Grown-Ups Get Out Their Crayons, by: A. Alter

From the Tuesday edition of The New York Times that came with the papers today…

It may surprise fans of Johanna Basford’s intricately hand-drawn coloring books that the artist is, by her own admission, “pretty bad” at coloring.

“I can’t stay in the lines,” she said sheepishly.

Not that it matters.  Ms. Basford’s coloring book “Secret Garden”, a 96-page collection of elaborate ink drawings of flowers, leaves, trees and birds, has become a global best-seller.

Since its release in spring 2013, “Secret Garden” has sold more than 1.4 million copies in twenty-two languages.  Her follow-up, “Enchanted Forest,” is briskly selling through its first print run of nearly 226,000 copies.

What makes Ms. Basford’s breakout success all the more surprising is her target audience: adults who like coloring books.

There are, it seems, a lot of them.  Though it is tempting to describe the market for her books as a niche.  Ms. Basford, a 31-year-old illustrator in Scotland, has quickly outgrown that label.

Hard-core fans often buy several copies of her books at a time, to experiment with different color combinations.  Others have turned it into a social activity.  Rebekah Jean Duthie, who lives in Queensland, Australia, and works for the Red Cross, says she regularly gathers with friends for “coloring circles” at cafes and in one another’s homes.

“Each page can transport you back to a gentler time of life,” she said of the books in an email.

Ms. Basford has become something of a literary celebrity in South Korea, where “Secret Garden” has sold more than 430,000 copies, she says.  The craze was kicked off in part, it seems, by Korean pop-star, Kim Ki-bum, who posted a delicately colored-in floral pattern from Ms. Basford’s book on Instagram, where he has 1.8 million followers.

Part of the apparent appeal is the tactile, interactive nature of the books, which offer respite to the screen-weary.  “People are really excited to do something analog and creative, at a time when we’re all so overwhelmed by screens and the Internet,” Ms. Basford said.

Her publish break came in 2011, when an editor at Laurence King Publishing saw her work online.  The editor thought her graceful illustrations c9ould work well as a children’s coloring book.

“I came back and said I would like to do a coloring book for grown-ups, and it got a bit quiet for a moment,” Ms. Basford said.

To convince them that it was a viable market, she drew five sample pages of mosaic-like illustrations.  The publishers were sold.

Ms. Basford spent the next nine months working on the book.  Occasionally she had doubts.  “I was worried that coloring for adults was silly and it was just me that wanted to do it,” she said.

Other entries to this small but growing category include Patricia J. Wynne’s lavish, nature-themed Creative Haven coloring books—discreetly described as being “designed for experienced colorists”—and the more explicitly titled “Coloring Books for Grownups”, released by Chiquita Publishing.  A subspecies of these books promotes the meditative aspect of coloring.

Major publishers are seizing on the trend.  This year, Little, Brown will release four illustrated coloring books for adults, all subtitled, “Color Your Way to Calm.”  The books, “Splendid Cities” by the British artists Rosie Goodwin and Alice Chadwick and three titles by the French illustrator Zoé de Las Cases, feature detailed city-scapes with famous landmarks, cafes and street life.

Ms. Basford is now working on her third book.  In the meantime, “Secret Garden” has sold out in many markets.  Laurence King is reprinting 750,000 copies for the United States.

Last month, Ms. Basford tries to calm her followers with a post of Facebook: “Don’t panic!  New stock of Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest is on its way!”

Some were not placated.  “WEEKS?” on frantic follower replied.   “I can’t possibly wait WEEKS!”

This still just shows, how EMPTY modern man’s souls are becoming, I mean, I get that coloring books somehow brings you BACK to that innocent childhood state of mind, and, in your HECTIC lives, you MAY need to find some ESCAPES, sure, but, this is just, way too out there, it just shows how empty the modern man’s souls are getting, because they needed some childhood activities, to help them COPE, with their adult lives, no offense to the author of the books here though, but, feel free, to TAKE tons, I’m still just, stating MY opinions here on the matter is all.

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Filed under Coping Mechanisms, Emptiness of Modern Man's Souls, My Thoughts on Various Issues, Observations, Socialization

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