Learning Self-Care Through Coloring Indian Art


Mental Wellness

Art has been the oldest form of communication and expression, ranging from prehistoric art carvings to cave paintings found in the Indus Valley and Egyptian civilizations. As a toddler, scribbling, using colours, and other forms of drawing and painting is one of the most effective forms of communication. A person might not always be able to express themselves through words but with art, expressions become easier.

Coloring and drawing are used as a key element to train young minds. It has been the earliest and simplest form to calm yet adapt the curious mind into a productive sphere. As young minds hit the road of maturity, they express themselves more through words and actions, subconsciously abandoning the need for coloring and drawing - an activity that belongs firmly in their childhood. 

The role of art that was assigned to a ‘real artist’, is an idea we developed along with time. The concept of art has evolved to be synonymous with originality and at times restricted to the ‘real artist’. What we are forgetting is that art is a form of expression, and at its very core, arises from perspective. Two people may look at the same thing and have different perspectives. 

Art throughout history has been taking what was indigenous to an area, and adapting to the artist’s style to present something new and striking. We can rightly say that it has acted as a bridge between varied cultures to build and explore new connections, not just among each other, but also within ourselves. With stress, tension, and underlying pain and confusion in the world, we tend to break away from ourselves, delving more into our computers and phone screens. The art of coloring and painting beckons us to take some time off to heal ourselves, mentally and spiritually.

When we fall short of words to express, we resort to images and symbols to recite our stories, projecting the path towards self healing and transformations of the soul and mind. Coloring and drawing is therapeutic in nature, stirring up creative perspectives and opening up a portal for inner voices to come to clarity. Through this process, adults can resolve unspoken issues and manage their feelings, while retaining their confidence. This in turn helps in  reducing stress and opens up scope for self-awareness.


India has always prioritized high spiritual value, assigned to its various art forms, along with honouring aesthetic and religious connotations attached to it. Our diverse culture has played a huge role keeping these traditional art forms intact and alive. Out of the many existing art forms where shapes, symbols, and colours play a key role in their existence and acceptance, here are few. 

Madhubani Painting, Bihar 

Mithila or Madhubani paintings trace their origins to a village named Madhubhani in Bihar. A British Colonial officer, William G. Archer - the man who found the paintings, wrote an article about the striking similarity of the paintings with the works of Miro and Picasso in ‘Murg’, an Indo-Nepal art journal (1949). In mythological references, it is believed that King Janakraj, an ancient Indian ruler at the time of Ramayana asked the artists to paint the wedding ceremony of his daughter Sita and Lord Rama. This art form uses environmental friendly colours and equipment like natural dyes, matchsticks, twigs and fingers to create artwork.

Kalamkari Paintings, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana