When Scottish Illustrator Johanna Basford put out her patterns for the adult coloring book “Secret Garden” in 2013, little did she know that it would sell a million copies. She followed it up with another book called “Enchanted Forest”. It was flying off the shelves too, as if enchanted. Pretty soon, 2015 had become the year of the adult coloring book. The top titles were selling over 1.5 million copies. Adult coloring books are now one of Amazons top 15 bestsellers. What factors helped this trend of adult coloring books to dominate the market? Let’s find out:

colouring books

Low tech involved in coloring books

For a generation of adults who spend a lot of time staring at screens, regardless of the profession, these books are a refreshing break from the screen, yet an addictive one just like an Angry Birds game. One does not feel like putting down the piece until over or at least until a major part of it is done. This helps you to get better at coloring and feeds into the loop of wanting to color more.

Low cost

While the books may have varying prices, none are exorbitantly expensive. When you compare this to a hobby like, say, pottery, you see how it is a much more low cost, portable option. Besides, if you are sceptical and not really convinced of buying an adult coloring book, you can always download the free design pages amply available on the internet. A box of crayons or color pencils last pretty long and so they too seem to be a fairly useful investment. And, if you know an artist or a child, you can always borrow more color shades from them.


Stress reliever

The repetitive nature of coloring and the soothing effect of seeing so many color together, slowly filling out a blank space, can be very soothing. However, using coloring as a tool to let out stress and anxiety is hardly new. Dr. Carl Jung of the psychoanalytic school of psychotherapy used Mandala coloring with this patients more than a 100 years ago. It also helps us feel more in control as we make the decision of which color goes where and then we arrive at a beautiful end product. It helps to counter the effect of feeling lack of control in other areas of your life. Some psychologists have expressed concern that this is a way of escaping active problem-solving and may not be a healthy trend.

Intricate patterns and fandoms

While adults love coloring books, they also want to differentiate themselves from the simple task that children do. Therefore, intricate and large patterns with the possibility of complex coloring, are a hit with adults. They can be proud of having finished a pretty complicated adult coloring books. And of course, there are specific fandom designs, right from Harry Potter to Game of Thrones.



Everyone likes to be creative and share their work but they did not know how. With adult coloring books, people can feel a tad more creative. And of course, the pat on the back in the form of thousands of Instagram and Facebook likes does not hurt at all.

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