Cover image (May 29, 1970) from “Black News” via Brooklyn Public Library (L); Arabesques via NYPL (R)
Combining two trends–adult coloring books and open-access digital policies—#ColorOurCollections is a social media event during which 44 libraries, museums, archives, and cultural institutions from around the world are sharing free coloring pages based on materials in their collections. From the Brooklyn Public Library’s 1970 “Black News” cover to the South Street Seaport Museum‘s ship diagrams to the New York Botanical Garden’s floral illustrations, there’s something for everyone.
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BLOCKS (full name: City Blocks Culture Collective) explores and celebrates the architecture of city neighborhoods, introducing stories of how historic landmarks have evolved and how they fit into the city’s cultural landscape. The organization’s Toronto-based founder Rafi Ghanaghounian’s love for music was sparked by a visit to Greenwich Village as a teen, when he experienced the music vibe, history, colorful street life and architecture of the city.
BLOCKS NYC is a way to share this passion for music, art and New York City, from the 1940s jazz scene to the beat generation in the ’50s, the folk scene of the ’60s, and Ramones-era punk in the ’70s. The group’s latest project explores the neighborhood via a super-chill coloring book featuring album covers shot on Village streets in the ’60s and ’70s to celebrate the rich musical history of that era’s folk and rock scene.
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Adult coloring books are all the rage these days and we couldn’t be happier. While there are many different types available for purchase (check out this coloring book-notebook combo or this architectural-inspired rendition), Ikea has just released their own version, which is free to download (h/t Curbed). From decorative houseplants to POÄNG chairs and KALLAX shelving units, each of the five pages includes a collection of Ikea products arranged in fun geometric patterns.
As adults, most of our time is spent at work, and it seems unfair that we’re no longer given the opportunity to delve into our creative side as often as when we were children. However the trend of adult coloring books it helping to right this injustice, and new to its roster of titles is the “Coloring Notebook.” This clever take combines all of the joys of a coloring book with the convenience of a compact notebook.
Instead of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram after a long day at the office, why not unwind by doing a little coloring? Yes, that’s right, every child’s favorite pastime is now being marketed to adults. As Business Insider reported earlier this week, the two best-selling books on Amazon right now are adult coloring books–”Secret Garden” and “Enchanted Forest” by Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford. The books feature nature scenes and geometric patterns of flowers, trees, and woodland creatures.
But for those of us who prefer analyzing floor plans to arranging flowers, there’s another adult coloring book called “Fantastic Cities.” Created by artist Steve McDonald, it “features immersive aerial views of real cities from around the world alongside gorgeously illustrated, Inception-like architectural mandalas.”