For my birthday last year, my friend Rachel gave me a Waterstones voucher. After days of pondering over what to buy with it, I decided on something that I thought people would probably think I was weird for buying: an adult colouring book.
My housemate Bethan thought it was amazing and she bought one too; my sister got one, and then suddenly, they were everywhere. All over the internet, in book shops like Waterstones and The Works, and even on TV. It was crazy! They spread like nothing I’ve ever seen, even topping Amazon’s best-sellers list. Almost this time last year, The Telegraph reported:
The bestselling title on Amazon in the US right now is not Harper Lee’s hugely anticipated second novel, Go Set a Watchman, or George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series, or even Zoella’s much-mocked but much-bought young adult hit, Girl Online. Instead, Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford is topping the charts, with her colouring books for adults taking top spots on Amazon.com’s bestseller lists.
Another Telegraph article, entitled “I’m a grown-up, but I still love colouring”, covers some of the worries that I had was I was debating buying my first adult colouring book. Will people think it’s weird, doing something for fun that is usually done by children and parents doing it with their children? But Matt Cain, the writer of the article, explains the benefits of colouring as an adult:
Perhaps most importantly for adults, colouring in is hugely relaxing, something highlighted in the introduction to The Mindfulness Colouring Book. If we immerse ourselves in one simple activity, it explains, we can achieve something approaching a state of meditation. In the past I’ve always struggled with meditation as I’ve never been able to relax by doing nothing – but relaxing by colouring in is something I can get my head around. If I switch off the phone, computer and TV and concentrate solely on choosing the right shade of blue, avoiding going over the lines and slowly filling up my page with colour, all my other concerns, I’ve discovered, fade to nothing. And not only that, but when I step back to admire my finished work, I sometimes find I’ve come up with a solution to a problem that’s been bothering me for days.
It’s definitely not weird or different any more to colour in as an adult. Without any shame, I’m going to take you on a little tour of three of my favourite colouring books…
#3: ‘One Year Wiser’ by Mike Medaglia
I asked for this book for Christmas last year after seeing that my housemate owned it. It’s such a beautifully illustrated book, and it’s unique in its approach: some of the pages are so simple with only a small thing to colour, but every single page – has a different motivation quote to colour around. There are 52 pages and the aim is to colour one page a week, making you One Year Wiser by the time you’ve finished. The front cover calls them ‘Weekly Meditations’, which fits perfectly with the view that adult colouring is relaxing and immersive. I haven’t kept up with colouring a page every week, but I love the book even just to copy down some of the quotes if I need a bit of inspiration, motivation or just a bit of positivity.
#2: ‘Complicated Colouring’ by iSeek
This book is wonderful if you have a lot of time on your hands and you’re up for a colouring challenge. The patterns and scenes in this book are SO intricate that the book really does deserve its name. I could sit for hours and colour one of these pages and it still wouldn’t be finished. One thing that’s great about this book is that the pages are perforated, so you can tear them out and stick them up if you want to… after spending so long colouring a page, it’s an achievement big enough to want to show it to everyone by sticking it on your wall! (Thank you to my Nan & Grandad for buying me this book!)
#1: ‘Animorphia’ by Kerby Rosanes
This is by far my favourite of all the colouring books I own. ‘Animorphia’ takes you into a surreal world of realistic animals combined with strange cartoon creatures and shapes, as you can see from the front cover of the book. Each page has been illustrated with such detail that you spot new things every time you look at the page, and even as you colour it you notice things you didn’t notice before. It doubles as a kind of hidden-object game, too: in the back of the book there are a couple of pages of random objects that are hidden in all of the pictures throughout the book, and you can colour the objects on these page as you find them. I feel like I should spend a decent amount of time and effort on each individual page – with the amount of detail and variation in the pictures, each one feels like its own work of art. I love it!
Note: I’ve just found out that next month a book of Animorphia colouring postcards will be released, and in May a sequel to Animorphia called ‘Imagimorphia’ will grace the shops. I’m so excited!!!
Do you like adult colouring as much as I do? What are your favourite books? Let me know in the comments!
Above: a selection of other books that I own. Left to right: ‘Art Therapy: An Anti-Stress Colouring Book’; ‘Zen Colouring Extreme’; ‘The Harry Potter Colouring Book’; ‘Anti-Stress Dot-to-Dot’; and ‘The Mindfulness Colouring Book’.
- “Colouring books for adults top Amazon bestseller list” (The Telegraph, 2015)
- “I’m a grown-up, but I still love colouring” (The Telegraph, 2015)