September 18, 2016

Adult Coloring Books

Color me surprised. 

Last year over 12 million adult coloring books were sold in the United States. There are coloring books for adults in bookstores, craft shops, and on-line. There are adult coloring clubs, Facebook groups, and Instagram pages. Groups gather for community and conversation with coloring groups in most cities across the country. If this is a fad, it is a pretty healthy one. 

Frankly, I was completely in the dark about adult coloring books, until a few month ago when my daughters showed me some of the beautiful art work they had created. I was given a few pages to try. While the results don't make me a Van Gogh, I was pleasantly surprised that they didn't look terrible. Of course, like paint-by-numbers, it is pretty hard to make serious mistakes when what you are doing is coloring in open spaces. But, choosing the colors that go together is, well, artistic! I did find it enjoyable to focus on the page and shut off all other thoughts for awhile. 

So, I started to do some research. Google responded with almost two million search results. Heavens, this is a big deal! I am learning that all sorts of people color and for a whole range of reasons: relaxation, meditation-like calmness, or following a long suppressed artistic urge.

Serious medical folks claim coloring can have therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety and help someone focus. A story in the Washington Post recounted the story of a woman who found coloring helped her deal with the grief of losing her infant son. She needed something different than just words and prayers to help her. The story also includes a reference to a woman who used the process of coloring to help her with confidence in controlling hand tremors.

While I didn't find a direct connection between adult coloring book users and someone who is has an artistic streak, I would think that isn't such a large leap. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way and her latest, it's Never Too Late To Begin Again, deals with the subject of being a shadow artist. To her, that is someone who sees him or herself as an artist but life took them in another direction. Maybe coloring with pencils and markers helps satisfy that need.


Recently, Timber Press  sent me three adult coloring books to review. I have yet to put ink to paper, but I did find them interesting. They are alittle different from other adult coloring books I have seen. These include background information about the subject of the page and the names of what you will be coloring. One of the book contains several blank pages after each section so it is possible to add one's own sketches and then color them in.

I'd be interested if you take part in this activity, or know someone who does. August 2nd was National Coloring Book Day. I missed the celebration, but may be joining the crowd now.


Satisfying Retirement was provided with the coloring books at no cost, and for review purposes only.

22 comments:

  1. I do have a couple of coloring books and I got Ken one for his birthday.We sometimes leave them out on our kitchen breakfast bar with some markers I got on sale at Michael's and just color a little when the urge strikes.It is relaxing and fun!! Why not??

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    1. I am not surprised that someone as creative as you would have adult coloring books. They are relaxing. I have finished a few pages that will never see the light of day, but were fun to complete.

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  2. I do print up some of the free pages available online to have available for visiting grandchildren, the oldest of whom are now edging up into mid teens. They do enjoy them. Maybe I ought to join them!

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    1. It is an inexpensive past time that virtually anyone can participate in. Join them!

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  3. Yes! I find it very enjoyable. It brings out the long lost artist in me. Amazon sell note cards and post cards that you can color and then mail to the recipient. I've used them for thank you notes as well as correspondence with others. Last winter while we were in FL, my mom looked forward to the creations I would mail to her.

    I find that the color pencils have a softer effect than the color pens. With the pencils you can use shading for a more dramatic or subtle effect.

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    1. I have yet to try pencils, but Betty has quite a set of them I should give them a try.

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  4. Our local public library has always put out single coloring pages for children. usually along seasonal themes. Long before the adult coloring rage hit, I used to pick up the holiday ones, and once or twice filled them in (the "hand" turkey type pictures1). Now the library puts out pages for adults. Also, at Senior Day at our local fair, which always has lots of free give aways, the public ilbrary gave out small adult coloring booklets. I have now learned that adult crayon purists prefer only name branded Crayola crayons. A children's librarian said she and kids have known this for years, that the X brands don't make the grade.

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    1. I am learning that the adult coloring movement is much wider than I thought. If the public library is involved that makes it mainstream.

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  5. I have the free coloring app, Colorfy, on my Kindle. I used it for a bit, then the urge passed. I am, however, hooked on electronic jigsaw puzzles!

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    1. Electronic jigsaw puzzles? Now, that sounds interesting.

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    2. I also have a jigsaw puzzle app on my tablet. I am a doodles girl so I can understand why coloring is very calming for many. Also great for keeping certain motor skills going.

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  6. I bought some last year but didn't end up coloring as much as I anticipated. I suppose it's because I satisfy the need with other art projects I have going. But, it is a calming thing to do while watching tv, as long as you're not watching the news.
    b

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    1. I have found a little goes a long way. About 30 minutes is when I start to put down the markers. But that half an hour is a nice break.

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  7. I color every day and absolutely love it. I like the more vivid colors, so use Sharpies. I probably have 15 different books and it is my go to relaxation place. I'm totally hooked! We're on vacation now and I made sure there was room for my books and Sharpies.

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    1. So interesting. I bought a set of Sharpies for the brighter colors, too.

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  8. I bought one for my daughter about a year ago, along with a huge set of colored pencils. I color and date a page every time I visit her. Thought it might catch on with her and her friends, but not to be. Think I will bring it home next time I visit. It is very relaxing.

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    1. It is probably not for everyone, but then what is? I like the idea of dating a page when it is finished. I will start doing that.

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  9. Not me. I would find it boring, not therapeutic. But B has tried them. And that led her to sign up for a drawing class this fall. We'll see if she pursues her new artistic interest.

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    1. It is not for everyone. I do it when I have some time in the RV to fill quietly. Interestingly, Betty, who is the artist in the family, doesn't seem to be attracted.

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  10. That's because we prefer to draw outside the lines or make our own, lol

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  11. Color me in! My neighbor who owns a bookstore told me about this trend and convinced me to try it. I love it. I was embarrassed to tell my sister who is an artist, but when I finally did, she said she thought they were great!

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    1. Well, we will have something to do together next summer when we come back to Portland!

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