Adult coloring books are no laughing matter.

The adult coloring book trend is only new in North America, but it has been around in parts of Europe, such as in Paris and Germany. In Europe adult coloring books are a well-known passionate hobby used by adults from all career and industry backgrounds. Focused on the point “used by adults from all industry backgrounds” because, let’s face it coloring books are only known to be used by children. When you think of coloring books the picture in your mind that surfaces is ‘recommend for children ages 0–13’. The thought of telling your friends that you are use coloring books may induce laughter. On the contrary, this industry is no laughing matter.


Dr. Stan Rodski, a neuroscientist in brain research and an author of his own line of science-backed “anti-stress” coloring books, says “coloring allows the mind to focus on the present and away from negative distracting thoughts” (Dovey, 2015). Other studies have shown that adult coloring books relieves-stress, anxiety and can have a calming effect. Personally, as an artist and designer, was able to manage stress through the use of drawing. During my more passionate, yet stressful years, I use to create art pieces (hand drawings and paintings) twice a week for years. This allowed me to escape negative situations in my life as well as put things into perspective, so it’s no surprise to me that this distressing hobby is becoming the new North American trend. I believe people in Europe spend more time trying to enjoy life and take care of their well-being, compared to the western lifestyle of “Go Go Go”.

Doctor Drena Fagen, an art therapist and an adjunct instructor at New York University’s Steinhardt School, states coloring books may not be the same as ‘Art Therapy’, which requires participants to create art from scratch, but they can have a therapeutic effect. (Schwedel, 2015) “Coloring books offer a way to be creative without the daunting blank page in front of them,” says, Millie Marotta an illustrator and author of the adult coloring book Animal Kingdom, “It gives them a starting point and something to work with”, and in other words all you need is color (Cusumano, 2015).

Today the face of the adult coloring book trend is, Johanna Basford the illustrator and author of “Secret Garden: Tiny Treasure”, the book has sold over one million copies worldwide and has been translated into 14 different languages. There are other adult coloring books such as “Animalophia” by Kevin Rosanes, the book is filled with complex and elaborate illustrations of animals and detailed mini characters and “The Menagerie: Animal Portraits to Color” by Richard Merritt. As long as there is stress, it seems like the adult coloring book trend it here to stay.


Cusumano, K. (2015, September 29). “A way to be creative without that daunting blank page”: Coloring Books as Collaborative Art. Retrieved from The Toast:

Dovey, D. (2015, Oct 15). The Therapeutic Science Of Adult Coloring Books: How This Childhood Pastime Helps Adults Relieve Stress. Retrieved from Medicaldaily:

Schwedel, H. (2015, August 17). The Guardian. Retrieved from Coloring books for adults: we asked therapists for their opinions:

Originally published at on April 17, 2016.

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