whose 2013 book, Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and
Coloring Book, has helped power the adult-coloring fad.
“At Christmas, they went like wild,” she says. “We actually
ran out of the Harry Potter one before Christmas.” Between
early December and early January, she says, the store sold
200 coloring books, “which is really doing well. We’ve even
had trouble keeping markers and pencils in stock.”
Not only has Sheets become an avid buyer for her customers,
but she’s put her own colored pencils to work. “I do it mainly
to relax,” she says. “I’ll sit in my chair, and the next thing
I know I’ve fallen asleep. I’ve been coloring every night
“And she’s so much calmer,” jokes her boss, bookstore
manager Don Royal, who doesn’t color but appreciates the
business. Still, sales, he says, are “not like Fifty Shades of
Grey hot,” since customer tastes veer from Candy Crush to
Creative Cats to Colour Me Good Benedict Cumberbatch. In early
February, Amazon’s top sellers in the genre were the new
arrivals, swear-word coloring books.
Across the street from Barnes & Noble, Brushstrokes
Gallery, Art Supplies and Framing is also riding the many-hued wave. “This was our best December, and we had the
happiest customers ever,” says co-owner Kathy Snyder,
whose store has been in Lewisburg for 26 years.
Snyder began stocking coloring books about 15 years ago,
when they were mainly purchased for nursing-home residents.
“It’s something they can do when they can’t do a lot else,”
Adults began clamoring for coloring books, she says, “after
hearing Johanna Basford on NPR. People started thinking
about coloring as a stress reliever.” And while Snyder says her
customers tend to be middle-aged women who color solo or
with family members, she had three men pop in Christmas
Eve to buy colored pencils for themselves.
Oftentimes, she’ll direct neophytes to her employee, Deb
Slade ’73, resident expert. Colored pencils versus gel pens?
Slade can help, and she’ll gladly brandish her own coloring
portfolio, demonstrating how to achieve different shadings
A former graphic designer at Bucknell, Slade says, “I came
to coloring through Zentangle — meditative doodling.” And
she arrived at Zentangle through yoga.
“Coloring is like yoga for the brain,” Slade says. “It’s focusing
on something else besides the craziness in your life. You just
go back and forth with your pencil,” she says, slowly moving
Decades ago, as a Bucknell student, Slade colored with crayons
“to de-stress, working in triads of colors.” Now, rather than
coloring in books such as Millie Marotta’s popular Animal
Kingdom, Slade scans individual drawings from the books and
prints them out on fine-quality paper. She’s even bought a lap
Deb Slade ’73 applies her pencils to a work
in progress at Brushstrokes Gallery, Art
Supplies and Framing in Lewisburg.