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In Living Color

Coloring books for adults are on the rise
(clockwise from left) Splendid Cities, Secret Tokyo, Secret Paris

 

Coloring ain’t just for kids anymore. In fact, coloring books have been deemed a bonafide stress reliever for adults and the phenomenon is catching on. In 2015, the benefits and rising popularity of coloring books for adults were touted by The New Yorker (“Why adults are buying coloring books — for themselves,” July 12) and The New York Times (“Grown-ups get our their crayons,” March 29). 

Here at EW, a group of us tried our hands at the Color Your Way to Calm series by Parisian graphic designer Zoé de Las Cases, including the titles Splendid Cities, Secret Paris, Secret New York and Secret Tokyo

These books are filled with quirky, charming and classic scenes and symbols from each city — contour line illustrations of the Moulin Rouge and stinky fromages (Secret Paris); Takeshita Street and goofy robots (Secret Tokyo). Many of the illustrations are so lovely they could be torn out as is and hung on your wall.

The majority of scenes are also highly intricate, which can put a damper on the whole “calming” aspect. Feedback from coworkers consisted of: “It was nerve-racking” and “excruciating detail.” And it’s true: You’ll need the finest-tipped markers and constantly sharpened pencils to stay within the lines. One EW staff member even tried watercolor: The result was beautiful but expect the lightweight paper to wrinkle and warp.

For those who enjoy extreme attention to detail and exercises in patience — or those who don’t fret when they color outside the lines — these books will fill your winter with hours of colorful activity. And if this series is too complex for your liking, several other adult coloring books (some even with adult themes, wink wink) have been published in 2015.