Back in the day, coloring books were used to keep children entertained at the perfected their fine motor skills. We all, at some point, enjoyed a good coloring book, even if some of us had trouble staying inside the lines (the early evidence of your rebellious nature, what sap lets a book tell them what to do?). But in recent years the joys of coloring have been rediscovered for adults and the adult coloring book industry has blossomed and boomed. It is not merely a way to keep you entertained during rainy days, though. The adult coloring book has been designed to promote mindfulness and aid in relieving stress, all through the (mostly) calming nature of coloring. We understand how important it is to feel at peace with the world, and how difficult that can sometimes be, so sit back, relax and check out our selection of the best adult coloring books and see if we can’t help put your mind at ease.
The Best Adult Coloring Books
Our number one choice for the best adult coloring book takes you into the depths of the ocean thanks to illustrations by Johanna Basford. Kick back after a hell of a week and feel at peace with the world by filling in intricate designs all based on what lies beneath. Over the books’ 80 pages, you can bring unusual color to imaginary underwater cityscapes and bring out the blue in the orca’s eyes as well as bring life back to shipwrecks.
Perhaps not for those who suffer from thalassophobia, but for those who love the ocean and all of its unseen, mysterious wonder, then it is hard to go wrong with Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure. The designs are not too complex to end up with the book thrown across the room, but still give enough of a challenge to keep your attention until the last bit of white is filled in, if that’s how you want to do it.
Crisp ivory paper
Multiple different scenes
Works with both pen and pencil
Smooth coloring feeling
Great for beginners and experts
Anyone who did not experience the classic Nicktoons of the 90s, essentially, did not have a childhood. Sucks to be you, dude. But those that weren’t deprived of the Golden Age of after school and Saturday morning cartoons will greet this cool coloring book like an old friend. Featuring all of your favorites, from Arnold to Ren and Stimpy to Rocko to good old Tommy Pickles, it will feel like stepping back into simpler times where the only thing you were concerned about was whether the girl sitting opposite liked you and when your pizza rolls will be ready.
Coloring the 90s is comprised of 96 pages featuring your favorite characters spanning over twenty difference cartoons. Unlike other coloring books, you have the chance to fill out scenes instead of merely on subject per page, giving you the chance to experiment with your own creativity and imagine an alternative world of all your most cherished TV memories. The only one missing that you might notice is Doug, but there are still enough strolls down memory lane here to keep you entertained and pining for the simplicity of bikes rides to friend’s houses, video games till one AM, and the embarrassing 90s fashions we’ve all strived to forget. Be sure to also check out our list of the best adult graphic novels for more great items like this.
All your favorite characters from Nicktoons
Variety of scenes
Pages don’t let gel pens or water-based markers bleed through
Flat opening by breaking book spine
Around and around you will go with this coloring book for adults. It is a number one bestseller and is a great gift for those who love to relax with their colors and indulge in their creativity. The book comes with enough variety to keep even the most experienced adult colorer interested by presenting them with animals, flowers and similar, swirly patterns that range from the simple to the intricate.
Even for those who don’t really feel like they have a creative spark, they can still get enough from this kind of book due to the potential for mindless scribbling here and there. For some, this is a great way to unwind after a day and can help with both mental and intellectual health as you get all of the mess from your brain onto the page. For this reason, and for this price, the Amazing Swirls coloring book for adults is a great choice for any budding artist, or just someone who loves to color.
Great for either concentrated or mindless activity
Designs printed only on front of page to prevent bleed through
Variety of subjects
Unlock your inner zen with the Mandala Coloring Book designed by Jade Summer. Featuring 100 different images, you will feel at peace and have the opportunity to color in different styles of mandala from star to floral to circular ones that will be enhanced by your creative touch. This is the ideal solution for achieving that relaxation that you do desperately crave and can help promote mindfulness coloring.
Much loved by other colorists, you will be able to relieve stress and find peace in the hectic world around you. Experiment with a variety of different designs with all the colors that you can fit in your pencil case. Bringing both complex and more simplistic designs to suit anybody, you will never be so relaxed, chilling after a day with a cup of tea, coffee, or beer with symmetry that is an excellent cure for anxiety and fidgety fingers. The devil makes work for idle hands, so give them something to do and embrace the wonders of inner satisfaction. Our handy guide to the best magnetic toys features more great products like this.
Variety of floral, circular, star and other patterns
Free digital edition included
Popular amongst other colorists
Promotes mindfulness, relieves stress and encourages calm living
This anti-stress coloring book takes you into the world of Charlie Brown and Snoopy which, much like the Splat coloring book, allows you to relive your childhood through some of your most treasured memories of a simpler time. The Peanuts edition is part of the trend of funny adult coloring books that focus more on just enjoying yourself as opposed to painstakingly crouching over your paper to carefully fill in every design.
Comprised of 124 images, you will have plenty of time to move through at your own pace which brings you many classic Peanuts themes including the Snoopy Dance, Schroeder and musical items, and Charlie Brown and the kite-eating tree. Unlike the Splat book, this combines the coloring book style of different, (sometimes) intricate designs that interweaves the characters themselves, combining classic with modern effortlessly. For those with kids, this is a great introduction to the marvels of Peanuts for a generation who might not have any idea who or what it is.
All your favorite Peanuts characters
Independent designs interwoven with Charlie Brown, Snoopy and more
Inspiring and relaxing
Easy to transport size
Yet another in a long list of stress relief coloring books, the Color Me Calm Zen Coloring Book provides templates for relaxation and meditation with 100 images all designed to help you find balance in your life. Designed by art therapist Lacy Mucklow and artist Angela Porter, you will be treated to a variety of different images that help you cast off the problems of what is around you and sucks you into the world that they have created in this book.
Separated into 7 thematic chapters that include mandalas, wooded scenes, and geometric patterns, this book offers a variety that you don’t often see in other coloring books. As for the quality, the paper is reasonably thick to prevent bleed-through, and comes with lines that are clear and strong enough to prevent any mishaps. The designs themself range from the quick and easy to do before bed to longer, more complex patterns that might require a more effort. While it is not necessarily one of the funny coloring books, there is still a lot to love and a lot to be gained from taking it easy and moving at your own pace through this book to help repair mind, body and soul.
Created by certified art therapist, Lucy Macklow
Seven therapeutically-themed chapters
Perfect for channeling anxiety
Both simple and complex patterns
100 coloring templates
Our best value coloring book is a short, sweet, and cheap collection published by Two Hoots Coloring that is a perfect fix for all your coloring cravings but when you don’t have the cash (or the time) to dive into a much more comprehensive collection. It comes with 48 designs that include everything from mandalas to more doodle-esque patterns to satisfy all sorts of coloring fans, that can be fun, intricate and highly unusual.
The patterns in the Designs have been licensed from real artists and not merely created in a computer programme, so you can be certain of quality patterns and excellently printed lines. As for paper quality, while it isn’t as thick as some (more expensive) books, it is still good enough to prevent most bleed through from markers. There are fewer products available that will give you this amount of coloring for the price, so grab yourself a copy if you still haven’t scratched that coloring itch.
Lots of licensed designs
If you’ve got the travel bug but can’t afford to up sticks and run away, then Steve McDonald’s Fantastic Cities collection is the next best thing. Throughout the book, you will get to see and color aerial views of classics such as Paris, London and New York as well as experience more exotic locations such as Istanbul, Tokyo, and Rio. Steve is a lifelong traveler, and his knowledge of the world around us shines through with intricate and detailed designs that capture the individuality of every city featured while still retaining his unique style.
Also included are imagined mandala-like designs of cities that are not yet, or no longer are to take you on a journey to a time you have never (and will never) experience. The pages come with either one mammoth design splashed across the whole page or several smaller designs to really master your craft. This is the perfect gift for those who love to travel and can’t wait to pack their life into a suitcase for their next adventure. You never know, it might give them some ideas about their next destination.
Stunning, detailed designs of cities and places all over the world
Imagined cities to inspire your creativity
Heavy white paper
Drawings don’t run into the seams of book
Unique, large square format for increased detail
When winter has finally come, what better way to hole yourself up inside the great hall (okay, your bedroom, living room, whatever) with this great companion for any Game of Thrones fan who is pining for the final series and still waiting on that ever-elusive The Winds of Winter. Packed with different designs by a number of world-class illustrators, there is something for all fans of the book and TV series and has everything from sigils to scenes imagined in the books that bring Martin’s words to life.
From Casterly Rock to well-beyond The Wall, you will feel the chill of the coming winter with the intricately designed pictures that go much deeper than your average imagination. The images bring a medieval aspect that makes many of them feel like there would not be out of place in a history book and allows you to immortalize Cersei, Sansa, Khal Drogo (before he fell from his horse and became a husk of nothingness), and, while detailed, comes with enough space to fill in little details of your own.
Officially licensed product
Detailed scenes of famous locations
Based on the books, not the show
Sigils, characters and scenery
45 exclusive illustrations
Certainly one of the best coloring books that you can get your hands on, Action Publishing has teamed up with Kathryn Martin to bring you 36 designs that are exciting, fun and heavily detailed to suit both beginners and experts. It has been constructed with a spiral-bound system at the top of the page, which prevents those awkward, spine coloring struggles that have the potential to ruin your art. This alone makes it a top contender and is why we have selected it as our premium choice.
Focusing on a natural theme, the Action Publishing Coloring Book comes with images of garden paths, woodland, and plant designs as well as all the vivid wildlife that is found within to bring you a relaxing and calming experience. To prevent blending and bleeding, the paper is thick and smooth for comfortable coloring and also comes with a useful protective plastic divider to save your place in the book. Whether you want to buy it for calmness or merely just because you love coloring, this can fulfil any and all of your artistic needs.
Spiral-bound for comfortable coloring
Sturdy, thick and smooth paper
Markers don’t bleed through
Plastic protector sheet
Full of spooky and scary delights, this Horror Hotel Coloring Book can boast itself as part of the cool coloring books selection which all throughout features some of the creepiest, disfigured and downright weird creatures that you will ever have the pleasure (or displeasure) of coloring. This coloring book is nothing like you have ever seen before and brings all the glamor of early-20th century USA with an ugly twist.
Set in the luscious gardens of Coral Gables, FL, you will be treated to something on just the other side of the grave and soon find yourself slowly being pulled away from normality. If you are a little twisted, then you can lose hours exploring all the terror that Horror Hotel has to offer you, with a few surprises sure to chill you to the core over its 46 pages. It is perfect for fans of all things horror, you can check out anytime you want, but you can never leave. Also makes an amazing gift for those who have everything.
Wild selection of weird, creepy and disgusting creatures
Perfect for horror fans
Inner details unravel a story of bloody massacres
Unique in its design, unlike other coloring books
Ideal for relaxing (as long as you’re not too scared)
Coloring Book Buying Guide & FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection of Coloring Books
When considering our choices for the adult coloring book that you are sure to love, we had to first consider what people might look for in a coloring book. The two things that stood out to us, and what we gleaned from our research were (perhaps expectedly) the reviews and the price.
Reviews - It can be difficult to judge a product merely by looking at pictures of it. To get a good idea of how well a product is made, how effective it is for purpose, and whether or not it is worth the money, we took a look at the reviews from people who had actually used the coloring books we were selecting.
This helped give us a great idea about types of designs, paper quality, and whether or not you will experience bleed-through. When it comes to coloring books, it is best to get an idea from the horse’s mouth - or should that be colorer’s hand? - before deciding what is the best for you.
Price Coloring books for grown-ups are unlike coloring books for children as we are not as easily entertained, so spending money on them has to be worth it. When deciding about price, we considered the complexity of images, the number of pages, and how interesting the mages were. If we believed that a coloring book wasn’t worth the money, then it didn’t pass the test and didn’t make the list.
Features To Look For In Coloring Books
The best coloring books contain a number of features that help you distinguish the best from the rest.
Design - Whether it is an animal coloring book, a mandala coloring book, or a smorgasbord of all kinds of images, you want your coloring book to have interesting and intricate designs, otherwise you will get bored a lot sooner than you hoped.
Time - For those short on time, having a coloring book that allows for a quick little color when you get the chance is a great feature to have. No one always has the chance to sit down for hours and color, but being able to do little bits here and there will help you keep your love for the book.
Coloring Reasons - Why do people color? To relax, to unwind, to feel better, because they want to. These are all reasons to color. But you can also buy an inspirational coloring book to help get the creative juices flowing if you are feeling drained.
Materials - The best coloring books come with paper that doesn’t allow colors to bleed through, or at least offer something to act as a protector for the other pages.
Budget - With the top adult coloring books, you will be paying a premium, however, if you don’t have the cash, there are many cheaper options that can still give you a great coloring book experience.
Coloring Book FAQ
Q: What is a Coloring Book?
A: A coloring book features images that allow you to color in whatever you desire. Coloring for grown ups (just like you!) come with themes like you had as a child, but might feature more intricate and detailed designs that a child could not manage.
Q: Do Coloring Books relieve stress?
A: There are many books that encourage mindfulness coloring, and coloring books have been proven to help with stress. The act of coloring is relaxing and, like other creative ventures, helps to reduce anxiety, fight depression and generally do great things for your brain and happiness
Q: How do I choose which colors to use?
A: It is totally up to you and your style. Some people choose to stick to the traditional colors for things like plants, flowers and even people. Others want to indulge in experimentation and go for colors that you typically would not expect.
Q: What stationery should I use to color with?
A: Much like children’s coloring books, adult coloring books can be done with any type of stationery. However, some types of stationery are better suited to coloring. Crayola crayons, for example, do not offer the full control that you need, whereas fine-tip pens or markers could bleed through the paper if it is not the best quality. It is advised you have a practice piece of paper on hand to check your stationery.
Q: Should I use Pens or Pencils?
A: Again, totally up to you. Use whatever you are comfortable with, but be wary of bleed through.
Q: How can I improve my coloring skills?
A: If you get bored with the simple coloring books but don’t think you have the skills to move onto advanced coloring books you can watch YouTube videos from professionals to improve, or do research by checking out advice from those who have been there and done that to give you advice on where, what and how to improve.
Q: Why is drawing good for you?
A: Like coloring, drawing allows you to embrace creativity and can help put you at ease. Using illustrations to express how you feel is an excellent way of coping with the problems of the world. Furthermore, if you don’t want to deal with flowers and cherubs and whatever else you might consider ‘girly’, then looking out for coloring books for men can still give you the benefits of drawing complete with things like tanks, sports and whatever else you consider manly.
Coloring books are not merely for kids anymore. While a lot of them contain purely ready-made images, feel free to twist them into your own image like what is found in many drawing books for adults.