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The Best Coloring Books For Adults – Stay Calm and Color

Updated on November 8, 2015

The New Phenomenon

A display of adult colouring books at a well known newsagents in the U.K.
A display of adult colouring books at a well known newsagents in the U.K.

Awaken Your Creative Soul

After purchasing a few very basic colouring books aimed at adults, I sat down to colour for the first time since I was a little girl. There are many of us who want to be creative but tend to let the daily routine of life get in the way. I think the concept of the adult colouring book is to take us back to that time when we used to spend hours moulding shapes out of play-doh, finger painting and colouring. We all have an artistic side which in many of us lies latent or gets lost as we grow older. We may feel intimidated at taking up a creative activity feeling that we aren't talented in that way. Maybe someone in the past has told us that we show no artistic ability. However, colouring a pre-stencilled picture and seeing the beauty of the finished product can give one a sense of accomplishment. I have left the colouring book on a table and colour in small sections when I have a few moments and I find it very satisfying.

Take A Break And Colour

Doodle colouring books bought at my local market stall.
Doodle colouring books bought at my local market stall.

A Fad Or Something Else?

If I have piqued your interest please keep reading because there seems to be more to this colouring book craze than meets the eye. Very often when something becomes very popular we either embrace it because it talks to us or we dismiss it as just another fad in our fad-filled society. Personally, I was very sceptical when I first heard about colouring books for adults a few months ago. I really wasn't aware that there was such a thing as adult colouring books. Colouring conjures up images of young children sitting at a desk at school or at a table at home surrounded by brightly coloured crayons or coloured pencils. To my surprise, soon after hearing about adults that like to colour, I noticed adult colouring books everywhere. A good friend, who lives in Canada, posted on Facebook that she was excited about a new colouring book that she had just purchased. There was a large display of books in my local bookstore and even on a stall at the Wednesday market in the Mid-Wales town of Machynlleth, Powys. I seemed to be the only one who was unaware of this new phenomenon going on all around me. Obviously, out of curiosity, I bought a colouring book to see what is causing all the fuss. It is only a doodle colouring book but it sits on the table for me to colour whenever I want to take a break from what I am doing.

Snatch A Colouring Moment

I didn't even go over the black lines.
I didn't even go over the black lines.

The Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book

Johanna Basford, a Scottish illustrator, has created a colouring book based on her grandparents' back garden. It is quite the garden, as her grandfather was head gardener at Branach Castle Gardens on the Isle of Aran, Scotland. She gleaned a lot of inspiration from these gardens which lead her to the creation of many beautiful illustrations of trees, shrubs, flowers and woodland creatures. She has also added another dimension to this book by adding a quest. In order to open the castle gates, nine hidden symbols need to be found. She has taken the colouring book beyond the ordinary and, in the process, has attracted another audience that likes to solve puzzles.

'The Enchanted Forest' is the sequel to her very, very popular colouring book, 'The Secret Garden', which has sold well over one million copies. A new title called 'Lost Ocean' was recently published.

Colouring 'The Enchanted Forest'

Stressful Or A Stress-Buster

Two opposite views were expressed about the benefits of adult colouring books on a popular BBC radio talk show a few months ago. One guest said he felt more stressed at the thought of colouring because of the funny looks he would get also, he obsessed over the right colour choices for his picture. He felt guilty if he went over the black lines. Poor fellow, I think he must have had a traumatic colouring experience in his childhood.

The other man expressed a very positive view. He found colouring to be grounding and calming. For him it provided an opportunity to turn off his phone and to stop checking his computer. He talked about business people in meetings working on their latest colouring project which spread an air of peace and calm to the room. He felt the very act of colouring turns off the whirring activity in the brain by concentrating the brain on the task at hand.

Art-thérapie: 100 Coloriages Anti-Stress

Art-thearapie : 100 coloriages anti-stress (French Edition)
Art-thearapie : 100 coloriages anti-stress (French Edition)

This French colouring book is outselling cookbooks in France. It contains thick paper so felt markers can be used without colour bleed.


Colouring And Mental Health

The act of colouring has helped many people in different ways. Lucy Fyles, is a young woman who suffers with mental health issues, who finds colouring to be beneficial in slowing down her mind thus calming her feelings of anxiety. She now writes a blog about colouring and many other subjects. It is ideal for people who are housebound due to their physical or mental condition or people who do night shifts or are on standby shifts.

Michael O'Mara Publishing has published many titles related to colouring as a means to quelling anxiety. Some of the titles are: 'The Art Therapy Colouring Book', 'Calming Art Therapy', 'Colour Therapy', and 'Can't Sleep Colouring'.

There are Facebook colouring groups where popular colouring books can be suggested and pages exchanged which has been a boon for those who feel marginalised and isolated. One woman commented that colouring helped her find relief from pain following surgery and there are many other testimonials to the benefits of colouring as an activity which switches off the overactive whirring brain. It has been known to calm hyperactive children so it is no surprise that adults can benefit from the same activity.

Your Colouring Medium

Colouring doesn't have to become an expensive hobby. I picked up some perfectly adequate colouring pencils at my local dollar/pound store and higher quality pencils can be bought at a your local stationary store. You could borrow your child's colour pencils and crayons (but ask permission first) or, for a different look, invest in some good quality felt tip pens in vibrant colours. I have included a link to some Stablio fine tip felt pens that are sold through Amazon but other pens are available. Just be sure that when you use the pens that the paper in the colouring book is heavy enough so that the colours don't bleed through the page.

Happy Colouring!!

Stablio Fine Line Pens

They are Europe's best-selling fine line pens that can be used for many art projects and are excellent for achieving brilliant colours .

As The Poster Says: Explore A World Of Colouriing

There are more and more title coming on the market all the time so choose the one that is right for you.
There are more and more title coming on the market all the time so choose the one that is right for you.

To Conclude

I suppose only time will tell if this is just a new craze or whether it will become a lasting activity which just may gain in popularity. I am pro anything that encourages us to slow down and put all the technological gadgets aside. I like to think that maybe we have found a simple way to help combat anxiety, insomnia and stress without taking medication. It certainly is worth a try.

Some interesting authors/illustrators to looks for are:

Richard Merritt who illustrated the 'Art Therapy Colouring Book'

Millie Marotta - 'Animal Kingdom' and 'Tropical Wonderland'

Emma Farrarons - 'The Mindfulness Colouring Book'

Kerby Rosanes - 'Animorphia'

Jessica Palmer - 'Tanglewood'

Daria Song - 'The Time Garden'

Johanna Basford - 'The Secret Garden', 'The Enchanted Garden' and 'Lost Ocean'

Animorphia by Kerby Rosanes

To Colour Or Not To Colour

Would you consider taking up colouring as a hobby?

See results

Colouring Books For Adults

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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      What is the colouring book you are using in the picture under the heading "snatch a coloring moment" please? Judging from just that picture, I want that book!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Coloring can be very therapeutic. Great read.

    • Holly22 profile imageAUTHOR

      Christine and Peter Broster 

      2 years ago from Tywyn Wales UK

      Thank you for your comments marigoldina. I think colouring can be used in many beneficial ways.

    • marigoldina profile image

      Heather B 

      2 years ago

      I used to colour quite a lot with the Italian kids I tutored. It was a great way to teach them English because I was able to name the objects in the picture as we coloured together. It was also a good bonding experience. Thanks for the excellent article!


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