“Adult colouring books” are having a moment.
The Guardian reported Sunday that the best-selling book on Amazon right now is, in fact, a colouring book targeted toward adults.
Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford‘s titles, “Secret Garden” and “Enchanted Forest,” claimed the top two spots, ahead of Harper Lee’s much anticipated second novel “Go Set a Watchmen” and George RR Martin’s red-hot “Game of Thrones” books.
Here’s what Amazon’s Best Sellers list looks like today:
Basford’s debut book, “Secret Garden,” has sold 1.4 million copies worldwide to date, according to The Guardian. It features intricate black-and-white drawings of the flora and fauna that surrounds the illustrator’s home in rural Scotland.
Here’s a page from the book. The illustrations appear more detailed and challenging than those in a children’s colouring book.
While complicated, the drawings hardly sacrifice cuteness. Check out these adorable lawn sculptures.
The popularity of the adult colouring book seems to be riding a wave of nostalgia. Last year, we reported on the resurgence of summer camps aimed at adults, which include arts and crafts, colour wars, and outdoor sports. Now, “preschool for adults” is a thing that exists. Brooklynite Michelle Joni Lapidos holds classes in her two-bedroom apartment, for grown-ups seeking to “release their inner child.”
Basford says the books provide a connection to the past, as well as an outlet for stress.
“I think it is really relaxing, to do something analogue, to unplug,” Basford told The Guardian. “And it’s creative. … So many people have said to me that they used to do secret colouring-in when their kids were in bed. Now it is socially acceptable, it’s a category of its own.”
Here’s the author at work in her studio.
Basford belongs to a quirky club of adult-colouring-book illustrators, who have been at it for years now. In the UK, artists Richard Merritt and Millie Marotta nailed down top-10 spots on Amazon UK’s best-sellers list. Perhaps most famous is UK-based artist Mel Elliott, who graduated college in 2007 and began self-publishing grown-up “fun books.”
Elliott’s book, “Colour Me Good Ryan Gosling,” went viral at the height of the actor’s “Hey Girl” meme-phase. She has since published pop culture-inspired colouring books dedicated to James Franco, Taylor Swift, iconic album covers, redheaded male celebrities, and “girl crushes.”
Click the image below to watch Elliott colour-in Swift.
This trend shows no sign of slowing down. Both of Basford’s titles are currently out of stock on Amazon.
“The appetite [for the books] is simply enormous,” Basford told The Guardian. “I reckon people are taking their kids’ pictures off the fridge and replacing them with their own.”
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.