Adults everywhere are taking up coloring. Have you heard this? Chances are you have, because IT’S BIG. Somehow, though, it took until two weeks ago for this news to reach me. I really should keep current on events related to my occupation.
This craze, which is all about stress relief, has spawned a whole new product category: coloring books for adults. More detailed and intricate than those for children, their themes include — but are far from limited to — flora and fauna, fashion, designs and patterns of endless genres.
When I first heard the news, I thought, “I could do that. I could make books for adults who color.” That same day, with an iPad pen-and-ink app, I began drawing black-outlined pictures within the already popular themes – just to test myself – knowing more creativity would be needed to break through the clutter in this crowded market.
Side note: My passion for fine art and everything else creative continues. But going commercial part time for a little spending money doesn’t feel like a bad thing.
Online reports say these books are “best sellers” and “flying off the racks.” With 50 to 100 pages and typically priced between $5 and $10, they sounded junky to me. I had to see and touch these for myself. So I visited a bricks-and-mortar Barnes and Noble.
Surprise! I expected they’d be akin to the cheap newsprint crossword puzzle magazines at the drug store. But no. Many of the coloring books were perfect-bound; a lot had single-side printed pages; and some had perforated pages “for easy removal and framing.” I estimate 40 different books were displayed in the what’s-trending entryway bookracks.
Online I also found articles on how to be an adult who colors, with advice on keeping your pencils sharp and how to choose colors. Since adult coloring is about stress relief, I question whether instructions and advice are really helpful. Maybe for the type-A colorers.
Competing with publishers who benefit from economies of scale and well-established distribution channels is out. But maybe there’s a smaller place for me in this market and something different I could do. I’m willing to give it the old kindergarten try.
… and my WIP project list grows longer …