Best Coloring Books For Adults- Which Ones Are Worth Your Creativity?

Today, in the age of the Millennial, "feeling like a kid again" is trendy and with the expansion of the ever-growing Peter Pan market, we are finding more and more ways to diffuse traditional views of adulthood with childish quirks. From black coffee sipped conspicuously from a Batman mug to preschool classes and full-fledged adult summer camps, "being a kid" is not only a trend, it's therapeutic.
Coloring has been used as a form of therapy since the early 1900s, when Carl Jung, founder of analytical psychology, shared his own morning routine of coloring in mandalas with his patients. Today, adult coloring books have taken the publishing world by storm.

 Many people who enjoy adult coloring books believe that the technical definition of "art-therapy" (which involves original creations of art) is not as relevant as professional psychiatrists and therapists are making it out to be. For them, the simplicity, accessibility and interchangeable act of mindfulness or mindlessness involved in coloring is all that matters.

Adult coloring books also happen to fuel our current symptoms of Peter Pan syndrome and give our jaded adult lives a sense of playfulness. That being said, coloring books designed for adults are actually quite sophisticated, depicting abstract and geometric illustrations with labyrinth-like complexity. The sudden popularity of adult coloring books can also be explained by their sharable nature. Being immersed in a coloring session is not only creating relief, but also encouraging interaction. People are blogging, instagramming, pinning, and tweeting their color-schemes with social strangers.

Here are our recommendations for the best adult coloring books with each having their own unique appeal:

1. The Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book

Johanna Basford is a Scottish illustration artist who, prior to the unpredicted popularity of adult coloring books, specialized in hand-drawn designs for glass containers, specifically those containing wine or perfume.

In 2011, the British publishing house Laurence King commissioned Basford to illustrate a children's coloring book, but the author, a huge fan of coloring herself, suggested a twist that would completely overturn her career: What if the audience paid bills, drove cars, had a job; What if… the audience were adults who could use a bit of play?

Since then, Basford has published three versions of her adult coloring book, two of which occupy the top spots on Amazon's US and UK bestseller's list.

The original coloring book, The Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book, has sold two-million copies worldwide and has been in reprint since its creation. With highly detailed illustrations of tiny garden creatures and intricate flowery designs, this coloring book is pure sophistication. A work of art itself, each page is then transformed into a complex prism of color, unique to each individual.

Also suggested are Basford's follow-up coloring books, Enchanted Forest and Lost Ocean.


2. The Mindfulness Coloring Book: Anti-Stress Art Therapy For Busy People

Illustrated by Emma Farrarons and published by Boxtree, this adult coloring book states its intention quite clearly in both promotion and execution.

With thick, double-sided pages, this pocket-sized coloring book is filled with soothing, swaying images drawn by hand in curves and undulations. Featuring abstract shapes and intricate geometric shapes, this coloring book  aims to bring people back to the present moment. Like all mindful activities, the purpose is to encourage awareness of now and allow now to be a moment of relaxing sensations.

Farrarons, an illustrator and designer constantly surrounded by fabric print and the panoramas of her traveling lifestyle, has infused her work with the simple images that bring joy to her own life. The essence of tropical fruit and exotic fauna; the repetitive pattern on that skirt she wore to her best friend's wedding, and even her favorite tea cup are all fair game for her illustrations.

Also suggested is her follow-up coloring book, More Mindfulness Coloring.


3. The Magical City: A Colouring Book

Similar in style to Johanna Basford's coloring books, The Magical City has one clear distinction: it's psychedelic illustrations featuring, you guessed it- surrealistic urban cities.

Published by Penguin and illustrated by Lizzie Cullen, this coloring book is awash in intricate designs reminiscent of Van Gogh's Starry Night. True to the genre's purpose, Cullen's illustrations have a way of both representing and transporting people into a zone of focus, despite the intentional lack of the vanishing point from traditional cityscape illustrations.

The Magical City holds its own amongst the bestsellers because of its quirky charm and distinction from organic subject matter. This is not only a coloring book for adults, it's a coloring book for the punky, slightly materialistic adults who enjoy strolling through concrete and brick, earbuds tightly screwed in and thoughts loosely a-flutter.


If Amazon's bestseller list has anything to say about adulthood, the analysis would be quite childish- literally. In the US and UK alike, the top spots on the bestselling titles list are adult coloring books. Who knew adults just wanted to sit down and color for a couple of hours?

While the concept remains the same, adult coloring books have a certain level of sophistication. They are designed to promote relaxation, focus, and mindfulness. Many adult coloring books feature intricate and repetitive patterns that become beautiful creations of art.

There is no wrong way to go about this, however people pursuing stress-relieving benefits find that patterns and detail are important and depending on when (and where) you want to get your coloring on, the size of the book also comes into play.

Most adult coloring books are illustrated by one person, which creates a pleasant cohesiveness and regardless of the encouragement to use crayons (something about invoking childhood), felt-tip pens or sharp colored pencils are the best coloring tools to use.

Color on!

Also remember that another alternative than going out to purchase coloring books, here at we offer free and printable adult coloring book pages. You are able to print as many as you would like for free. Use these as an anti-stress device to reduce anxiety and other therapeutic purposes.

Make sure you check out all our Free Adult Coloring Pages featuring Animals, Mandalas and More!

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