The Best Adult Coloring Books

Sunday, July 12, 2015
The best adult coloring books can really work wonders. If you're looking for a relaxing, quiet hobby (you, yes you, not your kids, not your family, you!) then adult coloring books might be right up your alley. Coloring in coloring books was always fun as a kid. Now there are coloring books geared towards adults, with more complex patterns and more 'grown up' illustrations.You can choose whatever medium you like (it doesn't have to just be crayons!). Colored pencils are my medium of choice at the moment. Sharp ones! They say coloring is a stress reliever and a great way to find some 'quiet time.' It's also something you can do with your kids, in your own way.

Here are some of my favorite picks for adult coloring books. I've included some affiliate links if you want to jump ahead and purchase them, too! If you like these choices, be sure to check out my other posts about the Best Adult Coloring Books and Mediums, Part 2!

Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford

The Enchanted Forest coloring book (along with its companion mentioned below, Secret Garden), have become so popular that they are often hard to find. At one point the manufacturer actually ran out of copies and the book had to be reprinted to fill demand. You can even visit Johanna Basford's website to see what she's cooking up next or just view her amazing artwork. She also has a coloring gallery so you can get some ideas on how to color her books.

The pros about Enchanted Forest:  adorable illustrations (think mushrooms, cottages, woodland friends, birds and more). The pages are big and the sizes of the illustrations vary, so some are more detailed than others. Enchanted Forest is also an 'inky quest,' which means there are little search and finds and games hidden within, too. But you can ignore those if you'd rather just color!

The cons about Enchanted Forest:  the pages are not extremely thick, so some markers tend to bleed through the other side.

Enchanted Garden coloring book by Johanna Basford - a fabulous coloring book for adults!
A fabulous Enchanted Garden piece by The Jersey Grammy. She added the mushrooms and butterfly

Secret Garden by Johanna Basford

Secret Garden by Johanna Basford has also been in demand for a while now. It's very similar to Enchanted Forest but it has more flowers and fairies. Equally beautiful and has pretty much the same pros and cons of  Enchanted Forest, mentioned above.

The Secret Garden adult coloring book by Johanna Basford is super popular!

Johanna's books are paperback but they're a heavy duty quality with a thick cover.  Johanna published some recommendations about pencils and mediums to use on her blog.

The Jersey Grammy was not finished with this page yet but I still thought it was beautiful!
The Jersey Grammy used colored pencils for these flowers from Secret Garden

Doodle Invasion by Zifflin and Kirby Rosales 

Doodle Invasion is by FAR my favorite adult coloring book of all time. I found it thanks to an article on one of the coolest sites, Bored Panda. This paperback book is filled with whimsical, silly illustrations, all swirled together to create one image. Sometimes it's a moon, sometimes it's a big whale. I love sitting and coloring all of their little faces and discovering funny things about each drawing as I color it. There are 50 pages. The pros are the wild illustrations and funny drawings. The cons are that the ink is a little thin on the pages and it will sometimes smear or look like it's smearing. This didn't bother me much but it bothered The Jersey Grammy a little bit, who had just come from the thicker pages of the Johanna Basford books.

This was the first illustration I completed from the book and it was all done using Crayola colored pencils (along with a really good pencil sharpener!)

My first completed coloring page from Doodle Invasion

This one was done by The Jersey Grammy:

Colored by The Jersey Grammy - Doodle Invasion adult coloring book

You can also visit Kirby's cool website and see all of his awesome artwork, as well as read more about his books.

Movie or TV Coloring Books

There is a cool trend to add favorite movies and television shows to the coloring book craze. They now have Harry Potter coloring books, Game of Thrones coloring books, and even Star Wars coloring books! Series like Outlander and Dr. Who have also jumped on board.

Owls by Noelle Dahlen

Owls is more of a cartoony type coloring book. If major details are too time-consuming for you, you might appreciate a book like Dahlen's instead. These are bold, cute illustrations, and are good for kids, too. The pros are the adorable pics, the thick pages and the price (you can't beat that!). Cons are that it's more kid-like, and less pages than the other books.

Owls is a cute coloring book, and not overly challenging to color for adults
Inside an Owls coloring book!

There are a ton of owl coloring books out there, so if this one is too simple for you, you can check out some of the other owl ones available on Amazon or at your local bookstore.

Mandalas Collection by Alberta Hutchinson

Mandalas are really fun because of their circular patterns. There are SO many Mandala coloring books out there with all kinds of themes. I bought this one for The Jersey Grandpa because I really liked the illustrations in it. It's called Mandalas Collection by Creative Havens (Alberta Hutchinson is the illustrator).The Jersey Grandpa is the master colorer, and I learned all of my blending skills from him.  You should see the art he can create with crayons alone!

One of my favorite Mandala adult coloring books
A mandala coloring page completed by The Jersey Grandpa
Another mandala created by The Jersey Grandpa

Pixelations by Arkady Roytman

I chose Pixelations as one of my favorites because it's so unique. There are only 32 pages but it's a great price. Again, this one is meant for older kids, but if the details of the adult coloring books are too stressful for you, this one is a different choice. Everything is drawn in square pixels, much like a video game. My Minecraft loving boy also took a liking to this book, and was delighted to find that he could transfer some of the ideas of the drawings to his favorite video game! Pros:  price, thick pages, unique drawings. Cons: really made for kids, not very long so you will finish it quicker than the others.

Pixelations is for kids, but it's still fun to color as an adult!
The Pixelations book features sea creatures, robots, animals and more

Mediums (What to Use)

This is really a matter of preference, and sometimes the best mediums vary based on what kind of books you are coloring. Each book seems to have different pages, so depending on the thickness and smoothness of the pages, you might want to experiment with different mediums. So far I actually love Crayola colored pencils. But my parents prefer markers at times, and they like a variety of different kinds. Check out my affiliate links below for some suggestions.

Whatever books you choose, I can attest that coloring for adults really is a stress relieving, fun activity. I love taking the books outside with me to color on the deck. I keep my pencils in a little tray so I can see them better, and I take such pride in each picture I finish. I love sharing them on Facebook, so check out my page for the latest updates on my creations! Or just go make your own!


  1. Wow! These are beautiful! I think I will try it too!

    1. You HAVE to try it, Rebecca!! One of my friends suggested printing out some sample pages on the internet to give it a try first. If you like it, you can buy one of the books.

  2. I am in love with all these books. I think I found my next hobby.

  3. I really love these books...they are super relaxing and how I love all those patterns and colors :)

  4. i like those, thanks for sharing! and this is my favorite app to print some templates:

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