The popularity of coloring books for adults doesn't look like it's about to diminish any time soon: at time of writing, 9 of the top 20 bestselling books on Amazon were coloring books for grown-ups. This is perfectly understandable since they're great for relieving stress, practicing mindfulness or quickly tapping into your creative energies. They're also very affordable too, with all of the books in our roundup below priced well under $20 and many selling for under $10. When choosing a coloring book, remember to look for good-quality paper stock, and if you think you'd like to frame the results then seek out books with images printed on only one side of each leaf of paper, preferably with perforations to make them easier to remove. With the holiday season upon us, it's worth having a few coloring books and some packets of pencils or markers on hand to give as last-minute gifts. As an added bonus, they're also a useful tool for de-stressing yourself should the holidays start morphing into the silly season! Hit the jump for our take on some of the best coloring books for adults currently available.
1. Outside the Lines
Outside the Lines, by Souris Hong-Porretta, is an exceptional collection of illustrations, featuring the work of more than 100 contemporary creative geniuses, including Keith Haring, AIKO and Shepard Fairey. This coloring book is sure to bring around even the most determined stresshead in your inner circle and the quality of the illustrations will have you all inspired in no time!
RELATED | ColoringNotebook beckons adults to daydream and reduce stress while coloring fanciful designs
2. Doodlers Anonymous Epic Coloring Book
The impressively titled Doodlers Anonymous Epic Coloring Book: An Extraordinary Mashup of Doodles and Drawings Begging to be Filled in with Color features the artworks of 90 contemporary international artists and is authored by Rony Tako and Hugo Seijas. The variety of artistic styles keeps this book interesting throughout multiple coloring sessions, a contributing factor to the fabulous write up it received from Slate.
3. Anything by Johanna Basford!
We’ve featured Johanna Basford’s work on Inhabitots before and we are still enamoured with her intricate designs and the fact that there is a longer quest to follow within each of her books. Basford started with Secret Garden, and followed it up with Enchanted Forest and Lost Ocean, racking up millions of sales along the way. For more details about Basford’s illustrations, see her blog; for purchases visit Amazon.
4. Pattern and Design Coloring Book: Volume 1
Pattern and Design Coloring Book: Volume 1 is one of several adult coloring books by talented illustrator Jenean Morrison. The beauty of this book is that there is only one image per double-sided page, so if markers are your preferred medium you don’t need to worry about color bleed through to the reverse image. Order direct through Morrison or through Amazon.
5. Fantastic Cities
There are several architecture-themed coloring books on the market, and Steve McDonald’s Fantastic Cities makes a great first foray into this aspect of the coloring book phenomenon. Cities include New York, London, Paris, Istanbul, Tokyo, Melbourne, Rio, and Amsterdam, and the book gets the seal of approval from Architectural Digest. For more architecture coloring books, look for the Secret Cities series by illustrator Zoe de Las Cases.
6. Color Your Own Van Gogh
Can’t afford your own Van Gogh? Wish the Bedroom at Arles was green instead of blue? Color Your Own Van Gogh, by the Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam will give you a renewed appreciation for the master artist’s expressive use of color that could be invaluable for your own creative practice.
7. The Indie Rock Coloring Book
Love band posters? Canadian nonprofit Yellow Bird Project has long worked with indie rock musicians to create unique band T-shirt designs with proceeds from sales going to charities. Artist Andy J. Miller created a coloring book for YBP filled with mazes, connect-the-dot games, and coloring pages inspired by the Shins, the National and Bloc Party, as well as more than 20 other artists. All royalties from this coloring book go to charity too. In Canada, buy direct from Yellow Bird Project; for everywhere else, purchase through Amazon.
8. Just Add Color: Circus
Just Add Color: Circus, by illustrator Sarah Walsh, is one of several adult coloring books in the Just Add Color series. Other titles include Mid-Century Modern Patterns, Botanicals, Folk Art and Day of the Dead. The Circus-themed volume charms us with its vintage style, attention to detail and quirky characters, and the perforated pages make it easy to remove finished works to frame or put to any other creative purpose you can dream up.
9. Tropical World
Millie Marotta’s first coloring book was the top selling book on Amazon in early 2015, and had sold over 1.5 million copies at time of writing. Following up on the success of Animal Kingdom, she has recently released Tropical World—highly recommended for animal lovers!
Image: Colored by Angie Grace, from Balance (Angie’s Extreme Stress Menders Volume 1)
10. Balance and Centered
Angie Grace is a prolific adult coloring book illustrator, and judging by the reviews, she’s really hit gold with these two titles. Balance and Centered are pitched as “extreme stress menders,” and these rhythmic patterns and mandala designs are great for those times when you don’t want to be distracted by any hint of a storyline. The designs are complicated, making it easy to get lost in the coloring process. The designs are also printed on only one side of each leaf of paper, so there’s no possibility of ink bleed through and the finished result can be framed.
11. Kaleidoscope Wonders
Kaleidoscope Wonders ups the ante by combining two absorbing childhood-favorite pastimes in one! The book features 24 highly detailed, kaleidoscope-style images, again printed one per leaf and with perforated pages.
Image: Lila Ruby King via Etsy
12. Etsy sellers
If you’re not near a bookshop or simply can’t wait a day or two for your Amazon order to arrive, check out some of the beautiful PDFs of single coloring pages and mini books available for instant download on Etsy. Shops such as Lila Ruby King and Candie Hippie have intricate, affordable and contemporary designs available with just a couple of clicks. Several sellers offer poster-sized designs too if you have access to a larger printer.