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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.


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