Tuesday 1 July 2014

Awesome Colouring Books for Grown-Ups

Last month I read an interesting article about how "anti-stress" colouring books are really popular in France... which led to a great discussion on Facebook about the joys of colouring in, and some recommendations for great colouring books (thanks to everyone who made suggestions!)

I then totally fell down a rabbit hole of searching for cool looking colouring books to add to my wish lists. Here's a selection of some of the awesome-looking colouring books I found...

(The Amazon & Book Depository links in this post are affiliate links - click on the text links to find the titles in the UK and the images to find them on Amazon USA, where available)

I was pleased to find that some of the range of French anti-stress colouring books mentioned in the article are available from Amazon in the UK, including 100 Nouveaux Coloriages Anti-Stress, Art-thérapie Psychédélique, Art-thérapie Jardins Extraordinaires and Art-thérapie Art Médiéval.


Their range also includes "mystery" colouring books where you colour by numbers and a picture appears...


... and a series called Coloriage XXL which aren't colouring books at all but large posters that you can hang on the wall once you've coloured them in. I especially love this Mayan design.


Another French publisher also sells a range of colouring books with different "inspirations", like this pretty, vintage-inspired book:


Some of the French anti-stress titles also seem to have been reprinted in English and there are a few UK titles that are specifically being sold as books to help you de-stress, like this Art Therapy Colouring Book...


... but it seems that here in the UK we've not really caught on to the magical powers of colouring in!

However, there are some colouring books aimed at adults (this is, of course, very different to "adult" colouring books!!), like the Creative Colouring for Grown-Ups range which includes The Gorgeous Colouring Book for Grown-Ups, Beautiful Patterns and Vintage Patterns


Tattoos seem to be a popular colouring book theme, with The Tattoo Colouring Book, Creative Colouring for Grown-Ups: Tattoo Designs, the French Inspiration Tattoos and more to choose from.  I am way too indecisive (and cowardly!) to ever get a tattoo of my own, but colouring them in could be a lot of fun. 


If you prefer your colouring to be on the pretty side, there's Johanna Basford's Secret Garden (this is apparently best to colour with coloured pencils as the paper is very absorbant).

When we were chatting about colouring books on Facebook, a couple of people mentioned this amazing embroidery project where a very talented lady is stitching one of the detailed floral designs from this book (wow!).


The Pattern & Design Coloring Book also looks very pretty...


... and you can never go wrong with loveliness by Charley Harper!


Lots of people recommended Dover Books' range of colouring books. They have a great selection of different titles, themed around history, art, nature and design. I especially like the look of Kaleidoscopic Design and Celtic Design


Usborne also have an educational range of colouring books, including Butterflies to Colour and Flowers to Colour. These seem to have coloured illustrations with facts about the flowers, etc, featured and then black and white images for you to colour. These are totally aimed at kids but who cares!


I love the look of their pattern-themed books - you can colour Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Medieval, Mexican and Egyptian patterns, and more.


For colouring books with no educational value whatsoever, just fun, there's the Colour Me Good range of pop culture inspired colouring books which cover topics like horror movies, record sleeves, the 90s and Benedict Cumberbatch.


Team Art on Etsy also has colouring books with themes like funny ladies, hunky dudes, 90s pop divas, Game of Thrones and Parks & Rec.


There are lots of quirky colouring books and zines to be found on Etsy... some more "grown-up" than others.

I have fallen in love with this one by Cordial Kitten: Animals with Jobs - there's a giraffe sailing a boat! a cat having a nap instead of delivering the mail! and a fox selling black market bits and bobs out of his coat! Completely adorable.  


Finally, I found a range of fancy-looking colouring books specifically designed for artists. Each book apparently contains 16 pages of "superior acid-free drawing paper" printed with very light lines, so you can use pencils, pastels, felt tips, water colours, etc to colour the designs and the original outlines will hardly show. These look rather beautiful, don't you think? Titles include: Art Nouveau, Arabian Patterns, 1960s, Japanese Designs and Turkish Designs.



I say "finally" because I've reached the end of my post, but there are waaaaaay more awesome colouring books out there. If you've got a colouring book to recommend or you've bought one of the books I've mentioned, please do leave a comment! :)


Elsa said...

A very interesting post! Thank you for sharing this information. Elsa

Katie said...

I love colouring in! Great excuse now as it's anti stress activity. But I'm pretty sure that's why I like it as it's so relaxing. I like optical illusion ones and detailed. You can also buy the Tattoo ones and others for a good price in The Works. I nearly, nearly did the other day.

Claire said...

Colouring is awesome. I quite often sit colouring with the smalls!
At uni we had colouring books on our reading list: anatomy, nerve and brain, immunology. Colouring and learning! ;)

Blooming Felt said...

wow ! Now that's a range of colouring books, if ever I saw one !! I'm off to treat myself to a couple. Thanks for sharing xx

Anonymous said...

I'm actually more likely to embroider than colour in. Mary Corbet is probably the best embroidery resource on the internet, the amount of information she shares is amazing. Not to mention all her great videos. Will love to see her secret garden embroidery finished.

I admire the colouring books but always feel I should have done the drawings too. You did find such a lot of lovely ones though, so it is tempting.

Emilia Jayne said...

I've been buying colouring in books for about a year as I heard they help with stress. I have found it really enjoying and relaxing.

My favourite so far is the Benedict Cumberbatch one - for obvious reasons! - but I also have the grown up colouring book and an art deco one which is lovely.

I also find it good for feeling creative but within a controlled environment.

Good fun!

Balisha said...

When we took vacations with our children years ago, we moms would color along with them on the beach. I'm and artist, and started with coloring books. I had no idea that there were so many adult coloring books. I'll have to check these out. I don't have the good vision that I once had....I think that I might enjoy this. Thanks.

InnaC said...

Thank you for this post and great recommendations!
This one is not strictly a coloring book only, but it is lovely.


Kathi said...

I ordered the Benedict Cumberbatch coloring book for my 16 year old daughter as a "Happy Summer" surprise, it was just shipped Monday- and you have it here! Ahhh! How fun! All the others you posted are incredibly intriguing... will have to do some research... these would all be great inspiration for creating embroidery patterns, or even fabrics! The possibilities are endless!! Thank you soooo much for sharing these- Hogs and Quiches to you, Laura!

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, this sounds addictive...

Unknown said...

Wow, this is fantastic! Soooo many books to choose from! Anything Art Nouveau works wonders for me, but the Colour Me Good, the Secret Garden...I'm going to start stealing my daughter's crayons...Chrissie x

Silly Little Sheep said...

I have mandala colouring books and there are many colouring pages on the internet that offer free images to print. Colouring is awesome - best with a cup of tea, some relaxing music and wide selection of crayons :)

Lilyshaw said...

Wow, these are brill, my children have grown out of colouring in books but now I can just buy my own!

ei! kumpel said...

Very interesting post and so many resources. Thank you Laura!

I’ve always loved colouring but stoped doing it for some reason… Thanks for teh reminder!


Anonymous said...

Thank you SO much for this post! I own the Secret Garden book and I love it, but these books are on a whole other level! I just ordered the 1960's Artist's book thanks to you :) I shared this post with all the creative people in my family as well, so probably none of us will see daylight for a while ;)
Have a good one!

Alison Wood said...

Oh these are great - I love colouring and there are some fab suggestions here. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I love colouring in when my brain can't cope with actually making something, but hadn't realised the variety of colouring books available for adults until I saw this post!

Googigomez said...

My 14 year old daughter and I are traveling in Paris and just saw the anti stress books at the Centre Pompidou yesterday! My daughter has been a firm believer in coloring books since a college age camp counselor told her they were a great thing to have to relieve stress......who knew? Thanks for the post!

Bugs and Fishes said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I love all this enthusiasm for the joys of colouring in... I hope you'll all enjoy your colouring sessions if you buy some books! I've treated myself to a few books on the list & am looking forward to starting them.

Katie - oooh yes, bargain bookstores are great places to look for cheap colouring books.

Claire - I went and looked up the sort of colouring books you mentioned, they look awesome, what a creative way to learn!

Sara - I love to embroider too, but there are times when I'm just too tired to sew / I know I'd make mistakes if I tried... colouring in is going to be perfect for those occasions :)

Emilia - so great to hear they've been working for you!"feeling creative but within a controlled environment" is def a big part of what appeals to me about colouring - no pressure to come up with some amazing drawing / bit of craft, you can just sit and enjoy the process of adding colour to the picture.

InnaC - thanks for that link! I love Gennine's work.

Stash Avalanche - haha, yes, this is totally going to be a new addiction for me! :)

Anonymous said...

Hehe brilliant, I love the idea of a Benedict Cumberbatch colouring book XD Have you heard of the Pictura ones? I don't have one but know about them because a friend illustrated one, they look really nice http://www.picturaline.com/

Bugs and Fishes said...

Thanks for that link Chloe! Their range looks lovely - I spotted one in the V&A shop the day after you commented which was nice timing, it was soooo beautiful. Definitely adding one of those to my wish list :)