Recently, coloring books have seen a surge in popularity in the adult world. Generally seen as tools for children to practice using a pencil or just for youthful fun, coloring books are now being praised by adults for their mental health and stress-relieving benefits. This CNN article details how adult coloring books gained popularity in the late 2000s and why art therapists and mental health researchers have found it beneficial for human health. The American Art Therapy Association has lauded art as a way for adults to “explore feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety and increase self-esteem.” While coloring books are not the same as art therapy sessions, they have been shown to decrease stress.
If the idea of art-therapy through coloring books interests you, or if you just want a nice book to draw in, here are some fun and soothing suggestions.
Secret Garden: An Inky Teasure Hunt and Coloring Book by Johanna Basford
Johanna Basford has published a number of bestselling coloring books, including The Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book. Both coloring books are entertaining and charming, filled with beautiful and magical illustrations.
The Mindfulness Coloring Book: Anti-stress Art Therapy for Busy People by Emma Farrarons
The title of Emma Farrarons’ coloring book says it all. If you are an adult with little time to relax and de-stress, what you need is this pocket-size, meditative coloring book. Farrarons is all about practicing mindfulness and anti-stress art.
Animal Kingdom: Color Me, Draw Me by Millie Marotta
Millie Marotta’s best-selling coloring book is filled with intricate illustrations of all types of creatures – frogs and dragonflies included. The sophisticated look of Animal Kingdom makes it great for keeping on your coffee table!
The Indie Rock Coloring Book by Yellow Bird Project
Each page of this coloring book is inspired by a hip, indie musician, from Bon Iver to Rilo Kiley. The book is both fun and pretty, and has an added benefit: Yellow Bird Project gives all royalties to charity!
Color Me Calm: 100 Templates for Meditation and Relaxation by Lucy Mucklow
Art therapist Lucy Mucklow combines forces with artist Angela Porter to create a restorative compilation of color-me-in illustrations. They also have a delightful Color Me Happy coloring book.
Doctor Who Coloring Book by Price Stern Sloan
Enter the memorable and crazy world of Doctor Who: time travel, TARDIS, galaxies, and epic explorations. This coloring book is filled with iconic images from the world of Doctor Who, sure to delight any fan of the TV show. Those unfamiliar with Doctor Who will enjoy the soothing, outer-wordly illustrations.
Dinosaurs with Jobs by Theo Nicole Lorenz
This coloring book will make all us hard-workers laugh while “celebrating our old-school coworkers.” The images and characters are witty and relatable, perfect for some light-hearted stress-relief.
Doodle Invasion by Zifflin
Even if you don’t end up coloring in these images, just looking at the fascinating and intricate illustrations will keep you entertained. Kerby Rosanes, an excellent doodler and illustrator, provides fun and profoundly detailed drawings.
Fantastic Cities: A Coloring Book of Amazing Places Real and Imaginary by Steve McDonald
Artist Steve McDonald offers a variety of imaginative illustrations of crazy city landscapes, some of which you may recognize. Colorists will love creating an architectural masterpiece in the color of their choosing with Fantastic Cities. Make Montreal any color you desire!
Harry Potter: The Coloring Book by Scholastic Inc.
This Harry Potter coloring book is, of course, awesome. Color your way through Hogwarts and the Weasley residence, or make Dobby’s rags a bit more flashy. With pleasant and iconic illustrations from the wonderful wizarding world, this is a wonderful book for colorful expression.
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