When was the last time you seized a box of crayons and colored in a page of geometric patterns, animals, or fantasy creatures? If the answer is “not since babysitting the neighbours’ kids”, you’re in luck – adult colouring books have risen immensely in popularity over the past year, with ever changing subjects being churned out!
As many experts theorize, coloring’s resurrection amongst adults stems from the high levels of stress we face at work and school in our fast-paced lives. Constantly forced to sit through meetings, interact with peers during group projects, and surround ourselves with fellow riders on public transportation, we can use coloring as a form of art therapy to unwind in quiet solitude, free to reflect on our thoughts without worry of criticism or reproach.
This peaceful bliss is also accomplished by the prevailing subjects of the art found in these books – animals and floral designs, mythical beings, and intertwined geometric shapes. These types of subjects encourage mindfulness, which is a state of being fully present in the here-and-now with acceptance and without judgement.
For the majority of our waking hours, we attend to future deadlines and future events, and revisit the regrets we have over our past words and actions. Adult colouring books help individuals to temporarily suspend the past and the future from their lives, allowing one to experience unchallenged contentment in the moment.
These coloring books also help one’s hands to “keep busy” while doing other activities; many people use their colouring books while watching TV, listening to music, or petting their dog or cat.
Unlike children’s colouring books – which primarily feature pictures of princesses, superheroes, and popular cartoon characters – adult colouring books center on more organic images such as floral and geometric designs, enabling one to experiment with different colour schemes to create original representations of familiar objects and shapes. Because these designs are also more intricate than those in children’s books, coloring them in requires a steadier hand and a more focused colorist.
Other than serving as a way to reduce stress and increase mindfulness, proponents of adult coloring books also say that coloring and sketching are effective ways to organize one’s thoughts. Bombarded by streams of emails, phone calls, and work obligations, individuals can order their thoughts, interpret their feelings, and create connections between conversations and events experienced throughout their day. In this way, users of adult colouring books are able to seize control not only of their stress-levels, but also their emotions, priorities, and experiences.
All of the adult coloring books currently listed on Barnes & Noble’s website are priced under $20, and range in size from large, full-scale pages to smaller pocket-sized options for easy transport. One is also able to easily snag a book at many grocery and dollar stores, including Publix, Wal-Mart, and Dollar Tree.
By Tara Nykyforiak