Color Me Happy!
Coloring books used to be the highlight of every shopping trip when I was a child. My parents usually purchased them for me at discount department stores or at the magazine section of the grocery store. A new box of crayons and a coloring book could mean hours of happiness, lasting for several days. This fond childhood memory pops up every time I see a new coloring book targeted for adults.
Why are there so many adult coloring books available?
Let’s Explore: These days adults have very little time to express themselves. Drawing figures and shapes can come with the high risk of dissatisfaction. Fear of failure may stop some of us from exploring the creative realm of drawing. But, coloring on the other hand, offers a risk-free and worry-free alternative to the Monet hidden inside all of us! You can’t make mistakes when you color! (Unless you color outside the lines, and even then, that can be seen as thinking outside of the box!)
Why is coloring an appropriate use of our time? We are a success-oriented, efficient society. We need observable outcomes that justify the use of our available time. When we have downtime, we often feel the need to explain non- productivity. Coloring books are filling the gap for more and more people these days. We have something to show for our moments of slacking, and can say we took a mental vacation and show the completed picture to prove it.
We also have the thrill of choosing the pigments that reflect our mood at the time. It’s the perfect combination of relaxation, choice, success, and the appearance of creativity. In this age of fast results, coloring books satisfy an instant need.
Plus, let’s face it, coloring is fun. To call it Art Therapy is a stretch, but that’s not the reason people are choosing to color. A coloring book is more likely used by adults when they need a moment to unwind. It’s a guilt-free, whimsical way to recharge before you return to the daily grind.
Everywhere you go there are variety of coloring books available. Six years ago, I thought I had invented the idea, but now mine are just one of many to choose from. The fact that they continue to be one of my best sellers tells me it’s not a fad that will disappear anytime soon.
Color me relaxed, color me beautiful, and color me happy!
Karen Stabley, Art Therapy (ATR)
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