Adult Coloring Books are Taking Over the World
Adult Coloring... Really?
It seems that even adults love to color too. Recently I went into my bosses office to have a talk and sitting on her desk was a beautiful coloring book. This book was filled with all kinds of amazing designs, flowers, shapes, and patterns. The book was a beauty to flip through, even without color. In addition to the book sitting on the table, she of course, sitting right next to it had a box of crayons. My boss eagerly showed me the book while we were waiting to start our meeting, and said I could copy some pages and color them, to which I promptly did. Apparently coloring is a very relaxing activity, or so she read. This was the start on my love of zentangles and intricate designs.
After this encounter I started seeing all kinds of these books pop up. At Christmas time the 5-Below store was littered with them. I even bought some for my 2 girls because they were just too beautiful to pass up. They flipped through them quickly, but soon threw them in their pile of "crap" presents and didn't take to them too well. They instead choose to stay with their standard My Little Pony, Sofia the First or Strawberry Shortcake coloring books. I wasn't offended, I just took the book and started using it on my own, and I have to say, it was quite relaxing to sit a think about nothing but putting color onto these amazingly intricate drawings. What I didn't realize was the controversial therapeutic benefits coloring has on the mind and body. And I say controversial because not everyone feels they should be viewed as a type of art therapy.
Is it Art Therapy, or just Therapeutic?
Cathy Malchiodi, an art therapist, wrote critically about adult coloring. “Some people are adamant that coloring books are a path to mindfulness, meditation and some kind of psychological nirvana,” Malchiodi said over the phone. “I find that many of the loudest proponents are actually those that create the coloring books.” -- Source: theguardian.com
Cathy went on to say that the trend was somewhat disappointing, and that she doesn't think coloring can be considered "art therapy". And while that may be true, you do have others, like Drena Fagen, who believe in the therapeutic benefits of coloring. She did make a point to make a clear distinction between "art therapy" and "therapeutically beneficial". Art Therapy is something you do when you are creating art, while therapeutically beneficial deals with just helping to de-stress and relax.
Either way, their is something to be said for the millions of adults who find these adult coloring books to be a route to relaxation and de-stressing. Proponents of coloring therapy say it has helped with a number of issues, including anxiety, depression, reduction of headaches, and reducing daily stresses. So whether or not it is a scientifically proven method of therapy, I think we can all agree that their are great benefits to taking up coloring as a hobby.
Where to find Good Designs to Color
With adult coloring books being so popular you may be overwhelmed by the sheer number of books available online or at your local book store, but before you go buying all the same books everyone else has you can always try some different avenue's. I really like Etsy for coloring pages. Their are so many designs, available for immediate download, and usually at very reasonable prices (most being under $2). Some of my favorite Etsy shops for downloading coloring pages are
Ruby's Mandala Designs - A lot of the designs I have on here are digitally made, as I haven't added many of my hand drawn items yet, but check back regularly to see all the new items!
Edwina Mc Namee - this one is quite edgy, I love it. This artists makes beautiful designs using curse words. It's definitely worth checking out!
ColorItCom - Just amazing work, nothing more to say about it!
There are countless others if you type in Mandala or Zentangle, or Adult Coloring Books into the search on Etsy. With so many options you are sure to find something that catches your eye.
In addition to Etsy, you can always take a stab at Amazon, or even deviantart.com. Amazon is quite saturated with self made books, but if you can't get enough this might be a good option. DeviantArt is an artists sanctuary, and you can literally find any type of artwork you fancy here.
The book my boss had in her office was The Secret Garden -- it really is a stunning collection of artwork. Even if you don't want to purchase just yet, you will want to check out the awe-inspiring designs including within. The price point is pretty nice as well, this book sells for under $10.
Another really eye catching book is Butterflies & Flowers - I'm a huge butterfly lover, so this book really captures my attention.
Do you currently own any Adult Coloring Books?
About My Art
Because my passion is drawing, I decided that writing this article would be great to help beginners since I get a ton of people asking me how I do such intricate drawings. I also wanted to highlight my love for mandalas, zentangles, and all things hand drawn.
I don't necessarily color, but creating these masterpieces is so relaxing, and viewing the end results amazes me every single time. Although their have been plenty of things I've drawn that I don't like, I just chalk it up as a learning process and move on. I have gotten a nice following on Instagram, and hope to continue creating amazing designs long after the coloring fad has faded.
If you want to see more of my work, please visit my instagram, and please follow me! I would really appreciate the support! (jewel531).
Learn how to Zentangle!
If you are ambitious, taking a stab at drawing up some of your own designs can be amazingly rewarding. I started only 6 months ago and I can tell you this will be a lifelong hobby. It's easy, cheap to start and takes very little skill to create amazing designs. The list of items you will need to get started are:
Sketchbook - I just use a standard one I got from Michaels, but you can find the fanciest one you want. Suggestions have been added to the right.
Pens - I used Sharpies when I first started out. I still use them, but I generally stick with Micron pens, as they have different sizes, which really helps to make your drawings stand out.
That's really it. There's not a lot to it. I have included a few other resources below that can help you if you are looking to start making these designs yourself. I hope you enjoy, and please feel free to reach out if you need help, tips, or just want to talk art with me.
- The Doodle
Doodle with intent and find a new way to relax and unwind.
- How to Create a Great Zendoodle or Zentangle Pattern
If you’re looking for a way to relax, release some creative energy, and develop a new skill, put on some chilled background music and start Zendoodling on a Zentangle!
- Zendoodle, Zentangle How-To
Zentangles or Zendoodles, the terms are pretty much interchangeable, are abstract drawings created with pen and ink.