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Feel Stressed? Anxious? Do you lack the spark of creativity? Or just feel little joy from life?
If any of these sound true you might want to break out some colored pencils or crayons and try a little coloring.
Believe it or not, adult coloring is all the rage these days.
It has been found to have quite a few therapeutic benefits (listed below) and to be particularly helpful in helping relieve stress and anxiety from adults.
If you are looking to get started with this form of art therapy, you need to look no further.
This page is chock full of the best adult coloring books available.
Featuring 39 choices and 13 different broad categories of adult coloring books to choose from you will certainly find whatever you are looking for!
How Coloring as an Adult Can Make a BIG Difference
According to psychologist Gloria Martínez Ayala, adult coloring books “bring out our imagination and takes us back to our childhood, a period in which we most certainly had a lot less stress.”
But these adult coloring books actually do quite a bit more than simply, “return us to a childhood state with less stress”. There have actually been numerous studies into the efficacy of adult coloring. You can read some of the results here and here.
There are lots of good reasons to try adult coloring. I go into detail about these reasons in this post: about adult coloring benefits. But you don’t need to read that entire post. I will hit the highlights here.
10 Top Benefits of Adult Coloring Books
Let's get to the book choices…
Basic Adult Coloring Books: A Mix of Styles
The adult coloring books below are three of the most popular adult coloring books. you can buy online. The reason for this may be that they are a mix of many different “styles” of coloring.
They are not just animals, Mandela's and other complex adult coloring designs, but a mix of everything. If you don’t know what you want to color, these will be the best adult coloring books for you!
These books have nice detail and will keep you working (and de-stressing) for quite a bit of time. They are a great way to relieve a bit of stress, anxiety or just pass the time in a youthful pursuit.
Adult Coloring Books: Mandalas
A mandala is an abstract geometrical form, generally based on a square or a circle. They have been used in a wide variety of artwork from ancient cultures. Buddhism, Hinduism, Native Americans, and Australian Aboriginals all have examples of Mandela artwork in their histories.
Originally mandalas represented a symbol of the universe, wholeness and common man’s connection to a greater infinite power.
For some people, they may still have this meaning, but for many, the complex images just make fun and enjoyable excursions into adult coloring. The complicated images take a lot of focus to color and work quite well with therapy for stress and anxiety.
Below are three of the best mandala coloring books.
Best Swear Word Coloring Book
Swearing isn’t for everyone. But sometimes it does feel cathartic to drop an F-bomb or a string of curse words. If you are down with the catharsis of swearing, these could be the coloring books for you.
They are irreverent and full of great swear word images and sayings. The images vary significantly. There is something in these books for everyone. A fun and irreverent look at adult coloring. Certainly only intended for adults!
Adult Coloring Book Designs
The next three adult coloring books showcase random book designs.
These coloring books are large and filled will detailed and complex designs. Great choices for people who love abstract art.
These peaceful design patterns to help you de-stress. The calming nature of these designs can help to soothe you into a restful state. They are the perfect choice to help you to calm down and get a good night’s sleep.
Fairytale/Teen Choices (but for Adults too)
Many of the more abstract art found in many of the adult coloring books above might be a bit too serious for many.
Part of the fun and joy of adult coloring is to reminisce on our days of youth. While coloring books for small kids are too simple for adults, many coloring books aimed at “teens” might be perfect for adults.
They have the innocence of youth but are also complicated enough to make the effort, focus and time it takes to get some therapeutic effects from adult coloring.
The three samples below are a random sampling of the best coloring books on the tween market. Covering Disney as seen by Thomas Kincade and two books covering magic and fairies.
Adult Fashion Coloring Books
Fashion may be your thing. If so the next three popular adult fashion coloring books may be perfect for you. Each fashion design is ready to be filled with an array of colors.
From matching hats, delicate frills, and corset dresses to dainty hair accessories. Get your fill of old Vogue fashion magazine covers, cool nostalgic 1960s “Hippie” fashion or a wide array of varied modern-day fashion.
Create the colorful fashions of your dreams while you work on your stress, anxiety. It is easier to focus on the things we love and lose yourself in these fashion art-books.
Adult Coloring Books: Animals
If animals are your thing. The following animal adult coloring books will be just the thing to help you relieve your stress and anxiety.
The following coloring books run a wide range of animal coloring books that are available. There is a collection of handcrafted animal images created by scientists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, featuring some fascinating creatures. Then there is a sure-fire hit for anyone who enjoys realistic artistic images of animals.
Stress Relief Adult Coloring Books
All coloring books are designed to (and will) help relieve stress. The most important point is having a subject that interests you to color and/or an image that is sufficiently complex enough to take your full focus (and get your mind off of your other worries).
However, these collections of adult coloring books have been designed to have the most stress-relieving effects. The images are soothing, sufficiently complex and relaxing.
Adult Coloring Books: Butterflies
Of all of god’s creatures, the simple butterfly is one of the most popular adult coloring book subjects.
Perhaps it is the simplicity of the creature. Perhaps it is the idea of transformation from caterpillar to butterfly that intrigues people. Maybe it is just the varied color and possibilities that the color butterfly represents.
There are just so many different ways and colors you can apply to the same pictures. Whatever it is if you are looking for popular and fun books to color, you might enjoy these butterfly coloring books.
We have three popular choices below. The first is a great bargain. For the same price as many other coloring books on this list, you get an additional inclusion of 24 colored pencils and a sharpener. A great first book to start your artistic journey.
Adult Coloring Books for Men
A lot of the coloring books on this page could be thought of as a bit girly: fairies, butterflies, dresses.
But women are not the only ones who have stress and anxiety that adult coloring books can help. Men do adult coloring too.
So if you do not feel that adult coloring books are for men, despair no longer. Below are three (of many) adult coloring books designed with guys in mind (of course, women can also enjoy them).
The three choices below are only some of the choices for adult coloring books for men.
There are also coloring books for fishing, graffiti, scantily clad ladies, more classic cars, skulls, cyborgs, space battles, hunting, guitars, Avengers, motorcycles, military, pinups, biker designs and more… The list goes on.
Simply search for your favorite things and you will likely find a choice for it.
Flower Coloring Book for Adults
Artists have long plied their trade, and learned their craft, by drawing flowers. From realistic designs to more abstract art to the preponderance of floral patterns in tattoos.
This next section of that has three very different styles and looks at adult coloring and flowers. If you like floral patterns or want the calming and relaxing feeling of coloring nice floral patterns, one of these three books (and many like them) might be perfect for you.
Mindfulness Adult Coloring Books
To some extent, all coloring books are designed for mindfulness. They are about slowing down, putting other things out of your mind and focusing on the now.
That, my friends, is mindfulness in a nutshell.
Here on DGH, we talk about mindfulness quite a bit. It is a great way to combat anxiety, stress, and depression and to not only overcome these issues but to THRIVE in all aspects of life.
Mindfulness coloring books should certainly be considered as one of the top mindfulness exercises to help you live in the present moment and thrive.
Adult Coloring Books with Colored Pencils
Don’t have any tools for coloring? No need to worry. These final three adult coloring books come with their own tools included.
These make great gifts for those who have never done adult coloring, because sometimes the barrier to going out and buying colored pens, pencils or crayons is simply too much before you make coloring a habit and decide it is something you enjoy.
These adult coloring books with pencils are also something of a bargain. The prices on these books are often only slightly above that (and in some cases below) that of other coloring books and is certainly less than buying a coloring book AND a set of colored pencils.
The topics of these three “with pencil” adult coloring books are also some good ones to end with. They are naturally calming and relaxing. Enjoy.
Enjoy the benefits that creative art brings to our emotional and physical well being
Enroll in “Arts Therapy – Arts Therapy For Self Healing” via Udemy and learn how to increase your self-esteem and develop greater self-awareness by learning scribble drawing for relaxation, art journaling, and other lessons.
Final Thoughts on Adult Coloring Books
Hopefully, you agree with me that this page represents the best coloring books for adults. I have tried to include a wide variety of subjects, with multiple choices for each category. But rest assured, if your favorite topic is not on this page, there are still likely choices out there for you. All you need to do is look.
There is nothing special or exclusive to any of these books. They just require subjects you enjoy with sufficient detail and complexity to absorb your mind and focus your concentration.
Hopefully, you will decide that coloring is not just for kids anymore and give some of these books a chance. Go ahead and color the stress away!
And if you're looking for more worthwhile activities for adults, check out these blog posts:
- 7 Growth Mindset Activities for Adults
- 11 Memory Games for Adults to Train Your Brain
- 11 Active Listening Exercises for Adults to Become Better Listeners