About 6 months ago I was in my local Waterstones, wondering what to buy with some old book tokens I’d found at the back of a desk drawer.
Alas, the only other time I visit Waterstones is to check out the latest books and then order them via Amazon!
I’m actually a regular visitor to our local Oxfam bookshop, where I’ve found some amazing buy-sell opportunities. But I’ll leave that for another post…
Anyhow, I was in the art section when I came across a book called Art Therapy Mandalas – 100 Designs for Colouring in and Meditation.
Intrigued, I bought the book.
Once home I dug out a set of good pencils I’d bought years ago but never got around to using.
And then I got started…
Colouring in is said to aid mindfulness, lower stress and generally aid mental well-being.
And I can vouch for that.
But what they don’t mention is just how addictive it can be!
I always want to make sure I finish a mandala, but on some of the more complex ones, that means 6 hours or more of continuous colouring in!
But hey, it keeps me off the streets and completely chilled after the stresses of the day.
Of course, once hooked, I started searching Amazon for other books to satisfy my cravings…
Most others were more crafty and without sounding like a colouring in snob, a bit too easy.
I much prefer something really intricate – after all, it’s the process rather than the end result that matters.
Rather than lower my standards/keep up the challenge I branched out and started downloading images of old woodcuts instead!
Once I had the bug, I’d literally make an excuse just to go to the local art shop to check out their gel pens!
Sad, I know… but I’m probably not alone.
In the last few weeks, it seems like colouring in for grown ups is everywhere.
Suddenly, it’s gone mainstream… and is making some people very rich!
I was in Selfridges department store last week and they had a dedicated table for the new trend.
And as I type these words, 3 out of the top 10 best selling books on amazon.co.uk are colouring titles.
On the US Amazon.com site it’s 7 out of the top 20!
Johanna Basford is the undisputed queen of the genre, selling over 1.4 MILLION copies of her book The Secret Garden since 2013.
Millie Marotta has sold half a million books!
And I’ve seen a TV ad for an Art Therapy Part Work.
This colouring in for grown ups craze started in France where books were explicitly marketed as a de-stressing exercise and it has spread here.
Waterstones has revealed there was a 300 per cent rise in sales of colouring books between Christmas 2013 and Christmas 2014.
Go back further, and the famed psychotherapist Carl Jung first discovered the therapeutic benefits of mandalas with his patients.
If colouring in isn’t your thing, what about doodling?
Whilst researching the subject, I went down a lot of rabbit holes…
And one led me to a whole publishing phenomena called Zentangles.
According to the website, “with the Zentangle Method anyone can create beautiful images from repetitive patterns.”
Interestingly, one woman is selling her Zentangle doodles as – yes you guessed it – images for adult colouring books!
Colouring books for grown ups will be one of the THE major publishing trends of 2015 and if you are so minded, this could definitely offer you extra income opportunities:
- Create your own colouring books – either illustrate yourself or commission others and sell as digital or print on demand via Amazon
- Alternatively find images (art/prints) in the public domain – upload to a computer and remove any colour, allowing the colourist to add their own
- Consider subject-specific colouring books – dogs, cats, flowers, decorative patterns, heraldry…
And the lesson?
Open your eyes.
Six months ago I would have never thought adult colouring books or doodling would become such a publishing phenomenon.
This week, try and be open to the possibilities of what’s going on around you.
Are more and more people talking about a specific subject? A film, book, product, company, website…
Listen on the bus, in a queue, at work…
I guarantee once you open your eyes and ears and tune in, you’ll start to see patterns and new trends.
And make sure you report back with anything juicy!