Why do we need coloring books?

by Eli Ventura July 27, 2016

Adult coloring books are, really basically, coloring in books for grown ups. Like children's coloring books, they are full of outline illustrations designed to be packed in with colored pencils, markers, crayons, or whatever additional media you wish to apply.

What's in an adult coloring in book?

The major difference between adults' and kids' color books is that the grown up versions usually feature less juvenile images and designs. Instead of superheroes, barnyard creatures, and television characters, adult coloring in books are more often made up of:

  • elements of the natural world, such as trees, flowers, leaves, gardens, animals and insects;
  • geometric designs;
  • psychedelic patterns;
  • repetitive 'wallpaper' type patterns;
  • cities and buildings;
  • anatomical drawings;
  • goddesses, angels, and mermaids;
  • mandalas; and
  • celtic designs.

Why is it good?

The growth in recognition of the books reportedly has much to do with adult relaxation and also stress and anxiety release. Many adults who use the books report that they discover the repetitive, low-stress nature of coloring in to be soothing, relaxing, and a way of de-stressing away from the stresses of living and work.

Among the other benefits of adult coloring in books, they also claim to enjoy recapturing the ostalgia of childhood by engaging in an action usually reserved for children. It takes people back to a simpler time, and can also be a way for parents to connect and bond with their children by sitting to color in with them. Obviously, many parents have been happily coloring in kids' books for years, but these days they have choices that are not limited to Dora the Explorer or SpongeBob Square Pants.

Why do we need it?

Adult coloring books clearly help serve many purposes that are beneficial. They can be so much more than the color by number that people might be thinking they are. They can be focused, therapeutic, relaxing, calming, problem solving, and organizational. As you can see, they are highly effective for many reasons, and the ideas behind them have stood the test of time, even if they feel like they are only the latest fad

  1. Coloring brings us back to a convenient time. Any activity that can invoke the easier and happier times of childhood any time when we do not have as many responsibilities, and may just do something because we wanted too, for the pure joy of it. To be able to take advantage of this time and these emotions is very cathartic and enjoyable. It can take you out of your present stresses and worries for even a few hours at a time, which can have an exceptionally recuperative effect.
  2. Coloring utilizes both hemispheres of the brain, right and left. When we are thinking about balance, color choices, applying colored pencil to paper, we are working on problem solving and fine motor skills. We have talked a great deal about where they would be suggested by psychologists, but this is where they can very useful for occupational therapy as well. Imagine all the areas of retraining of the brain and skills training that can be accomplished with coloring Increasingly difficult designs. The individual can start on easier items, and work their way up
  3. These activities can help tremendously with individuals with PTSD, anxiety, and stress issues, as they calm down our amygdala. This is the part of the brain that controls our fight or flight response, and keeps individuals in a heightened state of worry, panic, and hyper-vigilance, when it is active. Coloring and focusing on this harmless and calming activity can actually turn that response down, and let your brain have some much needed rest and relaxation.


In summary, coloring for adults appears to be a growing past-time that allows adults to relax and unplug from the stress in their lives, by engaging in a hands-on activity that involves minimal commitment and maximum nostalgia.




Eli Ventura
Eli Ventura