Check Out Adult Coloring At Your Local Library
It’s 6:30 on a Tuesday evening, and the Central Library in downtown San Diego is getting ready to close. The newly rebuilt library is a quiet respite from the urban rush outside its doors, and at this hour the main floor is hushed and empty.
Just beyond the front desk, the scene is a bit different. Laughter and jazz music stream out of a brightly lit room where six women are seated around a large table. Four smaller tables have been pushed together to make a large, rectangular work surface that is still barely big enough to hold the evening’s arsenal of art supplies.
The table is piled high with coloring books, loose pages, and every coloring tool known to humankind—there are colored pencils, crayons, and at least 143 different kinds of pens and markers in every imaginable hue. This isn’t just any gathering—it’s a convening of the Coloring Club.
As the popularity of adult coloring books continues to skyrocket, local coloring groups are springing up all over the country. While many libraries sponsor monthly coloring nights—similar to this scene in San Diego—recurring coloring parties are finding their way into coffee shops, bookstores, bars, churches, and homes from Alaska to Florida. As more and more adults turn to coloring books as a way to relax and relieve stress, they are also turning to coloring groups as a way to socialize and unwind. What better place to find people who share their passion for coloring inside (and outside) the lines?
For half a year, the Coloring Club at the San Diego Central Library has been meeting on the first Tuesday of each month. The first fifteen minutes of the meeting are a bustle of chatter and activity—the regulars greeting each other, first-timers introducing themselves, excited discoveries of new coloring supplies on the table. Coloring books are passed around as members select designs to work on, commenting on who had finished which amazing picture since last month.
Once everyone is settled in with pens and patterns in hand, however, the room falls silent. Like dinner guests at a delicious feast, the entire room is suddenly and collectively lost in the work at hand. There is only the sound of Frank Sinatra, punctuated by the light scratching of colored pencils against paper.
As the minutes pass, conversation begins to trickle back into the room. The women around the table keep their heads bowed over their coloring, pens and pencils moving in strokes that range from delicate to wild, but the talk turns to families, work, upcoming birthdays—and, naturally, coloring. On any given meeting, you might hear about how to choose colors, which pages are absolutely impossible to finish, and who may or may not have had to get a bigger bookshelf at home to fit all of her coloring books.
It’s easy to see why someone would want to spend an hour or two at a coloring party once a month. There are no chores, deadlines, or demands in this room—none that can’t be ignored, anyways. There is no television, and no one is on their phone (with the necessary exception of sharing before-and-after photos of the aforementioned coloring book bookshelf expansion). It is safe and supportive and fun—and there are snacks.
Coloring groups are a great way for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to come together for a common interest. From libraries to MeetUps to Facebook groups, coloring enthusiasts are finding each other and sharing their love of all things vibrant.
Here at GelWriter, we were thrilled to connect with the wonderful group of colorists at the library in our hometown of San Diego. Are you part of a local coloring club where you live? We would love to hear about it!
Looking for a coloring group to join? Check out this list of coloring groups nationwide to find a group near you, or learn how to start your own.