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Our 53rd Year

The New Zen: Adult Coloring Books


Zen – a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind. Zen is a way of being. It also is a state of mind. Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts. –

More and more grown-ups are discovering that following the example of 5-year olds can have great benefits. Specifically, immersion in the creative pastime of coloring for just 30 minutes is, according to psychologists, as effective as other forms of focused meditation that relieve stress, not to mention, it’s fun!

Psychologist Nikki Martinez, Ph.D. elaborates, “It uses both sides of the brain and improves organizational and fine motor skills. After I underwent a major surgery, I was on bed rest for eight weeks, and adult coloring books were a lifesaver. They passed the time, were pretty and kept me in a constant state of calm. I devoured them.”

And fortunately, there’s now a plethora of these coloring books to satisfy the increasing demand. Since the craze began in early 2015, sales have been skyrocketing: over 1.75 million sold for just the 10 bestselling adult color books. Favorite drawing themes include animals, jungle, floral and Zen-inspired mandalas. The trend is worldwide with adults joining coloring book clubs, holding coloring parties, taking coloring breaks at work, stores offering free, in-store coloring sessions with materials provided.

And there’s an ecological bent. Many coloring aficionados are using sprout pencils, made with sustainable wood, fruit and vegetable-based dyed clay instead of lead, topped by non-GMO seeds that can be planted when the pencil gets too short to use. A company called Inktense is making water-soluble brightly colored pencils that mimic pen and ink when dipped in water. There are also recycled paper books, soy crayons, watercolor paints and non-toxic markers.

Adult coloring books may be the perfect 21st century past time -0 anxiety reduction, environmental friendliness, and capitalism all rolled into one. No guilt. You don’t even have to color within the lines!

Check out this sample coloring book.

“The Zen of adult coloring books” – The Atlantic
“Why adults are buying coloring books for themselves” – The New Yorker
“A neuroscientist explains the allure of the adult coloring book” – New York Magazine