Someone asked me the other day what my favourite thing was that I’d created. (This was hard because I'm rarely 100% happy with anything I make and will pick holes in my work until the cows come home.)
After some thought, I realised that my favourite creation isn’t a card or print - and not even really to do with art at all. It’s a colouring book I made in 2019 to help improve children's mental health.
It came about after I realised that my son and I had our best chats when we were colouring in stuff together – he’d open up in a way that he wouldn’t usually and we'd talk about all sorts of things.
And I wondered what would happen if the things we were actually colouring in prompted discussions about topics we wouldn’t usually talk about… Colour Me Happy was born.
My idea was to fill a colouring book with positive quotes (instead of pictures) that could be coloured in, but also that encouraged conversation. Stuff like:
- Be yourself - everyone else is already taken
- Perfect people aren't real
- Forget the mistake, remember the lesson
And my hope was that by colouring in phrases that were empowering and inspiring, it would help children develop a positive inner voice – a thing that feels so important in the age of social media and daily exposure to unattainable beauty standards.
How kids talk to themselves plays a big part in how they feel. I felt that having a positive internal voice would make it easier for kids to develop self-esteem and grow in confidence.
I launched it as a kickstarter in late 2019 and made a little video to accompany it…
And I added little details, like printing the design on every *other* page so that when they're finished, the designs can be cut out and stuck on the wall for maximum positivity!
And it came about at just the right time - a few months later we were in lockdown and lots of children were at home feeling very miserable indeed.
The first run sold out in April 2020 and I had some amazing messages about it. Parents and mental health practitioners wrote to tell me how it had helped (which actually helped me with my own inner voice during those horrendous months!).
And it's still going strong today. I love that it's been a success, but I’m even more chuffed that it’s had a an impact on people’s wellbeing.
Obviously I know that a colouring book won’t fix the world. But if it helps put some happy thoughts into the head of someone who needs to hear them... it'll have done its job.
You can order the Colour Me Happy colouring book, plus colouring postcards and happy stickers, here in my shop :)