The demand for adult colouring books has been on the rise for the last few months. Mallika Iyer looks at factors that might help in explaining this peculiar trend
If you thought listening to music and going for a swim were ideal ways to relax and reboot to escape the growing urban clutter that surrounds us, there is yet another alternative quickly scaling the charts for this space. Adult Colouring Books! Yes…that’s right! Colouring books for adults.
It is a growing trend in the global book market and the Indian market is catching up. Users cite various reasons for its growing popularity, from finding it stress-busting and therapeutic to discovering their creative and expressive side through these books. Besides, it’s a way to unplug from the routine, get away from the world bound by wifi and screen-time and engage in an activity where nobody is going to judge you for your performance.
Companies creating art material were quick to notice these international trends and create a line for Indian users. “In countries like Europe and North America, colouring books for adults have become immensely popular. We have launched Adult Colouring kits, keeping in mind that it will encourage adults to pursue colouring as a hobby,” explains Saumitra Prasad, Chief Marketing Officer of Kokuyo Camlin Ltd.
A few years ago, imported books of this genre started appearing in airport bookshops and shopping sites and they were hugely popular. Books with Indian designs and themes soon followed. “In the west, one finds titles based on Harry Potter, Lord of Rings etc. Here we have a mix of four types of designs like mandalas, animals, flowers and forests. There is a certain cultural uniqueness. Maybe in future, Indian monuments, tribal art etc., would also occupy their rightful space in these books,” elaborates Prasad.
Kanika Gupta of Iktaara is a creator of Adult colouring books and she believes that images that work are those that have a soul. “There is a lot of stress in the world and colouring books are therapeutic because people use art to de-stress. It is a luxury to indulge in mindfulness because of time constraints. There is a lot of potential because the market understands the value for mindfulness and craves for more,” Gupta says.
The user experience
There are others for whom Colouring Books act as a medium to connect with their creative side. Aditi Chowdhary-Gandhi, a user of colouring books says she has been a creative person and enjoyed art as a child, but her job, being purely research based, leaves her little scope to give wings to her creative side. Adult Colouring Books helped her to fix that gap. “My job is all about spreadsheets and data. There is no colour and creativity. Colouring Books help me ensure that my creative side is not compromised. It helps me relax and reconnect. I find it most rewarding,” she explains.
“I use colouring books to temper the swirling winds in my mind to a gentle breeze. It calms and focuses my mind,” says Nilang Desai, a Mumbai based lawyer, who has just turned to colouring books as a means of relaxation. These books seem to help one develop focussed attention on the task at hand along with giving one a sense of creative satisfaction and calm.
The market trends and the user experience make one wonder what it is about these Adult Colouring Books that seem to have caught the fancy of so many. And the answer to that perhaps lies somewhere deep within the mind. “Art has been a form of ventilation and meditation since pre-language times,” explains Hemalatha S, a practising physiotherapist in Navi Mumbai, speaking about how art has been perceived as therapeutic for centuries, with an innate ability to heal and calm the mind. “When a person creates art, their brain is stimulated. Art makes you feel aware of what one has stored emotionally and is one of the most intense forms of expression. This is why,” she explains, “art therapy is so effective. One can express their inner self without the constraints of words, which are restricting and limiting.”
The other aspect is that of Colour. Colour therapy is a method used to heal significant mental and physical illnesses. Modern living is fast eroding the creative and aesthetic side to our lives. Art and Colouring help to stimulate a certain part of the brain that can induce a different and positive emotional response. “We are taken back to our childhood through colouring – to times of innocence and wonder. Where we could appreciate spontaneous joy in the world around and within us,” explains Hemalatha. “At a clinical level, colouring increases attention and concentration while also promoting relaxation and calmness.”
While it may seem puzzling that Colouring Books for Adults are flying off bookshelves at stores, there certainly does appear to be more than what meets the eye. So, the next time you find yourself looking for something different to do, to relax and rejuvenate after a busy week, perhaps a return to those childhood days of creativity and colour is all you need!