The adult coloring book trend is playing well in Peoria.
“It’s so calming and it’s cheaper than therapy,” quipped Deb Beschorner of Germantown Hills as she shaded in a geometric design with colored pencils at a new program at the Eureka Public Library called “Adults Like to Color, Too.”
Beschorner was one of six women who came out on a cold night last week to color at the library. Free and open to the public, the coloring night for grown-ups only meets at the Eureka Library from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on the first Monday of each month.
“We did our first coloring night here in early November, and we had about 12 people who all had a really good time coloring and chatting,” said Cindy O’Neill, the library’s program coordinator. “It’s very relaxing and kind of recharges your batteries for the day-to-day things we all have to deal with.”
The Peoria Public Library is jumping on board, as well, offering a new Coloring Club for Adults from 10 to 11 a.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at the North Branch and from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Lakeview Branch.
“This is brand new. Our first meeting is Wednesday, Jan. 13,” said Reference Services Manager Jenny Sevier, who organized the Coloring Club with Programming Manager Alyce Jackson.
“We noticed a trend in our professional literature that showed libraries all over the country have been offering it, and we had some staff members who expressed their own personal interest in it, so we decided we would offer it, too,” Sevier said.
At least one local art gallery has also embraced the trend. The Speakeasy Art Center in downtown Pekin has been offering “Color Me Calm” from 6 to 8 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursday of each month since early last summer.
“We were having 20 to 25 people coming, but that slowed down some during the holidays. They come in groups like a girls night out. We’ve also had a few husbands and wives, and one couple said it was their date night,” said Shannon Cox, the Speakeasy’s executive director. “It’s very relaxing, and it’s a nice way to get out of the house and hang out with your friends.”
Unlike at the libraries, the Speakeasy participants are welcome to bring their own wine to the event.
The library events are free, but the Speakeasy charges $5 to cover the cost of providing pencils and coloring pages from the most popular books on the market, Cox said.
The libraries also provide pencils and the ability to copy coloring pages for a nominal fee, though most of the participants at the Eureka Library’s coloring night last week brought their own books and pencils.
Peggy Hinz of Flanagan said she received a small coloring book for Christmas and bought a few more before attending the Eureka event.
“I’ve been hearing all this stuff on TV and on Facebook about how adult coloring is supposed to be a stress reliever, so I thought I’d come try it,” Hinz said. “If I don’t keep up with it, I’m sure my (9-year-old) granddaughter will.”
Betty Parsons of Eureka also received a coloring book from her son and came to the Eureka coloring night to pick up tips on the craft from the others.
“I wondered if there was something I was supposed to know about it,” she said with a laugh. “It’s a little embarrassing to say you’re coloring, but I did always love to color with our kids when they were little.”
Denise Day of Eureka also came to the coloring night out of curiosity but said she’s been drawing her own designs and coloring them in since she was a teenager in 1971.
“I saw an infomercial about this new trend on TV, and I thought: oh my gosh, I’ve been doing that forever. I could have been putting these (coloring) books out.”
According to Publisher’s Weekly, Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford played a major role in turning what had been mostly a children’s hobby into a coloring craze for adults last year. Basford’s first adult coloring book, “Secret Garden,” had respectable sales when it was released in the United States in 2013, but sales of her second book, “Enchanted Forest,” exploded in the United States and internationally in 2015, selling 1.5 million copies of the English-language edition and 2.3 million in other languages.
“I’ve been a little bit surprised by the trend, but I’m very happy it’s taken off because I think adults can use any method to kind of de-stress we can possibly have,” Eureka’s O’Neill said.
Jenny Sevier added, “We stare at screens so often all day that doing something that’s just kind of relaxing and stress-free and a little bit creative and has nothing to do with looking at a computer or a phone screen or a TV screen is really good for you.”
Peoria psychotherapist Joy Miller noted that coloring is meditative and calms the senses for many people.
“It connects with their inner creativity and allows them the opportunity to be playful and relax at the same time,” Miller said. “For many people, it brings them back to their memories of childhood when life was much easier, less stressful and full of wonderment.”
Adult coloring fits into a library’s programming because it’s trendy and different, noted Sevier.
“We don’t just think of ourselves as learning organizations, but entertainment organizations as well,” she said. “We’re always looking for something different or things that people don’t expect us to do. And we like to get in on something like this that we think there’s going to be an audience for. We do ask that you leave children at home, though, because this is for grown-ups only.”
For more information about the programs, call the Eureka Public Library at (309) 467-2922; the Peoria Public Library at (309) 497-2000; or the Speakeasy Art Center at (309) 267-2058.
–Once just for kids, coloring craze embraced by grown-ups–