Colouring-In for Grown-Ups is a Nonsense!

By Alison August 6, 2015 13 Comments 2 Min Read

Colouring-in for Grown-Ups

I don’t know how I feel about the complete, crazy, mad explosion in colouring-in books for grown-ups suddenly available. On the one hand I used to rather enjoy colouring-in myself and on the other it smacks of the kind of fad only rivalled by the done to death business that was Loom bands, and that kind of makes my head ache.
My main beef with the colouring book phenomenon is the very notion that they are books at all! Have a look at  the crafts, hobbies and home sections on Amazon and you will discover that not only are there all manner of images to colour in (from owls, to cityscapes, mandalas and zen patterns: all purporting to help you to colour your way to a stress free life!), but that proper books have apparently ceased to exist and the only books apparently being bought are of the colouring variety.
It’s driving me nuts. No really: absolutely nuts. I have even stopped colouring in myself in a kind of ludicrous protest, that will do absolutely nothing to halt the rampage, but merely deprives me of the kind of small pleasure I used to occasionally indulge in – if only to prove to myself that a modicum of the artist I once was still existed in my world-weary soul.
What once was an activity mostly reserved for children who need the boundaries not drawing outside the lines provides, has become the opium for the masses of grown-women apparently stressed to the hilt.
But we are not children.
Instead I think that we are turning in to the most awful kind of sheeple. We clip the same things on Pinterest all day every day. We jump on mad bandwagons just because everybody else is. We share “motivational” rants over and over again on Facebook.
We share and pin and colour in! But we don’t do the work.
We don’t bake the cakes. We don’t absorb the words we are so quick to share, and we don’t sit down quietly and remember to simply be: an act that would render us calm far sooner than acquiring all the nonsense we need to indulge in yet another hobby designed to reduce our stress.
We need to learn to sit still: without a smartphone or a pencil in our hands. To just sit with our stress, our grief, our pain or anything else that troubles us enough to fuel the need to switch off.
To just sit. Without busy hands or a busy mind.


  1. Karla says:

    While I agree we need to sit down and just learn to be still, I love coloring and love the new crop of ideas and resources! There is an artist who has one that I’d absolutely love to indulge myself in but I have more imporant things like an upcoming cruise (276 days) to pay for! LOL

  2. On the one hand, I agree with you that a fad for coloring is a little silly. We could always color if we wanted–heck, Dover has a whole section of coloring books. On the other hand, I love the designs for use as embroidery patterns! Quite a few of them can be turned into gorgeous, or fun, or lovely embroidery.

  3. Yes!! You’re so right about all of this.

  4. Dear God save me from the madness that is colouring in for adults! what is next? modelling from play doh?

  5. Barbara D. says:

    Coloring, Texting, Pinning…if we keep ourselves busy enough we won’t have to actually THINK. Think to ourselves, think of ourselves, think of our dreams. Enough. Take time to ponder.

  6. Barbara D. says:

    Coloring, Texting, Pinning…if we keep ourselves busy enough we won’t have to actually THINK. Think to ourselves, think of ourselves, think of our dreams. Enough. Take time to ponder.

  7. Alison C says:

    I think things are going a bit crazy in this world. On one hand children are growing up far too quickly and the innocence of childhood is getting briefer. Now adults seem to be regressing. Are they trying to re-live the childhood they lost too early? If adults find they cannot be in the moment and just be, they could always do some craft work and produce something. Will we see Mommys colouring in on fridges across the country?
    (Glad to get that off my chest – I feel better now!!)

  8. Angel Jem says:

    I think whether the books are useful/sensible/good or not depends on how you use the colouring books and the activity itself. There are a lot more available now, because it is this year’s latest thing, but if somebody needs a slowing activity and can’t knit/crochet/sit quietly then the repetitive mindless mindfulness of colouring can work to provide an empty space for thinking about other stuff. I’ve done them with my daughter, and we sit and talk about things that concern us, without realising that we’re talking deeply. It’s like a fire pit with boys, an activity that we do that doesn’t feel strenuous or need consuming concentration but somehow gives us the freedom to talk without thinking we’re ‘Having A Deep Conversation’.
    And for people who aren’t confident artists enough to draw their own picture, it’s a great place to start with for inspiration. I’ll draw people forever, but anything more graphic and I’m lost.
    But I recognise the point behind your rant; that there are fads that come and go, and that people are keen to be ‘in’. It takes a great strength of character to say “This is me, and I like what I do, so I do what I like.” The blogging world is full of fashionable trends, even in homemaking/crafty blogs. A couple of years ago everybody had to make crochet blankets; then there were socks. This year; who knows? I much prefer to say that I like making blankets, and can’t be bothered making socks but will freely admire yours; that I may never be completely in step with you, but that we both should do the things that make us happy. Whether it’s in or out.

  9. Simone says:

    I colour in and I ‘do’ zentangle and I bake cakes. I also sit and think sometimes much to my husbands disapproval. I do not have a lap top or tablet or a smartphone (or any type of mobile phone) but I blog and tweet and talk to people. The ‘adults’ colouring in books generally have images with finer detail and if doing a bit of colouring in from time to time is beneficial to that person then what is the harm in that?

  10. Heather says:

    This post has made me feel so sad and disapointed. I thought the whole idea behind Brocante Home was to find the simpler things in life that give you pleasure, the things that make your heart sing, and to do them? I am really enjoying the colouring craze at the moment. I even *shock horror* subscribe to the art of colouring magazine! Every week I go collect it from my newsagent, come home and arrange my new pencils and choose what order to colour the pictures. That’s my relaxing time and I love it. I’m sorry that it’s just a cheap fad and not good enough to fit in here, but it’s good enough for me.

  11. Danielle says:

    I find fads irritating too, but I totally get the therapeutic nature of colouring. You don’t have to think. In fact you can’t really think whilst you’re trying to colour in your picture. It’s soothing and undemanding. I suffer terribly from a scattered, distracted mind. I’ve never bought any of the new ‘fad’ books but I have been known to draw a random doodle and colour it in to keep my demons at bay for half an hour. Jigsaw puzzles have a similar effect.

  12. Wilhelmina says:

    I don’t know. To each her own. And it’s, as far as my limited knowledge of it, more therapeutic calming colouring in than having your inner child finger paint. No offence to that, one of my dear friends says she really benefited from therapy like it. Sitting still doesn’t work for everyone. I find walking helps me with stress and grief and pain. Just the movement really.
    That said I found it very hard to explain to my seven year old, in the book shop where the colouring books were promoted , as she wondered why adults coloured in? Aren’t colouring books for little children? She can draw pictures and colour them in? Can’t adults do that? Do they forget? It’s to help with stress? What is stress? Is all work full of stress? Why do people work then? Etc.

  13. Patricia says:

    YES YES YES! I agree with every single word you wrote here!!!!

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