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Why adult coloring is all the rage again

From the time we were little, we were taught to color the world — to take a black and white picture and with our imagination, give it life through all the color palettes available to us.

What it would look like was up to us.

Little sections, big sections, we got to piece together the picture the way we wanted, with our favorite colors. The back and forth motion of our hands pressing firmly on some areas and then gently shading in others — it could be almost mesmerizing. But for most adults, that favorite pastime has become just that, the past. Until now.

“About a year ago I started seeing a buzz down in some of the bigger cities about the benefits of coloring and doodling for adults,” said Becky Mitchell, who owns an art studio in Lake Park. Mitchell says she always watches for what the hot art trends are in the bigger cities, as they usually make their way to this neck of the woods.

Adult coloring books and the brilliantly colored gel pens and pencils designed for them have become all the rage, with books and colors flying off the shelves locally.

“The trend right now is very, very detailed patterns with lots of little areas to color in,” said Mitchell, who holds a weekly class on adult coloring. “And the challenging part is, do we fill every section in with a different color? Do we color some the same color or do some shading? There’s no right or wrong.”

Although adult coloring books are much more intricate and time intensive than a child’s coloring book, the effects are the same.

“I have appreciated the time spent coloring again as it brings you back to a simpler time, to the carefree days of childhood,” said Melanie Hanson, a Lake Park woman who attends the Monday night classes. “And I love being creative, but it’s too easy to be so focused on what the end result will be. We should do creative activities for the enjoyment and the experience of doing it, not necessarily for the masterpiece we are attempting to create.”

Hanson says coloring is a prime example of an activity that people can enjoy doing, rather than putting all the focus on the accomplished piece of art that is created.

Having said this, Mitchell says some people will tear their completed color page out and frame it, as often times the intricacy and vibrant colors make for “quite an art piece.”

“But more than anything, it’s just relaxing,” added Mitchell, who says she believes the popularity in adult coloring is indication that in this day and age, people are striving for a little bit more simplicity.