Greetings! I hope everyone is having a great weekend. I had a quiet Saturday morning, so I thought I would sit down with a cup of tea and chat with you about something that has been trending recently. Adult coloring books have become increasingly popular as of late. It has been said that they can increase brain activity, creativity, lower blood pressure, and help facilitate meditation for those who have a harder time clearing their mind. Books have complex patterns and images that require thought, planning, and time to complete.
Back in September I was walking around in Edinburgh with a friend, and we made our usual stop into one of the shops on the high street. Fresh off of turning in my dissertation, I thought that I deserved a little treat, and picked up a pretty hard backed coloring book that they had sitting in the front window. I enjoyed it for several days since I was spending a great deal of time journeying around on trains, and had grown tired of reading. I would sit and color by the train window and listen to music on my iPod. Overall, after my test run, I would give my experience a solid 8/10. I still have my coloring book, and plan to return to it shortly.
So are these coloring books a fad or a trend? I am sure that most of us have memories of coloring books, or drawing as small children. So initially, the book had a nostalgic quality for myself. But I soon grew to enjoy that the complex patterns in the book were almost mind numbing for myself. Although I must include a disclaimer, I am a multitasker. I cannot just sit and watch a film, I have to be on my iPad or knitting, or doing something else at the same time otherwise I do not feel fully engaged. I like to have both visual and kinesthetic aspects included in my activities, I guess!
But these coloring books are not just about the nostalgia. I previously mentioned all the
other potential qualities that adult coloring books are thought to have, but I personally thing that these types of activities will have different effects for different people. While I feel that we cannot compare coloring books to more intense forms of art such as painting or sculpting, I will say that I find a striking similarity to Tibetan Buddhist sand mandalas. They have complex patterns, bright colors, and require an immense amount of patience in order to construct. They are stunning, and even though I know it is an integral part of the tradition, I still grimace whenever I see one wiped away after it is finished! This is an ancient art form, that has been around far longer than our little coloring books! And while in no way am I implying that adult coloring books require anywhere near the same skill level needed for these sand paintings, it does seem that on a scaled down level, we are harkening back to this art form.
Okay, so I guess I need to get back to my question. Adult coloring books: fad or trend? I guess it could be argued that it is a modern fad, derived from an older trend and affinity for patterns and colors. I would like to reach a bit further, and also think about the future of this pass time. I think that adult coloring has a real potential to be brought into museum and learning forums as simple, low cost, engaging activities. Not only can they be easily done, but they also provide that nostalgic quality for people, and it asks them to conjure up memories, such as when the last time they colored was- with a grandchild? When they themselves were a child? Or maybe they have a funny story to share. In such a simple way, we can have the opportunity to create a more personal connection with what they are doing. Having said that, I would be interested to see some studies on how adult coloring books make impressions on women versus men.
I have seen a lot of more activities on Twitter lately, that seem to be geared for children, but actually have adult applications as well. Mummifying a Barbie? I cannot imagine to many teenagers that would not find that amusing. Maybe adult coloring books can fit into a larger trend of not overestimating what adult want and need. Sometimes, something simplistic can go a long way, and leave more opportunity for reminiscing or de-stressing.
What do you think about adult coloring books? Have you tried them? What was your experience with them? Feel free to comment below. If you have not tried them, a simple Google search will provide you with a wealth of patterns you can print at home. Have fun!
Peace and long life.