Odd Holiday: National Coloring Book Day

A photo of the puzzle box crayons by Hen House Hues that were included in the project for dementia patients.

BUCKHANNON — National Coloring Book Day, celebrated on Tuesday, August 2, recognizes the joy, children and adults alike, get from coloring in pages full of designs.

According to National Calendar Day, “Dover Publications created National Coloring Book Day in May 2015. Founded in 1941, Dover Publications leads the way. Dover released their first coloring book for adults, Antique Automobiles Coloring Book, in 1970. Dover now publishes Creative Haven®, a popular line of coloring books specially designed for adult colorists. The Registrar at National Day Calendar declared the day to be observed annually on August 2.”

Coloring and coloring books have always been popular with children, but over the years, adults have gotten more and more involved with the activity. Obviously, adult coloring is now a huge trend, with merchandise being created and targeted solely towards adults. Many find that it is not only fun but also a great way to reduce stress.

Coloring books also make great gifts all year long. When someone visits, be sure to leave a coloring book and colors in the guest room for downtime. At the office, keep a variety of books in the breakroom for co-workers to fill up.

Recently, The Record Delta published the story of Shanda Hoover, a Buckhannon native and owner of local business Mountain Mama Market and Artistry, who recently collaborated with others to create a coloring book for patients with dementia. In July, dementia patients were given coloring books, which were designed by Hoover and printed by Ralston Press along with crayons made by Hen House Hues.

With National Coloring Book Day, here are 10 interesting facts about all things related to colors and coloring books that were sourced from Design Pool, Medium and mentalfloss.com.

1. Men and women see the color red differently. — Researchers at the University of Arizona discovered the ability to see red comes from a gene that is attached to the X chromosome. Since women have two X chromosomes, the two copies of these genes help women perceive the red-orange spectrum better.

2. Coloring lowers stress and anxiety. — A 2005 study (and a 2012 replication study) concluded that people who colored in mandalas—complex geometric figures frequently seen in Hinduism and Buddhism—experienced lower levels of anxiety than people who simply colored on a blank piece of paper.

3. Coloring books were originally created for adults. — The earliest variation of coloring books is from as early as 1612. A long poem, Poly-Olbion by Michael Drayton, featured illustrations of maps and fun creatures. It became popular for readers to color the illustrations themselves. However, coloring books became popular soon after mostly to practice art skills like watercolor.

4. Coloring books have a long history of promoting political views. — The 1960s weren’t the only time that cartoonists used adult coloring books to lampoon political figures and promote counterculture or fringe views. More recently, creators of coloring books have used the books to comment on events and figures in contemporary politics.

5. Digital Coloring books are becoming more popular. — Plenty of websites offer digital coloring books, allowing users to choose an image, pick a stylus tool, and decide how to color it. But digital coloring books can be more than a glorified Microsoft Paint program. 

6. You can create your own coloring book using personal photos. — The only thing better than taking a selfie is coloring in your selfie! Thanks to Color Me Book, you can order personalized coloring books that feature your own photos. After you upload your images, a team of designer’s hand-trace them and turn them into pages of a customized coloring book—one that’s perfect for those impossible-to-shop-for family members.

7. People once used bread as erasers. — Before the eraser was invented, people used tablets of rubber or wax. To remove ink from parchment or papyrus, they used bits of rough stone to rub it off. In Japan, they used soft bread. The eraser was invented by an English engineer in 1770 who accidentally picked up a piece of rubber instead of breadcrumbs and found that it worked well to erase.

8. People are more likely to forget something when it’s in black and white. — A black and white movie, or photograph is often not as easy to recall as a color image. Scientists believe this may be because color has a stronger appeal to the sense and as a result makes a more lasting impression on the memory.

9. Color has a big impact on a first impression. — 62 – 90% of a first impression is based on how someone is recognizing color in the situation. For those who want to make a strong first impression, avoid neutrals. Heading out on a first date? Add a pop of bright color to be more memorable.

10. Color therapy is often used today but has Egyptian roots. — Ancient Egyptians were the first people who tried and successfully managed to copy the basic natural colors and incorporate them into their life. The floors of their temples were painted green as grass and the walls were blue as the sky.

Share your ideas for coloring books and post your pictures on social media using #NationalColoringBookDay to encourage others to find enjoyment in coloring.

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