Coloring Book Bonanza

Drawing Up a Storm

Eine Seite im Ausmalbuch für Erwachsene «Mein phantastischer Ozean» von Johanna Basford, fotografiert am 16.03.2016 in Sieversdorf (Brandenburg). Die Bücher mit Gärten, Wäldern und Tieren zum Kolorieren stürmen die Bestsellerlisten. Sie sollen nach Ansicht von Verlagen ein gelungener Ausgleich für Erwachsene zu den hohen geistigen Anforderungen im Informationszeitalter sein. Foto: Patrick Pleul [ Rechtehinweis: (c) dpa ]
"Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure and Coloring Book for Adults," by Johanna Basford.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany’s traditional pen and pencil manufacturers have struggled with irrelevance in the digital age – but the sudden popularity of adult coloring books has provided a surprise boost to business.

  • Facts


    • The German pen and pencil-making sector is worth around €1.5 billion altogether, and includes heavyweights like Staedtler and Faber-Castell, Stabilo, Edding and Schneider.
    • The global market is worth around €10 billion, led by French company BIC.
    • The adult coloring book trend has pen and pencil manufacturers scrambling to keep up with demand by adding extra production shifts.
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Johanna Basford has become something of a surprise celebrity. Three years ago, the Scottish illustrator’s first coloring book for adults was published, filled with garden images, closely followed by her second book, featuring a forest theme.

Both sold millions of copies and were snapped up from South Korea to the United States. The 33-year-old was suddenly a trendsetter, kicking off a fad no one thought possible in the Internet age.

That’s probably why one of the most analog of companies has an area devoted to her in the lobby of its headquarters. For the pen and pencil maker Staedtler in the southern German city of Nuremberg, she has become a sort of icon.

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