“Get good at wasting time in unexpected ways” is probably the best advice we’ve heard in a long time. Adult coloring books let you do just that. They let you be spontaneous, creative and just be yourself.
So, drop controls, take a break, rejuvenate and color the hell out of these unique, challenging and utterly beautiful illustrations we’ve handpicked for you. Designer clothes, architected buildings, mythical creatures, doodles, landscapes and fantasy worlds are waiting for you! Excitement is guaranteed.
Learn the story of each illustrator and artist!
Johanna’s Secret Garden was the first book one that brought about the concept of adult coloring books. Secret garden was an inspiration from her childhood holidays spent on the Isle of Arran in Scotland where her Grandfather was the head gardener at Brodick Castle walled gardens, complete with flowers beds, honeysuckle clad pergolas and a beautiful sundial. The Lost Ocean, on the other hand, came about because of Johanna’s parents, both of who are marine biologists. With her father’s library of marine reference books which had photographs and illustrations of every known thing that lives beneath the waves, and a good deal of imagination she pieced together her ocean of ‘inky hybrids’ – part real and part imagined. Other books include Enchanted Forest which is inspired by woodlands and a dormant volcano-studded with crystals!
Recommended Colors: coloured pencils for detailed illustrations, watercolours & graphic pens
If you’re curious to know what enables Johanna to draw with such intricacy, it is Staedtler Rotary pencils with 0.5 HB leads, Staedtler pigment liners in 0.05 – 0.7 sized nibs, scotch tape and pads of A3 and A2 Daler Rowney layout paper.
Were you backbench doodler? We know we were! This Doodler’s Coloring Book is a treat to all those napkin and last page of the notebook doodlers. Doodlers Anonymous is an international community of creative and art aficionados who share a love of hand drawing. It was founded to celebrate the addiction of the incessant need to draw, sketch, and doodle, be it with a pencil in a sketchbook, a marker on a napkin, a pen on a torn receipt, a Sharpie on concrete.Its a permanent home for spontaneous art.
Their world-famous coloring books feature the doodles and drawings of talented artists from around the globe. Must check out the book!
Querkles is a work of pure genius, the brain of child of Thomas Pivette. It is possibly the most unconventional coloring book you’ll ever come across. Those with a unique bent of mind are going to be enthralled. The book needs a bit of explaining before you begin.
At first what you will notice is a complex web of overlapping circles, as if someone had gone on a venn diagram overdrive. But it is seeming deceptive. All circles, arcs and crescents are labelled with 5 numbers. The motive is to move from dark colors to light colors with the help of these numbers. For instance use black to fill up all circles labelled 1 and then grey or blue, basically something lighter in the color spectrum in the subsequent numbers.
As you start filling these circles up you’ll notice a faint shape appearing and at the end you’ll be amazed to find that under that web of circles actually lies portrait of celebrities like Elvis Presley or Marilyn Monroe. Yet, it’s impossible to tell what the image is before you start!
So how does Thomas go about this intense process? Well, while everything is done on computer, he actually draws every circle one by one using a reference image as the base layer. There is no automation or algorithm to draw, but in fact a lot of manual labour adding circle after circle until enough detail has been created. Isn’t that just mind boggling?
Thomas also has Dot-to-Dot coloring books. Remember how in school we used to play dots? Connect each dot to make a square. The idea is the same, however by connecting the dots you can get anything from a Marvel Comic Character, Icons, Cityscapes and what not.
Recommended Colors: For Cross-hatching black pens of different thickness otherwise 1 color with 5 different tones
Favourite Illustrations: Elvis Presley portrait
Follow Thomas on Instagram(@) to see how people have filled up his illustrations and share yours with the hashtag
This beautiful book features a Jazz Age–inspired alphabet, as well as 26 iconic Vogue covers from 1912 to 1932. The first-ever title of its kind lets readers bring fashion fantasies to life through color.
Fill in an illustration of a woman in Victorian costume riding sidesaddle atop a zebra, or a woman in a floaty frock steering a gondola down the Grand Canal.
Full of Art Deco patterns and charming spot illustrations, there are pages upon pages of fashionable women dressed for the dreamiest of occasions, which will continue to inspire with every stroke of the pen, pencil, or crayon. To that end, readers can turn to the back for added insight into the fashion news conveyed on each individual cover.
It is an opportunity to add a personalised creative touch to the time-honoured fashions featured in the drawings, reimagining the colours and patterns as you would like to see them.
Fashionistas, this is your haven. Getit here!
Transport yourself to a holiday world with this amazing collection of illustrations of beach and island life. A lazy hammock hanging over a a wooden patio with a sea view, a wharf extending into the sea, a case with lush gardens. A sense of calmness is likely to be felt as you add color to these pretty illustrations. Buy it here.
If symmetry, lines and details fascinate you, Fantastic Cities is an absolute must buy. Created by Steve McDonald, this series contains illustrations of cities like the canal houses in Amsterdam, the straight organized structures of New York, the jumbled organization of the favelas in Brazil or, of course, the organic and amazing chaos of a city like Jodhpur.
Steve has now been drawing for over 25 years and has sold hundreds and thousands of copies of FC. For him, precision and accuracy are of utmost importance and hence he sketches either while he’s in the city or from aerial photographs to make sure he misses out on no detail. It sometimes takes him days to create a single illustration! Buy his books here.
Curious Creatures is created by the lovely Millie Marotta who takes you on a journey through a fascinating land of animals and creatures of all sorts. Replete with extremely fine details and the joy of curvy, rounded figures, the illustrations are conjured up with much awe-inspiring complexity.
Millie shows to us how creativity flourishes when you spend time so close to nature. Born and brought up in the town of Wales, she developed an obsession with the animal kingdom which transformed into a career path in art. She went on to study Wildlife Illustration, became an art teacher and now a professional artist. She has 4 books to her credit and the titles explain what each book contains. All are a big treat to all animal lovers!
1. Animal Kingdom was Millie’s first book. It is an eclectic mix of exotic animals from all classes – dragonflies to the gigantic sperm whale, the technicolour chameleon to pink flamingos
2. Tropical Wonderland is prowling with leopards, flocks of parrots, delicate jellyfish and the adorable bushbaby waiting to be brought to life with a splash of colour!
3. Wild Savannah discovers all kinds of wild creatures from the swaying grasslands of the world. You’ll find the usual savannah suspects such as lions, elephants, zebra and antelope but hiding amongst the pages are some less likely creatures that you might not be expecting to find. From the Kangaroos of northern Australia to the Capybara of south America.
4. Curious Creatures (our favourite book) showcases an array of remarkable and fascinating animals from across the globe. From the Amazonian royal flycatcher with its flamboyant feathered headdress to the magical flying fish. From the splendour of the Lion’s Mane Jellyfish to the downright bizarre yet utterly charming Duck-Billed Platypus. At the back of the book you’ll find a glossary, listing all the weird and wonderful creatures in the book, great for those of you who like to do a bit of research before cracking open your colours. Check out the full collection here.
Romantic Country is the cutest most adorable coloring book you’ll come across. Brought to life by Eriy who lives in Japan, the story behind the book is as cute as the illustrations themselves. it contains a series of imaginary or romanticised wonderland. Eriy started drawing at 21 when she was studying art. When she was a child she fantasised going abroad, since she had never been aboard. She started imagining what these places would be like and created her own imaginary country which she called “Cocot”. A quirky detail about these illustrations are that they were originally drawn with a toothpick! Buy her book here.
The Night Voyage is a story told with the help of enchanting illustrations by a Korean artist, Daria Song. It is an evocatively illustrated story of a little girl who is swept away on the eve of her birthday by her toy train conductor on a magical journey to distribute gifts around the globe. Its strewn with the beautifully intricate art featuring a world of paper cranes, penny-farthing bicycles, origami paper birds, and hot air balloon-filled skies. Its dream like nature will transport you to a beautiful, innocent world. Fill it up with unconventional colors, and it’ll bring out your happy! Buy it here.
Bagh E Bahar is an adult coloring book by Good Earth, an Indian design store. It depicts a beautiful mughal garden which unfolds an enchanted story of imperial palaces, verdant gardens of fruit and flower blossoms told a signature design aesthetic. Quaint, petite with miniature paintings like artwork, Bagh-e-Bahar will take you on a journey of mindfulness through beautiful patterns taken from Good Earth’s rich design archive.
Buy it here.