RELAX. Coloring is an activity that has always seemed best suited for youngsters; a way to occupy young minds and bodies while “we adults” go about our business of driving, talking on the phone or trying to relax from a stressful day at work. But as we get older, we put aside our crayons and colored pencils in favor of more “adult” writing utensils. However, it turns out coloring is very beneficial to adults – it lets us relax.
Adult Coloring books; the newest global phenomenon.
“Coloring generates a balanced calmness and centered demeanor while also stimulating brain areas related to motor skills, the senses and creativity” says psychologist Joanna Futransky, Ph.D. Lately, in fact, many of her patients have been asking her about the benefits of using adult coloring books to de-stress.
“Adult coloring books aren’t new. I used Mandalas in my art classes in the eighties.”
-Howard Greenberg, former art teacher
Now, adult coloring books are all the rage. In the last few months the American Art Therapy Association has received many media inquires about the value of coloring books for adults as a self-care hobby for stress management. “Some consumers and media have asked us about the difference between at-home coloring or for that matter any engagement with art on a private basis, and the art therapy profession. They are indeed separate topics with one commonality, that art making in and of itself is personally rewarding and potentially therapeutic. The American Art Therapy Association supports the use of coloring books for pleasure and self-care, however these uses should not be confused with the delivery of professional art therapy services, during which a client engages with a credentialed art therapist.”
The surge in popularity of adult use of coloring books is likely due to individuals tapping into and spreading the word about the intrinsic healing qualities of art that have served as a benefit to people of all cultures throughout history. Since engaging in any form of art can have stress-reducing value, it is no wonder that these sophisticated templates for adult coloring have taken on such great popularity or that there are specific uses when applied in the proper context.
Coloring books provide a controlled, contained use of art for self-soothing purposes, and their success-oriented nature is conducive to fulfillment of the need for instant gratification. They can be completed by anyone with minimal risk. Preprinted designs allow for structure that facilitates safety and minimizes emotional risk which may explain their appeal to broader audiences. For instance, mandalas are often used to promote centering and stress reduction. This benefit can be enhanced when using mandala coloring books.”
“I never pictured myself creating adult coloring books.” -Anne Manera
Since her earliest memories she has always been drawing. Her first booklet (at age 5 or 6) was called “The Red Spotted Dog, “ done in crayons and stapled papers. She focused mainly on animals and flowers. Anne received her BA in Art and Graphic Design from RIC. “I’d rather be painting or drawing, but graphic design was where I could earn a living.” says Anne. She was also a pioneer in a new field of studies for her Masters from RIC in “Media Studies.” Her courses of study were Digital Art and Media Theory.
Currently she has a freelance practice doing commercial work for clients. But a new path has put her at a crossroads in her career, allowing her to get back to her favorite subject matter, animals and nature.
“This was a bad winter… lots of downtime. I got a lot of painting done… mostly floral designs and birds and animals. It was around March or April of 2015 that I began hearing how coloring books for adults was trending on a global scale. I discussed this new direction with my mom and being my biggest fan she said, “go for it.”
Anne has 7 coloring books available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble Bookstores - Simple Bird Mosaic, The Coloring Party Coloring Book and Simple Little Angels, Floral Mosaic, Big Spaces!, Just Color! and Whimsical Dogs & their animal pals. Anne also runs a Facebook coloring group “Just Color! with Anne Manera.” It already has over 700 members.
Material referenced from Anne Manera, Joanna Futransky, Ph.D The Adult Coloring Book Phenomenon, Authors: Richard Carolan, Ed.D, ATR-BC, Donna Betts, President American Art Therapy Association, PhD, ATR-BC and The Huffington Post.
There are coloring groups on Facebook where you can meet artists and coloring book enthusiasts from all over the world, share stories, your artwork and your experiences.
Hi everyone! As Facebook will tell you, I’m Angela Porter and am an illustrator of several adult coloring books including Color Me Calm, Color Me Happy, Color Me Stress-free, Color Me Fearless (a current work in progress), and Entangled, part of the Creative Haven series by Dover...
My profession, however, is a science teacher! I teach science to pupils with additional learning needs aged 11 to 16, though my illustration work is allowing me to go part time as a teacher from the new term.
I live in South Wales, Great Britain. I look forward to chatting with you all in a little while - first I’m off out to get some milk for my tea!*
Hi, my name is Kimberly Garvey and I am a coloring book artist from Fishers, Indiana. I went to Ball State University in the early 80s and majored in fine arts with a specialty of drawing. I have 5 books out on Amazon.
“I finally published my first coloring book, Strange Designs. I got the title from a song by Phish.”
I started off as a watercolor artist for years and needed a break and took up doodling in sketchbooks. It was such a stress reliever. I am a mother of a teenage autistic daughter named Cassidy. I love her so much but it is often difficult. I need all the stress relief I can get.*
Two year of doodling turned into my first coloring book Strange Designs. I did not know I was drawing a coloring book until November of 2014 when a teenage girl (daughter of a friend) approached me at a party and told me I really needed to turn my doodles into coloring books.*
It’s difficult to go on the net without seeing the global phenomenon of coloring books on the news. How long it will last is anyone’s guess, but the world could use a lot less stressed-out people in it, don’t you think?
*From “Meet the Artists”, a Facebook group of coloring book illustrators and fellow colorists – Anne Manera, Kimberly Garvey & Angela Porter. August 27, 2015, CBS News and MSN