IEEE-USA’s New Engineering Coloring Book for Adults Can Help Lower Stress Levels, Improve Focus

IEEE-USA’s New Engineering Coloring Book for Adults Can Help Lower Stress Levels, Improve Focus

Coloring books are no longer just for kids! In fact, coloring books for adults have become a full-on trend. With tens of millions sold in recent years, people have discovered that the process of choosing, and then adding, colors to an image helps to lower stress levels, create focus, and offers an outlet for personal expression.

Now, engineers have a coloring book created especially for them. Engineering Coloring Book for Adults is a stimulating, yet mentally relaxing, collection of 25, full-page designs. Engineering icon patterns and illustrations that any technical professional will quickly recognize inspired each design. The coloring book was created by the award-winning game designer Jeff Knurek, who illustrates the widely syndicated Jumble puzzle. It is currently seen by more than 70 million people a day in more than 600 newspapers in the United States and internationally.

Ranging from researchers at the Mayo Clinic to art therapists at New York University (NYU), experts have long promoted the benefits of coloring books. But this once-specialized hobby did not grow into a commercially successful pastime for everyone, until a few years ago. According to Craig Sawchuck, a clinical psychologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., “Coloring can help to slow down heart rate and respiration, loosen muscles and stimulate the brain.” He says that coloring has a relaxing effect because the person is deliberately concentrating on the process. Sawchuck describes it as “the gentle pressing of the crayon or pencil on the page, the texture of the paper across your hand, and the soft sounds of the coloring instrument moving back and forth in a rhythmic fashion.”

Marygrace Berberian, a clinical assistant professor at NYU, notes that groundbreaking research in 2005 proved that anxiety levels dropped when subjects colored mandalas – round frames with geometric patterns inside.

“Nearly everyone can relate to the need for reducing stress and adding a measure of calm to their day, so we are offering our members a coloring book developed especially for them,” says Georgia Stelluto, IEEE-USA Publishing Manager, and Manager & Editor, IEEE-USA E-BOOKS.  “With the addition of some colored pens or pencils, it’s a perfect way for engineers and other technical professionals to briefly switch off their brains, focus on the moment, and enjoy a little tranquility.”

She points out members who purchase this e-book can download the PDF and print either one, or several designs at a time, or the entire book of 25, all at once.

In creating the 25 coloring-book designs for IEEE members, Knurek first researched engineering graphics online. “Coloring books for adults are all about patterns and details; the circuitry that electrical and electronics engineers work with naturally lend themselves to creating patterns,” he explains. “I wanted to spread out the pages that were visually related, and also include acknowledgments to technological titans like Tesla and Kilby – whom people would recognize and enjoy working with.”

Knurek describes the patterns he created of circuitry and electronics symbols as “cool but challenging.” He says that anyone who enjoys working with colors – including blending, shading and adding highlights and lowlights – should have a good time working with the engineering coloring book. As an expert illustrator, he suggests that engineers and other technical professionals who are sitting down with their first coloring book use colored pencils instead of crayons. “The pencils offer precision, which most professionals will appreciate, and they are easier to use when blending or creating special effects,” he comments.

Knurek has been drawing since childhood, and always wanted to design products. After earning his degree in industrial design from the University of Michigan, he became an award-winning toy and game inventor, consumer product developer, and graphic artist. His first successful game invention, in 1989, was the outdoor game, Spikeball.

In 2008, he became only the third artist to draw the syndicated Jumble puzzle cartoon. His partner in this effort is puzzle creator David Hoyt. Together, they develop the daily and Sunday Jumble. It is a word puzzle with a clue, a drawing illustrating the clue, and a set of words, each of which is “jumbled” by scrambling its letters to make an anagram. The would-be solver must reconstruct the words, and then arrange letters at marked positions in the words to spell the answer phrase to the clue. The clue and illustration provide hints about the answer phrase, which often uses a homophone or pun.

Engineering Coloring Book for Adults is available at https://ieeeusa.org/shop/fun/ebook-engineering-coloring-book-for-adults for $2.99 for members and $4.99 for non-members.

In early 2019, IEEE-USA E-BOOKS will publish a coloring book for young people. Knurek also created IEEE-USA’s Engineering Coloring Book for Kids – coming soon!


Helen Horwitz is an award-winning freelance writer who lives in Albuquerque, N.M. She was with IEEE from 1991 through 2011, the first nine as Staff Director, IEEE Corporate Communications.


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