It’s never too late to join the adult coloring book trend. Thanks to a recent graduate, a Philadelphia-themed coloring book may be coming to a waiting room near you.
Daniel Lipschutz, 2012 Engineering graduate and former Penn football player, is preparing to self-publish his original Philadelphia-themed coloring book this year through a called “WonderPHL World - A Philadelphia Coloring Adventure.”
Lipschutz, who studied bioengineering at Penn, worked in product design for a few years before leaving the job for travel and volunteering a year and a half ago.
“I sort of had this idea somewhere along the way during the travel, to do a coloring book and have it be something that celebrates Philadelphia,” Lipschutz said.
The book features 25 hand-drawn illustrations that range from street views and historical sites to cultural icons and food markets. Opposite each page are facts about the subjects, including location and historical significance.
“Some of them are places that I personally have a really special memory or connection of, like the Reading Terminal Market," Lipschutz said. There are other places that I thought would represent the history of Philadelphia, like the the Liberty Bell."
“If I were new [to the city] and I didn’t go out much and I saw this book, and especially if I flipped to the back pages, I saw where it is, I think I would want to leave my room and go check it out,” College junior Claudia Li said.
Alex Hofmann, third-year doctorate student at the University of Chicago, contributed to the Kickstarter campaign and received a sample book page.
“At first, seeing all these tiny windows and bricks was kind of overwhelming. But I dove in, moving small area to area, and it honestly was incredibly soothing to see these black and white borders fill in little by little, coming together to form a vibrant, comprehensive whole,” Hofmann said.
Lipschutz believes this book will be a fun and creative activity for people to engage in, as well as an effective tool to release stress. He even partnered with Counseling and Psychological Services at Penn.
“I wanted the book to make a bigger impact,” Lipschutz said.
On the Kickstarter page, some backer levels include book and art supply donations to CAPS.
“I do think having another copy donated to CAPS sends a really strong message,” Li said.
“The team that runs Prevention Programs at CAPS believes these books could be used at student centers and waiting rooms around campus, as well as be used in student mindfulness and wellness programs,” Lipschutz wrote on the Kickstarter page. He also wrote that he hopes these books will help provide “a creative escape and stress relief tool to the many students whom CAPS supports.”
“Coloring books can be a great shift of focus in a time where we constantly check our phones, or are on Facebook; they are also reminiscent of our childhood,” said Michele D. Rattigan, assistant clinical professor of creative arts therapies at Drexel University.
“The flow phase [in the production of art] is what’s captured in these coloring books," she said. "You color and that’s where your mind really drifts off, which is the optimal phase, because there is not much stress in the flow zone."
Now that this project is more than 70 percent funded in just a week, Penn students can look forward to coloring this unique Philadelphia-themed book next semester.
“I think of using the book as a way of encouraging students to see all of the great things that are nearby the city, and making students more grateful for the experience of being there, and also just encourage them to take a walk and see what else is out there,” Lipschutz said.
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