Adults Have Gotten So into Colouring Books the World is Now Running Out of Pencils

While fads are mere blips on a society’s cultural continuum, they can initiate unintended consequences somewhere along the assembly line when they mature into trends, which are in vogue for longer periods. 

You know, kind of like how entire populations were essentially priced out of their traditional form of nourishment when quinoa became cool.

Or as is happening with the global pencil supply, which is currently threatened as adults around the world jump aboard the colouring book bandwagon. It’s so much a bandwagon, in fact, that even Drake is featured in his own colouring book.

“The production of our artists’ pencils has increased strongly compared to the previous year,” says Sandra Suppa of wooden pencil manufacturer Faber-Castell, whose German plant is struggling to cope with an increased demand for quality crayons.

“Currently, we are running more shifts than usual in our factory in Stein, Bavaria in order to satisfy the global needs for artists pencils related to the colouring trend for adults.”

Manufacturers from Asia to South America are also feeling the pressure to produce an unprecedented volume of pencils. Brazil is also facing a pencil shortage after Secret Garden, a celebrity among adult colouring books, gained widespread popularity across the country.

Two other German pencil manufacturing giants, Staedtler and Stabilo, say they are finding it difficult to accommodate grown adults’ desire to colour books.

“There is something nice about picking up a pencil and a pen. You are not going to get interrupted by Twitter, and there is also a childhood nostalgia element to it,” says Secret Garden author Johanna Basford about the trend.

There is also a childhood nostalgia element to having access to a pencil, so let’s hope supply catches up with demand ASAP.


Cover photo: Lize Beekman