Creativity for mindfulness: Adelaide colouring-in sheets from Sally Heinrich

Our Wellbeing

There’s a gentle and progressive sense of calm one can experience when taking a coloured pencil to paper, thoughtfully filling in the spaces between the lines ... several hues of green here, a ribbon of teal there, vibrant fuchsia for contrast ... 

"Anything that can absorb your attention, still the mind and have you fully focused on what you are doing in the moment, is invaluable for wellbeing.”
Adelaide artist, illustrator and writer - Sally Heinrich.

During this extraordinary time, it's important to pause and consider what we can do to support ourselves or someone else.

For local artist Sally Heinrich, engaging in creative pursuits presses her ‘reset’ button and through one of her earlier projects she hoped to extend that opportunity to others.

Studies [i] have shown that ‘colouring in’ can help you feel better by enabling a state of mindfulness and reducing feelings of stress and anxiety. Through this simple act of focusing and allowing yourself to choose and use colours for the joy of it, you can hold creative, nourishing space for yourself.

Sally is the author and illustrator of ‘Local Colour - Adelaide’, a colouring-in book for all ages inspired by her hometown that she released in 2015.

Print at home and colour

colour me quick! CLick to download a selection of CITY-INSPIRED illustrations from sally heinrich's 'local colour - adelaide' colouring-in book.

“I sell lino prints through Urban Cow and a few other galleries, and a lot of my most popular images have a very local Adelaide flavour – things like Frog Cakes, Piping Shrikes and flowering Jacaranda trees. It started with the ‘Adelaide Icons’ image in the book, just for fun, and it expanded from there.”

Sally recalls how much she enjoyed creating the images for the book and researching bits and pieces of fact and trivia which she included in some of the illustrations.

“Of all the different styles and techniques I work in, this ‘doodle’ style is the free-est and most relaxing. Most of my work is carefully planned, but with these it was much more fluid and I more or less made it up as I went along.”

Like any job, being an artist has its ups and downs. Some days things just don’t go right and Sally feels she’d much rather be doing something else. Yet, even on the unmotivated or frustrating days, the simple act of creating or indulging in someone else’s creativity brings joy.

“When it’s time to render the ideas – drawing up, painting and colouring or carving for a lino print – I often ‘lose’ myself, either in my thoughts or in audio books and podcasts, as I watch the images emerge under my hands. I can immerse myself in the process and I get a great deal of satisfaction from this.”

Sally heinrich in her garden

sally gets creative in her own backyard.

Having lived in the CBD for part of her life, Sally finds creative inspiration all around her.

“I love being able to walk just about everywhere I need to go. I walk every day, looping through parks, the Botanic Gardens and along the river, or just a quick stroll to the Central Market for fresh food. Galleries, cafes, cinemas, theatres are all a short walk away - I can’t tell you how much I love all that!”

Sauntering through the city, much as a flâneuse would, inspired Sally’s newest project, The Urban Alphabet. 

A flâneuse is the female version of a flâneur, meaning ‘stroller’, urban explorer or the connoisseur of the street. Sally’s new work (pictured below) evolved during her daily meanderings (flâneusing? flâneuserie??) along the city streets around her home – where she captured the shapes of letters within her surroundings.

“All of the letters were photographed as I found them, with no interference or manipulation,” said Sally.

So, for this very talented local who sees creativity all around her – what would an illustration of ‘Adelaide personified’ look like?

“An eccentric and creative-looking older person, wise and still young at heart, always on the move yet occasionally taking time to sit and watch the world go by, open and non-judgemental (or maybe that’s just me!)”.

If you’d like to see more of Sally’s creative work visit her on Facebook and Instagram.



Article by

Barbara Figueroa

Barbara Figueroa

Barbara has a multicultural background, loves socialising, expressing her creativity, the healing arts and is a lover of essential oils. She would very happily take on the job of Adelaide’s own Fairy Helper.