Coloring with No Lines

Like most kids, my one year old son loves playing with crayons.  He loves playing with all the various colors all over the place.  He has colored on the floor, the walls, his toys, my laptop, and sometimes on paper.

I'm guilty of the same thing.  I remember being little, around three years old, and loving coloring.  My mom brought home scrap paper from work for me to color on, but for some reason I didn't.  I colored on furniture and cardboard boxes.  At that age I didn't understand why I had to restrict my artwork to an 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper. 

When I was in kindergarten, I remember coloring with my classmates.  Some of them produced really nice looking pictures of art.  The colors were smooth, even, and didn't have many blank areas between the colors.  I looked in awe seeing how I could make my work look like theirs.

The teacher instructed me to "color between the lines."  For most of the year, I didn't really know what that meant.  I colored where I thought I was supposed to, and sometime later I realized that when I colored pictures, the crayon marks were outside the lines of the picture.  I had to learn to have a steady hand, develop hand-eye coordination, and learn to conform to the social norms of coloring. 

It was the law of the land: color inside the lines.  That's what everyone does, and it's what I was supposed to do.  Slowly, I learned to color and keep every color in its own place.

Later on in high school I took my one and only art class.  There I learned all about art history and all the multiple techniques used to create beautiful works. 

One thing that I really admired about art is creativity.  I admired people who brought new and innovative ideas to the art world.  These were people who challenged the world (and me) to see things differently. 

Now as a parent, I want my son to develop his creativity.  I don't want to make him color inside a box (or think inside one) just because "that's what you're supposed to do." 

Instead of just coloring inside pictures, I want him to be able to draw his own pictures; of anything that his imagination can dream up.  I want him to be able to question why we color the way we do.I want him to practice doodling and designing.  I want him to be able to express himself in colorful ways.  I want him to imagine more than he or other people have been able to before.  I want him to be able to color without boundaries for the rest of his life. 

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