Whether you’re looking to relax or kill time on the commute, the best adult colouring books are a therapeutic way to unwind
In a world of technology, finding a release or distraction that isn’t focused on television, social media or gaming can be tough. With the best adult colouring books, you can take time in the day to regroup, relax and de-stress while letting your creativity flow from pencil to paper.
Colouring books are an excellent way to relax the brain and find a quiet piece of solitude to escape the routine of everyday life. The simple, singular action of colouring can help form a meditative-like state. Drawing focus to the colours, forms and shapes can suspend your inner monologue and help keep distracting thoughts from intruding.
As well as offering multiple peaceful benefits, discovering the right colouring book can potentially re-shape your routine. Finding time to relax on the train, at lunch or before bed in a simplistic fashion can soothe the mind.
In our roundup below, we’ve selected the best adult colouring books to suit a variety of styles and interests, but if you already have an idea of what you want, you can simply check out the at a glance list below for our top picks.
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What are the benefits of colouring?
As mentioned above, colouring can offer relaxation and a sense of calm. It’s an opportunity to remove yourself from the daily beat and enjoy a candid pleasure, where your only worries are colouring inside the line. However, there are some other benefits to colouring.
Self-expression: It’s often easy to put yourself on the backburner, focusing on the everyday tasks and responsibilities that come with life. Having an activity such as colouring offers a mode of self-expression. Channelling your attention to a single activity for a short period of time can help stimulate the brain, choosing which colours to use and where to do so can be a simple way of expressing yourself and improving cognitive health.
Improved sleep: Colouring before bed can help the brain to unwind, relaxing the body and diminishing a restless mind. Similarly to reading before bed, the main benefit comes from the fact there’s no screen. Scrolling through a phone or tablet can expose you to bluelight, this can suppress the body’s release of melatonin – the hormone that makes us feel drowsy. Replacing a screen with some easy-going colouring can work towards improving sleep quality.
Reduced stress and anxiety: Studies have shown that colouring can have positive effects on stress and anxiety. In some, it can relax the fear centre of the brain, known as the amygdala, and can also reduce cortisol levels – the adrenal hormone that causes stress. This helps with mindfulness and similar to meditation, can lower your heart rate. Colouring won’t cure anxiety, but it offers an effortless distraction for the mind, helping you to regroup and destress.
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What adult colouring book should I buy?
Choosing what colouring book to buy all comes down to personal preference. There are various options available on the market – colour by numbers, intricate mandalas, people and animals, specific themes and many more. You don’t need to limit yourself to one style, though, you can try as many as you want until you find the right match.
How much should I spend?
One of the many benefits of colouring is that you don’t need to spend a fortune. Other than maybe purchasing some pencils or felt tip pens, colouring books are reasonably priced. Most adult colouring books will vary in price between £5 to £30, but you won’t need to spend over that to nab yourself a good one.
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The best adult colouring books you can buy in 2023
1. The Mindfulness Colouring Book: Best colouring book for travelling
Price: £7 | Buy now from Waterstones
This pocket-sized colouring book is the ideal companion for commuting. Designed by French illustrator Emma Farrarons, it was created to relieve anxiety and work effectively as a positive distraction. Whether it’s a quick five minutes on the train or an hour before bed, you won’t tire of the wonderful black line drawings at hand. The Mindfulness Colouring Book is full of imaginative, intricate scenes and sophisticated patterns that you can disappear into, making it a fantastic option for de-stressing and regrouping.
Key specs – Number of pages: 112; Weight: 188g; Dimensions: 177 x 124 x 10 mm
2. Fantastic Cities: Best intricate colouring book
Price: £14 | Buy now from Waterstones
Fantastic Cities is full of immersive and incredibly detailed aerial views from cities around the world. The colouring book features intricate line drawings of London, New York, Paris and Tokyo to name a few. Designed by Steve McDonald, the book offers endless options for multiple colour patterns and the opportunity for ultimate self-expression, creating vibrant scenes and bringing the cities to life. If you’re looking to get your creative juices flowing, Fantastic Cities is the book for you.
Number of pages: 60; Weight: 470g; Dimensions: 291 x 297 x 11 mm
3. Posh Adult Colouring Book: Best colouring book for artists
Price: £10 | Buy now from WHSmiths
Relax as you colour with this superbly crafted colouring book. Created by the masterful Thomas Kinkade, you can allow your creativity to run wild and re-create some of his classics such as Aspen Chapel, Stairway to Paradise and Garden of Prayer. The book presents the colour paintings alongside the black line art, helping to deliver inspiration if you’re not sure where to start. With sixty-three original artworks to choose from, the Posh Adult Colouring book offers endless opportunities to distract yourself and find peace within the stunning yet subtle work from the Painter of Light himself.
Number of pages: 128; Weight: 356g; Dimensions: 183 x 241 x 13mm
4. The Crazy Creatures Colouring Book: Best eccentric colouring book
Price: £15 | Buy now from Waterstones
This wonderfully creative colouring book will set your imagination alight. Created by the talented Liz Parkinson, she draws inspiration from her subconscious with delightful takes on Australian wildlife. Crazy Creatures is unique and eccentric, featuring bunnies by the sea, lazy zebras, a bird-dog with two tails and many more wacky drawings to delve into, allowing your mind to wander while the fantastically-bizarre images burst into life as they find colour. Ideal for both adults and children, you won’t find another colouring book like it.
Number of pages: 100; Weight: 263g; Dimensions: 297 x 210 x 5 mm
5. 125 Mandalas: Best mandala colouring book
Price: £10 | Buy now from Waterstones
If you’re looking for mindfulness and tranquillity when colouring, then look no further. Featuring an impressive array of Stained Glass, Greek, Gemstone and Classic Mandalas, you’ll never fall short of something to do. The highly-detailed and intricate hand-drawn black line sketches will allow you to play with colours and explore your artistic skills. The single-printed sheets prevent bleed-through and are suitable for pencils, gel pens, markers and even watercolours. The pages are also easily removed, allowing you to frame your favourites. Full of carefully designed patterns, 125 Mandalas will offer hours of colouring enjoyment.
Number of pages: 256; Weight: 599g; Dimensions: 279 x 216 x 14mm
6. Vogue Colouring Book: Best colouring book for fashion lovers
Price: £11 | Buy now from Waterstones
Channel your love for fashion through the first colouring book by British Vogue. Curated by the award-winning fashion editor, Iann R Webb, the Vogue colouring book features work by much loved designers such as Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Givenchy and Chanel. In addition to the stunning drawings of magnificent ball gowns, stylish suits and elegant cocktail dresses, the book includes captions for fashion and style tips taken from original clippings in British Vogue. If vintage fashion is something you love, this book won’t disappoint.
Number of pages: 96; Weight: 220g; Dimensions: 218 x 280 x 10mm