Adult coloring books reduce stress, strengthens relationships

Coloring sheets for adults go beyond flowers and ponies. Most involve intricate designs and patterns such as this fabulous feline. Photo courtesy of Chrissy Carr

Kids, prepare to share your crayons because grown-ups like to color, too.

Whether it’s for artists-at-heart, those looking to relieve stress or simply individuals who enjoy creating, the adult coloring craze is, well, getting colorful.

Coloring books are flying out of publishing houses, landing at the top of best-sellers’ lists and inspiring classes, workshops, parties and even book club-like groups to form, designed for those who want to stay both inside and outside the lines.

“I love to color. I find it extremely meditative and relaxing. Sometimes I start my day with a cup of coffee and a coloring book, and sometimes I end my day with a glass of wine and a coloring book,” said Erika Lopez, with a chuckle.

And now her 95-year-old mother wants to give it a try.

Lopez and her daughter Anna Lopez have included the fun into their business as well. They host twice monthly painting and wine classes at their Boulevard 34 gift shop/creative space in Glendale. Lynette Rozine Prock, author of the book “Mandala Meditation,” which is used for drawing and painting, is the instructor.

One of the hottest coloring titles this year has been Los Angeles-based Souris Hong’s New York Times best-seller “Outside The Lines,” which actually hit shelves in 2013 and was published under the name Souris Hong-Porretta. Hong has since followed it up with the recent debut of “Outside The Lines, Too.” She curated both Penguin Random House works that feature work from 100 animators, cartoonists, musicians and street artists.

“I’m an advocate of anyone who likes thinking outside the box, who likes to do things differently and think differently,” said Hong, who plans to have an Oct. 3 book signing at the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Los Angeles.

As part of the fun, Hong hopes to have materials set up encouraging visitors to go wild. When Hong did a similar event for the first book, more than 1,000 people showed up.

“Museums used to always be don’t-touch places. For this event, yes, you can color on the walls,” she said.

A portion of Hong’s coloring book sales will be donated to the museum’s education fund.

“Most of us grew up coloring, but this last generation has grown up with computer screens in front of them. It’s a nice reprieve from all the iPads and tablets. You actually hold something in your hands and create,” Hong said. “I enjoy the creativity, the colors that reflect your mood and are an expression of ourselves. There is no right or wrong.”

And you’re never too old to color, said Ileene Parker, executive director of the Sherman Oaks East Valley Adult Center.

”Some of us closet colorers have been doing this all our lives,” Parker said.

Volunteer Ardeth Hurvitz gets the credit for urging Parker to start weekly coloring sessions at the center every Wednesday, and they’re a huge hit.

“We’re always trying to come up with activities to engage seniors in hobbies. This is perfect. It’s low cost — at our sessions we provide everything — and you can do it anywhere,” Parker said.

Research shows coloring is relaxing, can lower a person’s blood pressure and is a great way to keep your mind stimulated.

“People who come share and talk. Even though we provide coloring sheets, you still have to be a bit of an artist. You create. You decide what colors to use, where to shade. It’s a great brain activity for any age,” Parker said.

Fern Decena of Santa Monica, who recently created a coloring book club, agrees.

“Coloring helps me focus, stimulates my creativity, and I find it enjoyable,” Decena said. “Plus, it’s a way to gather my girlfriends and spend some quality time with them all.”

Coloring can also strengthen intergenerational relationships. For instance, Parker and her 44-year-old daughter enjoy coloring together.

“It’s fun and brings back memories of when she was a little girl,” she said.

Source: (Daily News)

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