Why Do Adults Color? Should You Too?

Me Coloring With Markers

This is me finishing a page that I started with my coloring group.

I’ve been coloring all my life. I fondly remember my deluxe 64 crayon box of crayons that I oh-so-neatly put each crayon back in it’s proper place in the box’s inside sleeve after using each crayon. Another fond memory is of the exotic bird coloring book given to me by Sunshine, my hippie babysitter. I colored as an adult to alleviate boredom between incoming customer service calls when I worked at Home Shopping Network. Even though I haven’t given it much thought as to exactly why I enjoy coloring until now, it’s no surprise to me that it has become amazingly popular in the last couple of years. More and more people are realizing one thing that deep down I have known all along – coloring is good for you.

Zenspiration Do What Calls To Your Soul

From Zenspirations Inspirations coloring book done in pencils.

Adult coloring has gone mainstream and it doesn’t seem to be losing steam. Over 12 million coloring books were sold in 2015. In April 2015 a coloring book (Secret Garden – An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book by Johanna Basford) topped the best-seller list of books. Five of Amazon’s current top 15 best-selling books are coloring books. There are adult coloring clubs and Meet Ups for adults who color.

The variety of coloring books available that are aimed at the adult market is remarkable. It is surely a testament to how popular this activity has become among adults. There are coloring books based on TV Shows like A Game of Thrones and movies like Star Wars and Harry Potter . There are swearing themed coloring books (Calm the F*ck Down by Sasha O’Hara) and naughty coloring books that have pages of sexual positions (Adult Coloring Book:Sexual Positions by Spudtc publishing Ltd).

Game of Thrones Coloring Book

Click Here to buy The Official A Game Of Thrones coloring book.

There are inspirational quote coloring books (Creative Coloring Inspirations by Valentina Harper) and Bible quote coloring books (Trust In God: Inspirational Quotes from The Bible from Barnes and Noble). There is even a coloring book based on a cat that has videos on YouTube (Grumpy Cat Coloring Bookand a Steampunk themed coloring book (Steampunk Devices Coloring Book by Jeremy Elder).

Even though the adult coloring book market has exploded and it seems like just about every theme that you can think of is available, only a handful of themes are being snapped off of the shelves and the internet. These most popular coloring books are animal designs, mandalas, calming, stress relieving, nature, and abstract patterns.

Calm The F*ck Down Coloring Book

Click here to buy Calm the F*ck Down coloring book.

So what is it about coloring that is enjoyable? For me, I find that I like how it feels to focus on laying the color down on the page as I fill in the shapes. I also enjoy choosing the color combinations I use to fill in the entire design. I feel satisfied when I complete coloring a design. The coloring activity itself is like a meditation. I focus on filling in the design with color and my mind lets go of it’s worries. Since it usually takes a few sessions of coloring to finish what I am coloring, I learn patience. When it is all done I can look at the finished product and enjoy it over and over again.

The enjoyment of coloring could be connected to the color itself. Each color affects mood.” Colour is energy and the fact that it has a physical effect on us has been proved time and again in experiments – most notably when blind people were asked to identify colours with their fingertips and were all able to do so easily. The shorter the wavelength, the stronger the underlying physical effect (Angela Wright – http://www.colour-affects.co.uk/how-it-works). This is why people are often careful about what colors they use to paint rooms in their houses.

Grumpy Cat Coloring Book

Click Here to buy the Grumpy Cat coloring book.

The following is a list of colors and how they affect mood (http://www.colour-affects.co.uk/how-it-works).

  • Redenergizes because it stimulates us
  • Bluecalms and increases concentration
  • Yellowlifts our spirits, creates confidence and optimism
  • Greenpromotes balance and harmony
  • Violetencourages deep contemplation and meditation
  • Orangefocuses our minds on comfort, sensuality and fun
  • Pinknurtures and physically soothes
  • Greysuppresses  and causes us to  instinctively draw in
  • Brownwarms, supports and connects us to earth
  • Black promotes security and emotional safety
  • Whitepurifies and cleanses
Steampunk Devices Coloring Book

Click Here to order Steampunk Devices coloring book.

Studying colour psychology, Angela Wright recognized that there are no wrong colours. It is the combination of colours that triggers the response. You could have a grey sky on a summer day, but our reaction to that grey with the beautiful colours of the summer landscape would be different from the combination of a grey sky with a predominantly snow white scene. We do not respond to just one colour, but to colours in combination. Even the winter landscape contains many colours. This could very well explain why I choose certain colors to color in each of the designs that I color.

What has sparked the growth in popularity of adult coloring? According to Adrienne Raphel (Why Adults Are Buying Coloring Books {For Themselves} The New Yorker July 12,2015), it is due somewhat to social media. Colorists post their finished colorings to Facebook and Pinterest, garnering fans and offering pro tips on things like Prismacolor versus gel pens. It is also due to a craving for childhood objects and experiences. This “Peter-Pan market” is also a target for children’s and young adult books, . This leads me to think that it is our inner child that is reaching out to be stimulated. Our world has become too grown-up. We harken back to simpler days and times when a coloring book and some crayons were our occupation instead of bills, taxes and domestic chores.

Zenspiration Live Love Laugh

From Zenspirations Inspirations coloring book done in markers and pencils.

How is coloring good for you? According to clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis, coloring is a stress-free activity that relaxes the amygdala – the fear center of the brain – and allows your mind to get the rest it needs. We de-stress when we color because of our focus on the activity and not on our worries. Coloring also “brings out our imagination and takes us back to our childhood, a period in which we most certainly had a lot less stress,” says psychologist Gloria Martinez Ayala. She goes on to say that when coloring we activate different areas of our two cerebral hemispheres. “The action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colors. This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills [coordination necessary to make small, precise movements].”

More evidence that coloring is good for you:

  1. helps dementia and alzheimers patients remain engaged with the outside world.
  2. can lower blood pressure
  3. trains your brain to focus better
  4. helps people deal with stress and PTSD

What are you waiting for? Give it a try. Light up your life with color and relax and de-stress at the same time. Maybe even join a coloring group to get to know some new people. 

Angela Star (74 Posts)

Posted in Hippy Chic Articles