Colouring books for adults? I’m in!

The other day I read this article in The Guardian about how colouring books for adults were topping the Amazon bestseller list in the UK.

Secret Garden

Secret Garden by Johanna Basford

Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford

My first thought? How did I not know about these books?!

When I was a kid, I liked my colouring books, but I admit, I liked them more for the puzzle pages that were always tucked in here and there. I was never that enamoured of the actual colouring itself. Mostly, I think, because … crayons.

Yes. Those beautifully coloured Crayola crayons. We’ve all had a box or three when we were young, right? And the colours are just scrumptious. But colouring with them? As in, actually filling in spaces in a colouring book? I never really liked it. The crayons resisted every step of the way. The tough, cheap paper most colouring books for kids use didn’t help much, either.

Then when I got older and started drawing, I discovered the pleasures of colouring in with felt markers. And the surprising thing is, unlike the world of crayons, where professional artist’s crayon is a delight to use—smooth, gliding sweeps of colour wherever you want it—children’s felt markers are almost as nice to use as professional art markers, especially when it comes to colouring in things.

Once I discovered this, I was hooked. There was a time when I actively searched for colouring books that would actually take markers. And featured intricate designs. After looking for ages, I finally found one called SpinLights. I knew what a treasure I had right there—so much so, I bought FOUR of them.



A little obsessive, I know.

As illustrator Johanna Basford says in The Guardian article about her books, ““I think it is really relaxing, to do something analogue, to unplug. And it’s creative. For many people, a blank sheet is very daunting; with a colouring book you just need to bring the colour.”

And she’s right—it is a really meditative activity, and best of all, when you’re done, you’ve got something really beautiful.

It’s actually been a while since I last sat down to do some meditative colouring. Dylan doesn’t use markers anymore—he’s like me, more fond of his drawing pencils—so we don’t have any right now. But I’ve put in an order for both of Basford’s books, and in the meantime I’m going to see about getting the biggest pack of Crayola markers I can find!

And if you’d like to give a colouring page for adults a try, check out these gorgeous colouring pages Judy Clement Wall has available for free download on her site.

Did you colour in colouring books when you were a kid? What about now?

9 thoughts on “Colouring books for adults? I’m in!

  1. j

    Aw, thank you, Belle! People have been sending me photos of their colored sheets, and holy cow, they’re amazing! I think of coloring (or doodling) as being sort of like the Zen sand gardens, where people meditatively rake the sand into patterns.

    Coloring’s the same sort of thing, only better, because sand is messy. ; )

  2. Kay

    I loved coloring as a kid and was very much a “inside the lines” girl. I’ve seen these adult coloring books. My husband works with a woman who does this every day on her lunch hour. She eats and then she sits and colors. She says she finds it relaxing. Enjoy your coloring pursuit!

  3. Leah @ Books Speak Volumes

    I also loved coloring as a kid — but like you, crayons were never my favorite coloring implement. When I was in college, my university did a “stress-less” day a few times each semester where students could come get a short massage, have some tea/hot chocolate and snacks, color, and play mancala. There’s something about coloring that is just so relaxing! Now I need to get some grown-up coloring books 😛

  4. Jenni Elyse (@jenni_elyse)

    I have a couple of adult coloring books and I love them! They’re so much fun. I feel like it’s a great way to get my creativity out.

    I like coloring with colored pencils. But, I do love markers too. I just hate when they run out of ink and it always seems to be when I’m in the middle of a project, lol.


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