The growing craze of colouring books sweeps US market (VIDEO)

Adult colouring books often feature pages of complex black-and-white drawings frequently inspired by flowers, animals and geometrical patterns. — Screengrab from Reuters videoWASHINGTON, March 31 — Colouring books, once seen only as a pastime for children, have become a growing craze for American adults looking to unwind or test their creativity with colouring pencils.

The trend has spawned colouring parties and clubs where grown-ups get together to colour and socialise.

“You feel creative and you’re like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know I could that, that looks pretty good,’“ Washington resident Lydia Pesant said at a city library that hosts colouring parties every month.

With thousands of titles on the market, colouring books emerged as the most popular category of 2015, according to Publisher’s Weekly, a trade magazine.

Nielsen Bookscan, a data provider, estimates that more than 2,000 colouring books were published in 2015, up from 300 in 2014.

Illustrator Teresa Roberts Logan said many people preferred the books to scrapbooking or knitting as a way to relieve stress because of the minimal investment required.

“You could have three or four colour pencils with you or use your kid’s crayons,” said Roberts, who has produced her own book of paisley designs. “They’re very accessible, they’re very portable. I think they’re user-friendly.”

The adult colouring books are a far cry from the ones with simple pictures aimed at children. They often feature pages of complex black-and-white drawings frequently inspired by flowers, animals and geometrical patterns.

Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford’s 2013 book, Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book, is often credited with accelerating the trend. It has sold 11 million copies worldwide.

Colouring books have made their way into online retailer Amazon’s list of best-selling books, often occupying spots in the top 20.

The books can be found in special displays at bookstores and even in grocery stores, such as Whole Foods in the United States.

With Neilsen Bookscan estimating 12 million copies sold in the United States in 2015, the trend shows little sign of slowing. A new generation of colouring books taking inspiration from pop culture instead of more traditional designs is expected to hit stores in 2016.

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