J hosted a colouring competition for some kids some time ago and i learnt that there are some real hardcore colouring competition participants out there. no, you really don’t understand just how seriously that take their colouring.
for one thing, they have a home made portable table constructed precisely for this purpose. you see, most colouring competitions will just give you the sheet to colour and you got to sit on the floor, see. so these people have their own fold up table. some have special canvas bags to carry the table. some have nailed handles on the table for easy transportation.
then there is the tools of the trade. the kids will have not one, not two, but at least four boxes of colour pencils, crayons and markers just for a single sitting. they will also have an assortment of erasers, sharpeners, rulers with funky jagged edges and stencils.
and here’s one thing that only a professional colouring competition participant would have: a piece of dry but soft cloth to cover parts of the sheet that you have already coloured so that when you rest your elbow or chin on those parts, you won’t smudge it. ingenious! :)
but this is what makes the true colouring competition champion: the colouring technique itself! you see, i my day, a pretty picture is when you colour within the lines in a nice and even manner. kids these days all on all sorts of extras to the original picture (cue: stencils). like, if there is a plain sky, they would add sun, some clouds and rainbows and birds, you get the idea la. and then they draw shadows. then do shadings. i saw this kid who traced back over the lines over the entire picture to give it a more solid look. and i am talking about kids under the age of eleven here.
and the parents! they know each other apparently, because they meet on a regular basis when their kids go for competitions. can you believe it, there are actually parents out there who are constantly on the lookout for colouring competitions to enter their kids? throughout the colouring, the parents would watch over them like hawks. some will be pointing out colours to the kids. some will be telling them to draw more flowers. to dot the eyes of the cartoon characters in the picture. dude! it is just a colouring competition la! :P
and then when the results are announced, regardless of siapa organisers, there are the favourites who are most likely to win. these are the kids who are seasoned enough to colour in a way that would appeal to the judges. once in awhile, there is that lucky first timer who comes up with some special thunder the wows everyone. se la vie, they say. there will be other competitions. tomorrow may be my day.
at the end, they fold up their little tables and pack up their colour pencils. sometimes there will be a makan session with perhaps a clown making funny balloon animals. there will almost always be games too. and these competition champions become kids again and the colouring ordeal is instantly forgotten. they run and laugh and the parents would spend the next half an hour or so running after the kids with napkins so that they don’t stain their t-shirts and frocks with ice cream.
all this is utterly fascinating to me. far more interesting than superhero wannabe politicians. those people try to construct life. these kids, and yes, their parents too, are already living it. i think there is a very important lesson to learn here.