Photo by Mallory

Photo by Mallory

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Not Your Mama's Coloring Book

"It's really relaxing. Takes your mind away from stressful things in life." --Jason Keyser, 42, a stay-at-home dad

Guess what was on the bestseller lists with Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman? Adult coloring books claimed as many as eight of the top 20 slots on Amazon’s bestseller list recently.

Publishers of adult coloring books say they can’t print them fast enough. And the trend is growing. One publishers has sold more than 3 million of them.

There are coloring clubs, coloring contests, and posts about it on social media. Parade devoted one of their Sunday covers to the trend. A publisher plans a national coloring book day on August 2.

One of the adult coloring books in that Amazon bestseller list is Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Patterns. One publisher said “People are stressed and anxious all the time. Coloring is a way to calm down and unwind at the end of the day.”

Folks are calling this trend art therapy. Publishers are promoting the adult coloring books as an incredibly simple hobby: they’re portable, easy to pick up and put down, have no batteries, no calorie-counting, and no classes or score.

One user of these coloring books spoke about how relaxing they are. Sounds like an ideal, low-maintenance substitute for using drugs and many other negative things that people use to combat stress.

I remember days when a grown cousin of mine sat with me on the front porch and taught me to color in a coloring book. I loved to color. My coloring books had images of people and pets in them.

Today’s adult coloring books are more than likely pages of abstract designs, even city landmarks and animals are sometimes intricate line drawings. Some adults color with the ordinary Crayola crayons while others use colored pencils. Some even complete their pages with pencil for a black and white finished product.

I heard an interview with a middle school girl. When asked what she did for fun, she said text and mentioned her tablet. She said she would die without her tablet. She looked to be 10 or 11 years old.

The creators and publishers had to come up with the concept of a coloring book for adults—today’s youngsters are no longer the market that will buy coloring books. A coloring book doesn’t interact with the user like texting, emailing, video games, and tablets.

I wonder if today’s youngsters will grow up without a creative bone in their body. They will never have had to entertain themselves in any way without electronics. I’ve never enjoyed being raised an only child. But one advantage might have been that I did have to think up ways to have fun alone. I do have some creativity.

Have you tried this adult coloring book trend?

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