top of page
  • Writer's pictureKate Taylor Design

The History of Coloring Books: A Brief Overview

Coloring books have come a long way since their inception, evolving from simple educational tools to a widely enjoyed pastime for both children and adults. In this blog post, we'll explore the fascinating history of coloring books, touching on their origins, the impact of technology, and their rise in popularity among adults.

Adult coloring books in a Bookstore
Display of various adult coloring books in a bookstore

The Emergence of Coloring Books:

The concept of coloring books can be traced back to the late 19th century, when they were first introduced as educational materials for children. Early coloring books focused on teaching various subjects, such as history, geography, and botany, through illustrations that children could color in. These books provided an interactive and engaging way for children to learn and retain information.

The Golden Age of Coloring Books:

The mid-20th century saw a boom in the coloring book industry, with numerous publishers releasing an array of coloring books on different themes. Characters from popular comic strips, television shows, and movies became the subjects of many coloring books, further increasing their appeal to children. This period also witnessed the advent of crayons, which quickly became the coloring medium of choice, replacing the colored pencils and watercolors used in earlier years.

The Impact of Technology:

The late 20th and early 21st centuries brought significant technological advancements that influenced the world of coloring books. The introduction of digital coloring tools and apps allowed users to color on their electronic devices, opening up new possibilities for the medium. Additionally, the internet made it possible for artists and enthusiasts to share their designs and creations online, leading to the formation of various online communities centered around coloring.

The Rise of Adult Coloring Books:

In recent years, coloring books for adults have exploded in popularity, becoming a global phenomenon. These books feature intricate designs and themes tailored to an adult audience, such as mandalas, animals, and cityscapes. Adult coloring books have been touted for their therapeutic benefits, helping users to reduce stress, improve focus, and enhance mindfulness.


From their humble beginnings as educational tools to their modern-day status as a popular pastime for all ages, coloring books have a rich and fascinating history. Their evolution reflects societal changes, technological advancements, and a growing appreciation for the therapeutic benefits of this creative outlet. As we continue to embrace coloring as a means of relaxation, self-expression, and social connection, it's exciting to imagine what the future may hold for this beloved art form.


bottom of page