The orange box with the ingenious stacking design and that cool hinged top opening up to 64 exotic colors ranks high in my childhood memories. You know you loved your Crayola crayons, and probably coveted, as I did, the 108 box, too rich for our blood. All I know is, coloring alongside my mom or my sister made for a marvelous morning—pick out sea green or siena brown, cornflower blue or salmon pink—make that page your own. You might need to use the equally ingenious sharpener nestled in the back, all the better to fill in those intricate designs. My sister showed me the way with her carefully crafted, deeply toned creations; I envied her even strokes, mature compared to my wiggly and mottled lines.
It’s no surprise to me that the adult coloring rage has exploded in the last year. The moment of narrowing our focus to a single spot in an appealing image, the physical act of moving the crayon up and down, around, filling gaps with wondrous color. I was calmed without even knowing it. No wonder hundreds of marketing departments spied the stress-reducing potential, making it big business. (See Sarah Halzak’s recent report on the boom.) What took it so long?
The pantheon of coloring books is limited only by your ability to find your bliss; no doubt, there is a coloring book to fill your every desire. There are the straightforward, pretty books, with animals or flowers, like Scottish author Johanna Basford’s 2013 title, Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book. (Many say this kicked off the craze.) But you can also be your own Van Gogh or Andy Warhol. Go crazy with graffiti, go wild with designs. (A Mental Floss round-up includes some interesting alternatives.) More modern titles get even more creative, offering social commentary: you can “dress up a lawyer,” see dinosaurs with jobs. Or just indulge in your other guilty pleasures--spend time with your favorite celebrity, your binge-worthy TV show. From Indie rock to rap, Golden Girls to Game of Thrones, celebrating Bill Murray or your campus experience (a “college companion” lets you write on the faces of your drunk friends), there are mandalas to induce our zen moments. Hell, there are a dozen books on curse words to exorcise your stress demons and a raunchy book about break-ups.
Not sure I’m ready to join a coloring club, which are everywhere; coloring seems a singular pursuit. Then again, who can pass up another reason to hang out, and perhaps enjoy a sip of chardonnay along the way? And seems many want to share their creations, one Facebook Page has more than 4,500 likes.
Flora Chang’s artwork is a natural for this genre, and when you opened your Spring Box, we know you are enchanted, as we were, with her delightful doodles. And Flora herself is a delight, from her appropriate name to the joy she shows in her work and her personality. We went behind the drawing board to find out a little about this artist. We’ll share her words with you next time.
(What? You haven’t ordered your spring box yet? It’s one of the best, with blasts of color, spring recipes and jewelry, plantings and even pencils to get you started. Order today, and share your masterpieces!)