National Coloring Book Day is recognized annually on August 2. The first coloring book was established in the late 1800’s by the McLoughlin Brothers when they first released ‘The Little Folks Painting Book’. From that point forward they continued to produce books of this sort right up until the 1920’s, when they joined forced with the Milton Bradley Company.
Coloring and coloring books have always been popular with children, but over the years adults have gotten more and more involved with coloring. Obviously, adult coloring is now a huge trend. Many find that it is not only fun but also a great way to reduce stress.
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.
- In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, reform movements in children’s education helped to shift popular attitudes about the role of education in achieving social progress. Coloring books became an interactive tool that parents gave to their kids to educate and entertain them, in hopes of giving them an advantage in life.
- The first adult coloring book mocked corporate culture. Published in 1961 by three advertising executives, The Executive Coloring Book was the first coloring book aimed at adults. Featuring drawings and captions depicting a businessman getting ready for work.
- Barbra Streisand capitalized on the popularity of adult coloring books. “For those who fancy coloring books…” In 1962 and 1963, singer Barbra Streisand released two versions of a song called “My Coloring Book.”
- The “golden age” of coloring books is 1960s because almost all famous characters were on them and even products (Planter Peanuts or Campbell Soup)
- Big attraction of coloring books during 1940s were movie stars – Judy Garland, Betty Grable and Margaret O’ Brien.
- Western film heroes were also popular characters in coloring books.