10 August 2011

Maine: Adult Coloring

When was the last time you colored?

Years ago I got a very large photocopy of a U.S. Geological Survey Topographic Map of Washington, DC. When I first brought it home my thought was to use it as a reference map. But over the years I felt like the contour lines on the map were just begging to be colored-in. For those of you who have never seen one before, a topographic map usually shows the elevation of a mapped area using contour lines that represent a fixed distance (in this case the space between every line represents 10 feet). So the closer together the lines, the steeper the slope, the further away the lines are the flatter the land.

Contemplating two weeks without TV or Internet, I knew I would crave something that wasn't reading. One needs a break from everything after all. What I suspected was that I would have a blast coloring. The Disney princess coloring book I did with my niece back in March didn't quite do it for me. But this map, with all of its interesting patterns, and a nice set of colored pencils could really be the thing.

And it was.

The first photos are me getting started while we were in Maine. I am not sure I will color here at home but I did take a few pictures since we got home just so you can see what I did while we were away.


  1. Absolutely love the whole idea and the progress you made.

  2. loving the psychedelic moment, man!

  3. Wow! What a great idea! I would usually go for puzzles or mahjong, but this could work for me as well. Please post a photo of the finished work.

  4. fabulous!
    thanks for sharing

  5. You are so cute. I think you should frame that.

    And never let my husband see it, it's EXACTLY the kind of thing he could waste a summer doing.

  6. This has to be one of the most coolest pastimes ever. I'm going to dig out my color pencils and some thing to color on! Coloring helps me both to relax and get my creative juices flowing. I'm off to the market to get a new set!
    And please do post a photograph of the finished work.

  7. That is beautiful! Who knew? I had never thought about coloring a contour map, but it's gorgeous art, AND makes the contours easier to read.

  8. That looks fun and beautiful. I need to pilfer some of Sam's color pencils (but, of course, not the Prismacolors) and find a topographical map.

  9. Sandy: You would have loved it. We might have had trouble keeping Kaylee away from it though.

    Mlle: I wasn't trying to do that, but I suppose it was inevitable.

    Alex: I did a puzzle as well and played lots of Scrabble.

    Martine: Thanks.

    Overdue: Oh, you should let your husband color.

    Farheen: It definitely made me relax. I don't really have any artistic ability so I needed something like this to make me feel creative.

    Julia: It does make the contours easier to read. Being OCD and tained as a land use planner, I tried to remain true to the contours, but the resolution of the map made them hard to discern so mistakes were made.

    Amanda: Most topo maps are in color so you will need to have a copy made...


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.