Adult coloring books have been filling up our bookstores and department stores over the past year. Intricate mandalas, detailed jellyfish and heavily patterned pages have definitely become a thing. And if you’re in any fandom, granted there’s probably a book out there for you.
Such is the case in the Canterbury Classics adult coloring book collection. The trademarks of a coloring book for the mature are all there, and a large dose of whimsicality. I got to put my coloring pencils to the pages of their Sherlock Holmes book, their J.R.R. Tolkien and their Grimm’s Fairy Tales books. What ensued was a trip down nostalgia lane. The line art, the drawings you get to color in, capture a mature vibe, but also allow for the imagination to escape into childhood delight.
The first book I started with was the Sherlock Holmes book. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective has had hundreds of depictions and reiterations, and one more I added to the list. With more than 70 pages to color, the Canterbury coloring books offer something a little extra. There are pages for you to draw your own image. The first page I colored in was of a crime scene, and on the adjacent page was the prompt to draw your own crime scene. The prompt literally stated, “Now sketch your own murder scene.” I never thought I would read that sentence and be so delighted.
However, I am not gifted in the arts. I still color outside the lines and sometimes am more concerned with getting the page done then making it look pretty. The book caters to my proclivity to rush, with some pages being highly detailed and others not so much.
The Canterbury coloring books are touted as fit for both adults and children. And it’s true. If you have to babysit or are spending time with your little ones, you both can sit side by side and fill in a Grimm’s Fairy Tale (which most of our Disney fairy tales are adapted from), or even enjoy the Tolkien book, where you can color in everyone from Bilbo to Legolas and the Nazgûl.
I often sat to color at night, unwinding from a long day at the office, curled up with a glass of wine and a list of television shows to chip away at. I’d turn the TV on, open the book to a fresh page and attack the paper gently. Pretty soon my eyes stayed glued to the book instead of peering at the TV screen. The anxiety and stress from a tough day at work melted away. And an hour later, I was taking Snapchats of my pages and sending them to all of my friends, quite proudly.
The greatest thing perhaps about coloring books, is you’re not told to do anything. Yes, I colored in my Legolas as Link from the Legend of Zelda. Why? Cause I felt like it. And it worked.
Another great thing is that these books cover their topics quite thoroughly. In the case of Lord of the Rings, I’m a big fan, but I cannot name every living being in that franchise. With Canterbury’s tags, they let you know the scene or character you’re coloring. No longer is it that girl in the floofy dress, or that guy that gets ganked in the first scene.