| LIFE + STATIONERY | Keep Calm and Keep Colouring

There are many things that I am rubbish at in life. But from my long list of #fails there is one thing that I am beyond being merely bad at. I am so appallingly awful at it that I despair at myself.

No matter what I do or how hard I try, I just cannot relax. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I am one of those accursed souls that has to constantly find something to busy my hands with in order to quieten my mind. If I am reading a book, I must take notes as I do (which then leads to further research and often the need to dig out past notes etc). Watching telly offers little respite and I have to have something for my hands to do while I am sat down. I, can turn any relaxing pursuit into a task/mission/opportunity to do something.

I’ve been told that I have a restless soul and a sleepless mind. All I am certain of is that I find it hard to disconnect and just enjoy a restful mentality. My latest attempt to alleviate this affliction has come straight outta Compton Nairobi. I mean my childhood in Nairobi where on rainy days my mum ushered me off into a corner with colouring books and pencils, her way of trying to prevent me wreaking mischief in the house.

My colouring books are made by Clairefontaine who famously know a thing or two about paper as they have been making it since 1858. I admit that substance outvoted style in my decision to get these and I’ve been rewarded with 36 patterns per book with a good mix of intricate and complicated and bold and straightforward. The paper quality is spot on and it handles both felt pens and colour pencils with ease. 

I use a few different types of pens and pencils for colouring in. Regular favourites are my Irojiten pencils made by Japanese pencil making giants par excellence Tombow. Beautifully presented in sleeved sets each containing 3 book-like volumes the visual appeal of these pencils is sublime. In terms of performance, they provide a more subdued colour than high-end players like the Prismacolor etc. This bothers some but it works for me. Irojiten colours are layerable, blendable and playful. Irojiten loosely translates as ‘colour encyclopedia’ in Japanese and like many things Japanese, they are inspired by the nuances of nature.

I bought my sets of pencils in Japan for about £12.50 per set of 3 volumes (41p per pencil) and am astonished to see the prices demanded for them here in the UK. In my opinion this shocking mark-up prompts unfair comparisons with the high-end colour pencils which ultimately leads to disapointment. Tombow’s Irojiten are designed in Japan, made in Vietnam. They are reasonably priced, mid-ranged pencils that makes them excellent value in Japan where they are sensibly priced. 

I digress! Back to my colouring in! Having a 6 month old means that I don’t get much time to set aside. In reality I manage about 20 minutes every few days. However, within those spare minutes where I quieten and spread colours across bare patterns, I surrender into a sort mindful repose.

Useful Links | Info on Tombow Irojiten with a list of colours  

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