On Adult Coloring Books {What Do You Think}

Has it ever happened to you that you think you’re OK with something, but then you find when you’re faced with it – you react differently?

On a recent 3 hour flight to the East Coast for work, I settled in with an audiobook, and watched as the young lady sitting beside me whipped out a coloring book and her coloring pencils.

As she flipped through the book to the page she was about to start working on, I saw that she had already colored in some beautiful designs. She chose her color and started in. 30 minutes later, she was still coloring … 60 minutes later I thought, Wow … that looks like a ridiculous waste of time for an adult.

I actually can’t believe those thoughts entered my head as I had even considered doing it myself at one stage. I’m also not proud of myself for judging this person. I mean  she’s free to do whatever the hell she wants with her time.

I guess, I was just surprised at my own reaction. After all, I read books about vampires, werewolves, fantasy etc. – and I get judged for my choice of reading material all the time.

reading diversity

Yet, here I was, thinking negative thoughts about someone’s choice of a hobby.

So, what do you think about adult coloring books? Have you ever surprised yourself with your reaction to something you thought you were OK with before?

(Image Credit)


// Comments //

  1. When I first noticed this trend, I was slightly interested but felt I didn’t have enough time. I was interested because I enjoyed coloring as a kid. I entered a phase in my life where I was too stressed to read a book because I couldn’t get my brain to settle down. So I tried the adult coloring books and it helped a lot. Then I got bored and stopped. I’ve never thought to judge anyone for doing it but I didn’t “get” it for relaxation for the longest time. My hubby plays video games for relaxation and I judge him ALL. THE. TIME. So there’s that.

    http://www.bookaholicreflections.com (same blog, new url)

    • Tanya Patrice

      Mar 13

      @Alexis Ha! I judge my hubby for the same thing 🙂 But then he judges me for being addicted to Candy Crush of all things.

  2. I got a coloring book from my secret sister and I enjoyed coloring a couple of pictures, but I did end up losing interest relatively quickly—I’d just rather read. Though maybe coloring while listening to an audiobook might be a nice way to unwind. I do think a lot of people find coloring relaxing and it’s no worse than sitting and playing random games on a phone or something on a flight. 🙂

  3. Gail Wood

    Feb 22

    I sometimes color and when I’m in meetings and at work, I doodle. I have a jar of colored pencils and one of markers on my desk. Sometimes that brings the most productive thoughts, especially when I’m stuck. In meetings, it helps me pay attention. Kinesthic learning. Coloring books, I have a bunch. Just like I revise my and everyone else’s writing, I want the pictures to be different too. I enjoy coloring and find it soothing especially at this time when the amount of stress is rather high.
    I work in higher education so genre reading is pooh-poohed a lot. There’s a pecking order with mysteries and some SFF being acceptable. I’ve learned not to give a flying F about it. I spent a lot of time getting my degrees and have read more than my fair share of the canon, literary fiction, and literature. My me time is to please me. Never apologize for your reading material. You are reading and the world is telling you its story. It’s all very good indeed.

  4. Kim

    Feb 21

    I got a coloring book for Christmas a couple years back. I enjoyed coloring but found that every time I sat down to do it my mind immediately wandered to what else I should or could be doing instead. I was thinking, “I shouldn’t be wasting my time like this,” and then I’d close the book and get up and do something else. I just couldn’t get past that so I finally stopped trying to work on it. And come to think of it, this was also totally my thinking when I was drawing out layouts for my bullet journal. It felt like a giant waste of time.

  5. I think we’re sort of conditioned to think that everything we do has to be productive in some way. We can justify reading maybe because we see it as an intellectual pursuit, even though we’re often doing it for entertainment or relaxation purposes. But watching a movie, playing a board game, etc. could all be as “nonproductive” as coloring, and that doesn’t mean they’re a waste of time. Coloring is used by some people to reduce stress, but even if people just enjoy it as a hobby, I see nothing wrote with it, just like there’s nothing wrong with playing a video game or taking some personality quizzes or whatever else people do in their free time. We don’t need to be producing all the time to be using that time effectively. But we might even consider the woman coloring on the plane as doing something productive, since I’m not sure how many options she has while on a flight. It’s not like she can really start making soap or baking or engage in some sort of hobby that would have a more obvious product. Reading or listening to music would seem to be her other options–but listening to music could also be considered a waste of time, since she’s not producing music herself.

  6. I love the idea of adult coloring books. I think coloring is relaxing and promotes mindfulness, but I prefer to create my own zentangles to color. Even though I’m no artist, it’s a lot more satisfying than coloring in someone else’s design. Plus, I can do it in my journal, which I’ll hang on to forever. I don’t do it very often, but it’s a nice way to keep my hands busy when I’m listening to an audiobook.

  7. Ikram Ali

    Feb 20

    I love coloring books, I could never sit for hours and do nothing but color, so I usually listen to an audiobook so it’s not a complete waste of time.

  8. I used to love to color, but I don’t think I could do it for hours. I’ve thought of buying an adult coloring book because the images are so beautiful in some of them. But in the end, I knew I probably wouldn’t spend time coloring the darn thing and didn’t get it. I haven’t missed it.

    • Tanya Patrice

      Feb 20

      @Kathy sometimes we just have to prioritize some hobbies over others.

  9. Lizzy

    Feb 20

    I find the coloring very relaxing…maybe too relaxing, as my mind wanders but doesn’t necessarily disengage. I guess I would probably like it more if I was doing it while listening to an audiobook or lecture or something? I could definitely see doing it in the middle of college lectures. I’m an auditory learned and I used to knit through my lectures…of course people thought it was weird but then I got some of the best grades in class! That said, I can’t sit down and JUST color. I start thinking of all the other things I could/should be doing. Haha!

    • Tanya Patrice

      Feb 20

      @Lizzy I even bought a coloring book and some markers but never actually got around to the coloring part!

  10. the other one

    Feb 20

    I have very similar interests for reading material, like you– and I hate getting the judgement :/ These books are good, in a way, but I don’t necessarily think they needed to be as hyped as they were.

    • Tanya Patrice

      Feb 20

      @the other one I definitely get judged for my choice of reading material sometimes, but I get over it and just keep enjoying what works for me.

  11. I had similar thoughts about adult colouring, but then when I actually tried it I totally changed my mind. I don’t colour often, but I do turn to my colouring books when I need to really wind down and relax – it is great as it just takes all the stress away from things.

    • Tanya Patrice

      Feb 20

      @Jade that’s pretty awesome that it helps you to relax and destress!

  12. Oh man…I’m with you…I just cannot imagine spending hours and hours coloring. What a colossal waste of time. But, to each his own. You do you. Maybe it’s mentally relaxing (which I understand the need for). And I guess it’s less of a waste of time than meditating (spending time doing absolutely nothing) and lots of people encourage that for mental well-being.

    I’m sure people judge my methods of mental relaxation, which are reading and running or working out in the gym.

    • Tanya Patrice

      Feb 20

      @Sarah I agree with you but to each his own .