Meditation? It works for some. For others, the idea of sitting quietly with your own thoughts is more stressful than the thoughts themselves. The truth is, meditative practices can take many forms, and it’s important to find what works for you. One meditative practice that has become popular in recent years is adult coloring books.
Adult coloring books can be used for stress relief anywhere, anytime and for an affordable price. All you need is a great set of images, a solid set of colored pencils or markers and some quiet time. Note: We did not say any artistic skill is required — because it’s not!
Benefits of Adult Coloring Books
As we leave school and reach the independent stage of our lives, it’s easy to feel like our learning days are over and that our brains are packed with all the knowledge we need to succeed. However, that’s sometimes the problem. Our brains are too packed with what we already know and not open enough to what we don’t.
Many benefits of coloring for adults help battle this conundrum. Here are a few of them:
Reduced Stress and Anxiety – One of the main reasons that coloring is so closely linked with meditation is that both activities can have a relaxing effect on your amygdala, which is where memories are stored, both good and bad. By reducing the pressure on our mind with coloring, we can improve the levels of mindfulness and calm we feel.
Improved Skills – Coloring is not just about staying in the lines. It’s also about selecting the best color, where to color first and what to do with the artwork once it’s complete. These aspects of coloring require multiple parts of the brain to work in unison for the best results.
Better Sleep – Avoid blue light before you sleep by spending time coloring rather than scrolling. Whereas electronic screens can have a negative effect on your melatonin levels, coloring books do not.
Increased Focus – There’s a healthy balance of focus required for coloring. It’s not a case of closing your eyes and hoping for the best. It does take concentration and precision but not to the extent you’ll find it stressful. If anything, you’ll find the activity reduces your anxiety levels.
Adult coloring books have been trending for a few years and for a good reason. They engage your mind and creativity while also providing a soothing, relaxing, hands-on activity. Take one on a long flight to pass the time or share it with friends for a soothing group activity.
How We Chose the Best Adult Coloring Books
We have found in testing various adult coloring books that much of the pleasure derived from this activity comes from both the illustration on the page and the match of any given person’s abilities with how complicated the illustration is. Therefore, we wanted to choose a wide variety of themed books and coloring books with complicated and easy illustrations. We’ve strived to select the best book in each category.
If you think coloring books are just for kids, it’s time to experience the new world of adult coloring books. Beautiful, intricate and fun, adult coloring books are about to become your new favorite way to spend an afternoon. Below are the best adult coloring books you can buy, including a wide variety of inspirations and difficulties. There’s a coloring book to suit everyone, so pick yours and enjoy.
1. Worlds of Wonder: A Coloring Book for the Curious
Johanna Basford has a range of popular “Worlds of” coloring books, including this Worlds of Wonder coloring book. It’s billed as a “coloring book for the curious.” It consists of 80 pages total, with a range of fantastical locations like floating castles and treehouse villages. It’s available in both paperback and spiralbound varieties, depending on how you prefer to draw. If you want to relax and expand your imagination, the Worlds of Wonder coloring book is a great option to get.
Pros: Top coloring book illustrator. Creative and inventive art.
Cons: Some may prefer more intricate designs
2. The Best of ColorIt Adult Coloring Book
If you can’t decide what type of adult coloring book you want, try a little bit of everything with The Best of ColorIt Adult Coloring Book. This spiral-bound book compiles three pages from 10 different ColorIt books, allowing you to have a variety of artworks at your disposal. This will also help you hone in on your next coloring book purchase, as you discover which types of pages you like best. Plus, the hard front and back cover will help you keep this book in tip-top condition as you color.
Pros: This coloring book boasts hand-drawn images in a variety of styles, so you won’t get bored. It also comes with a blotter to protect the pages behind the one you are working on.
Cons: Because there isn’t a single theme to the artwork included, this coloring book can feel a bit disjointed and may not provide the most stress relief.
3. Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Animals
From every part of the planet, this adult coloring book from MantraCraft delivers animals in all shapes and sizes for your coloring pleasure. With small, intricate details available for the experts, or wide swaths of open space for those looking to fully zone out, MantaCraft’s animal coloring book backs enough variety to satisfy everyone. Single-sided pages mean no bleeding through to an image underneath. We also like that the book offers a variety of skill levels.
Pros: Boats 50 different animals at varying levels of coloring difficulty.
Cons: Some details can get pretty intricate and the book might not be suitable for users with bad eyesight.
4. 100 Flowers
Enjoy flowers without the limit of lifespan by coloring in the pages of Jade Summer’s 100 Flowers: An Adult Coloring Book. All your favorite blooms are included, from tulips to orchids and many, many more. Whether you color them in their life-like color or not is up to you. This is a quality coloring book for adults that will bring hours of floral relaxation.
Pros: An all-pleasing mix of less and more detailed areas to suit all coloring levels.
Cons: It’s completely flower-focused with little variation.
5. Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure
The author of the bestselling Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest adult coloring books is back with Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure and Coloring Book for Adults. Johanna Basford is the leader in adult coloring book art, with her intricate designs inspiring millions of adults to use coloring books as their latest de-stressing activity. The crisp ivory paper provides a soft backdrop for the vivid images and the untextured paper is ideal for shading and gradient work.
Pros: Lost Ocean includes pages that fold out to create extended pieces of art to color.
Cons: Many of the images have small and intricate areas that require fine tip coloring instruments.
6. 50 Shades of Bullsh*t
Put your manners to one side and bring out your potty mouth with Alex Flemming’s 50 Shade of Bullsh*t. Clearly this coloring book is all fun, games and a lot of bad language. Find your daily frustration release through the pages of this book by laughing at the wording, enjoying the coloring and channeling your energy into creating. This is perhaps not one for the easily offended, but really, it’s completely harmless and lighthearted.
Pros: Packed with humorous, lighthearted banter.
Cons: The pages are not perforated and can tear when removed.
7. Tattoo Coloring Book
If you’ve ever caught yourself daydreaming of becoming a tattoo artist, here’s your chance. The Tattoo Color Book for Adults is filled with 30 artistic tattoo designs that cover the most desired tattoo themes. From sugar skulls to the universe, crowns, flowers and more, this book has outlined images for all levels of experience, ready to be colored in. Who knows, you might find the inspiration for your next skin doodle?
Pros: All the most popular tattoo themes and designs are included.
Cons: The quality of the paper isn’t to the same standards as the illustrations.
8. The Mindfulness Coloring Book
This option is a pocket-size coloring book designed to help you relax and find calm on the go. Take it to your next appointment to pass the time mindfully in a waiting room through 70 intricate designs. Combine the power of meditation with creative action using this anti-stress coloring book. Fans will also like to explore the other designs offered in this series of coloring books.
Pros: Small size makes it easy to carry everywhere.
Cons: Binding is a little tight which makes coloring near the spine difficult.
9. Stress Relief Dog Coloring Book
Dogs are humans’ best friends. They are companions and stress relievers in their own right. If you can’t have one of your own, do the next best thing, and color one in. The Stress Relief Dog Coloring Book boasts 35 pages of dogs set against abstract backgrounds for you to color. Beagles, Boxers, Bulldogs and more will greet you every time you open the cover. This would make a great gift for any dog or animal lover in your life.
Pros: The dog-themed content of this book makes it easy to match with the person who would enjoy coloring these pages the most.
Cons: The pages in this book are double-sided, so only crayons or colored pencils won’t bleed through to the next page. You will not be able to use markers or paint in this book.
10. National Geographic Magnificent Ocean: A Coloring Book
If you often find that you finish adult coloring books quickly, you might want to find one with more pages, like the National Geographic Magnificent Ocean: A Coloring Book. This book has 50 black-and-white illustrations, which is almost twice as many as competing adult coloring books. Furthermore, the illustrations in this particular book are realistic, which some users may prefer over the more abstract coloring pages in many made-for-adult craft books.
Pros: The intricacy of the marine life in this coloring book allows you to focus on the minute details rather than the big and sometimes stressful picture.
Cons: Some of the illustrations in this book are rather repetitive.
11. The Splat: Coloring the ’90s
Kids of the 90s, rejoice! A coloring book just for you has arrived thanks to The Splat: Coloring the ’90s. The adult coloring book acts as a great nostalgia gift and can be enjoyed by teens and young adults who have recently discovered some of the best shows from Nickelodeon, including Ren and Stimpy, Hey Arnold, Rugrats and Rocko’s Modern Life. Including more than 45 designs, each page includes one image with a quote from its corresponding series on the back.
Pros: The heavyweight paper is slightly rough, making it ideal for pencil crayons and gel pens.
Cons: Markers are safe for use, but customers may want to include a blotter page between pages.
12. Creatively Calm Studios
Choose from three soothing books in the Creatively Calm Studios Adult Coloring Books set, which includes animal, scenery and mandala-themed books. Made with thick and sturdy paper, the books won’t bleed even when using markers and gel pens. Each book includes three levels of difficulty, giving users the ability to start with basic images and work their way up to more intricate designs.
Pros: Customers get access to the Creatively Calm Coloring Club, which includes free bonus weekly images for a year.
Cons: The pages are double-sided, which can cause some bumps depending on the coloring instrument used.
13. Color Me Stress-Free (A Zen Coloring Book)
There’s no end to the sources of stress each one of us faces on a daily basis, and sometimes we need a way to unplug and ease our minds. This coloring book is specifically designed for stressed-out adults looking to unwind with some creativity. It has different sections designed to help deal with different stressors, including work, relationships and finances. If you’re looking to dial in to process a specific area of your life, this book has you covered.
Pros: Relaxing, beautiful drawings designed to help you unwind no matter what’s stressing you out.
Cons: Hand-drawn so some lines are asymmetrical.
14. Mandala Coloring Book
The Mandala Coloring Book For Adults is not only filled with a wide variety of beautiful mandala designs of all skill levels to color, but it’s also the most user-friendly book on our list. Thanks to its hardcover design, the book can be used without the assistance of a table, making it a great option for road trips, as well as rail and air travel. A spiral binding along the top means no more forcing pages to lay flat. We also like that each page is perforated, making it easy for artists to remove their new masterpieces for display once it’s complete.
Pros: The book includes a blotting paper to ensure that pencils, pens and markers won’t bleed through to the next design.
Cons: The heavy paper can lead to feathering or smearing.