They are just like colouring books for children, only more intricately designed. Sales-wise, adult colouring books performed so-so until someone had the brilliant idea of attaching to them slogans such as “your daily dose of Zen”, “de-stress and self-express “, or “art therapy”.
In no time at all, a massive new phenomenon was born, gaining following mainly among women. The craze first hit France in 2012. Then it spread to Britain, the USA, Australia, South Africa… with publishers struggling to meet the demand.
Some people (among them psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists and bloggers) denounce adult colouring books with scathing criticism. They call them an inane pastime designed to infantilize and dumb down grown up people who are seeking an escape from life’s difficulties.
Other people (among them psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists and bloggers) treat this fad more favourably. One psychologist admits that she has never changed her mind about anything as quickly or completely as she did about adult colouring books. She now regards them in a mostly positive light; though not an “art therapy”, she says, they can have a therapeutic effect.
Applying colour to a complex drawing without going over the lines requires a constant, but relaxed focus. The effects are similar to meditation. People report that colouring-in clears the mind, calms the breathing, pushes back anxieties and provides a relief from stress.
That does not mean that colouring a pre-made drawing will have the same effect on everyone. It all boils down to personality type: some will find this activity beneficial, others merely annoying. You will never know to which group you belong until you give adult colouring books a try. If it turns out you enjoy colouring-in, don’t be afraid to own it. So, get one now!
How to choose an adult colouring book
- The theme of the book is probably the most important consideration. There is a great variety on offer, such as abstract patterns, flowers, animals, landscapes, cityscapes, and so on. Depending on your taste, choose either a book with a range of themes, or a book dedicating to one theme only.
- If you thrive on challenges, look for a colouring book that includes a hunt for hidden images.
- Is there a budding artist inside you? You will appreciate a colouring book with detachable sheets that can be framed and displayed.
- The last consideration is actually the most important: an adult colouring book must be printed on top-quality paper. Anything less and you’ll get bleed-through stains, which will not contribute to stress relief at all.