Once reserved only for children, coloring books recently have gone mainstream and broken into the adult book market.
Released in 2013, illustrator Johanna Basford’s first coloring book for adults, “Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book,” sold more than 1.5 million copies and is said to have started the adult coloring trend. Since then, the book has been translated into 14 languages and Bamford has released a second title, “Enchanted Forest: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book,” with a third book, “Lost Ocean: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book,” set to be released on Oct. 27.
Many fans of the trend praise coloring as being a cathartic exercise and a great way to relieve stress. While coloring as a relaxation exercise just began to hit the mainstream, one of the first psychologists to employ the technique was Carl Jüng in the early 1900s. Jüng would give patients coloring sheets as part of their therapy. These coloring sheets were usually mandalas, which are circular, patterned shapes that have origins in India. Mandala coloring sheets and books are still for sale today.
According to The Huffington Post, coloring relaxes the amygdala, the part of the brain that produces fear, and allows your mind to rest. Many say coloring also has indirect health benefits as well. Coloring helps to stimulate the areas of the brain that are related to motor skills, the senses and creativity.
While it is relaxing and stimulates creativity, coloring also requires a bit of focus to stay inside the lines, Huff Post said. This can help to stimulate the frontal lobe, where organizational skills and problem solving skills are located. Coloring also requires the two hemispheres of the brain to communicate with each other.
The trend has even begun to involve students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. MaryAnn Morrison, a freshman marketing major, is the founder of the UNL Coloring Club, which she started with her friends.
“We started the club because a handful of us were coloring,” Morrison said. “Then, we realized more people were coloring but in other rooms, so then we just all came together and made a fantastic club.”
Morrison said the group colors many different things, including mandalas, flowers and tattoos. The club meets once a week in the study rooms on the second floor of Abel Residence Hall, and anyone interested in doing the club can go to Room 233 in Abel.