Let’s Talk About Coloring Books

This week has been sort of irritating. Nothing has gone wrong, but few things have gone as planned. So yesterday when I saw that Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt was back in stock AND available for same-day Amazon Prime… I impulse bought it along with a set of Prismacolor pencils. Yeah.


Adult coloring books (which is not risque in any way although I’m sure there are some NSFW coloring books too) are a huge Thing right now. We did an article on them for Offbeat Home and then NPR and every other major media outlet in the world also was like GEE, COLORING IS FUN.

Originally I bought a brand new pack of Crayola colored pencils, and then I found out that they were kind of not awesome. Were Crayola colored pencils always this shitty? I felt like half of them had really weak color saturation. I rummaged around and found a half-empty box of Prismacolors leftover from college, and then decided that I’m an Adult and it’s time for an Upgrade. I gave the¬†Crayolas to my 3 year old. She loves them, please don’t tell her they’re really just my cast-offs.

My hunt for Prismacolor pencils was initially thrown off by the fact that they have updated their packaging sometime since 2002. Yes, 13 years later I was still looking for this box:


To me this is what Prismacolors come in. A cardboard box with a radial arrangement of pencils. That is the way the world is, and it is good. But apparently they’ve innovated sometime in the last decade, and now NOT ONLY to they have different packaging, but they have two separate lines. A “scholar” line which is less expensive and has a slightly harder pigment core. The price difference is significant ($30 for a set of 60 Scholar pencils, $60 for a set of 72 not-scholar pencils) so I went with the scholar ones. And put the fancy ones on my Christmas list.

Then I stumbled upon someone who is truly insane; a woman who used one of the Secret Garden illustrations as an embroidery design.


I have a profound love of tedious art projects, but this is just nuts. And gorgeous. And nuts. And her website is FULL of tutorial information if you’re insane enough to want to try it yourself.

I also found out that my favorite pens, which I plan on using for at least a few of the pages in the coloring book, are available in a 36 color pack. This is even more exciting than the 20 color pack I already own.



So yeah. If you need me I’ll be in the kitchen, coloring. And not sharing my fancy pencils OR my coloring book with my 3 year old. Whatever she has plenty of her own coloring books.

3 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Coloring Books”

  1. Oh my God! What you’ve written is exactly what I was doing “I was still looking for this box” – except that mine was about 17 years later (it was a gift from my grandfather) and I had forgotten the name. I still have the pencils, almost used up. Several Google searches later I stumbled upon the photograph of the box (which I then remembered from my childhood) which led me to this article – and thank God for that! Can you please help me with where (shop/online) this box is available? The same one (I had a set of 48), and if not then the one most similar to the one we had. Thank you so much! Big hug!

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