Crossing the lines - a discourse on adult colouring books

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


    At the Ecologies of Publishing Futures Symposium, Royal College of Art2015, Lucas Dietrich of Thames & Hudson listed the top three sellingbooks in the UK as Adult Colouring Books, Children Picture Books andBooks on Mindfulness. The publishing phenomenon of illustrator JohannaBasford’s Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book,published by Laurence King 2013 – whose intricately drawn pictures havesold over 10 million copies worldwide to date - has helped reinvigorate thepublishing industry, speciÖcally the Colouring Book form. This paper setsout to explore this popularity in Adult Colouring Books, from its historicaland cultural context through to its future potential. Far from it being anew publishing trend, the history traces back to the Seventeenth Century,acquiring signiÖcant popularity in 1960s prior to the recent revival. Thefuture of the Adult Colouring Book format could serve as a powerfultool for visual communication. Using Lights Out limited edition Artists’Colouring Book series as an example, the paper explores the unique functions and history of this format and its future potential. This paper sets outthe challenge of reintroducing content and narrative to this format thathas been largely lost over recent decades. It investigates how aspects ofinteractivity in Adult Colouring Books could be developed further; contrasting the positive psychological impact of the physical act of colouringwith that of digital colouring
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCONFIA 2017
    Subtitle of host publication5th International Conference on Illustration and Animation Conference Proceedings
    PublisherInstituto Politécnico do Càvado e do Ave
    Number of pages8
    ISBN (Print)9789899986138
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017
    EventCONFIA ’17 - 5th International Conference on Illustration & Animation - Guimarães, Guimarães, Portugal
    Duration: 14 Sept 201916 Sept 2019


    ConferenceCONFIA ’17 - 5th International Conference on Illustration & Animation
    Abbreviated titleCONFIA '17
    Internet address


    • Authorial Illustration
    • Interactivity
    • Drawing
    • Adult Colouring Books


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