Thank you to publisher Health Communications Incorporated for sending this book to me in return for providing my honest and unbiased review. I received no other compensation. This post does contain affiliate links.
Inkspirations For Recovery: A Coloring Companion that Celebrates and Supports Living One Day at a Time. By Rokelle Lerner with art by Judy Clement Wall. 72 Pages. Published by Health Communications, Incorporated, February 2016.
I am not in any recovery, but I do have chronic pain and have battled depression since I was young. I practice mindfulness to keep myself grounded and calm, but I’ve never been an affirmation person. So when I received Inkspirations for Recovery, an adult coloring book aimed at anyone experiencing recovery, I didn’t think I would be able to appreciate the benefits beyond those of a traditional coloring book. I was wrong. As you will see, I believe that this a great book for anyone, even those who do not have recovery challenges.
The publisher says coloring is perfect for those in recovery for the following reasons:
• “A primary issue for those in recovery is the inability to find peace without the use of alcohol or other substances; coloring calms the mind and helps you de-stress.
• Coloring is meditative–it allows you to stop overthinking and to simply “be” in the moment.
• Many children who grew up in chaotic alcoholic homes missed out on the simple creative pleasures of childhood, like coloring; this allows anyone to explore their playful, creative sides.
• Once free of addictive substances, people often experience a tremendous void–a new hobby like coloring can help fill the void in a healthy way and spark interest in other artistic avenues.
• For people who struggle with negative self-talk or the need to be perfect, coloring is great because there are no rules! It’s an artistic activity that requires no skill set or mastery–it’s just fun.”
There are thirty-two pages of hand-drawn designs; 31 of these are part of two-page spreads with uplifting, positive themes. The full-page designs include mandalas, nature scenes, florals, and animals.
Each of the facing left-hand pages has some decorative elements from the main drawing that you can color, as well as quotes from people such as Buddha, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Gandhi, and C.S. Lewis. Many of these pages also include inspirational recovery-focused affirmations and space for your own doodles, drawings or notes.
Inkspirations for Recovery’s designs are hand-drawn, not mass-produced or computer-generated which gives them an organic, calming feel. They are not so delicate or refined that they feel restrictive.
Some illustrations include words of inspiration or quotes within the art. Most of the designs have a small amount of white space, but the facing pages all have areas for doodling, practicing textures and techniques, or even note taking.
There is a wide variety of subjects with animals, nature scenes, flowers, and mandalas. The images are fanciful, so you don’t have to limit your imagination, or stress out, when choosing colors: a cat can beautiful in blue!
What is unique about this coloring book is that every design is well-connected to the facing quote, and, for the pages that have it, the affirmation. Themes include courage, looking forward, integrity, joy and more. You are encouraged to think about the theme as you color.
This book is standard paper size – 8-1/2” x 11” – with glossy, flexible paperback card front and back covers. You will get the best results if you place the book on a hard surface when you are coloring.
The spine is bound with glue; my copy was a bit tight at first, and the pages did not lay flat but after coloring a few designs it has eased up. The designs are printed sufficiently away from the gutter so you won’t have the challenge of coloring in the seam of the book itself – plenty of margin. If you decide to remove the pages for coloring and/or display, they are perforated. However, I did have some trouble getting a “clean” tear with the perforations.
The paper is lightly textured bright white 80-pound stock. It does have some “tooth” so when I was coloring, I could put down several layers of colored pencil to create vibrant color, and successfully used blending and shading techniques. My water-based markers did shadow when I layered strokes for shading effects, but they didn’t bleed through or feather. Alcohol markers do bleed through the pages
and feather a bit on the design. If you want to keep the coloring book intact as a keepsake, I don’t recommend alcohol-based markers because you will find it hard to read the quotes and affirmations printed on the reverse side.
If you do use markers, I recommend that you put a slip-sheet between pages if you color inside the book.
Level of Difficulty
Overall, the designs in this book are easy-to-medium. Because it does include easy designs, this is an ideal book for anyone, including those with fluctuating physical conditions or concentration levels.
The line thickness is balanced throughout: some designs have thin, wispy lines whereas others include sections that are black areas with white spaces to color-in. Most of the designs, however, do have thicker lines that are more forgiving for those of us who can find it a challenge to color within the lines (when we want to!).
There are only a few areas in some drawings that are very detailed. But even these could be ignored and the area colored as a single element so that the lines create a texture or pattern.
As with almost any coloring book, you can make your coloring session with Inkspirations for Recovery a mindfulness exercise as there is just enough detail to focus on the coloring process. Most of the illustrations won’t take hours to color-in, but are complex enough to keep you distracted from negative thoughts. They will also relax you if you are anxious or need a diversion from obsessive thoughts. However, there is not so much detail that if you choose, you can contemplate the inspirational, recovery-focused messaging while you color.
Although this is a book aimed at recovery, all of the messages are all uplifting and motivating for any issue you may be dealing with in life.
I found that while I colored the designs in this book and kept referring to the quotes and affirmations I felt a sense calm and release. I have decided to make this a “keepsake” book, and will be flipping through the pages every once in a while to keep myself positive. (The pages I removed to color? I’ve taped them back into the coloring book.)
With a combination of powerful words and calming illustrations this coloring book is sure to find a special place in your coloring book library. It would also be a thoughtful gift for anyone in recovery, recovering from surgery or illness, or anyone who could use a bit of positive thinking in their day, which is all of us!
Have you tried an affirmation-based adult coloring book? Let us know what you thought about it in the comments section below!