I can understand why many parents prefer to give their children a blank sheet of paper and pencils rather than a colouring book. As a child I loved drawing but I also enjoyed colouring books — there was something immensely satisfying and therapeutic in completing a page and managing to stay within the lines.
There’s a range of books for children that aren’t considered colouring books, but do provide more creative ëdirection’ than a blank piece of paper. If you are travelling, trying to keep kids occupied at a restaurant or even if you have a reluctant artist, there is a lot of inspiration to be had in doodle books (just remember how exciting we used to find Mr Squiggle!).
Illustrator Nickalas Catlow has created a number of doodle books with partially finished drawings, leaving it up to kids to fill the blanks. From the simple, such as drawing your family in a photo frame to the more obscure such as drawing ëhappy thoughts’, Catlow’s books will keep children busy.
Also available is the Scribbles series of drawing books by Japanese illustrator, Taro Gomi. In some ways, Gomi’s books are a little more prescriptive. For example, the instruction accompanying an illustration of a pram is ëDraw some babies, make them as cute as you can’. However, in other ways the instructions encourage kids to be really imaginative, for example ëDraw an invisible man’.
For preschoolers, The Scribble Book by Herve Tullet, encourages young artists to complete the illustrations with scribbles. Scribble flames coming out of a volcano or a plate of scribble spaghetti, the scribbles progress toward the end of the book to create genuine drawings.
Do You Doodle by Nickalas Catlow is $26.96, Scribbles by Taro Gomi is $35.96 and The Scribble Book by Herve Tullet is $19.96. All are available from Seek Books.