My Favorite Grown-Up Coloring Books

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Our FAVORITE Grown-Up Coloring Books. Stress relievers, story builders, and just for fun.

I was always a doodler at school. My extremely detailed notes (seriously, they’d make Hermoine proud) were punctuated with sidebars full of doodles, hand lettering practice, etc.

Since the INSTANT Sophie was big enough and interested enough to wield a colored pencil or crayon, I’ve made sure we have a stash of blank pages and coloring books at the ready at all times. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and I always feel so much more calm afterward.

So, When all the buzz around grown up coloring books started up, I kind of looked around me and thought “um…I never really gave it up…was I supposed to?”

Maybe the answer is yes, Emily, you should have graduated to more adult pursuits like, I don’t know… pinochle or embroidering tea towels or building immaculate financial spreadsheets. Maybe the answer is that I was just nerdy before it was cool (thanks again, Hermoine!).

I’m going to go with I know a good thing when I see one. Michael’s started showing some interest in a grown-up coloring book of his own, so I did some SERIOUS looking (like, well over 50 books) to choose some of my very favorites. I’ve purchased most of these (or have plans to soon). Here are a few I’ve been impressed with:

1. Splendid Cities.

If you’ve got a concrete thinker in your life who doesn’t love abstract patterns, this is another good solution. I got this one for myself for Christmas. I love the clean drawings and it’s super satisfying for me to “design” a city. I used to doodle this way in my notebooks, so it just feels like home.

2. Stress Relieving Patterns.

This one is fairly feminine and delicate. It’s beautiful and there are varying degrees if difficulty. Some are pretty simple, and some more involved. It’s a great easy coloring book you could easily give to an older child, teen, or adult.

3. The Mindfulness Coloring Book.

I love that the subtitle on this one is “anti-stress art therapy for busy people.” It’s not too intricate, so you can finish a page in a shorter amount of time. It has lots of waves and swirls. It’s not especially feminine, so I think it’d work for either gender. It’s very, remarkably soothing.

4. Lost Ocean.

This one is a best seller, and the others in the series (like Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest) are all beautiful and fairly intricate. There’s a pretty good mix of scenes and patterns, and the ocean one is a good fit for either gender.

5. The Time Chamber.

Okay, I just really love this one. It’s pretty intricate, but the book isn’t just a collection of random pictures or prints, it’s an actual book. By the time you’ve finished, you’ve colored a whole story book. It’s beautiful and creative. Love it.

6. The Harry Potter Coloring Book.

The nerd in me could not resist. I pre-ordered this one. THAT’s how nerdy I am. It’s fantastic. I cannot wait for Michael to open this Christmas morning. CAN’T WAIT.

Bonus points:

I haven’t held this one in my hands since its so newly released, but the photos I’ve seen from House That Lars Built‘s new Flowers Coloring Book are just lovely. I love when people whose work I admire take on new ventures and this just seems top-notch. I plan on getting one for Mother’s Day.

Other Hands-On Fun: 

These ones aren’t coloring books, but I know they’ll make my Star Wars-Loving husband (or, you know, any teenage boy) a happy man:

  • Star Wars DoodlesThis one is full of drawing prompts and you just go to town. Maybe you use thumbprints to create characters, maybe you stick solely with a pen or colored pencils. All I’m saying is, this one will keep you going for a while.
  • Star Wars OrigamiI knew this would be a big hit at our house. My kids love when Michael builds them paper airplanes and this book takes that to a whole new level. Fold an X-wing (I looked that up), or fold Yoda (I knew that one). The book even includes printed paper to use so the end result is extra cool. It’s marketed for ages 9 and up, so younger boys can totally do it too!

What are your favorites?
Have you jumped on the coloring book wagon?

Shout out your faves in the comments and shop the widget below! All the Amazon Prime links can still make it with free 2-day shopping by Christmas if you order by Tuesday!


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