Arts & Entertainment

The North Dallas Adult Coloring Club

Heidi Berthiaume tries to help people add depth and shading to their lives.

When you first hear the name—The North Dallas Adult Coloring Club—you can easily picture it written in Futura type, flickering across the screen during a montage in a Wes Anderson film. It’s straightforward but whimsical. Where it actually appears is more mundane, and not even in Dallas: Richardson’s Alchemy Music Academy.

On a Saturday afternoon in August, in a quiet rented room, Heidi Berthiaume shows two members of the club how to add shading to their fill-in-the-color art. “If you want more of a wooden look, try it this way and maybe add some darker greens,” she says. They return to their Prismacolor pencils and Copic markers, and the club’s makeshift headquarters returns to a comfortable silence.

Berthiaume (ready to be printed out and colored, above) founded the North Dallas Adult Coloring Club in January, a couple of months after she launched her own series of vintage coloring books, which includes a volume of artist John Tenniel’s illustrations for the original Alice in Wonderland, as well as collections dedicated to the art of Aubrey Beardsley, Clara E. Atwood, and more. It’s part of Berthiaume’s plan to make adult coloring her full-time job, through book sales and consultations. (She donates 50 percent of the royalties from certain books to Kids Need to Read, a nonprofit that provides books to underfunded libraries
and schools.)

The idea may sound ridiculous at first, making a living showing grown-ups how to color, but adult coloring has become a big business, with an estimated 12 million adult coloring books sold in the United States last year. Titles run the gamut from poppies to pop culture. There are adult coloring books for fans of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chris Pratt, Drake, Dr. Who, and Taylor Swift (Colour Me Swiftly).

At the North Dallas Adult Coloring Club, Berthiaume, an erstwhile information architect, says she just wants to help.

“A couple of ladies came in and said, ‘We want to stop coloring like 5-year-olds,’” she says. “Adults are more harsh. Beyond childhood, we stop learning, when really there’s so much more to learn now as adults.”

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