Friday, 7 August 2015

The Phenomenon of Adult Colouring Books

Blog 31

This week, I just resumed my daily tasks after a wonderful staycation with two dear friends from Germany. Thinking of a blog theme for the month, I decided that August would be a good month to write about some creative outlets for the vacation season and beyond.

If you are an avid reader and have checked out what is trendy at the moment, you probably have seen many articles about the seemingly surprising rise of adult colouring books. After all kinds of forms of doodling this is now the new sensation. I am not surprised. When I helped out in the daycare of a gym a couple of years ago, we always put out colouring pages for the kids. However, not only the kids had fun colouring. Often, we, the caregivers, coloured some of the pages with them. And even some of moms who came in after the workout would occasionally pick up a crayon.

Since Johanna Basford, a Scottish artist and commercial illustrator, had her adult colouring book “Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book” first published in 2013, it has sold about two million copies worldwide. “Secret Garden” and the follow-up, “Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest and Coloring Book,” are the two best-selling books on Amazon in the category of Colouring Books for Grown-ups.

Colouring books for adults have been around for a long time, but the success of Basford's and many other successful artists' adult colouring books have created a huge new industry category. Due to their beautiful illustrations, the coloured creations often are posted on social networks. This helps spread the trend as a bigger audience is reached. Suddenly, everyone wants to participate in this new activity, and to share the finished drawings.

However, this is not the only reason for the huge success of the adult colouring books. Colouring can relieve stress and anxiety. You do not have to worry about whether or not a drawing will turn out but can totally immerse yourself in picking out colours according to your mood to create little masterpieces. The often geometrically soothing patterns increase the relaxation effect. While you are colouring you can unwind, clear your mind, and relieve anxiety.

Some critics, however, find fault with the directed and restrictive activity that cannot compare with the creativity that comes from creating something from scratch. While this is true, creating an artwork might be very stressful for beginners until they realize that it is all about the process and not about the result. As an instructor I have seen a couple of people who were so intimidated by the white canvas and their own perfectionism that they blocked their own success. It is not fair to compare the creation of art with the colouring of printed patterns. While painting or drawing require a lot of practice to succeed, colouring is accessible to everyone, no previous skills or instruction required.

Whether you are already very creative or thought that you are just not the artistic kind of person, I am sure you will be addicted to colouring while enjoying your favourite beverage or bridging the time before an appointment. There are so many different adult colouring books on the market that you will have a hard time deciding on one.

Are you worried that you will not have the colouring book on hand when you are running errands? No worries, thanks to apps like Colorfy you can use your smartphone or tablet for digital colouring. Colouring on a mobile device does not only have the advantage that you can easily erase your image, you can also try different colour combinations. Once you are done, you can share your creations with ease on the different social media sites so that your friends can admire them.

Are you are already an avid fan of this new trend? Or are you one of the critics? Have you bought some colouring books and can make some recommendation? What about colouring on your smartphone or tablet, have you tried it? I would like to hear from you. Please leave a comment to get the discussion going.

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