A Surprising Effect Of Adult Coloring Books

by Emma Cueto

The adult coloring book craze has taken the world by storm, and it might be having an impact on more than just the appearance of our refrigerators. In fact, adult coloring books might be causing a colored pencil shortage. So... uh, sorry, I guess?

"Shortage" might actually be a bit of a strong word to use here, but it does seem that sales of colored pencils are definitely up, and manufacturers are having to adjust in order to make sure they don't run out. The world's largest pencil manufacturer Faber-Castell reports that they have seen "double-digit" increase in demand, and that they are running extra shifts at their factory in Germany to keep up. They link the surge in sales to the newfound popularity of adult coloring books. And other companies say they are seeing a similar increase in sales.

It seems that adult coloring books aren't just shaping the market by creating more demand for colored pencils, but also by creating demand for higher quality pencils, too.

People are now not satisfied with ‘just’ 36 colors and we are noticing a trend in people preferring bigger sets of 72 or even 120 colors for coloring," Sandra Suppa from Faber-Castell told The Independent. “We are also noticing that people are investing in our highest quality artists’ pencils.”

Which makes sense. After all, adults not only tend to have more high-brow tastes than your average child, they also have disposable income. Plus, adult coloring books contain much more intricate designs than the ones kids usually get, meaning you can potentially use a lot more colors. So that standard box of pencils from the school supply section might not cut it anymore.

The adult coloring craze has only been increasing over the past few years, with coloring books now ranging from geometric patterns to Game of Thrones to Marvel coloring books to books featuring swear words. Because swearing can be relaxing, too, guys. And the trend so far seems unlikely to reverse itself, which means that the increased demand for colored pencils is likely here to stay, too.

So what does this mean? Well, for one thing it's obviously good for the people who make art supplies. But it also means we should all take the time to think about the fact that wooden pencils are made of, well, wood. Which means we should all probably make sure we're not replacing our pencils until we have to. Because that is one of the other things that's different about being an adult — being responsible. And I guess we can try to remember that even while enjoying coloring books.

Image: Mari Pi/Unsplash