Kriston Capps is a staff writer for CityLab covering housing, architecture, and politics. He previously worked as a senior editor for Architect magazine.
For the grown-up urbanist who happens to like crayons.
There are a lot of problems with Men Coloring Book, a new adult coloring book that’s been making the rounds on Feminist Twitter. For starters, there’s the title, which sounds almost like a Google translation from another language. It’s just too Cro-Magnon: “Big man want man coloring book not girl-girl coloring book! [thumps club on rock]”
But there are things to love about Men Coloring Book, which is the work of Bella Mosley, a prolific adult-coloring-book artist (and a woman). Men Coloring Book is essentially a compilation of mandelas and other geometric patterns done in the style of newly popular adult zen coloring books. The only difference between this book and other Mosley titles like Anti-Stress Coloring Book and Creative Mindfulness Coloring Book is the authoritarian color palette, which suggests Chicago Bulls colors, if we’re being generous.
Plus there’s the explicit gendering of products that do not require gender.
Coloring books are still rad, and they make creative (if twee) gifts for friends and family members. There are better coloring books for men—and for everyone else—that don’t impose gender norms on the act of dragging a crayon across the page. There are coloring books for everything from 18th- and 19th-century naturalist specimens to vintage feminist drawings of vaginas. You color you! Here are some CityLab-recommended alternatives.
Draw Me a House
Color This Book
You can’t go wrong with this series by Abbi Jacobson, one of the creators of Broad City. Take your pick! There’s Color This Book: New York City. . . .
. . . or Color This Book: San Francisco.
Safety, transit, and infrastructure books brought to you by various state and local governments
Consider one of these for the transit completist in your life. Over the years, any municipal government you care to name has published a transportation-safety coloring book. Kids despise these, obviously, but adults might relish them. Here’s a decent one from Clackamas County, Oregon.
Or spy this A-Z coloring guide on green infrastructure from Washington County, also in Oregon. Who knew Oregon would be so into coloring!
(Everyone knew Oregon would be so into coloring.)
“Examine Our Transportation Choices” is cutting it close. But nothing beats the entries for Y & Z.