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English>>China Society

Coloring book a China hit

(Xinhua)    19:27, July 14, 2015

BEIJING, July 14 -- An adult coloring book has become a bestseller in China, persuading many of the country's social media addicts to put down their phones for a while and return to simpler pleasures.

"Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book" by Scottish artist Johanna Basford was released in China in June. It is now the biggest-selling book on amazon.cn and has gathered hundreds of reviews on the site alone. Some 25,000 copies had reportedly been sold on e-commerce platform JD.com by June 18.

"I bought the book for my kid, but it turns out I am the one addicted to it," a woman surnamed Cai told Xinhua.

Like her, many "Secret Garden" fans are young women of the "post-80s" generation -- those born in the 1980s under China's one-child policy. The coloring book has become a trendy way to kill time and take pressure off for young office workers and new moms.


With the popularity of "Secret Garden" and Basford's followups, coloring books are no longer seen as just childish recreation.

"This is not designed for children. Children don't have the concentration and patience needed to finish such a book," Wu Lei, manager of an online stationary shop, told China Business News (CBN). He found his 90-piece colored pencil set was selling extremely well before he noticed the book had become a hit.

According to many amateur colorists, filling in those elaborate black-and-white patterns is harder than it looks. It may take seven or eight hours to finish a page.

But the outcome is rewarding. "By simply filling in the colors, I feel as fulfilled as if I had sculpted the Venus de Milo," Zhang Jiji told CBN. She said four or five of her colleagues had bought the book after seeing her artwork.

"I am bad at drawing but I feel so confident after using the book... "However, it is a huge project. It's taken me a whole afternoon to complete one third of a page, wrote one reviewer on amazon.cn.

Psychologists say coloring books help people gain peace of mind and stimulate areas of the brain related to creativity and coordination. By concentrating on coloring, people can take their minds off daily pressures.

"I can finally break away from a life glued to my cellphone and computer," wrote a netizen with the screen name "Hu Xin".


The popularity of "Secret Garden" can not be entirely separated from social media, however. The success is partly owing to viral circulation of fans' colored-in templates online. In Korea, where the book was also a hit, a pop star has had hundreds of thousands of likes on photo sharing app Instagram after posting pictures of his coloring-in.

"Being arty and following suit, I went to great lengths to show off all my drawings on WeChat to my friends," someone with the screen name "Wangye Xiaohuoche" confessed in a review.

"An urge to show off one's work and a sense of achievement from exchanging thoughts with friends attract more people to join in," said Guan Ying, a social scientist based in Tianjin.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Kong Defang,Bianji)

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