"I got THREE adult colouring books for Christmas!!"
This was a statement that began a long discussion about the "other side" of adult colouring books.
EVERYBODY loves them. And the justification is sound - they are fun, great for adults of all skill level for therapeutic reasons, for easing stress, and are wonderful for adults who may not, for whatever reason, be able to create the initial line work (for instance, they are a very positive outlet for those with developmental disability and seniors, in addition to adults of all ages).
But there is a negative impact this very popular trend is creating.
There is growth in the general public's interest in purchasing artwork in reproductive form, and adult colouring books are being used as a replacement for original work. The line work is pre-formed, the colour is added (often arbitrarily - colour is a powerful element and should be thoughtfully considered), and the piece is displayed as a final image, with the statement "look what I made!". This is detrimental to commercial art - it devalues original work, and the overall appreciation for technical skill and abilities of professional artists declines, resulting in less need or desire to invest in original work. This is the element with which I take issue, as an art professional.
The other impact it creates is the decrease in recognition of the seriousness of art (or rather, the importance of art created with rationale and consideration). While, again, there are certainly positive applications for these colouring books, there is an ease to creation and arbitrary thought which creates a sense of frivolousness in art in the general public. This is prominently an adverse attitude in our culture of art - in the western hemisphere in particular - as the struggle to educate the general public about the value of original art has become considerably more difficult, more so with the advent of adult colouring books.
There is no denying that adult colouring books are a fabulous outlet for stress and relaxation (and other application), as long as it is not used as a replacement for original work.