How to Zen Out With 12 Top Rated Adult Coloring Books

How to Zen Out With 12 Top Rated Adult Coloring Books

by Victoria Simpson

Stressed out? How about some coloring in the tub?

In our crazy world of overdue bills, deadlines and terrible traffic, adult coloring books are the newest de-stressor. Sales are high and books are flying off the shelves.

“We’ve never seen a phenomenon like it in our thirty years of publishing,” Lesley O’Mara, managing director of British publishers Michael O’Mara Books is quoted as saying in an article in The New Yorker. “We are on our fifteenth reprint of some of our titles. Just can’t keep them in print fast enough.”

The adult relaxers provide very detailed images- more detailed than children’s coloring books- and are among the top sellers on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

French publisher Hachette Pratique’s “Art-therapie: 100 coloriages anti-stress” (2012) has sold more than three and a half million copies worldwide, and “Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book” comes in close behind with about two million copies.

Dover Publishing’s “Creative Haven” sold four hundred thousand copies in May alone.

And so, something must be working.

The interactive books bill themselves as “de-stressors”, “creative hubs” and “escapes into worlds of artistic fulfillment”.

“I think it probably speaks to people’s enjoyment in doing this kind of relaxing hobby or distraction from everyday life,” said Sarah Deaver, president of the American Art Therapy Association, in an interview documented in The Boston Globe this June. “It creates an object of focus, and it creates something that’s beautiful and that’s satisfying.”

Some argue that coloring within the lines isn’t an act in creative play akin to divining a painting from scratch, but there’s no doubt the activity is relieving perceived tension in millions, simply by putting pen to paper.

And so, why not play a little?

The bathtub is normally the first go-to location for de-stressing. And so, grab a tray, your markers, some champagne and jump in.

Here are twelve top titles to keep you shading away til dawn.

1) Art-therapie: 100 coloriages anti-stress


France’s #1 adult coloring book offering psychedelic art, medieval art, and extraordinary gardens to colour.

2) 100 Coloriages mystères: Art-thérapie


Again, the French bring some great pictures, with ‘magic illustrations’ set to dazzle.

3) Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book


This customer review says it all: “This is a lovely book. It reminds me of the Doodle Art we’d spend hours creating back in our teens.”

Color the pages and try to find the hidden animals, insects, objects and other “curious little creatures” throughout the book as you go.

4) Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book


Part two to Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden-just as intricate and interactive as the first.

5) Coloring Mandalas


Created by art therapist Susanne Fincher for her patients to use in order to maintain continuity between therapeutic visits, this coloring book rated in CNN’s top ten.

6) Dia De Los Muertos


Also in CNN’s top ten. Fantastic black-and-white designs to color your way to your own amazing Mexican images.

7) The Kinky Coloring Book


A little adult content for your adult coloring. This book features strong female characters in various locales and situations, accompanied by short written blurbs on the humorous side. Fun, fun.

8) Color Me Swoon: The Beefcake Activity Book


Hours of fun coloring in hunks. Bring it on. One buyer writes: “Color me satisfied! This coloring book is everything I wanted and then some.”

Pages are filled with great-looking, famous men like Johnny Depp, Michael J. Fox, Tom Selleck, Kevin Bacon, Patrick Dempsey, Channing Tatum and Bradley Cooper.

9) Outside the Lines: An Artists’ Coloring Book for Giant Imaginations


A New York Times Bestseller, this book is described by the publisher as “a striking collection of illustrations from more than 100 creative masterminds, including animators, cartoonists, fine artists, graphic artists, illustrators, musicians, outsider artists, photographers, street artists, and video game artists”.

10) Doodle Invasion: Zifflin’s Coloring Book


Like to get lost in the picture? This one’s for you. A book of 50 unique, extremely detailed works of art by master doodler, Kerby Rosanes.

11) Tattoo Coloring Book


Celebrate the art of the tattoo with everything from skulls to sailors!

12) The Indie Rock Coloring Book


Images from indie rock bands. De-stressing more than one person at a time, all proceeds from the sale of this one go to charity, in connection with The Montreal-based non-profit Yellow Bird Project.


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