Mumbai: The Coronavirus pandemic with all of its challenges has changed societal structures around the world. Fears and concerns about personal and familial health, as well as the long-term economic outlook are a massive mental burden on millions of people. Since the beginning of this “new reality,” many have increasingly turned to means of creative expression – as a self-prescribed and astonishingly effective therapy for stress, anxieties and loneliness. During lockdown periods, Faber-Castell registered an increase of 300% per colouring patterns and tutorial videos, with plans for an expanded range.
Cancelled pre-school education, enervating homeschooling, work from home, absence of friends and grandparents, growing fears about the future. And drawing and painting on paper can help in easing mental strains. Seeking contemplation to retreat from a seemingly hostile outside world is a human reflex that tends to intensify in times of uncertainty or even crisis. Creative expression has long been used as a therapeutic tool to alleviate stress and focus the mind. While never an adequate replacement for treating serious mental issues, drawing and painting are proving an effective therapy for calming, the stimulation of brain activity and relaxation.
The Swiss psychiatrist and Freud disciple Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) described the positive psychological effects of colouring figural Mandala images, for example. He described them as “holy geometric patterns,” a direct invitation to listen to the inner self and find harmony. These patterns, said Jung, would strengthen the spirit to foster personal growth It has been frequently proven that interaction with artistic tools can help in better coping with traumas or difficult stages in life. According to the US magazine “Psychology Today”, the involvement with art can considerably relieve stress, improve symptoms of depression and anxiety and evoke more positive memories. Such artistic self-realization truly has healing powers.
Feelings and ideas can be expressed through pencil and brush, in shapes and colours, with each interpretation a completely singular one: Blue shades can mean open sky to some, the vast ocean to others, orange, red and yellow may represent the sun, a hearth or campfire. Others may prefer all hues of green, associating forests, summer meadows or a secluded garden. Such exercises are means for reflection and mindfulness, no matter the individual artistic talent. They offer an opportunity for meditative relaxation and convey positive associations such as success and contentment.
Oliver Hempel, Head of Digital Marketing at Faber-Castell, has monitored concrete download figures to outline the growing demand for creative activity: “During the lockdown phase of recent months, our drawing patterns and tutorials have been downloaded about three times as often as in the comparable period last year,” explains the manager. “Our online sales also went up significantly.”
Sonali Shah, Marketing Director, Faber-Castell, India notices a hike in the engagement rate by almost 30-40% on the tutorials uploaded by the brand during lockdown than pre-covid times. At the same time, she also says we have seen a substantial growth in Art and colouring products like paints, colour pencils and accessories like canvas and brushes.
In Brazil, they offered free online drawing lessons during quarantine times and successfully so: These courses were downloaded three million times, with the number of subscribers rising by 4,500%.
In response to the fast-growing demand worldwide and the emphatically positive feedback, the stationery giant plans offer new designs and instructions on a continuous basis.