People have had a need to create for a variety of purposes since the beginning of time--to record history, to share life, to improve our human experience, to create beauty, to name just a few. Evidence of that need to create can be seen in the Chauvet cave drawings that date back 33,000 years ago, to the ancient writings in Mesoamerica.
It is not surprising, therefore, that people are currently looking towards the creative arts to cope with today’s world.
Hand lettering and creative coloring are a couple of the artistic practices that have grown in popularity over the last few years due to their positive physiological and metaphysical benefits.
Adult coloring can reduce stress. Image: Enveritas Group
Now more than ever, people are finding hand lettering and coloring to be therapeutic for dealing with the stresses of everyday living, as well as a way to develop mindfulness. Scientists and psychologists have studied the positive neurological and physiological effects of creative coloring and hand lettering and have discovered it has some pretty powerful properties. It helps with mind health by increasing mindfulness, easing depression, stilling anxiety, and increasing mood.
Mindfulness is the opposite of anxiety. Where anxiety is inner chaos, mindfulness is the practice of creating stillness where the chaos exists. In a study by Art Therapy Journal of the American Art Association, the findings, “suggest that structured coloring of a reasonably complex geometric pattern may induce a meditative state that benefits individuals suffering from anxiety.”
Mindfulness and creativity are reciprocal practices. The practice of mindfulness has been proven to help in the creative process. It opens one’s mind and silences the inner critic allowing people to create without judgement of one’s creation. The creative process in return allows people to relax and focus and therefore become present in the current moment — a.k.a. mindfulness.
As for the physiological benefits, it:
These examples of Zendoodling illustrate both its creativity and also the opportunity to create repeating patterns, which can be meditative. Image: FeltMagnet
In recent years, adult coloring books have grown in popularity as people become more and more aware of those therapeutic effects of coloring and the creative process. Many of the books feature mandalas and zendoodles. More creative types have taken not only to coloring them, but actually creating them. Zendoodling* is a practice that uses patterns to create unique and often intricate designs that not only result in a really cool piece of art but also engage the creator in the present moment.
This intent on mindfulness and creating a positive state of mind loosely mimics the practice of meditation in Buddhism. Mandalas, which are meant to be “artistic representations of higher thought and higher meaning,” are the perfect artistic endeavor for someone looking for ways to experience mindfulness, to connect spiritually, and to find rest and relaxation in a chaotic world.
Hand lettering is a great practice to create wonderful artistic pieces, and also escape the stresses of everyday life. Image: 99designs
Hand lettering, not to be confused with calligraphy, is another up-and-coming artistic endeavor that has similar effects to creative coloring. The artist creates images that are both textual and artistic. Calligraphy is also a handwritten form of creating text, but with a nib and ink. The difference between it and hand lettering is the form in calligraphy is deliberate and consistent.
Looking at sacred texts you can see the technique and artistic pride the scribes took in recording history and oral traditions in an effort to maintain consistency. Hand lettering is less about maintaining form and consistency and much more about creative inspiration.
Today, many artists hand letter to create dynamic works of art that also happen to contain letter symbols. Hand letterers can use nibs and ink, but many use brush pens, markers, ballpoint pens, and even paint brushes. It is a unique and beautiful craft that one should take the time to explore.
Many creatives are taking these artistic processes and turning them into a business. Take a look at Create Express, a company that takes the creative process into individuals' homes so that they can experience the relaxing and healing properties of art practices like creative coloring. You can even take classes like the Creative Coloring Course. Whether you want to create them yourself or share your craft and teach others, there is a market! And, of course, you can always explore Etsy as a creative marketplace, both to purchase handmade items and also as a place to market your own handmade creations.
If you love hand lettering and have a talent for the art form, there are also a number of business opportunities for you. Brides are all about making their weddings one of a kind. Hand lettering is one way that they can individualize and make their special events, special. Offering your service to create invitations, place cards, menus, and signage can be a great way to make money doing what you love.
Here are some ways artists are sharing their love of creative coloring, design, hand lettering and making money!
*While Zentangles are often defined as the shapes and patterns seen in Zendoodles, it is actually a trademarked name from Zentangle, Inc. which is a patent-pending teaching method used for the practice of making that type of art.
Transforming your artistic pursuits into a business might be a dream project or potential startup idea for you. If you’re interested in building a new artistic business, check out the Creative Catalyst Certificate program, which includes an Artist as Entrepreneur course to help you find and establish your new artistic enterprise.