Grownup coloring books
*This article has been updated in May 2020 for accuaracy and enjoyment.

The New York Times wrote an article recently about grown-up coloring books and it piqued my interest.  They featured one illustrator, Johanna Basford.  When I investigated I found that there are many artists publishing books with intricate, hand-drawn, beautiful illustrations for adults to color.  I will admit to loving a few computer games because they are fun, relaxing and calming.  Grown-up coloring books achieve the same results minus the computer screen.  The books help adults focus, get centered and get in touch with their inner artist.  I cannot draw worth beans, but I love color.  I think it would be great fun to experiment with color in these beautiful drawings, plus it will be a respite from the various screens I am usually attached to.

Johanna Basford’s first book was Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book, published in 2013.  It has 96 pages of detailed black and white drawings of flowers, insects, forest creatures, leaves and trees waiting to be colored by the reader.  It is also an interactive activity book that takes you through a secret garden to find tiny creatures. $10.66.

Grown up coloring books

Johanna Basford’s latest book is called Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book and the illustrations are beautiful.  Readers go on an ‘inky quest’ through an enchanted forest to discover surprises and hidden symbols and objects. Readers must find all the symbols to solve the coloring puzzle.

Grown-up-coloring-books fromJohanna-Basford

Balance (Angie’s Extreme Stress Menders Volume 1) by Angie Grace has fifty detailed original designs printed on one side of the page so you can remove them and frame your favorites if you’d like..   $9.06.

grown up coloring books Balance

Detailed Designs and Beautiful Patterns (Volume 28) by Lilt Kids Coloring Books has original and detailed designs and patterns on 8.5” x 11” high quality paper.  This is a ‘bonus’ book on Amazon which means that it comes with a free printable pdf version.  When you finish the book you bought, you can print it out again!  $4.28.


Creative Haven SeaScapes is drawn by the artist Patricia J. Wynne. It has 31 pages of marine life images.  The page dimensions are 10.8” x 8.2” and each page is perforated and printed on one side only for easy removal and display. The description says these designs are for ‘experienced colorists’.  Creative Haven/Patricia Wynn have many other books. $5.21.


Coloring Book for Grown-Ups:  Moon & Stars Mandala Coloring Book has 50 illustrations to color. There are ten coloring books by this publisher.  $6.99.


Color Me Calm: 100 Coloring Templates for Meditation and Relaxation (A Zen Coloring Book) is described as being aimed at ‘harried adults’.  It has 100 coloring templates divided into seven categories such as Water Scenes, Geometric Patterns and five more. They offer helpful color tips such as cool colors like blues, greens and purple are more calming than warmer colors like red, orange and yellow.  $30.12.


Fiskars Gel Pen Set has 48 colors.  $15.25.


Note:  Test the paper before you begin coloring with any markers to make sure they won’t bleed through.  Gel pens are usually safe, and colored pencils are a sure bet.

Check out our adult coloring book sequel about tools for your coloring.