They’re popping up everywhere, and they’re selling as wildly as would a new Harry Potter release.
Adult colouring books make perfect sense: colouring a satisfying pattern or picture feels to the brain the very same as creating art, which, well, you are. In addition to the natural euphoria one gets from creating art, it’s simply nice to turn your Goddamn brain off once in a while and zone out, isn’t it?
Meg Harnum, a local artist and musician, took the new trend to town when she asked a pile of local artists to draw her some colourable illustrations which she could then bind and sell as an adult colouring book. Colouring the art of locals artists: what a great idea, right?
Harnum says her prompt to launch the project was simply that she needed motivation to complete some drawings for an adult colouring book. “I thought getting others involved would help put some pressure on myself to follow through with something for once.” Plenty of people came aboard, including: Mimi Stockland, Patrick Thomas Canning, Knoah Bender, Abby Hann, Cara Marie, Amery Sandford, Jose Gonzalez, Thom Coombes, Laura Jean Frazzled, Sarah Elizabeth, Charles King, Jason Wells, Taylor Jane Furey.
Art therapy in the form of adult colouring books is now being used to treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, and even dementia. And that’s nothing new: it’s been documented as a prescription since the 1900s, and the famous psychologist Carl Jung is often attributed with pioneering the therapy.
Harnum’s rationale for adult colouring is pretty simple. “I am drawn to adult colouring books because I am a giant kid. But also because colouring is fun and it is relaxing. It is really quite therapeutic at the end of the day, a way to keep your hands and mind occupied while you unwind.”
The recent hype around adult colouring books is attributed to publishers in France who marketed them as a way to just shut your brain off for a bit, as Harnum appreciates. Even those French publishers couldn’t have predicted colouring books would come to outsell their cookbooks.
You can find and buy issue one of “The Colouring Book Collective” at The Sprout, Broken Books, and Fixed Coffee & Baking. And if you’ve already found said book and coloured it, there will indeed be another. “I am accepting submissions for the second issue of the C.B.C. as of February 1st. The deadline for submitting is February 28th, and there will be a launch party to follow with details to be announced.”
Submissions must be 8.5″ X 11″ and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone and everyone is welcome to submit a page. Why not take a break from recording your RPM album for a few minutes and draw something fun!”
At the time of this interview Harnum was at work on Patrick Canning’s illustration. “I just started colouring Patrick Canning’s page last night—what a trip! It is mesmerizingly beautiful and intricate. Jason Wells’ portrait of local drag goddess Irma Gerd is pretty awesome as well. All of the pieces are exceptional. We are so lucky to live in a community with so many gifted artists and friends.”