Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Coloring between the lines.

One of the great pleasures of my childhood was cracking open a new coloring book, flipping through it, and deciding what picture to color next. The girl picking flowers? Santa on his reindeer? Davey Crockett killing himself a bar?

Oh, I liked to draw, too. But I didn’t have any particular talent there – even though I did once win a prize in one of Big Brother Bob Emery’s Curlicue Contest.

So I devoted at least an equal amount of time to coloring books.

I liked them thick, I liked them thin. I liked them branded, I liked them no-name. I liked them when they included variations like connect-the-dots, I liked them straight-out coloring books.

I just liked to color, as did the other Rogers kids. To keep up with demand, my mother would sometimes use tracing paper to copy pictures out of coloring books so that a couple of us could work on the same thing. (Honestly, at this point in her kid-raising career she didn’t have a dishwasher, dryer, or freezer. Where did she find the time to trace pictures out of coloring books? I’m sure it was self-defense. Far better than dealing with kids shouting ‘Hog!’, ‘No fair!’, ‘He/she won’t share!’ Anyway, thanks, Ma!)

Coloring in a coloring book was a nice, soothing time-waster – a no brainer, no decisions to make, other than what crayon to use.

While I haven’t done any coloring in years decades, I’m delighted to see that coloring books are growing in popularity among adults.

In a sudden, unexpected, and generally curious development, grown-up versions of the doodle-books used by countless kindergartners have not only become a thing — but the thing, as far as millions of rapt Americans are concerned.

At the moment, five of the top 30 titles on Amazon’s best-seller list are coloring books aimed at adults. Barnes & Noble currently carries well over 100 different adult coloring book titles, many of which feature much more intricate and detailed designs than children’s versions. And as the trend seeps into the mainstream, publishers and booksellers have been left scrambling to keep the most popular titles on store shelves.

Marketed as a kind of personal therapy session — a simple and solitary alternative to the digital world in which we live — the books seem to have tapped into a deep desire to unwind, unplug, and fend off the stresses of daily life.(Source: Boston Globe)

There are even gatherings of coloring book aficionados who get together for color-ins. Event attendees call themselves colorists and trade tips (the merits of blue-green vs. green-blue?) and discuss coloring’s benefits – distraction, therapeutic, even spiritual.

Adult coloring books have been around for quite a while, but they’ve really taken off in the last couple of years. Popular titles can sell a million copies or more. 

I looked on Amazon to see what was on offer there. Certainly, this one looks like it might be fun – or, at least, stress fending-off.

coloring book

And I definitely have someone in mind for this one:

day of the dead coloring book
I’ll have to go shopping. (I don’t remember seeing them at Trident, but it looks like the Brookline Booksmith stocks them.)

And, while I’m at it, I’ll have to get a fresh box of Crayolas.

Looks like the max number is 120. I think the most I’ve had in the past is 64. Can’t wait to do some exploring and coloring.

Now if they’d only bring back jacks – the only sport I ever excelled at – I’d be happy to swear off digital time-wasting entirely.

And I will be coloring between the lines.

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