Coloring books are a fun way to pass the time. You don’t need impressive artistic skills to turn a coloring template into your own work. Just pick up a book or print a page with designs, grab your crayons, and let your inner artist out.
This is exactly what users on the r/ColoringCorruptions subreddit have done. The only difference is that their vision involves turning children’s coloring templates into slightly more adult ones. These artists have taken cartoon images and corrupted them into malevolent yet hilarious versions instead. Although some are pretty gnarly, you have to admire the artists’ creative skill at adapting the templates.
Bored Panda reached out to the founder of the r/ColoringCorruptions subreddit to learn more. Plus, we spoke with Dr. Pam Spurr and Gretchen Miller, two art therapy professionals, for their insights into the power of coloring books. Read on for our interviews with them.
The r/ColoringCorruptions subreddit currently has 176K followers of the twisted artworks. I wanted to find out how it got started and who the diabolical mastermind behind the idea was.
I spoke to the founder of r/ColoringCorruptions, who goes by the username 'CrayonsForBrains'. They told Bored Panda the story behind the page. “One day, I was hanging out with my cousin and glancing through a coloring book she had while we chatted,” they told us. “I started chuckling because some of the characters were just so crazy looking. The next natural step was to bring the psychotic energy that I saw in their eyes to life!”
Happy Little Catnip Bushes
Creating art is one thing, but if no-one else sees it, did you really make it? Rather than letting their drawings become lost to time, CrayonsForBrains knew that they had to share with others. They asked their nearest and dearest for opinions on the first pieces of corrupted artwork.
The founder of the page said, “My family and friends thought the few I’d made were darkly humorous (my family is great if you couldn’t tell), so I just kept going.”
And with this encouragement, they felt they had to share the artworks even more. “As a regular Reddit user, I realized there were probably a lot of others out there who would get a kick out of it. So, I made our website and started the subreddit,” they explained.
Mother Of Dragons
The subreddit community continues to grow with more twisted takes on coloring pages. I wondered what spurs the creators of the content to make these artworks. CrayonsForBrains gave me their opinion on it.
“Coloring is already sort of therapeutic and enjoyable. When you throw in some sick humor, it’s even better,” they said. Coloring is definitely gentle and relaxing, even if these corrupted versions evoke anything but those emotions.
Don't Stop Me Now
As you can see, the artworks can be quite gruesome and bloody. So, should we be worried about the creators and followers of the page?
CrayonsForBrains doesn’t think so. They said this about it: “I think as a community, people just enjoy the shock value, the laughs, and sharing in some harmless fun. Life can be such a dark place, so it’s nice to bring some levity. And of course, seeing everyone’s reactions is always a treat.”
The founder of r/ColoringCorruptions is thankful that the community is still going strong. They told Bored Panda how appreciative they are: “To everyone who has participated, it’s been so much fun, thank you for sharing your weirdness with us all. I’m happy to have had a hand in making it.”
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Many of our own Pandas will have fond memories of making their own masterpieces with coloring books. So, how come coloring books are so commonplace and part of most people’s childhood?
Well, they have more benefits of just being fun to work on. According to Michael Rhattigan, the CEO of Adventure to Fitness, a leading children's media company whose mission is to make health and education fun for kids, coloring books are incredibly important for early-age development. They teach kids to develop focus, essential motor skills and hand-to-eye coordination.
These are skills we might take for granted as an adult, but something we once had to practice as a child. The next time you pick up a pencil and write your name, think back to when you had to learn how to even hold a pencil properly.
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Not to mention, coloring books also encourage us to use our imagination. This is another important part of building our character and identity from an early age. With just some crayons and paper, we are already making our creative mark on the world.
I turned to Dr. Pam Spurr–a psychologist, self-help expert and artist herself, to talk about art and coloring books. You can find her publications and artworks on her website, and follow her on Twitter at @DrPamSpurr.
I asked her if she thinks that we all have a need to create art within us. Dr. Spurr told Bored Panda that: “We are incredibly creative and you only need to look at the cave art of early humans from tens of thousands of years ago to see they had a need to express themselves. Considering how tough life must have been on a day-to-day basis, and yet, humans took the time to allow their creativity to be expressed.”
I also spoke with Gretchen Miller, and she agrees with this idea too. Gretchen is an art therapy author and has provided her services to people for a whole range of issues.
Gretchen told Bored Panda that she believes: "we all have an inherent nature to create or be creative in some form." She also expands on the idea of our pre-historic impulse to create. Gretchen said, "This urge to create has been seen throughout humankind across all cultures as a way to share stories, communicate experiences, and express oneself beyond verbal language."
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The need to express ourselves is the essence of art. Whether it’s emotions or concepts, learning how to put your ideas on paper or another medium will last a lifetime.
These corrupted coloring books are just one way that artists have expressed themselves. Maybe it wasn’t the original intention for the coloring templates, but who’s to say what’s correct in art?
There’s definitely some brilliant artists among the works. Turning these coloring templates into something completely different is surely a testament to their imagination and creativity. Check out the level of detail and effort that the creators of the works have put into it.
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Coloring books aren’t just for children either—there are many coloring books targeted to adults as well. Coloring books continue to be popular as a pastime for all ages, especially during lockdowns. So, I asked Dr. Spurr what makes coloring books so relaxing and enjoyable to adults and children alike.
“It's incredible how we can get lost in something as seemingly simple as a coloring book!” she said. “It's as if our innate need to be creative helps give us focus on the coloring at hand and it can be a bit of much-needed escapism and joy.”
Gretchen Miller has her own take on this too. She said, "The act of coloring can be relaxing for many because it can allow the individual space to focus their mindful attention on the here and now." Gretchen explains further: "When we are able to be engaged in the present moment through art-based activities that are repetitive, rhythmic, and with reoccurring movement, this effect can be calming, soothing, and regulating on our mind and body."
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Dr. Spurr Bored Panda about the benefits of creating art for our mental health. “Experimenting with colors and putting something new and fresh on a page is fantastic for well-being,” she said.
Her focus of work also includes using creativity as a form of therapy. She believes that art has the power to change our emotions and health for the better. Dr. Spurr tells us of her own experiences working as a psychologist and being a creative too: “People often tell me how much they benefited from art therapy. And I know with my own painting, I can get totally lost and find that hours have gone past while I've been expressing my feelings on canvas.”
Gretchen Miller backs this up with her own thoughts on the effect of creating art. She told us: "Art can enhance mood, create connections related to the self and outside of the self, promote emotional expression, and foster opportunities to develop or strengthen empathy. When we engage with, make, or view art it can have a life-affirming influence to experience ourselves, others, and the world around us in new ways."
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Dr. Spurr concludes with her statement on creativity: “Everyone should be encouraged to dabble in something creative whether it's coloring, painting, graphics, sewing, knitting—anything where you can let your inner artist run free!”
Gretchen Miller also realizes the variety of ways that we can be creative. "There are many ways our essential need to create can be activated and expressed," she told us. "Some individuals express their creativity through color, drawing, painting, taking photos, technology, knitting, quilting, or with wood, clay, found objects, nature, and sculpture. Others engage in music, dance, drama, storytelling, or writing."
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Both of the professionals we spoke to understand the value of individual creativity, and the joys that it can bring. You can see how the people sharing their artworks here feel the same.
It's always best to think outside the box, or in this case, draw outside the lines. The drawings here capture the essence of that perfectly.
The Sunsational Spider-Tan
My First Attempt
What are your favorite images from this collection of corrupted coloring books? You can vote for the best ones here. Have you ever turned blank coloring pages into something dark too? Tell us about it, and then head over to the r/ColoringCorruptions subreddit or website to share your artworks too!