By Carrie Vittitoe

These are pages Kim has colored. For coloring projects, she suggests buying the bigger box of Crayola colored pencils since it has a wider variety of colors. Photos By Melissa Donald

So many activities we enjoy as children don’t always translate into appropriate or enjoyable adult enterprises. For instance, I have found somersaults and cartwheels to be both un-fun and physically painful as a 40-something person. However, if you walk into any bookstore, you might be surprised to find…

entire sections dedicated to an activity that kids love and that adults have rediscovered in a big way: coloring.

Kim Frazier-Pirog, the owner of Side by Side Studio on Frankfort Avenue and a trained artist, found adult coloring difficult when she first tried it out. “As an artist, it was hard,” she says. “I was taught to think outside the lines, not color in them.” Despite her initial hesitation, she now finds adult coloring to be stress-relieving. Coloring can become almost meditative, she says, and a number of people who come to Side by Side’s Adult Coloring drop-ins have been encouraged to color by their therapists.

Kim‘s coloring sessions are held here inside her studio. 

As an art education teacher, Kim helps children focus on the process of art over the product, which is something that often holds adults back in their artistic endeavors. At some point, people tend to develop a fear of failure when it comes to making art, but Kim says coloring helps grown-ups feel both creative and successful.

Kim sits in one of the second floor studio rooms working on one of her designs.

Another reason for the popularity of coloring among adults is the way it helps people reconnect with their childhoods when life was simpler and often much less stressful. That nostalgia is a big reason Kim offers the big Crayola crayon boxes for adult colorers to use for their projects. For her, there is something about the box, the smells, and the crayon names that brings back childhood memories.

These are some of the coloring books Kim‘s clients use for their projects. 

Coloring is also an easy activity that allows people to be artistic and connect with each other. Kim says she often has small groups come to her drop-in events after having dinner on Frankfort Avenue.

One of the art rooms located on the first floor 

Relaxation, nostalgia, and connection are reasons Christine Lobb enjoys coloring. When her mother, Catherine Hilbert, developed Alzheimer’s disease, coloring was something they could do to pass the time together and that kept her mother’s mind occupied. Although Catherine died in 2007, Christine still colors, which brings back the memory of time well spent with her mom.

Christine makes coloring a part of her routine. The framed photo of she and her mother was taken shortly before her mother died. For her projects, she uses the Crayola Twistables colored pencils along with the traditional colored pencils. Bottom right photo: One of Christine’s completed pages. 

The range of adult-focused coloring books is immense and can satisfy the interests of anyone. Whether you like mandalas, flowers, or steampunk, coloring books can be an inexpensive way to take your stress down a notch.

How do you keep your stress under control?