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The Meteoric Rise of Adult Coloring Books

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October 3, 2015 in Health


Coloring books have seen an insane rise in popularity over the past two years.

It started with the French. France is ranked as the most depressed country in the world, with the United States coming up close behind. In 2013, someone thought to sell a coloring book as an anti-stress aid, and they took off. Stressed out French trendsetters bought up tons of the books, including those created by UK illustrator Johanna Basford, whose work became the face of the adult coloring movement.

By spring and summertime 2015, coloring was widely accepted in the United States as a perfectly acceptable activity for adults. Adult coloring clubs were built up around the trend. Groups of ladies were meeting at the local library, the local Panera, the local coffee shop to chat and color.

Now, Michael’s, the largest craft store chain in the United States, is betting on the trend continuing through the busy Christmas season. And it certainly looks like there’s been no slowing – the latest thing has been a slew of coloring books about famous books, movies and TV shows, including Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Outlander, Breaking Bad, and others. Marvel is even doing a line of at least three coloring books.

While more and more coloring books are being released, the quality is not always the greatest. There are a number of coloring books to be found on Amazon which feature no original work – certain industrious and not-so-honest individuals bought coloring book-esque linework off of stock image repositories like iStockPhoto, slapped them into a book, and printed out cheap copies on light paper. These books are a far fling from the real deal, the quality reached by publishers like Creative Haven who have been here for the long haul.

New mediums are also being released. Some coloring books now can be colored so that with 3D glasses, they jump off the page; others come in new and exciting formats, like posters or even wallpaper. Querkles, a new kind of color-by-number formed entirely with circles, allow the colorist to fill in layered circles with different shades of a single color to reveal a famous person’s face.

Coloring books are sure to make a great gift this holiday season and they have no sign of slowing in popularity.

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