4 Ways to Use Adult Coloring Books in Your Art Marketing

By Milan Art Institute on February 16, 2021
4 Ways to Use Adult Coloring Books in Your Art Marketing

Photo caption: DJ Freezy J’s doodle-style drawings provided the raw materials for this MAI adult coloring pages set. Photo courtesy of the Milan Art Institute. 

To become an influential artist, you have to get creative with your marketing. It can even be worth the time and effort to expand into new products that lead people to your art. 

In 2013, a coloring book artist by the name of Johanna Basford published an adult coloring book called Secret Garden, and in the process set off a trend that satisfied the home colorist’s relentless desire for unfettered creativity. This worked hugely to her advantage. 

In the years since then, the adult coloring market has become an established genre on sites like Amazon, and has sparked a marketing swag revolution. 

What Types of Businesses Use Coloring Book Promos?

According to the Advertising Speciality Institute (ASI), industries, like:

  • Higher education
  • Health care and assisted living
  • Travel and hospitality
  • Non-profits
  • The specialty gifts market

have all used coloring books as marketing tools to build engagement, to reinforce their brand images and to keep their products and services on the minds of their customers. In fact, even the Smithsonian has used coloring books to promote its programs.

So, here’s a question for you. Have you considered using coloring books as an art marketing tool for your professional art business? Given that coloring books promote engagement, they’re logical tools for the modern professional artist to use. Few tools give you the power to share your art brand message, your passion and your personal vision, like these cool art marketing tools. 

They not only allow you to leave your mark, so to speak, but they allow your collectors to collaborate with you, allowing them to leave their mark, too. That’s really powerful from a customer loyalty perspective. 

4 Ways to Market Your Art With Adult Coloring Books & Coloring Pages

From an art marketing standpoint, coloring books and coloring pages have a number of promotional uses. These include but are not limited to:

  1. Charity Events: If your artist brand message includes you taking part in charity events, you can print a special promo coloring book or coloring pages to give away as a swag item. If you’re concerned about the cost, you can create a PDF version of your coloring book and host it on your website. The event participants can go to your site and download the PDF and print off your coloring pages themselves.
  2. List Building: If you’re trying to build your email list, giveaways are a great option, especially combined with a coloring book. This can be done on social platforms like Instagram or Facebook (check platform rules before you start), your own website if you have enough traffic, or at a live event, like ComicCon or a summer art-in-the-park festival. 
    Offer your coloring books, as well as a print or two of your art, as giveaway prizes for those who tag you or give you their email address. Make sure to include a disclaimer that you will be using this information for marketing purposes and a box to check for them to opt-out of marketing communications to keep things legal and legit.
  1. Book and Art Signing Events: You can sell your artsy adult coloring book at art events. Your collectors can get their copies signed in person by you.
  2. Sell Your Book on Amazon and Other Sites: The coloring book genre has become quite popular on sites like Amazon. You can produce a coloring book of your art and sell it on Amazon and other platforms. It’s a new way to introduce people to your art.

How and Where to Get Books Created

Nowadays, you don’t need to have your book picked up by a big publisher. Platforms, like Amazon, IngramSpark and Etsy, make it possible for you to publish books, like adult coloring books, coloring pages and journals. 

In this case, you take charge of your art publishing career by becoming an independent publisher. You design coloring books based on your art and upload the digital files of the books or coloring pages to these sites. Collectors can buy them from there.

It’s also worth noting that while many coloring books involve line art, not all of them do. Many adult coloring book publishers publish grayscale coloring books. Colored pencils from brands like Prismacolor have a transparent quality. This allows the coloring book colorist to add color to the images while still allowing the shades from the grayscale image to come through.

Grayscale coloring books allow you to make black and white versions of your art so that people can color it. Often this is done in programs like Adobe Photoshop. The tutorial below will teach you how to do this. 

Video caption: Learn Something: How to Turn Any Photo Into a Coloring Page

Helpful Links for Indie Adult Coloring Book Publishers

How to Create a Coloring Book From Scratch 

How To Make $ With Your Art: Amazon / KDP Coloring Books 

How to Self-Publish a Coloring Book 

How To Self-Publish An Adult Coloring Book With Meg Cowley 

Learn More About Grayscale Coloring Books 

Final Thoughts on Using Adult Coloring Books for Art Marketing

While it may feel a bit intimidating to become an indie publisher - and require some research - it’s possibly one of the best things you can do to level up your career. Becoming a professional artist in the 21st century requires you to approach your career with decisiveness and relentless perseverance. 

Such a decision puts you solidly in the driver’s seat of your career, which always takes boldness and bravery, but in the end, you gain a lot of personal power by taking risks like this. In short, you become the hero of your art career!  

Learn More About Becoming a Professional Artist 

Want to Become a Professional Artist? Look Into the Mastery Program 

5 Tips for Pricing Your Art

Becoming a Professional Artist: An Interview With Zybrena Crawford Porter

Milan Art Institute
Milan Art Institute

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