Half of the top ten best sellers in the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association are colouring books. "Coloring itself cannot be called art therapy", an expert says.
Coloring books are no longer just for the children. In fact, adult coloring books are all the rage right now.
Last year, sales of coloring books in the US shot up from 1 million to 12 million units. On Amazon, they are in five of the top 20 slots.
And though the first commercially successful adult coloring books were published in 2012 and 2013, the once-niche hobby has now grown into a full-on trend, with everyone from researchers at Johns Hopkins University to the editors of Yoga Journal suggesting coloring as an alternative to meditation.
According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is a mental health profession in which the process of making and creating artwork is used to "explore feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety and increase self-esteem."
However, it is important to note that using an adult coloring book is not exactly the same as completing an art therapy session. "Coloring itself cannot be called art therapy because art therapy relies on the relationship between the client and the therapist," says Marygrace Berberian, a certified art therapist and the Clinical Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for the Graduate Art Therapy Program at NYU.
CHRISTIAN COLOURING BOOKS
The niche-ing out has extended to religion, moving beyond general Christian colouring books into more, specific, even minority religions.
Christian colouring books are the ones with the greatest number of titles, as Christian publishing houses were the quickest to spin off the adult colouring book craze.
Actually, half of the top ten best sellers for May in the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (EPCA) are colouring books.
COLORING BOOKS IN ALL RELIGIONS
There are also a great variety of Catholic and Buddhist colouring books, while Jewish adult books are just beginning to take off,
Islam forbids the making of icons, but artists are working within this framework by doing what Islamic artists have done for centuries: drawing Muslim geometric motifs and calligraphy. Until recently, grown-up Muslim colourers had to rely on single-page downloads or self-published bundles of faith-based illustrations.
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