When was the last time you picked up a crayon and colored in a coloring book? Unless you’re a new parent, you probably haven’t picked up a box of Crayolas in quite some time, which is really too bad because a growing number of psychologists suggest that coloring may be good for you. It helps you to “let go” and get creative. It helps you relax and unwind.
Coloring books for adults are hot right now, thanks in large part to Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford, who started the trend with her adult coloring book, The Secret Garden, in 2013, which reportedly sold more than 1.4 million copies. Her new book, The Enchanted Forest, out this spring, went immediately to the top of the charts on Amazon. That’s right, a coloring book.
In an interview with NPR, Basford said she started producing coloring books for adults after clients repeatedly told her they had an urge to color her always black and white illustrations. On why she thinks her coloring books are so popular she said, “I think there is something quite charming and nostalgic about coloring in. And chances are last time you picked up pens or pencils you didn’t have a mortgage or like a really horrible boss or anything. So yeah, it’s just a really nice way to be creative. You don’t have to sit down with a blank sheet of paper or, you know, have that scary moment of thinking, ‘What can I draw?’ The outlines are already there for you, so it’s just something that you can do quietly for a couple of hours that, you know, is hand held and analog and quiet.”
With the popularity of her books and the discovery of a whole population of closet coloring addicts, Basford got inundated with people wanting to share their colored renditions of her inked pages. She recently started a colouring gallery webpage for grown ups to to show off their work, and have other people rate them.
Basford also has another coloring book due out this fall by Penguin Random House, this time with an ocean theme. It’s called The Lost Ocean: An Underwater Adventure & Coloring Book. In the meantime, her success has spawned a new market for adult coloring books on sites like Etsy, many with garden or nature themes.