These days, it's impossible to walk into a Barnes & Noble, Walmart, or any similar store without crossing paths with an array of adult coloring books, also known as cathartic coloring. It’s hard to say why it took publishers so long to realize that adults not only love coloring—an interest cultivated in childhood—but their stress levels demand a relaxing break.
If you have the heart of a child but the coloring talent of someone trained to differentiate color shades and stick within the lines, you can find a variety of coloring books depicting turtles, cities, flowers, inspirational messages, curse words, and my new personal favorite: book characters.
Over the past year, I’ve noticed several interesting coloring books popping up on sites like Amazon, including one for Avatar: The Last Airbender and at least six different coloring books related to Harry Potter. Now several popular Young Adult series have their own coloring books as well. Here are a few I’ve come across:
This new trend of Young Adult coloring books tempts me more than any others. From the previews I’ve seen, these books are gorgeous. Barring The Mortal Instruments—which boasts both a movie and TV show adaptation—none of the YA novels mentioned above have film adaptations. This means these new YA coloring books offer the first official visual depictions of beloved characters.
Previously, fans of such series would rely entirely on fan art for glimpses of characters primarily existing within the imagination, but now they have countless images at their fingertips. Whether you color the book or not, it's exciting to see scenes from YA novels depicted in such detail.
I wholly support the power of readers to imagine their own images of characters. Even if these coloring books are officially licensed, people should feel free to cling to their mental pictures rather than feel betrayed by another artist’s rendering. But it is still fun to see popular novels depicted in this way, and I bet the authors adore it. I jumped with joy the first time I saw my characters drawn on a piece of paper—courtesy of my college roommate—so I can’t imagine how exciting it is to see a detailed coloring book of the story you spent years toiling over.
If you are interested in purchasing one of these coloring books, they are sold by both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and usually linked on the author’s website. If you are a writer wishing to see your characters brought to life, or a reader wanting extra art of favorite characters, there are many artists who accept commissions and produce wonderful work. As an example, click here to check out the work of my college roommate, who created the image on my website’s home screen.
All in all, the new trend of Young Adult coloring books seems like a great idea, and they have certainly made their way onto my wish list. What do you think? Are adult coloring books a good addition to the YA market? Which series would you love to see depicted in a coloring book?
I write YA fantasy and contemporary fiction. This blog is dedicated to thoughts and advice on writing and publishing, as well as various interests related to the world of Young Adult.