It’s always interesting to find out the reason people color. When we first met Cynthia Sikes it was through Facebook. She sent us some coloring submissions that blew us away. From this conversation, we learned she was an artist who enjoys the therapeutic benefits of coloring. It's a soothing activity that helps calm her anxiety while creating beautiful masterpieces. Her coloring pages and the way she uses color are extraordinary. Find out more about here in our interview below.
When did you first pick up a coloring book?
I bought my first book on Amazon last July. Because I was working eighteen hours a day, I didn’t get to use it much until the winter. My anxiety kicked in bad and I started coloring for about twelve hours a day for a good two months. I would color almost every day, to fill up the time I was no longer using for work. Since then, I have purchased all of the ColorIt books, except the last one, and I have completely colored two of them.
Calming Doodles Volume 1, Colored by Cynthia Sikes
Describe your perfect coloring atmosphere.
Alone. I like to be alone when I color. Although, in the beginning, I would sit on the couch binge watching Netflix while coloring. Now, I spend my time in the bedroom with my lavender essential oil in the diffuser. I usually have a podcast on unless I am binge watching something. If I had a nice porch outside, that would be the perfect place for me. We live in the country and the sounds of the birds would be calming.
This is not an "atmosphere" but the best tool I have found for coloring is one of the clip-on USB lights. I actually clip it right to the book I am coloring in. I am never without my light!
Tell us about your creative process when you get ready to color.
I like to have my diffuser going with lavender or lavender/frankincense in it. I have a lot of crystals by my bed including my collection of wrapped pendants that I wear. I love being by them and feeling all of the calming, creative energy they give off. It helps to clear my mind so I can pick the right colors for my moods. Ultimately, I just like to relax and let the colors flow!
Wild Animals, Colored by Cynthia Sikes
How has coloring changed or added to your life?
I am a big believer in color therapy and I think coloring helped me through my last "anxious phase." It lasted quite a few months but without the calming effect of coloring, I would have been much worse. I am not the type of person who can sit and watch TV all day. This makes coloring a nice outlet. It gives me something creative to do with the TV or a podcast going in the background. It also calms my mind and energy.
Another benefit is that I have saved a lot of money by coloring. Funny as that sounds, I find myself home more often with one of my books. Some people spend their idle time shopping. Once I found what markers work best for me, I no longer needed to shop!
Mandalas to Color Volume 1, Colored by Cynthia Sikes
What advice would you give someone who isn’t confident about their coloring technique?
We are all on our own individual path. As an artist, I had to learn that the hard way, 25 years ago during a summer art camp. I wasn’t confident and after seeing all the other kids' techniques it made me less confident. It took me a few years to get over this and realize we each have our own styles.
Just because someone else may use colors differently, doesn’t mean they are better. My advice is to keep coloring and experimenting until you find what feels right for you! I started with colored pencils and made some beautiful pages. The only problem is it would take me two full days to complete one picture.
I switched to gel pens but ended up liking markers the best. Once I realized I could somewhat blend markers, it became my go-to technique for months. BUT, while I was trying new mediums and techniques, I left behind a lot of unfinished pages. It didn’t matter because, in the end, this process was all about finding what works for me.
Colorful Flowers Volume 1, Colored by Cynthia Sikes
What’s your favorite ColorIt book? What title would you like to see in the future?
Colorful Flowers! For a future book, maybe stained glass windows? I like patterns, but, I am enjoying the new Wild Animals book!
Is there anything else you want to share about your love of coloring?
I want to thank Colorit for making such wonderful books! I love the paper the drawings come printed on. It’s the best paper out of any of the other books I have seen — and I’ve seen a lot of books.
I also think coloring is great for therapy and I would encourage those with racing thoughts to try it. Using the colors of the rainbow is great for your personal energy and chakras. When I am down, I find myself drawn to that pattern and it helps to lift my mood. Don’t be afraid to let your coloring pages reflect your moods!
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