Adult colouring books are the new ‘in’ thing, with grown-ups using the medium to not only reminisce their childhood but also as an effective stress buster. The trend has been hugely popular in Europe and particularly in the UK. Keeping the new craze in mind, a British publishing house has taken these colouring books to the next level by truly making them ‘for adults’.
Unicorn Publishing Group has come out with an adult colouring book taking inspiration from the ancient Indian text Kama Sutra. The 80-page paperback book has “been redrawn especially for the reader and aspiring artist to colour for their entertainment and enjoyment,” says the company’s website.
The ancient Hindu text, written by Vatsyayana in 400 BC in Sanskrit, was translated in 1883 by author Sir Richard Francis Burton. Since then, the classic text that deals with human sexual behaviour has gained popularity across the world. Contrary to popular belief, only 20 per cent of the book deals with sexual positions, while rest focuses on the philosophy and theory of love, what initiates desire, what sustains it, and other facets.
Though the original seven-volume text was not accompanied by any illustration, much later detailed paintings “showing a variety of tantric conjugations with incredible backdrops of Indian palaces and gardens” were available.
In several emails to IndianExpress.com, Simon Perks, sales and marketing director, Unicorn Publishing Group, said the idea for the book came about because of the huge popularity of adult colouring books in the UK and Europe. “Most of these titles are simply pretty patterns to fill in and because of this we decided to publish a truly ‘adult’ colouring book,” Perks said.
Though, the origin of these paintings is unclear, Unicorn has taken the popular miniature paintings-style of artwork that have been accompanying the book for centuries for its colouring book, instead of commissioning fresh one. Perks said, “We took the original paintings and had the colour removed leaving a simple black outline of the details.”
Priced at £9.99 (around Rs900), the book with 65 paintings was launched in September 30. And though it is not sold by any retailer in India, it can be ordered online.
Unicorn’s India agent Andrew White emailed IndianExpress.com a list of reasons why it is not available at a bookstore here. “The Indian customs officers will not permit books containing erotic images to be imported into the country. This is highly ironic because your [Indian] artistic ancestors came up with the images to begin with!” White said.
He also said that the book available for shipping to India has been priced at just Rs95. Yes, the book which is priced over £9 in the UK has been made available in the country at a much cheaper rate knowing that people may not be keen on buying a colouring book for around Rs1,000. But mind you, the quality is not the same as the international version. “The Indian book market requires prices to be so low that it is impossible to make importation work economically,” White added. He agreed that the quality of the product has been compromised for the Indian market “but the end purchasers don’t care”.