by Sandra Murphy
Publishers Weekly reported sales in 2015 of 1.75 million copies of the ten best-selling adult coloring books, through November. Coloring books allow users to be creative without judging if the cat looks like a cat or an animal you’d see in a nightmare. When offices are beige and business dress consists of brown, black, gray, and maroon, coloring books add much-needed spice into our daily lives.
While some people like to color with their children, there are those renegades who wait until the kids are asleep and then sit down to unwind from a busy day by coloring flowers, abstract designs, and ocean fish. There are even profane coloring books, for when you just have to let your inner curmudgeon have a say in things.
Johanna Basford, a renowned illustrator from Aberdeenshire, Scotland, is credited for leading the way. She was approached by a publisher to create a children’s coloring book. She (bravely) said no, but said she would be interested in creating one for adults. She’s one of the top-selling artists.
Where do you find them? There’s no secret place to go, no “Louie sent me” password or secret handshake. The corner drug store, online retailers, bookstores, and hobby shops all have them. Michael’s Arts & Crafts has over 140 different coloring books to choose from, for all ages and skill levels.
If you’d like to try before you buy, check Michael’s for free in-store classes, or a senior center that plans gatherings. Some businesses have instituted coloring Fridays to go along with casual-dress Fridays. It lets the employees wind down after a hard week to better appreciate the weekend. The benefit is, they’re better rested and relaxed on Monday, and have initiated that creative spark.
You can move beyond the Crayola 64-count box, although who wouldn’t want to have one on hand, just in case? Colored pencils, water-soluble colored pencils that work like water-color paints, markers, paint—all are welcome on the page, singly or in combination.
For the eco-friendly, Sprout pencils are made from sustainable wood, have vegetable or fruit-dyed clay instead of lead, and when the pencil is too short to use, you can plant it in your garden. It has non-GMO seeds hidden where the eraser would normally be.
Coloring books make a great gift too. To personalize it, go to www.reallycolor.com. At Really Color, you can scan in your own photos and then edit them. Really Color converts the scan into a coloring book page and emails it to you to be finished however you want.
So, if you feel you’re not patient enough to make tiny animals or talented enough to design cover art, maybe coloring books are just what you need to unwind from any kind of stress.