Download the High Rez or poster version of this for your class or Makerspace. Click to see all sizes! All Creative Commons, Take, Use, Share!

Coloring Bookmarks!

Want some FREE Coloring Sheets to Download? We’ve got you covered!

From the website:

Download Many Sizes Here:

As seen above – used with permission from Dawn Nicole

Get More! FREE Printable Bookmarks

Winter Bookmarks Coloring Page | by Dawn Nicole Designs

Don’t believe coloring can be good for you?

Here’s some of the cool research I found!

“There are plenty of studies on the effectiveness of art therapy in reducing stress, and coloring seems to offer some similar benefits, as William Brennan wrote in this magazine when he noted the coloring books’ particular popularity in France. And doodling is a way for people to organize their thoughts, and focus. Coloring offers that relief and mindfulness without the paralysis that a blank page can cause.”  – Julie Beck of The Atlantic

Coloring has also been used to “gently ease veterans suffering from PTSD into art therapy. (5)”  One study on college students found that “coloring pre-drawn patterns significantly reduced signs of stress and depression. (6)”  Coloring before bedtime can even help you sleep!” (7)

“One of the first psychologists to apply coloring as a relaxation technique was Carl G. Jüng in the early 20th century” reports the Huffington Post.

2D Mandala Flickr CC Computer by RunnerFrog

“Mandalas are concentric circle drawings that originated in India and mean “sacred circles” in Sanskrit. (10)  Buddhist temples, Muslim mosques, and Christian cathedrals all incorporate mandalas into their architecture.” – By of BeBrainfit

Mandalas and similar circular or spiral designs are thousands of years old. Look around and notice how abundantly the circular pattern of the mandala appears in our environment. You can see this geometric shape in all aspects of life. The sun in the sky, the nucleus of the cells in the body, and the unique design of a snowflake.

Kids are loving the coloring! Boys, girls, and grown-ups!

Now it’s YOUR turn! 

What do you think about coloring for teens and adults? Please share your thoughts in the comments!


Zen and Anti stress | Coloring Pages for Adults

Anti-Stress Coloring Books for Adults: The Latest Way to Relax

Mindfulness and the Popularity of Adult Coloring Books

How Colouring Books Are Helping Adults Beat Stress

Empty Bowls Project

The Empty Bowls Project is a service learning opportunity for 8th grade students at MHMS. Students have created hand-made ceramic bowls in Art class and prepared food in FACS class as part of this project. On May 15th, we will hold our Empty Bowls Event that will include a meal, jacobalihazehraTXartwork and entertainment. For the price of a ticket, attendees will receive a 3-course meal and get a hand-made bowl to take home as a reminder of the empty bowls in our community.

Proceeds will benefit: Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center in Columbia

MHMS students/families must fill out the Empty_Bowls_Ticket_Order_Form completely and return it with money to your student’s homeroom teacher.  Community members interested in tickets for the event just need to print the order form, write name(s), quantity of tickets and send or drop off the order form with money at the MHMS office on or before May 8th. 

Students interested in volunteering to work at the Empty Bowls Event must complete an application with Mrs. Abrams or Mrs. Ludlow.

esosaimanialexTXOur awesome organizers are:

Rachel Ludlow – Art Teacher
Nicole Abrams – FACS Teacher

(I’m just the geeky webby PR person at the school) ~@GwynethJonesThe Daring Librarian

ALL The Pics!

Daring Alebrije-Inspired Sculptures in the MHMS School Library

Ms. Rachel Ludlow, super talented Art Teacher, and her amazing kids installed an art exhibition in the MHMS Daring School Library the other day.  From Ms. Ludlow: “7th grade art students researched alebrije sculptures that were originally created by Pedro Linares Lopez, a Mexican artist. Alebrije sculptures show imaginative, hybrid creatures made of parts of different animals.  Students brainstormed animal symbols that represented their personalities (example: quiet like a mouse) and combined these creatures together to create an original alebrije-inspired creature.

After sketching their ideas, students built armatures, or skeletons, for their creatures with recycled items like plastic bottles, newspaper and cardboard.  Then, students used the paper mache technique of dipping strips of newspaper and paper towel in glue and applying it to the armature to create a “skin” that could be painted when dry. Students were given only yellow, blue, red, black and white paint and had to mix their custom colors.  Patterns and line details were added to give the sculptures more personality! Enjoy!”

What is an alebrije?  An alebrije (ala-bree-hey) is a mythical creature made of parts of different animals. Alebrije is a term used to describe a wild or fanciful creature that exists only in the imagination.

Who made the first alebrijes?  Alebrijes were originally the creation of Mexican artist Pedro Linares Lopez (1906-1992) who started sculpting wild animal sculptures in the 1940’s and called them alebrijes. Pedro Linares started as a skilled carton judas and figurine-maker for Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and many other artist from de Academia de San Carlos. The art form of alebrijes were created by Pedro Linares after he became ill at 30 years old, in México City, his own unique alebrijes came out of a dream, depicting his death and rebirth in a mountainous setting inhabited by these fierce creatures.


Why did Pedro Linares Lopez make alebrijes?  Pedro’s alebrijes were based on dreams and hallucinations he experienced while ill at age 30. While he was in bed, unconscious, Pedro dreamt of a strange place resembling a forest. There were trees, animals, clouds, sky, rocks, etc.; he felt no pain and was very happy in this dream world. Suddenly, rocks, clouds and animals turned into strange, unknown animals.  All of them were shouting just one word, louder and louder: “Alebrijes, Alebrijes, Alebrijes!”

How did Pedro make alebrijes sculptures?  When Linares could get out of bed, he started to remember his dream and he wanted his family and everybody to know about the animals he saw, so he used paper, reeds, and wire to create armatures for the alebrijes.  Pedro covered the armatures using the paper mache technique. Sheets of plain brown paper or newspaper were added in layers to cover the frame until it was firm.  The figure then had to dry thoroughly.  In Mexico, the sunny weather speeds up this process. The final figure was first painted white. Then colorful painting and intricate patterns were added. He painted them as he saw them in his dream.