Are adult colouring books really causing a worldwide pencil shortage?

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We investigate recent claims that adult colouring books are putting pressure on pencil manufacturers and uncover people’s favourite scribbling tools.

A variety of colouring pencils

Recently, the Independent reported that the growing popularity of adult colouring books is threatening pencil stocks across the world. Faber-Castell (the world’s biggest wooden pencil manufacturer) has said it’s seen “double-digit growth” in sales and has had to run extra shifts at its factory to meet demand. Other big players in the stationary world have also been said to be feeling the strain from increased scribbling, including well-known names like Staedtler and Stabilo.

Colourists aren’t just simply buying lots of pencils either. Colouring books are fuelling demand for higher quality pencils and more hues to choose from. Sandra Suppa from Faber-Castell told the Independent: “People are now not satisfied with ‘just’ 36 colours and we are noticing a trend in people preferring bigger sets of 72 or even 120 colours for colouring. We are also noticing that people are investing in our highest quality artists’ pencils.”

What’s so great about colouring books anyway?

Faber-Castell puts the sudden rise in adult colouring-in down to its “relaxing and meditative nature”. There’s certainly some truth in that. When we looked into the adult colouring book craze, we found that many people use the popular pastime as a form of therapy. Read our post on how adult colouring therapy could improve your mental health to discover more.

There is also something refreshing about stepping away from a screen. Ms Suppa suggests that colouring “…allows you to catch a break from the fast-moving digital world and to give your eyes a rest from flickering computer screens. Colouring doesn’t require artistic training to get started, yet it offers a great sense of accomplishment when finishing a piece.”"

Are pencils the best?

With pencil stocks being worn down to nubs, we decided to do some investigating of our own. Are pencils really that popular or is there a worldwide Sharpie shortage on the horizon? We took to Twitter to find out what was the favoured tool for adult colouring.

Responses on Twitter

Poll results

Twitter poll results

Although people liked using a variety of tools to colour in their books, pencils were still a firm favourite. Let’s hope we don’t run out!

Love colouring books? Get a free copy of Creative Colour when you subscribe to Puzzler Collection.

Image via electricnude