The Grown-Up Coloring Book Trend

The latest publishing trend is coloring books for grown-ups. They're selling like hotcakes as the cliche goes.  It's apparently an excellent stress reliever and adults are purchasing them faster than the publishers can print them.  The best ones are currently out of stock on Amazon (Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest, both by Johanna Basford).

Coloring books are proving to be the perfect print book, which buyers would want as a hardcopy rather than an electronic file on an e-reader. Sure you can buy a digital version and color the images using Photoshop or some other software, but the fun is manually filling in that white space with a rainbow of hues with markers as the implement of choice (although crayons are still acceptable).

There's definitely room for this market to grow. I used to want to be a cartoonist when I was a kid and I remember spending hours coloring black-and-white superhero books. I can imagine a strong audience out there of children of all ages (that includes adults who are young at heart) wanting to color comic book panels and splash pages.

Tattoos are more popular than ever, so a few of the adult coloring books are already cashing in on this trend with their own "color me" tattoo ideas.

Of course, since the audience is adults, a few of the titles are already gearing toward more risque illustrations.  What's out there right now seems a bit crude, but it's only a matter of time before more established artists like Boris Vallejo and others realize they might make some bucks compiling some of their uncolored sketches.

Time for me to dust off my own drawing pad.


These are selling like hotcakes in the bookstore where I work... I had to explain to a millennial coworker recently that when Life gets complicated, simplifying can make all the difference (coloring is also how I got through my first professional lay-off during the Gulf War...although I drew my own illustrations to color at the time!)

I personally think NOW it is part of the whole Retro Anti-Tech Movement; vinyl LP's are back in force, print sales are up, vintage games are selling, and I am even seeing television ads for PC's again.. I think many of us are tired of constantly upgrading to tech that fails to work well and can't seem to protect us. We are all now collectively missing more "secure" times, real human contact and the jobs that went with all of the above. Perhaps at last the worm has turned and we can get some of our humanity and a lot of our ARTS back...Thanks for this post!
Nick Leshi said…
KC, excellent point about the "retro anti-tech" movement. I'm still a technophile and try to purchase most of my books for my Kindle, but some are best as print editions, such as colorful art books or in this case coloring books.