The Adult Coloring Book Phenomenon

by Carolyn Edlund

This hot trend is everywhere ~ on Amazon’s bestseller list, featured in the New York Times, showing up on television commercials. Adult coloring books are making a splash, and provide opportunities for artists.


Color Me Cats Adult Coloring Book by BZTAT


Artist Vicki Boatwright, doing business as BZTAT, insists that she really didn’t want to make coloring books at first. Instead, she asked her Facebook followers if they would be interested in buying whimsical pet-themed designs in coloring book form. “The response was off the charts,” she says. This reaction spurred her to publish her first coloring book, Color Me Cats, and she now has six more books in the works.

Why are diehard fans cropping up for these trendy coloring books? “People wanted to interact with my art,” says Boatwright, “This put my creative designs in their hands even if they couldn’t afford my original work.”

“Coloring books aren’t just for kids anymore,” she continues. “The images in these books are intended for adults and are intriguing and challenging. Coloring is a comforting, methodical task that helps you relax and de-stress. They also allow people to express their creativity even if they feel they have limited talent and ability.”

She had her coloring books made by a printer in her hometown in Ohio, where she was able to review them in person as a quality check. Other formats in the marketplace include individual pages or downloads that customers can print out themselves. Physical books can be made on publishing sites like CreateSpace from Amazon.

Boatwright offers a few tips for artists who want to produce their own coloring books:

  • Use heavier paper stock to accommodate markers as well as crayons
  • Each page should have designs printed on one side only, so that ink won’t bleed through
  • Perforate pages for ease of removing the page from the book
  • Use spiral binding to enable the book to lay flat for coloring


Awesome Adult Coloring Book


Alice Shapiro is another artist who has embraced the adult coloring book market in full force. She hesitated at first also, but was convinced by a travel agent friend who told her that many adults are taking coloring books along on trips as a leisure activity. She calls her customers “colorists” and refers to them as part of the “adult coloring book community.”

Shapiro is Poet Laureate of Douglasville, Georgia as well as a visual artist, so she made the decision to include poetry with each image in her aptly-titled The Awesome Adult Coloring Book.  She plans to donate a portion of the proceeds to a local high school work-based learning program, thus tying in a charitable cause to each purchase.

Her marketing plans include running a coloring contest, and approaching healthcare professionals about supplying coloring books for medical and hospital waiting rooms to relieve tension in that stressful environment.

“Interest in adult coloring books is growing like crazy,” she says, “this is a long-term trend with no end in sight.”


Have you considered creating an adult coloring book? What was your experience?


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  1. I’m glad to see this article – there is indeed a big surge of interest in adult coloring. I’m amazed at the range and quality and complexity of the books – some a child-simple, some are good for complex, hours-long coloring marathons – something to please everyone!.

    I love silliness, fun and laughter, so I have create 3 coloring books (so far!) with 50 silly, fun and laughing-able drawings per book. Here are the ebooks (5.99) and books in print (9.99):
    I Love You!:

    Thanks for drawing people’s attention to this delightful new craze!

  2. Thank you for posting about adult coloring, Angela. I am glad that a highly reputable platform like Artsy Shark is on board with this new (and maybe under the radar before now) trend. I agree about the variety of imagery available these days which gives people the opportunity to connect with their own special niche, making their coloring experience more personally enjoyable. Because of my arts background I have chosen to combine Fine Arts paintings with digital design to make a unique look and give my Colorist customers a finished product closer to an original work of art than is the usual contour line coloring book style. Yeah for diversity! Much good luck.

  3. It’s so exciting to see artists taking advantage of this trend, because it both meets a creative need for non-artists and gives artists a way to share their work. There is so much opportunity and room for diversity. Thanks Carolyn for bringing attention to the opportunities for artists!

  4. It’s so awesome, I made one! Well mines a little different a colouring in folder, I’m trying to offer a more collaborative, creative opportunity between the artist and the person colouring (also an artist :))!

  5. Yes – having a positive interactive experience for people, or as they say “Colorists” and potential Colorists, is the most important thing about coloring. We attempt to fulfill the needs of this community by giving a little bit of social bonding and some chill-out stress-busting time away from the chaos of the world – not only at home alone but in our coloring classes at The Irish Bred Pub and…. tada…. coming in 2016 the 1st Annual Coloring BoOK-A-KOn. We’ll be looking at vendor and panel applicants in the near future and would love to have Artsy Shark artists in the mix. Although we don’t promote heavily about our roots, we are a Christian-based community and welcome all who seek higher ways to interact with the world.

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