Coloring Books: Not Just for Kids Anymore

colored pencils

They’re not just for kids anymore. Coloring books have recently burst onto the book scene quickly becoming popular favorites for grown-ups. Skyrocketing sales have placed many titles on best seller lists, and publishers are scrambling to keep up with demand.

As more and more adults join the craze to re-discover the fun, creativity, and relaxation of coloring, they are also reaping unexpected therapeutic benefits: relieving stress, reducing anxiety, and building social connections.

“I like that I can just pick up a cup of coffee and start coloring whenever I want—it’s relaxing,” says Otterbein independent living resident Jan Putman. She admits that a coloring book and pencils were an out-of-the-blue Christmas gift from her kids. “But I started coloring and found it fascinating!,” she says. Putman quickly realized that her creativity was stifled by a small supply of colored pencils and bought more. She enjoys the feeling of accomplishment after completing a page, and definitely has a few favorites.

“Coloring calms me,” says coloring enthusiast Pat Ripley. “It’s a way to de-stress. When I color, I let go of everything else because I’m focusing on creating the colors and staying in the lines,” she adds. Ripley prefers larger designs (like stained glass) that can be completed in less time, and advises that coloring books should be chosen wisely to be sure they fit your skill level, mood and liking.

Coloring books have come a long way since childhood. Higher quality, heavier pages give finished creations a more polished look. They often include brain teasers, hidden pictures, educational facts, inspirational messages and more in a variety of subject matter. They range from beginner to expert (very intricate designs). Most are priced from $5-$15.

An endless assortment of pencils, gel pens, markers and crayons are available. Colored pencils are favored by many. They come in hundreds of colors, and in wax and oil styles including high-end pencils that tout the best blending and shading qualities. Prices start at $4 (package of 12), and can exceed $100 for large packages of high quality pencils.

Coloring book clubs are sprouting up everywhere—in homes, libraries and online. Cincinnatian Katheryn Toren-Jones, Librarian and Branch Manager for Public Library of Hamilton County, recently began a coloring book club at her branch in St. Bernard. She is pleased by the larger-than-expected attendance including a few men. “In addition to providing a restful, meditative environment, I’m hoping this becomes a social connection for the group,” she says. A coloring program at Springboro Public Library filled to capacity, and started a waiting list.

The Ladies Coloring Club is an active community page on Facebook. It originated in Minnesota and has a “community page for people (ladies) who want to, or have started a Color Club anywhere (not just in Minnesota)” to actively engage via Facebook posts.” The page has great information and global interest with more than 900 recent posts from around the world including England and Australia—a sure indication this craze isn’t letting up anytime soon.