Growing up, lots of us will remember spending hours with our head in a colouring book, tongue out in concentration as we tried to colour within the lines. It was the perfect activity to wile away rainy days – and a chance for our mums to catch five minutes peace and quiet!
Now colouring has had a revival – and this time it’s for adults. Today millions of grown-ups are finding there’s something satisfying and relaxing in creating colourful patterns, while adult colouring books are on the bestseller list in bookshops around the world. So as the nation gets colouring, we share some fun facts about the latest craze.
The French started it
Sacré bleu! Like baguettes and berets, it appears our cousins across the Channel were the first to pioneer this hype du jour. It started a couple of years ago with publishers in France making a success of adult colouring books by marketing them as a kind of ‘art therapy’ to escape the stresses of everyday life. Soon thousands of French women had joined in the trend, and colouring books became fiercely à la mode, outselling even cookery books.
There are coffee mornings for colouring!
In Australia, ‘colouring circles’ are all the rage, where groups of colouring fans scribble together at their local coffee shop. And in New York, BYOC (Bring Your Own Crayons) clubs are quickly gaining popularity. Doodling devotees in the US can also attend colouring parties, where you quaff wine and chat while scribbling the night away.
Celebrities publish their creations
In South Korea, colouring is a real showbiz affair as famous pop stars regularly publish their completed creations online for fans. Back in the UK, colouring books have had plenty of celebrity backers, including the likes of Nigella Lawson. There are plenty of celebrity-inspired designs on the shelves and in some you can colour in portraits of your favourite stars, including Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch.
It’s good for our minds!
It might seem like a modern fad, but colouring has been prescribed to help people since the 1900s. Famous psychologist Carl Jung is thought to have been the first to suggest it, as he gave his patients drawings of Indian shapes called mandalas to colour in. He believed colouring would help people express deeper parts of their psyche and calm their mind.
You can colour-in Britain
Ever fancied painting your city red… pink, yellow and green? Well, now you can as the Ordnance Survey has joined in the trend by releasing its own set of black and white maps of major UK cities, which you can download and colour in. Visit www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/blog/2015/08
It’s a great brain workout
Colouring requires both sides of our brain to work together, matching the logical side of our thinking with our creative side. This helps fine tune our motor skills, which we use for coordination, while relaxing the part of our brain that deals with stress. Some studies have also shown that colouring is a good activity to help focus and calm people with dementia.
Nature is a big draw
There’s a huge variety of adult colouring books available, with nature themes particularly popular. A brand new series has just been released by Design Originals, available in all good book shops and from Amazon, featuring a range of topics. Another favourite is The Secret Garden from Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford, which is full of detailed flora and fauna pictures of nature, each of which shelters tiny creatures you have to spot.