2016-02-25 / Viewpoint

Color me cool, calm and corrected

Rhonda S. Sanders — Reporter

Burnt sienna, a name burned into my brain in childhood, is a jarring blend of orange and brown that was my least favorite color in the Crayola big box of crayons. That same box also introduced me to the word magenta, my favorite color. I don’t know if Crayola still makes those colors but they popped into my head during my recent introduction to adult coloring books.

Yes, coloring books for adults. When my sister-in-law told me about hers about six months ago, I confess that I looked at her strangely. Seriously, a grown woman with nothing better to do than spend hours coloring pretty pictures in a blank book. She’s retired with lots of leisure time, but still.

Like pet rocks, chia pets, mood rings and millions of seemingly wacky products that got people to part with their money, I figured adult coloring books were just another fad that would be quickly forgotten.

Then I started seeing them everywhere. Michael’s -which is advertising them as the fastest growing adult hobby in the nation – has an entire rack of them just inside the entrance. At Sam’s Club, I found several versions displayed on the magazine rack. Ollie’s has them too. They are not cheap either -running anywhere from $4 to $12. They come in a variety of abstract themes such Mandalas, Zentangle, paisley patterns, florals, psychedelic animals and my personal favorite – swear words.

Before that last sentence gets me in trouble, let me quickly explain that adult coloring books are especially designed and marketed as therapeutic stress relievers. So now I have the option of confining my stress-relieving swear words to a pretty picture on paper instead of saying them out loud.

I did some research and learned that the books were introduced circa 2013 and by April 2015 the bestselling book on Amazon was an adult coloring book called “Secret Garden” that reportedly has sold more than 1.4 million copies.

Two adult coloring books are listed right now on Amazon’s top 10 bestseller list. I don’t know if adults are buying them for themselves or for children but they are flying off the shelves.

So I caved in and bought one about a month ago. Sad to say I have not found time to use it yet, which defeats the purpose. The very reason so many of us are stressed out is because we don’t make the time to slow down, take things easy, chill out and indulge our inner child.

But I am hopeful. I carry my book and crayons in my car which is the most likely place away from home where I might unexpectedly need to kill some time. I am looking forward to my reunion with burnt sienna, magenta and the flood of happy childhood memories they bring. As a bonus, the finished works are suitable for framing, making them a creative way to obtain custom art to match your home décor. rsanders@mihomepaper.com

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