Back in the summer I read an article about how colouring books were becoming popular as "art therapy", reducing stress through the magic of colouring in. I found lots of cool colouring books, treated myself to some (and some pens and pencils to colour them in, of course!) and have since enjoyed many relaxing hours of colouring-in.
I have found that colouring is a great way to let your brain unwind at the end of a long stressful day (or a busy week rushing to meet deadlines), and a wonderful way to pass the time when you're not feeling well (just add a DVD box set, lots of cups of tea, some blankets and a cat!). Switching off and focusing on slowly filling in the lines with colour can be very absorbing and almost meditative.
There are so many interesting-looking colouring books out there my wish list is getting rather long and I am definitely not going to run out of things to colour any time soon. So I thought I'd share some of the titles I've spotted over the past few months, in case you guys fancy doing a bit of colouring yourselves :)
(Please note: the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links - click on the text links to find the titles on Amazon UK and the images to find them on Amazon USA, where available)
First up, Millie Marotta's Animal Kingdom which I spotted at the Knitting & Stitching show last month (there was much ooohing). This book is so lovely and filled with all kinds of different animals to colour and embellish.
When looking for fun colouring books I was delighted to discover "Just Add Color", a new range of books featuring designers/illustrators like Lisa Congdon & Jenn Ski whose work I adore. The Just Add Color series includes Botanicals, Geometric Patterns, Mid-Century Modern Mania, Mid-Century Modern Patterns among other titles.
Buying colouring books featuring the work of designers/illustrators you love is a great way to enjoy their designs without having to make space in your home for another print or mug, etc. And although this is a post about colouring books for grown-ups, they're also a nice way to share great design with your kids.
These large colouring books featuring the work of Alexander Girard and Patrick Hruby are perfect for sharing with your kids as the larger scale illustrations are great for colouring in with crayons and each page is perforated so you can tear it out and display it once you've coloured it in - or share the book between a group of people who want to colour together.
I've bought the Patrick Hruby book, along with one of the Charley Harper colouring books I mentioned in my previous colouring-book post (which is from the same range). They are pretty gorgeous, and I love how the back covers show you the original colourways of the featured designs so you can follow those if you want to or choose your own colours.
Talking of Charley Harper...
US-based publisher Pomegranate make a fab range of stuff featuring his designs (I've bought lots of their puzzles for my mum over the past few Christmases!) .... which includes notecards to colour.
I also spotted some Frank Lloyd Wright colouring cards - I love the idea of colouring those stylish, modernist houses with bright crayons! Again, these would be a great way to share design you love with your kids but they'd also be a fab gift to send to a friend as they can use the crayons included to start colouring straight away. You can see the full range here.
Pomegranate also have a fantastic range of colouring books, which includes Railroad Posters of Scotland, Alphonse Mucha, Gustav Klimt, William Morris , Kew Gardens: Art for London Transport... and many more titles.
I've bought their William Morris colouring book & it's great, lots of classic patterns to colour (one per sheet of paper) with the orginal colourways included for reference. I've not coloured any yet but I'm quite looking forward to seeing how different the patterns look in bright modern colour combos.
You can buy a book of Secret Garden Postcards featuring designs from the book of the same name...
... or a pack of Tattoo postcards (based on this book), which also includes a couple of sheets of tattoo stickers (yay for stickers!).
I am a total scaredy-cat when it comes to stuff like piercings and tattoos but I love the idea of tattoos to colour in. Similarly, although I don't own any trainers/sneakers and know next to nothing about the famous brands and designs I love the look of the sneaker colouring book. This takes you through the history of trainer/sneaker design, with 100 different designs to colour.
Also awesome-looking: these funny colouring books by Theo Nicole Lorenze. You can choose between Unicorns are Jerks: a coloring book exposing the cold, hard, sparkly truth or Dinosaurs with Jobs. I do love dinosaurs but I'm leaning towards the unicorn book, simply because the idea of dirtbag unicorns makes me laugh.
The unicorn colouring book would also make a fun gift paired with some glitter pens!
In my original blog post about colouring books I featured lots of French colouring books, as France is where the colouring-to-reduce-stress trend kicked off.
Looking at some of the newly released French titles I spotted this wonderful-looking Spirograph-style activity book: Art-thérapie: rosaces: Créations anti-stress. Colouring and Spirograph patterns sounds like an excellent combo to me! (I spent soooo many happy hours making those patterns as a kid).
I've also spotted lots of English reprints of the French books, including Art Therapy: Stained Glass. I bought the French version of this book and it is completely wonderful!
All the stained glass windows featured are real windows from churches, cathedrals and museum collections around the world. They date from the 1200s to the 1900s so there's a wide variety of styles to colour and the French version (and I'm guessing the English one would be the same?) has an index at the back telling you where each window is from.
The only problem with this book is that I'm a teeny bit scared to actually colour it in because it's all so beautiful (#colouringbookproblems).
If you're a stained glass fan you will also love the Stained Glass Coloring Book range from Dover. I mentioned Dover's colouring books briefly in my last post, but they have a HUGE range of titles covering almost every interest you might have. I especially love their Stained Glass range which has pictures printed on transparent paper so you can stick the pages up in your windows when you've finished colouring.
I'm planning on buying this William Morris collection which features 16 of his designs for stained glass, wallpaper and textiles.
Also pretty high up my colouring wish list is this fab book of designs by printmaker Edward Bawden. His distinctive lino prints should make this a really interesting book to colour!
Most of the designer/illustrator books featured in this post are colouring books that a publisher has put together of someone's work, adapting their prints, paintings, illustrations, etc to the demands of the colouring book form.
This Andy Warhol colouring book is different: it's an actual colouring book he designed as a Christmas gift for his clients kids when he was working as an illustrator in the early 60s. Fun!
I have to admit that though I love colouring books with gorgeous illustrations, my very favourite thing to colour is geometric and/or repeating patterns.
I find them extra relaxing as you can follow the repeat, so there are fewer decisions for my sleepy brain to make, and super low-pressure as there's no beautiful drawing to "ruin" if you colour it in badly / use terrible colour choices (I know, I know, I have some colouring issues, shhh).
I especially adored Galt's Pattern Pads when I was a kid - I found an old one in a box recently and have been having a ton of fun colouring the remaining pages. They sadly don't seem to make the pads anymore but there is a Galt Pattern Book available and it seems to be in the same style as before, with little practice sections so you can try out your colours before starting the main pattern.
I love the look of the repeat patterns in Angie Grace's range of pattern books. There are about a dozen different books available, with titles like Snazzy, Flowers, Nifty, Spiffy, Ink Doilies, Peppy, and Doodles. Don't they look pretty?
This geometric series from Altair Design also looks like a lot of fun. There's a range of pattern pads and postcards to colour-in too.
Last time I wrote about colouring books, someone recommended the Pictura range which I was delighted to discover as they're quite enchanting. These books are not really books at all but fold-out pictures featuring wonderful illustrations to colour.
There's a whole range of subjects and illustrations styles to choose from, including A Stroll in London, Enchanted Forest, Draconis, A Hedgerow Year, Traffic, Midsummer Night's Dream, A Medieval Town and (my favourite) Aurelian.
It's well worth a visit to Pictura's website to see the full illustrations - click here to see Aurelian in all its glory. I would for sure be a bit scared colouring that in but it would be a lovely long project to get absorbed in and hugely satisfying to finish and display on your wall.
Pictura also sell books of posters to colour, under the title Pictura Prints, including Botanicals and Travelogue.
Last but by no means least... a burst of super cuteness found on Etsy!
The Colour Your Heart Out colouring books by Kristy Boisvert each contain 12 illustrations of adorable woodland animals, topped with sweet, positive sentiments like "This is your moment", "You are loved", "We'll get through this together" and "You'll make mistakes and that's ok".
These are definitely suitable for kids but they'd also be great to colour at the end of a stressful day and would make a lovely gift for a friend going through a tough time. You can also Colour Your Canadian Heart Out, buy the original set of illustrations as printable colouring pages or buy a set of cute greetings cards to colour and send to your friends.
Want even more colouring books after all those? Check out my previous post!
Have you discovered the joys of colouring in? Have you tried any of the books I've featured, or bought any other nice colouring books that you'd like to recommend? Let me know in the comments :)