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Adult coloring books the latest craze

Iuka native Leah Hanks is 37, and she loves to color.

You probably spent time doing it as a child, but adult coloring books are a popular trend today, and National Coloring Book Day is coming up on Aug. 6.

“I have always loved coloring, to the point where my husband and sons bought me regular coloring books after a tonsillectomy a few years ago,” Hanks said. “About a year ago, I started seeing adult coloring sheets on Pinterest and printed a few. I was hooked. For Christmas last year, the coloring books and some nice colored pencils were all I asked my husband for.”

Hanks moved to Oxford in 1999 to attend college at the University of Mississippi. She married a local boy and never left.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English education, and she’s now working on a master’s degree in higher education and student personnel while working at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts on the UM campus as the senior staff assistant.

In her spare time, she colors.

“I have the Floral Wonders Color Art and the Tropical Wonders Color Art, as well as a book called Color the Promises of God,” she said. “I also print a ton of individual sheets from Pinterest and find many just by using Google.

“Now that my kids have outgrown crafts at school, we have my coloring sheets on the fridge. I have several that I want to frame as well.”

Oxford resident Sally Malone also colors in her spare time. Malone said she became interested in coloring as an adult in the 1980s before it became trendy. The former teacher bought an anatomy coloring book.

“At the time, I was teaching human anatomy in an advanced biology class,” she said. “I utilized those pages in those books with my students, and that worked very good.”

Because of the anatomy book, coloring was always on her mind, but she became a wife, mother, choir director, student council sponsor and mentor.

“I didn’t really have time to color,” she said, “but now I have some time.”

Malone said she enjoys coloring while listening to audiobooks. She said she purchased a coloring book for adults at Walmart, but you can also find them at Square Books.

“They are all over the place,” she said. “It’s like a really booming thing right now.”

A stress reliever

Hanks said coloring is a great stress reliever.

“Most of the adult coloring sheets are very detailed, so you have to focus more on what you are doing,” she said. “I also love coloring because I can’t draw or paint very well, and coloring gives me a finished product that looks like artwork.

“Coloring also lets me experiment with lots of different materials. I have colored pencils, regular crayons, regular markers, gel pens, twist-up crayons, felt-tip markers, glitter pens, you name it.”

Hanks said flowers are her favorite things to color because, “I can make them as detailed or as simple as I want. I can color each leaf a different color, or I can make them solid, depending on my mood. Sometimes, I just want to veg out and color without thinking, and flowers are an easier object to use.”

Hanks recommends coloring.

“If you are like me and not that artistic, it is a great way to practice and strengthen hand-eye coordination,” she said. “I think it’s very good for you mentally as well.”

You can download and print free coloring book pages online.

Visit coloringbookday.com to find or create a coloring book party in your area for National Coloring Book Day Aug. 6. Currently, there are only two listed in Mississippi in Madison and Ridgeland.

About LaReeca Rucker

LaReeca Rucker is a writer, reporter and adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

A veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she spent a decade at the Gannett-owned Clarion-Ledger - Mississippi's largest daily newspaper - covering stories about crime, city government, civil rights, social justice, religion, art, culture and entertainment for the paper's print and web editions. She was also a USA Today contributor.

This year, she received a first place award from the Mississippi Press Association for “Best In-Depth Investigative Reporting.” The story written in 2014 for The Oxford Eagle chronicles the life of a young mother with two sons who have epilepsy, and details how she is patiently hoping legalized cannabis oil experimentation will lead to a cure for their disorder.

Her website is www.lareecarucker.com.

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