Think back to your childhood, and spending rainy afternoons drawing in colouring books. Remember the pride you felt when you managed to colour inside the lines, and the rebellion you enjoyed when you abandoned the lines and suggested colour combinations all together? Despite having a clear pattern to follow, colouring books were a unique way to express our individual creativity within pre-established parameters. Adult colouring books help us reignite that creative spark long after our childhood years.
Adult colouring books are nothing new, but they are experiencing a surge in popularity this year. In fact, three of the top ten best-selling books on Amazon right now are adult colouring books. These books, like Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book and Enhanced Forest: An Inky Quest and Coloring Book are filled with intricate and delicate drawings of leaves, animals, and other natural beauty. The black-and-white illustrations alone are calming and moving, but it is with colour that images truly come to life. The colour the illustrations take on, of course, is entirely up to the colourist’s discretion.
Colourists use a variety of materials to make their vivid creations come alive. You can simply use greyscale pencils, or create a lively universe with coloured pencils, fineline felt pens, gel pens, chalk, or even take a trip back to childhood with crayons. Colourists can attempt to be true to life, matching the exact tone and hue of every object. Or, they can let their imagination run wild with colour combinations that would never be possible in reality. No matter the philosophy, the journey is as enjoyable as the end result.
So why the newfound fascination with colouring books for adults? There are three main theories posited by cultural observers.
First, colouring books for adults have proven to be a great stress relief technique. Drawing in the books is therapeutic and meditative, and many colourists report that they find the practice to reduce anxiety and stress. This phenomenon is so pronounced there is even a term for it: “Colour Therapy” or “Art Therapy.”
Next, social media serves as a compelling source of inspiration. Colourists are sharing ideas, recommending art supplies, and sharing images of the finished product. It’s no wonder that colourists want to be part of this encouraging and tight-knit community.
Finally, adult colouring books are part of a larger trend of seeking to recreate our childhood experiences. This goes far beyond watching Disney movies with your kids. Adults around the world are embracing activities and experiences that evoke a remembrance of childhood. From adult “preschool” with arts and crafts time to Super Soaker water gun fights, adults are actively seeking to reconnect with their youth and find the same blissful joy in play, discovery, creativity, and imagination. Adult colouring books are just one small element of a larger cultural movement that shows no sign of abating.
Kids don’t get to have all the fun. Thanks to colouring books for adults, you too can enjoy this relaxing and rewarding pastime.