Adult Coloring and Naked Online: Why Adult Coloring Books?

A major difference between the new adult coloring books and traditional children's coloring books is small spaces.  If you Google adult coloring books, you see a good bit of talk about the small spaces. Adult coloring book enthusiasts testify to their calming effect Jenny Knappenberger at says adult coloring books are relaxing and meditative.

She says the small spaces challenge us and are good exercise for our hands. Adrienne from Cleverpedia at talks about the creative opportunities for shading. But no one yet is theorizing about why drawing in these small spaces creates calm.

As a dance therapist, my theory about why these new adult coloring books are calming relates to the sense of comfort we feel when we initially sense we are trapped but then realize we can move. If we kinesthetically experience movement despite the boundaries of tight places — move our pencils back and forth in small coloring spaces — we feel safe.

We seem to have a need to explore small movement in our shrinking world. We need to remind ourselves that even though our options may feel limited, we are not trapped. As we move a marker or pencil in the small spaces provided in the coloring books, our breath can deepen and we can experience that even in situations where we may feel trapped, there is space for aliveness.

In Naked Online: A DoZen Ways to Grow from Internet Dating, we encourage drawing as a way of letting out our kid feelings. John Cargile who did the illustrations throughout the book created a coloring book page that combines both kinds of therapeutic expression — adult and kid. You can download and print out this Naked Online coloring page. You will find on our coloring page an adult-coloring-book border that surrounds open space for freer, kid-like expression. As we care for ourselves in healthier ways, we become more apt to participate in satisfying romantic partnerships.

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