How to color outside the lines.

Hi.  I’m terrified.

I’m always slightly terrified because my anxiety disorder is a real asshole but it suddenly occurred to me that my book tour starts in a few days and I’ll be on the road for two weeks and this is always such a mix of amazingness and dread and fear and exhilaration, and I know I’ll get through it but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m literally shaking with anxiety right now.  I don’t have a joke here.  Just being honest.

It’s ironic that so many people use coloring as a tool to fight anxiety and I’m touring with what is essentially a coloring book (with lots of words in it) but I don’t really color.  Drawing is what I do to keep my hands from destroying myself so I haven’t actually colored any of the drawings in my own book because to me it looks done already.  But people are starting to get their copies of YOU ARE HERE early and they’re sharing their work online and now I’m seeing such amazing images as my drawings are reimagined with color and now I get it.

I started coloring an image I made last year that didn’t make it into the book and I’m finally finishing it but I suspect I’m missing out on the right tools and techniques so I’m sharing what I do here so you can tell me what I’m doing wrong.

First off, here’s the drawing I made if you want to print and color it yourself.  Just click on it to embiggen.



This is what it looked like halfway through.  Then I fucked it up and ran out of ink so I walked away for awhile.


But then I realized that I could blend the colors I had left and make it all rainbowy and shit.  (“All rainbowy and shit” = technical artistic terminology.)  So I did.  And when I accidentally smudged stuff I just got out a marker and incorporated it into the drawing. And when I went outside the lines I just made it look like it was supposed to look like that.  And it worked.  Kind of.  From a distance.

Long story short, I get why people color now.  But I enjoy it much more after learning from my mistakes.  And after a booze slushie.  So if you are new to coloring I will give you my few hints:

  1. You don’t have to color it.  You can just leave it black and white.  DONE.  You are the fastest colorer ever.
  2. I used two different kinds of pencils.  I used Ohuhu pencils for the light colors because they’re inexpensive.  I used watercolor pencils to get the really vivid colors.  You can color and then use a damp brush to activate the colors but personally I just dip the pencil in water and color with the wet pencil because it gives me more control.
  3. I used gel pens to color over stuff I’ve messed up on because they work like paint.  Plus THEY HAVE GLITTER IN THEM.  I used these because they’re cheaper but these are really nice if you have extra cash to spend.
  4. When the cat would head-butt me with his face while I was drawing I’d use white gel pens to color over the mess.  It’s like white-out but in a pen.
  5. If you want to color but don’t really want to color then get a gold sharpie and just add some spot color where you want.  Classy, lazy and elegant all at the same time.

Your turn.  Share your hints or your drawings.  And use the #youarehere hashtag so I can find your pictures online when you get your copy of my book?

I’ll be in Austin on Wednesday and then on from there.  Click here for the tour info.  Come see me.  Pretty please?

196 thoughts on “How to color outside the lines.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I remember walking in on my Mother who was babysitting her granddaughter. Mom was sitting at the table coloring and my little niece was asleep on the sofa. I asked Mom what she was doing, coloring all by herself, and she said, “My picture wasn’t finished, and I just wanted to color a little more.” This was 30 years ago. Mom was really ahead of her time.

  2. Last weekend, I bought me a big ol’ 64-color box of Crayolas in anticipation of You Are Here. But I found that I couldn’t wait for your book to be released to break into those magical waxy cylinders with exotic names like Burnt Sienna, so I picked up a coloring book of Buddhist mandalas. The woman at the register looked impressed with my purchase so I opted not to tell her that the only reason I got the Buddha book was because her store didn’t carry Spongebob Squarepants merchandise.

  3. Ready for you in NOLA. 🙂 Also, please note that bedsheets are always an acceptable form of dress in this weirdass town. 🙂

  4. my book has shipped. I should have it tomorrow! I am sooooo excited! Mind you, I don’t color… it actually makes me way too tense… having to pick colors and maybe decide on a pattern… stay in the lines… make it look pretty… ACK! no way! But I love the pen/ink drawings you do, Jenny! They’re gorgeous and intriguing and compelling just the way they are.

  5. I like to use a big set markers with lots of shades of each color. That’s all I have. But I’m so excited to color in your new book!

  6. Color, color, color!!!! I can’t wait to get my preordered copy!!!!

  7. Jenny, thank your kindness and awesomeness. Just had to put it out there.
    Now I’m waiting for my book to arrive so I can imagine all the beautiful colors I may not exactly be brave enough to try and put down yet…hate to make a mess. Has anyone else noticed their OCD occasionally imposing on their life and creativity?

    You know, sometimes there just aren’t as many upsides to having mulitiple disabilities as those without them seem to think (sure, the parking comes in handy…but I’m guessing being able-bodied does too.)

  8. What I’d really like to do is embroider these, but I couldn’t figure out how to transfer them to cloth without getting the letters backwards (something to do with a photocopier and some sort of special thing that transfers the ink. I’ve seen it done on one of those crafty shows once or twice) — and now your publisher’s giving out free bags! Problem solved. Now I just have to wait for it to get here.
    And I just got a notice from Amazon that my coloring books are on their way.

  9. I bought brand new colored pencils today in anticipation of receiving your new book!!! I didn’t really get into coloring until the last time my anxiety super flared up. It gives me something to do with my mind when I can’t sleep instead.

  10. Mi suffer from anxiety issues too. I may get your book to help me. Thanks for your awesome talent. I am a storyteller and I need to do it more now that I am retired. I have too much time on my head. lol Lizzy&co is my stage name. I dramatize the lives of about 10 different women in history to teach and empower children and senior citizens.

  11. Hi Jenny. I love this. I can’t wait to get your book tomorrow. Yay!! You will have a blast wherever you are. I know how hard it could be too, but we are all scared. I love you. 🙂

  12. My hint/tip? You can’t color wrong. It’s one of those things you just can’t do the wrong way. Your way is the right way for you.

  13. Your coloring looks amazing! As does your artwork!! Thank you for posting them – I print them out for college students to color them to relax during finals.

    See you in Raleigh!! Woot!

  14. I don’t really color, but I’m excited about watercolor pencils, so maybe I’ll try it. I cannot wait until tomorrow to get You Are Here!!! I so admire your talent, Jenny. Thank you for sharing yourself with us!

  15. I pre-ordered six of your books so I can give them away to friends and I’m having an Afternoon Tea and Colouring Party on April 8th with your books and some fancy tea and I can’t wait! I plan to give my friends their gifts that day.

    I’m not very good at colouring, I don’t know how to blend or shadow or anything of that neat technical stuff. I like super vivid colours so I use Triplus Fineliners and just do solid colors.

    (This makes me so incredibly happy. ~ Jenny)

  16. “…so I’m sharing what I do here so you can tell me what I’m doing wrong.”

    Jenny, there IS no wrong. That’s the beauty of it.
    Also, your interpretation is gorgeous.
    Also, I wish I had a cat to head-butt me.

  17. you did a great job!! I cross stitch rather than color, kind of takes me out of my head and i have something to show for it lol. I have purchased your book and may color some of them but I am scared to screw it up, I have no creativity when it comes to coloring…. you have alot of creativity, don’t ever change. Would love to come see you but I can’t afford it right now, BIG HUG for when you are feeling alone.

  18. Whatever you did up there is gorgeous. You did it right. I have been learning to live with white space, that’s what I’m working on. I’m getting there. And I’m getting your book. Yay for preordering!

  19. I use regular color pencils for some and I use pastel pencils on other places so I can blend. It makes your figures and hands all smudgy..but I like it.

  20. My book arrived today… Can’t wait to get started. It looks amazing!

  21. No hints to share, but I am eagerly awaiting my pre-ordered copies. I am usually a “get this shit done” kind of person, so thanks for reminding me that I can start, leave and come back to stuff later. Contrary to my usual thinking, the earth will still revolve.

  22. OOOoooohhhh! Lots of cool coloring ideas! I honestly have never thought of venturing past my Crayola colored pencils. I bet I’d get off my stupid phone and color more if I had tons of cool pens and pencils. I’m totally going to get some of your suggestions on Amazon.
    I totally know what mean about being scared of something even if it’s something good for you. I constantly struggle to make myself do stuff that scares me. Social events or any event with a lot of people scare the shit out of me. I waver between kind of wanting to go/knowing I should go and completely dreading the event.

  23. I like the extra fine sharpies – they do bleed through the paper but the colors are bright and smooth, no pen marks except when the ink starts running out. I’ve colored my way through two packages, on my third now, but it’s been a rough seven months.

  24. I use colored pencils. Easy and cheap. BUT if you are a professional colorer and want really artistic frameable quality, check out the prismacolor blendable markers…crazy! I cannot wait to get my copy of the book! Good luck on tour Jenny.

  25. My anxiety is an asshole too. I’m in the process of buying a new (to me) house, and I’ve been having panic attacks on and off. I can’t always use coloring as an escape, because I start to worry about coloring it wrong – even though I know logically there is no wrong way to color. Right now most of my stuff is packed up. I have a couple of sets of markers – one set metallic which are really cool – pencils and glitter pens. Someday I’ll get back to them and make pretty stuff again.

  26. We had mandatory training last week, and I brought some coloring sheets and colored pencils to the training. I sat in the back (like ALWAYS), and colored as I listened. I thought my boss would be mad that it looked like I wasn’t paying attention, but I took just as many notes as my coworkers and retained a LOT of the info. I just needed something visual to engage my brain… because let’s face it.. the power point was NOT doing it.

    Here is a link to the one completed page, and the semi-completed second page I started after the third break:

    It was a LONG training session.

  27. You are just so amazing Jenny! I love your drawings…and love the one you colored and how you did are jus full of surprises and I know you will be fabulous on your tour…

  28. I preordered your book yesterday from Warwicks out here in So-Cal. That was a feat unto itself since talking on the phone produces about the same level of terror as does interacting with people IRL or posting a comment online. This is the first post of my entire life. Guess you took my virginity. Sorry about the backstory. I’m not sure I’ll make the signing, but any power of light still left inside me, I hereby transfer to you and wish you the VERY BEST on your tour! Oh, and sweep the leg. Always sweep the leg.

  29. I’m gonna have to get two copies of your book so I can colour in one without being afraid of messing up. I don’t colour a lot, but what I’ve seen of your drawings are so amazing, I’m gonna want to colour them. And also keep them uncoloured.

  30. That’s one reason why I pre-ordered two books (and may get more).
    P.S. Jenny … just breathe.

  31. It’s kind of like life. When you look really close, you can see the imperfections, but when you step back and take the broad view, those are exactly what makes it look so glorious.

  32. Oh my god – white gel pens!! Why did I not know about these before now?! I need them, although I don’t have cats headbutting me. I’m just less than coordinated.

  33. I haven’t colored recently, but I’m getting this book because you are my brand of crazy. I’ll see you Wednesday night!!! 🙂

  34. I love prismacolor pencils–super soft. And I totally color outside the lines. The drawings are suggestions. You can never color wrong–just ask a kid. Coloring helps my anxiety and depression immensely 😁

  35. For your trip: Buy an ipad. Download 54Paper. Buy Apple pen (stupidly costs $100). Throw both in your purse. Pack charger. Take it out whenever you have 3 minutes. Draw. Mistakes disappear in a tap. And reappear, if you want. You will love this.

  36. Ahhh!!! I’m so excited and I can not wait to get my hands on that book!!! I’ll devour the words and then attack it with all of my angst and color, color, color my stresses away!!! I will hopefully get to meet you this Saturday at your book signing in Raleigh, NC. My friend Denise and I are sooo stoked that we might get the opportunity to share some space with you!!! 🙂 ** p.s. there is never a “right” or “wrong” way to color(trust me, I’m a teacher)… I believe it’s more like intuition… what ever you feel, pick your medium and just go with it!
    Your words/drawings/(coloring) and honesty are absolutely BEAUTIFUL! Thank you

  37. Coloring drives me nuts. If it’s an image of a real thing, like a bird or flowers, the colors have to be right. I mean I have to go find a picture and find the right colors. Totally missing the point of the “relaxing” aspect to it. Plus I am just crap at it. It’s never neat and I can never figure out what color to use. So not relaxing. (Then again, my boyfriend bought me one of those Buddha boards that use water to make images that then disappear. Some sort of zen or meditation thing. I suggested I could take photographs of the picture before it disappeared. Again, missing the entire point of the exercise). I’m whatever the opposite of zen is all the time.

  38. did you use a Spirograph?

    (Nope. Freehand. That’s why it’s lopsided. 🙂 ~ Jenny)

  39. Amazing. I have this idea that coloring is a great stress reliever, but I’m not sure that it holds up to the promise when I actually start coloring. I have this need to sit and work on the project (coloring) for long periods of time, and there’s this perfectionist in me that requires it to look incredible when I’m done. I’m not sure that it ever does. I think by the time I walk away though, my neck and shoulders are so tense that I’m not sure that I accomplished what I set out to do.

  40. Sometimes I close my eyes and ‘select’ 4-5 pencils to allow the universe to select my color pallet. That stops me from obsessing about what colors are the ‘right’ ones, and I end up with interesting combinations I might not otherwise select. I’ve enjoyed the results.

  41. I SO want to take that design, ink it on fabric, and embroider the shit out of it!!!!

  42. I pre-ordered your book last summer and it finally came today!
    I’ve been through it twice already and Jenny, it’s a wonderful labor of love. Love your words….love your drawings. Thank you! There is no wrong way to color or draw — use whatever makes you happy. I like to draw in my daily journal and my personal pencil favs are PRISMACOLOR brand & STAEDTLER ergosoft triangular colored pencils. Both brands tend to have more pigment and blend well. Be sure to get a good pencil sharpener & blending pencil and you’re off to a great start!

  43. It’s beautiful. I’ve been “patiently” waiting for my independent bookstore to get their copies.

    Thanks for the breakdown of technical artist terms. Everything was over my head. 🙂

  44. It’s so pretty!!!! I swear, I struggle with colouring books because I have anxiety and doubt in my abilities. But I’m STARTING to get there to the point of just being like ‘it’s paper and ink, you’re fine’. Except I haven’t done it in ages so I’m terrified that I’ll do that with your book.

  45. Jen, I too love all your drawings. I bought 5 copies. One each for my daughters and nieces and one for me. For those afraid of making a mistake, make a copy of the drawing. This way no worries about mistakes and think of all the variations you can create.

  46. I am all set to see you in Louisville on Monday and I am so so excited!! 🙂 Hope my book comes in from amazon before!!

  47. Your coloring is gorgeous! I am a stressed-cadet colorer. 🙁 I’ve been trying to let it go while I color (randomly picking colors, places to color, patterns, etc.), but I guess I’m an over-achiever when it comes to feelings of stress and anxiety. Glad to know that I’m the best at something.

    Still looking forward to getting (and coloring) your book, though! I love to smack my head against a brick wall because it feels soooo good when I stop. 😉 See you in La Jolla!

  48. Wow! Your work with whatever coloring substance that is looks incredible, like nice shading on a tattoo. I’m clearly no visual artist, but adult coloring books and the adults that color them (well) are pretty impressive to me.

    Maybe I’ll make my own coloring book. As for coloring in the lines, it’s always bothered me that I’ve felt compelled to literally do that. It sucks to be a terrible artist, yet so rigid that I can’t actually color outside of the lines. Like if Lou Reed both couldn’t sing (that was already a fact) AND had no idea how to play guitar, write songs, or do heroine.

  49. Is it wrong that I am green with envy just thinking about all the people who just days from now will be meeting you?! Man, I am such an asshole sometimes! ANYWAY. You are going to have lineups out the door of every store and support for miles because you are that goddamn fantastic. So when you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed, and are resisting the urge to hide underneath the table, know that there isn’t a single person in those lineups who wouldn’t get underneath the table with you, and support you. I know I speak for all of us when I say, ‘Thank the almighty fucking universe for you!’

  50. i like coloring, and I love these images, but my hand starts hurting so much before I’ve done much at all. I don’t get how people do it? Am I just too old? Much sadness.

  51. Thank you! Lovely! The image that hadn’t made it into the book just lowered my anxiety and I haven’t even colored it yet either. I’ve tried to convince my husband to drive me to see you in New Orleans, but have been unsuccessful. He’s a sailor and pulling the “I might be on the boat” card, which is possible. (Ship + saying = how true!)
    I will ponder if my copy of YOU ARE HERE will arrive early while I practice coloring with cats.

  52. Just wanted to let you know that I’m wrestling with writing an academic definition of “ballet” and it’s purpose, and now that you have written this blog post I can just say ballet is “all rainbow-y and shit”, cite you, and be done. THANK YOU!! ❤️

  53. Over a decade ago when I was still finding myself I had the Mandarin Chinese character for hope tattooed on my neck so I would never be hopeless, it would always be hanging onto my head. You help so many to not feel hopeless, me included.

  54. I’m so happy to see you’ve colored your page♡ I loved coloring that one. It sits in my studio to remind me that even though life is rather difficult for me right now, I will survive this, I will find my way:) Remember, there are no rules to coloring! If you’re ever in Seguin, Texas, join one of the coloring/creativity groups I run a tour Seguin Public Library:) It’s a gorgeous space and we have a fabulous time with loads of cool coloring supplies. If I can, I hope to see you when you’re in Austin. Im terrified of Austin traffic, so we’ll see…Cheers to you, your book (which better be on my doorstep soon as I’m really counting on it to help me through a difficult trip I’m about to take!), and coloring & draw laying our way through anxiety and other shit:)

  55. Does it help if you just think of your book tour as a chance to visit with all of your friends here? We just want to meet you and share a smile and handshake. We promise not to gush too much or be all artificial and formal. We just love you and want to meet you, and maybe show you our coloring pages, although not if that makes you feel there is some sort of coloring competition going on which would suck out all the fun.

  56. I hope you have seen Eddie Izzard stand up comedy, especially Dressed to kill.

  57. I see no evidence of up fucking anything, so you are fine, or we are the same, as usual.

  58. I think your coloring is gorgeous! I love to see different interpretations of the same design – it makes me happy. Two (minor) suggestions: I’ve found that I don’t like the lead in most pencils, but I LOVE the lead in Lyra Polycolor pencils. Spendy, but completely worth it in my opinion. Second, if you want to try “classes”, might I suggest Kit and Clowder? The woman who runs in (Alyce) is Australian (it’s awesome to listen to her) and she’s the kindest, sweetest human ever. There is a FB group (full of amazingly talented people that are SO NICE) (example of niceness: I posted something I had colored without ever having taken a class and someone anonymous BOUGHT me the beginner class!) and an actual website where you can take classes. Most of it is for marker, but there is a bunch of pencil stuff and techniques cross over quite well. There are free classes to dip your toe in and give it a shot. Honestly, I’m not affiliated (!) with K&C, but it can be really helpful to have someone guide you on how to do something that you just can’t figure out on your own. FB group here:
    And, finally, CONGRATULATIONS! Your book looks amazing!

  59. I love it:). All the more beautiful for the “mistakes.” When I first moved to Chicago, I colored on the weekends while watching cartoons. In my mid-twenties. It wasn’t cool back then, but it was a way to stay in touch with my inner child after having to keep her protected all week in a corporate job. Love that you’re giving so many people the same opp!

  60. I use Prism color pencils and then use alcohol to blend sometimes. I layer one color on top of another color because when you scan it into your computer the different layers give an amazing depth to the picture. I make my own clipart like that. Love your picture – it’s really beautiful! :o)

  61. The whole reason I enjoy a bit of coloring is that there is no wrong way. When working on my own art, I’m all fussy and fighting the fraud police and fretting over every choice, but when coloring, it’s like WTF-EVAH! Sometimes the results are beautiful, sometimes just oddball, and sometimes most definitely beautiful mistake-y. Also, I am stalking my mailbox. I may be stalking it at midnight, because who knows when Amazon does and does not deliver things these days… now I’m going to go click on everyone’s links above!

  62. You are a wonderful artist in so many ways. Please come to Maryland for a book signing so me, and my friend Scott can meet you. We both loved Furiously Happy.

  63. Coming to see you in NC, and wearing my raccoon leggings to honor Rory. Couldn’t get a ticket for the reading but will be in the signing line. Super excited to say hi.

  64. I am so excited! I received my “You Are Here” book in the mail today! I may have screamed a little. 😜 Thank you for sharing this with all of us. You are amazing!

  65. I pick a set of 10-ish colors I’m in the mood to use, which keeps me from worrying too much about choosing just the right one. I usually use bullet-tip markers because pencils make my wrist hurt. I remind myself it’s about the process and not the end result, and that keeps me from stressing about perfection. Plus I’m so very non-artistic, so I never expect the end result to be super awesome.

  66. Prismacolor pencil crayons (aka coloured pencils as you Americans say… or ‘colored’ maybe) and the Prismacolor blending pencils. I love them so much!

  67. Try AmazaPens – they glitter are very affordable. From Amazon, several sizes. I’ve given them as gifts. I really like the glitter pens.

  68. I have a deal for you: If you will tattoo one of these on my back, I’ll let you have my body for taxidermy when I die.

  69. You cab find really neat colors of Crayola Crayons for .99 cents a box at Target! I can’t wait until I can afford your coloring book, then it’s off to the Crayons isle of Target!

  70. Coloring gives me anxiety…. Can’t do anything else until I finish the picture. BUT… I love the idea of adding gold sharpie!! I’ll give that a try. You should stop on Toledo, Ohio sometime!

  71. You cab find really neat colors of Crayola Crayons for .99 cents a box at Target! I can’t wait until I can afford your coloring book, then it’s off to the Crayons isle of Target!

  72. Wow — the things I learn here. Bi-colour metallic glitter gel pens! Who knew?

  73. My book just shipped today! It’s a gift for my sister, but I may have to get her one of her own. I might also need to get her Furiously Happy. She just lost her health insurance, so no anxiety meds.

  74. This is really beautiful Jenny! I love it. Not only can you draw amazingly, but your coloring is sublime as well. I can’t wait to get my hands on You Are Here. I haven’t been able to order it yet do to money issues, but I will be quite soon.

  75. Hi Jenny. Can’t wait to get your book and can’t wait to see you in NYC. I’ll be the guy cowering in the corner sobbing hysterically, because, you know, crowds and what not. Maybe I’m doing this wrong but I’m planning on having my friend’s 8 year old daughter help me. She’s is fantastic at coloring and if she wasn’t so damned cute I would seriously be hacked off about it. Anyway, be the charmingly odd and loving person that you are and enjoy the book tour!!

  76. I should have my two copies in my hands tomorrow night! Can’t wait! I originally got two to give one to my sister, so may have to buy another one yet so I can have a colorless version and one to color in as it suits me! I am typically a Sharpie fan myself and a ‘graph pad’ doodler (think patterns in rigid grids so I’m excited to have patterns to fill from your gorgeous drawings! I have been practicing with a cat coloring book and so far have struggled a bit – the tips from everyone are fabulous! Good luck on your tour Jenny!

  77. For whatever reason, I’m just a cranky mess today. Getting your new book and just moving my hand across the pages was a moment of peace. This day has sucked, but I have my book and my gel pens ready for later.

  78. I have not a whit of artistic ability, and like many here, I get anxious about needing to do it the “right” way…then I got watercolor pencils and discovered the joy of blurring the lines, going outside the lines… I have a marker type pen that I use to blend colors. I call it a paint pen. No idea what it’s actually called. Still waiting in UPS for my JL coloring book to arrive…

    Wait, is that the UPS truck!?!

  79. I just got my text from Amazon that my copy has shipped and will be here tomorrow. I’m so excited! I wish I could come see you but your closest stop is 3 1/2 hours drive from me and it’s not that I don’t love you enough because I do but my car needs major repairs and if I tried to get there I’d probably get halfway and have to walk the rest of the way because my car would die. So I’m sending love and virtual hugs from here. Have a great tour!

  80. I’ll be up for the postman tomorrow!
    I’ve bought spanking new stationary!!!
    Sooo flipping excited!!! 🖍🖌✏️🖊

  81. I cant wait for my book. I have to wait for the 20th for your book signing and it’s killing me. I bought two I’m sending one to a friend in India. It’s ur fault we’re friends, Last year you encouraged us to make friends with other members and that snowballed into me doing something I never do. I responded to a girls post in a business group I’m in because she was having a hard time. She sent me a friend request, I was about to denie it but thought of u. Now we’re great friends. Her birthday is at the end of the month and I’m sending her ur book. I think it was all a ploy to sell more books Jenny :0)

  82. I have a few techniques that I play with.
    One is just outlining:
    Sometimes I just scribble:
    Sometimes I outline then fill:
    Sometimes I prove that I have no idea what I’m doing and just any color that comes to mind in any place convenient:

    also recommendation? Decent colored pencils (if colored pencils is your medium of choice). I used to think, no big thang. I had Crayola pencils. Then I went wild and bought a small set of pencils from Utrecht. It was like discovering I could have sex when all I knew for years was my hand (I reckon this is a place I can get away with such an analogy). The coloring was so much better with quality pencils.

  83. “All rainbowy and shit” will be my go-to technical term from now on.

  84. After a shit day, having to confront a coworker, and making myself physically and mentally exhausted trying to deal adulting, I came home today to find your book on my doorstop, a day earlier than expected and almost like a cosmic way of life telling me, hey girl, here’s this gift, sorry for having to people today. Thank you for sharing with the world how so many of us feel inside. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some coloring to do. ❤

  85. I like sort of coloring. Sometimes I can’t color as much since my depression gets me all tired so whenever I think about coloring, I think “so much energy needed. ugh.” So I don’t color often. The same goes for drawing but I think I’ll take up on coloring more now since I think it’d help me. 🙂 I totally love coloring in the lines and making sure it’s perfect though haha and if I ever make a mistake, I just like to leave it like that. 🙂

  86. I have to admit, I don’t color much. I either get bored or frustrated too fast. I need to buy some good markers or something instead of the crap ones I have. I don’t really know if I’ll color in your book, because I’m too worried about “messing it up”, but I love the drawings and I’m glad that you are learning new ways to color.

  87. This will sound stupid, but I’m glad you’re terrified. Because when I think of you, it’s with a superlative in front of your name (the amazing Jenny Lawson, the wonderful Jenny Lawson, the fabulous Jenny Lawson, etc ). So it’s nice to know that you, too, are terrified like the rest of us. I know how many people are excitedly waiting to see you, so I’m sure all will go well. And your colouring is as beautiful as your drawings are.

  88. Have some of my strength and calm. I have a surplus today so I don’t mind you using the excess.

  89. We are your cheer squad looking forward to meeting you and not expecting you to be perfect (nor are we perfect)

    Sent from my iPhone


  90. I hope you let me hug you, because you are my heroine. My “Princess Leia”. I adore you for pushing through the anxiety to see your tribe. We love you!
    See you in Philly
    -The Depressed Yogi (Jenny Parks)

  91. Make sure and have someone take you to Angelo Brocato’s for real gelato and other Italian treats. I wrote a blog about places to eat in New Orleans but you’re not going to be there long enough. I don’t live in NOLA anymore or I’d bring you the best poboys in the world.

  92. Is it Friday yet? Looking forward to your visit to New Orleans. Re: booze slushies … make sure to stop through a drive-thru daiquiri shop on your way to and/or from the bookstore. Just leave the straw wrapper on until you are done driving. 🙂

  93. Coloring keeps us in the moment, away from all the “what-ifs” that crowd our head. Our head. As if we all share the same head. Hmm. Maybe I should rewrite that. Nah. I’m leaving it be. Let my inner editor squirm.

    What I’m trying to say is, just stay in the moment, Jenny. Don’t think ahead. Here, now, you’re fine. Better than fine. You’re fabulous.

  94. I’m like you I don’t like to color. I make myself color with my little girl…secret I had to tell.

  95. I found the perfect thing for me. I wanted to color but also overwhelmed by all the decisions that requires. I found a color by number book. All the decisions made. What a relief.

  96. PLEEEEASE come to Toronto, Ontario, Canada!!!!🇨🇦 You’ve helped me so much, thank-you!!

  97. Jenny, when I get anxious, I sort. I know lots of people here color, but all you have to do is give me colored beads, and I’ll sort them into different colors. We love you, and we’ll be under the table with you (even if my cat complains). You rock, even if you don’t believe it. Me, and a bunch of people buying colored markers believe it. We’ll be with you all the time. Color on, tribe.

  98. Thank you so much for this. I start teaching next week, and I am feeling overwhelmed. This will help me cope!

  99. I love your drawings! They look just as good coloured in as they do in black and white. Can’t wait to start myself. When all goes well I will receive my copy in the mail today! Oh and I use triplus fineliners.

  100. I placed my order at Warwick’s today, despite Google telling me they were closed (at 4:30? C’mon!)

    I just love big sets of pens, colored pencils, or crayons. Maybe I’ll get a new set to go with the book!

  101. You missed out the most important tip. What kind of booze slushie do you recommend?

  102. You are so brave for facing something that terrifies you and doing it anyway. I find strength in your strength, especially because I know a big part of why you do it is to honor others who struggle, too. I’ll see you in New Orleans!

  103. I adore colouring as I cannot draw except outlines of animals for my friends small ones to colour in, and I am excited for your book AS WELL. Also as an alternative to colouring, my brother got me this Marvel Dot-to-Dot book. It’s so awesome and takes such concentration it keeps my whirry anxiety brain in check – highly recommend.

    I just realised there is a star wars so now I am going to nerd myself happy.
    Oh and THANKS for the white out tip – I am bad at lines sometimes x

  104. I seriously can not wait to get my hands on this book! Your drawings are wonderful and so creative! I wish I had the talent you do.

  105. The beautiful thing about colouring is there is no right or wrong about it! (yes I’m Canadian so there is a “u” in colour). One of my besties is an Art Therapist, and when we would make art together and I would say I made a mistake, she would always correct me and say “you made an artistic decision.” It made art suddenly so much more fun and less anxiety-creating for me. So make all the artistic decisions you want and the end result will be beautiful no matter what!

    Oh, and fgalib – thank you for pointing out the Star Wars dot to dot, so need that!

  106. Damnation… Here I was hoping you’d be coming to somewhere near Wisconsin. Ah well, at least I have your books. And colored pencils. And beer and cheese… beer-cheese? Shrugs Feh, your books are better and I look forward to coloring the hell outta the new one.

  107. So yesterday I got my test results and found out that I DO NOT HAVE CANCER (at least the kind they tested me for) AND (bonus awesome news) my new Jenny Lawson book will be here today). LIG 🙂 Hope your book tour takes you to a town near me. I will totally understand and not pressure or judge you in-any-way if you need to hang out under a table breathing into a brown paper bag. I applaud you for fighting the good fight, right out in the open, so that the rest of us that sometimes suffer in silence (in the house with the blinds closed) can know that we are not so weird after all. Well, I maybe a little weird, I but I feel less alone now. ♥

    (YAY FOR NO CANCER! ~ Jenny)

  108. If you have a Costco nearby (and a membership, or know someone that does), they have a huge set of gel pens on sale right now. Twenty bucks, and you get metallic gel pens, different colors with glitter, etc.

  109. Gel pen tip. If they stop flowing blow on the end to push the gel out

  110. I think my town may be one of your first stops (Raleigh this Saturday). We are SOOOO happy you are coming to our town. We are actually nervous about meeting you. We can be nervous together. You will be among friends because we all love you.

  111. Jenny, your book is here and as always I feel like we are such good friends. I’ve cried and laughted in just 5 minutes of flipping through. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I send you my love and support for your tour and only slightly wish you were coming to Vancouver Island, Canada, because I know travel is a vicious b*tch for you sometimes. One day I hope we can meet, so I can fully express the joy you have brought to me.

  112. I just got my copy of your book and I am so happy! I hope to make it to your book signing in NYC next week.

  113. I just got my copy of your book and I am so happy! I hope to make it to your book signing in NYC next week.

  114. I love the scanned/uploaded versions because I can “color” them in Paint. Much easier to stay in the lines and much less messy. Of course, I can’t do all the fancy shading and stuff that you do, but it works well for me.

  115. It came! It came! It came! I actually have a reason to put on pants today!!!! (to go to the mailbox)

  116. MY BOOK WILL BE WAITING AT MY DOORSTEP THIS AFTERNOON WHEN I GET HOME!!!! I AM SOOOOO EXCITED!!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!! And thank you for being a voice of color in darkness for me. 🙂

  117. My copy arrived at the office at lunch time. I may never get it back from my coworkers! Look forward to seeing you in Austin tomorrow. It is a 60 mile drive, but well worth it because Book People is one of the greatest places on the planet.

  118. I got my book in today’s mail. It’s beautiful!! Thank you so much for sharing your drawing talent. I want to start coloring, but I also want to savor it the way it is!

  119. JENNY!!!!!!!!! I got my book today and its fantastic! I thought it was just going to be a coloring book (I’m sure you have stated repeatedly that its so much more but I have the attention span of a goldfish) but it’s full of self help and snarky remarks that I can’t wait to color, tear out and frame all over my house. I have been so excited since I preordered last July! I’m breaking out the pencils and my favorite Cab Sav tonight! Love love love this book! Thank you for being crazy talented and hilarious!

  120. I preordered two copies of You Are Here. I got them today. I am in love. I am ordering two more. Or maybe ten. But at least two. I’m going to start giving them out to pretty much everyone. (The fact that I may only need two more speaks a lot to my social life, but I’m willing to expand my circle because THIS BOOK NEEDS SHARED!) I can’t wait to really dive into it. Metaphorically of course. Anyway, I had to leave you a comment and say THANY YOU! YOU ARE AWESOME!

  121. I bought two copies, just because I wanted to have one to give someone. Who turned out to have already ordered and gotten it today. But the extra one is going to go to a friend’s group therapy group, so I’m thrilled.

  122. Your book arrived in Indiana today. You make me cry! But in a good belongy way with cheese enchiladas.

  123. I got my book today!!! Courtesy of a lovely person from Booksgiving. And I love it. It makes me smile, and breathe, and exist. It’s so good.

  124. I have to say, I just received your new book in the mail today and, I’m overwhelmed. I actually had to put it aside for a moment because I got all teary. It was like you were speaking right to me. You made me feel truly not alone. Thank you for this book and for what you do.

  125. Oh, also the art in You Are Here is amazing. I can’t wait to color the hell out of it.

  126. I dip the tip of my watercolor pencils in vaseline if I want a more vivid color. There’s less of a chance of using too much water and compromising the paper that way. I like your take on the picture. I would have never thought to do it like that. It’s really amazing how different our creative streaks are. 🙂

  127. I hope you’ll have so much fun on your tour that your anxiety goes in to hiding for the duration.
    I just went out to get my mail. Apparently, I pre-ordered You Are Here back in July, and forgot about it, but now, here it is, in my sweaty little paws. Squeeee! Wish I’d remembered that before the free book bag promo was over. 🙁

  128. I just received my copy and started reading it, thank you. This book arrived at the perfect time and has the perfect words to help me remember there are people who understand all the crap in my head. The keeping tree hit me hard and made things click so again thank you. I’ve enjoyed all your books and read or listen to them whenever I’m having a hard time with the depression and anxiety. Please keep writing you help so many and are hilarious! I keep a print out of rodeo Rory on my desk and makes me smile all the time.

  129. I literally picked up my 14 year old from school today because of her first major panic attack in class. Just before heading out to her last minute counseling session your book came in UPS. I ordered this in November and it came the first day my dear daughter needed it most! Thank you!

  130. I’ve been wanting try watercolor pencils. Maybe I’ll give them a go when your book gets here. I like my Prismacolor colored pencils but they’re a little pricey. My tip for some free coloring whenever and where ever you are: the Pigment app. It’s free to download and you don’t need any special equipment. Just use your finger. You can shade, fill, and keep it confined in the lines of you so choose…or not. I lose track of time when I use it. It’s fun and you can erase or keep painting over it.

  131. I was so happy to see your book in my mailbox. Great timing. Thank you for being you and shining so bright. Prayers for a book tour with peaceful interludes and the warmth of being with your people. Some of your people. Lots of your people are hiding out at home coloring and drinking tea (or booze slushies). Wish I could meet you in person!

  132. Oh.My.Goodness. I got home – eagerly opened my Amazon box and am speechless. Amazeballs. Page 19 is my fave so far – but there are a lot to go! I am so impressed at the quality of the book – as well as the AMOUNT of book! I was expecting something much less substantial! (146 pages! You rock Jenny!) and… back to the book….. I’m going to just savor it the first time through and then decide what to do next with it…

  133. My two copies of “You Are Here” came in the mail today! They’re beautiful. I’m not sure if I should go through and try to read it first like a book or if I should approach it slowly and read the opposite page of text when I color in each drawing… though that could take months and I’ve already been waiting so long. The gold lettering on the cover looks fantastic.

  134. I love this book. It’s funny and dark and twisted, and most of all it makes me feel I’m not-as-broken and that even if I am broken, that’s okay. That I’m fine as I am, whatever I am on a given day. Plus it has awesome artwork that I can’t wait to play with. And this is just from a quick flip through after buying it sight unseen. I think my favorite one might be the kitties. Or the tree with a candle. Or the iceberg. Or. . .

  135. Hello Terrified, I’m Not Okay. Nice to meet you. If you were here we would build a pillow fort and play with my kitten, Lucifur. We could make my husband go get us taco’s from the legit taco truck up the street. I also have an insanely full liquor cabinet, so we’re good. Or bad. One of those.

  136. I got your book yesterday and read it last night. Such amazing work! Then I went to sleep and had a dream that I got to meet you…in a pillow fort. Thanks for being you : )

  137. My book came yesterday. I read at the words parts and I cried a little. I didn’t even yell at myself (internally because mama always said not to do that outloud) for crying over a “coloring book.” It was a shitty day at work because I got blamed for something it wasn’t even possible for me to do. And, I was so angry and tired and sad and feeling failure-ish because I didn’t know how to appropriately handle it. Feeling like a failure is one of my major self-harm triggers and I felt like I was on the edge all day. And, I got home, trudged disappointedly to the mailbox, and SURPRISE! The delivery driver had stuck my book in there! Some days are better than others. 🙂 So much better. <3

  138. My pre-ordered book is supposed to arrive today and the one I ordered from the bookstore in Raleigh a few days ago will be waiting for me Saturday. In my ignorance I didn’t know I had to pre-order from THEM in order to have any chance to get in to see your presentation, which is “sold out long ago” so I could only get a spot in the “sign-only” line. Bummer. I wish they’d find more space (or do two presentations in a row) with this many people begging to see your presentation. But I’m still excited about getting to meet you and have you sign two copies of this book as well as the buttocks of Floyd the gender-confused Pink Flamingo with MPD. YAYYYY!

  139. P.S. I’ve been into “Doodle Art” posters for over 35 years. One thing you can do to add a really interesting depth is put a spot of glue here and there and carefully pour on these itsy bitty teeny glass balls you can get in a crafts store. (In bottles just like glitter.) Clear balls on flowers or spider webs look like dew drops. Light green or blue sprinkled in water scenes make it look like bubbles. A bunch in the water looks like rapids or a waterfall. Frame the work and they’re there forever.

  140. I enjoy coloring, but I don’t do it as anxiety relief. I do it when I have some downtime and want something creative, but don’t want to commit to a larger product. The problem is “when I have some downtime”. Seems in short supply these past few years.

    Anyway, my coloring advice is this: Don’t be afraid to produce crap. Don’t know how to do shading? Don’t. Use markers and color solid, strong colors to give it a different look. Don’t want to spend money on fancy art supplies? Use the pens in your desk drawer. So what it isn’t perfect? So what if you decided to do this one flower straight up purple and THAT FRIEND (you know which friend I am talking about) mentions in passing that the flower should be more red to be realistic. To quote Dr. Frank-n-Furter, “I didn’t make him for you!” Not happy with your finished product? Throw it out. You’re not doing this to make money, you’re doing this for your own personal reasons. The joy is in the making, so just do it with what you’ve got.

    If you are afraid to “mess up” a beautiful uncolored page, photocopy it first. Color in the photocopy. If you don’t like it, you can try again since you still have that original.

    I think a lot of us with anxiety issues struggle with that first step because we don’t want to do it wrong, or find out we can’t do what we thought we could, or whatever. I struggle with this too. I find that once I force myself to take that first step, the rest of it is easier.

  141. I got my book yesterday! I didn’t have time to seriously look at it, but I did flip it open, and I went right to the “cats” page. Perfect! I may be Queen of the Weezils, but those weezils are sadly all gone now and now I’m the Mother of Cats. (It’s like being Mother of Dragons, but mine will shit on your shoes, not conquer cities.) I’m coloring the cats one first. Then I’m going to show it to them and when they dismiss my artistic ability I’m going to remind them that I am the provider of chicken.

  142. You are awesome and so is your coloring. I just got my book and I ordered two so I could give one to my son’s girlfriend because she suffers from severe anxiety too. Your coloring is more amazing than mine is. That’s your first attempt??? I wish mine were that good. Now I have to get some watercolors. So pretty!

  143. I want to meet you and have you sign my book! By my book, I mean my copy of your book. It would be daft for me to bring a book I had written for you to sign. And a bit insulting. I am 2 hours away, probably I will have to be there in spirit. If it seems that someone is calling your name and then saying “Boo” that will be me.

  144. One of my Christmas presents was a set of Ink pencils by Derwent. Same idea as watercolour pencils but more vibrant and LOTS of colours. Derwent also makes an item called a waterbrush. It has a soft, squeezable resevoir for water and twist on brush nibs of varying sizes. They work great for colouring books because there’s no need for a potentially disastrous glass of water (unless you like to live dangerously).

  145. Hello, lovely! I will be coming to see you at Quail Ridge in Raleigh, NC this Saturday. I’ve been reading you since the original Beyonce post (which my now ex-husband did not find funny in the least, so thanks for that early warning). Can I bring you anything? Doughnuts? A plush sloth? A t-shirt from the Reptile and Amphibian Days event that’s going on that day at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences? The theme is sea turtles this year, so the shirt should be pretty. I have to work the event in the morning, so if you or Hailey are particular fans of sea turtles just let me know what size shirt and I’ll make it happen. Love you tons, I’m also tragically/comically shy in real life.

  146. You are great at coloring. I wish you well in dealing with your anxiety and was wondering if you other methods in dealing with anxiety.

  147. Jenny, I ordered this book as soon as I found out about it – which means one of my best friends is getting her birthday present a year late 😉 Looked through it last night. Read some of it to my daughter. I’ll be ordering more copies. I can’t tell you what you have meant for me, my daughter (have read selected passages to her from your books) and will mean to my friend. I have suffered from anxiety for the last 10 years and will for the rest of my life. It is fairly well managed. My daughter now is starting therapy for depression and anxiety. I had some horrid health problems over a few years and finally “broke” a while back – i was lying on the bathroom floor sobbing for about 12 hours, wondering if I’d ever feel better. I felt absolutely like I had broken in some way. I tried to tell myself that depression (which I didn’t know I was experiencing) lied. I remembered what I’d read in your books. And thank god I had read them before that experience. My depression has lifted and I hope to never see it again. Now as I care for myself I start this journey with my daughter (14) and it is terrifying. I am profoundly grateful for you and for what you have shared with us. Please don’t stop. Much love and hugs to you.

  148. Just finished You Are Here and it is A W E S O M E ! Thank you for sharing your poignant, artistic, funny, meaningful, deep, thoughtful, zany gifts with us. You make the world a better place.

  149. Hi Jenny, just ordered some nice sharpies…. and later one copie of “you are here”… of course couldn’t just order the sharpies… My husband says that the sharpies were just an excuse to buy your book… And I replied to him… “You know me so well dear,… that’s why we are together…” Rolling eyes later…. He said “Well… wife happy means a happy home.” (Share this with your husbands… it was my father in law who always says this thing.)

    Will send you updates on my poor drawing tecniches later :* Domi Dinis (Brazil)

  150. Got your books yesterday, Jenny, and tossed a coin on whether to come to work today, or call in sick and color! Unfortunately, the paycheck won. But it is comforting just to know that it’s waiting for me at home. I bought 2, one for me and one for my daughter, The Princess, who mostly wins the fight with her anxious asshole of a brain, but sometimes not. I am double comforted that she and I will be able to buddy-color 300 miles apart, and grateful to be able to send her some therapy-in-a-book. Winter finals are coming up at her university, and the anxiety runs rampant, so hopefully this will help. Hope the tour goes well and that you get to meet a lot of wonderful people and see the underside of some cool, new hiding places 🙂

  151. BEST SELF-HELP BOOK EVER!!! Can you get a time machine and send this back to me in 1979 so I avoid my two biggest mistakes? I would totally still make the other, though. Those made me into who I am.

  152. I hate coloring. It makes me really anxious but I love your designs. Maybe I can just cut them out and frame them.

  153. Wow, Jenny!!! I am loving the new book. I have read the first few pages/quotes because I really want to savior it, but I couldn’t help but flip through to see the drawings. They have encaptured me!! I know you have so many followers that you have inspired and I therefore feel a little ananymous, but I have faith you will one day have the unimaginable time to see my little blib. Anyway…. this one caught my eye to start on!! Since the “adult coloring books” started surfacing I actually got excited at first. But, alas, they really haven’t inspired for such intricate coloring. (I can kind of draw which I am pleased to see my daughter has excelled at, but I love to color, always have, weird ya?)
    Anyway, I am a health professional (even tho to be honest I don’t always believe in their methods, well mostly) so the heart jumped out at me!!! I’m off to a truly enjoyable coloring adventure!!! All the while looking to the opposite page and more importantly the message around the heart!!! Damn I love fucking cheese, but guess what? At 42, I have high cholesterol and high blood pressure
    So long in short, I will still drink wine and still eat cheese but will always work on what’s going on inside the self being, cuz that’s where the healing really is!!! ❤❤

  154. Uh, include the attachment much??? Shit idk cuz I’m technology challenged how to attach pic. I guess I’ll put in instagram..

  155. I want to thank you so much for the coloring book and for being so open about the challenges you face. I wish I could share my coloring with you. I really wish I could come to one of your book signings, but … it’s too hard by myself.

  156. Great post! I’ve always thought that colouring books for adult are weird. That is until I tried one. So liberating. Thanks for the post!

  157. Thought your coloring was fantastic – made it kinda look like it was in 3D! I’m weird in that I get very tense and anxious when I color. I guess it’s because I’m afraid of making mistakes. Stupid, I know, but it’s the way my brain works. However, I did buy an advanced copy of your book for my beautiful and artistic (beautifully artistic?) daughter, and it arrived on her birthday! How perfect was that?! Needless to say, she was thrilled! 🙂

  158. I cannot possible read all the comments. But in case you do read them all, and no one else said this, here’s my life-changing coloring tip: Just pick one colour. Or maximum three. Preferably in the form of a thin non-bleed-through marker. And then colour some of the drawing choosing any method that feels good: accents here and there, highlighting a part of the drawing that seems to call for it or going about it thinking every other space will be left white, every other space gets colour. Or mix it up!

    I honestly think this makes for the most beautiful colourings I can ever achieve and it eliminates the anxiety about picking colours. Marker even eliminates the anxiety about being too slow. And a bigger marker eliminates also the anxiety about colouring outside the lines — because it will be inevitable so why even worry!

    I highly recommend it.

  159. I love this post and beautiful work, I can really relate to you on this post because for years I’ve suffered anxiety but didn’t really figure it out until recently. I’m 34 years old with no kids and I own 5 coloring books and book of crayons I’ve acquired over the years, 2 of them are adult coloring books. My photography is my main outlet but Coloring outside on a nice summer day is really relaxing and stress free

  160. If, like me, you enjoy coloring but struggle with the actual process of coloring, might I recommend an app called Recolor. You can just tap to color in sections, no hand cramps! Lots of colors and palettes! Tons of fun pictures! I find it extremely relaxing.

  161. “but personally I just did my pencil and color with the wet pencil” HOLY CRAP why didn’t I ever think of this? Mind blown.

    Also, that looks gorgeous

  162. When I was in kindergarten we had a page of animals to color and one of them was a sheep so OF COURSE I colored it white because I’m a realist and I hadn’t heard of black sheep at that point. The teacher marked my page as incomplete because I skipped the sheep, even though it was obvious that there was crayon on that picture. The kids who colored the sheep green got full credit and that pretty much explains why I turned out to be so bitter. So thank you for understanding that black and white are colors.

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