Quiet the mind, free the imagination.
It’s hard right now, there’s no doubt about it. As it goes on, a sense of tension grows, as does a longing for simpler times. For this reason it is crucial that you find outlets to relieve this stress. Working out is great. Meditating is great. Eating a bucket of mac and cheese — in my opinion, anyway — is great. This may come as a surprise but coloring is, too.
You probably remember when adult coloring books emerged in the mainstream a few years back. But did you ever ask yourself why they were so popular? It turns out that coloring has many mental benefits. Psychologists have praised the activity for its creative ability to relieve stress and activate the imagination.
Additionally, as psychologist Gloria Martínez Ayala puts it, coloring “brings out our imagination and takes us back to our childhood, a period in which we most certainly had a lot less stress.”
If you’re interested, here’s a list of adult coloring books that will help soothe you during these strange times.
1. Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book
Known as the coloring book that started them all, Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book features wonderfully intricate illustrations that will captivate your imagination. It was the best-rated adult coloring book by New York Magazine in 2019. “There is meticulous detail and care put into every place of this book,” wrote one reviewer. Many other reviewers have commented on the quality of its paper, noting its thickness and imperviousness to bleed through. As one reviewer put it: “A very real adult colouring book, where the individual motives can be framed and hung up for decoration in the knowledge that no two in the world will ever be the same.”
2. Color Me Stress Free
This Zen coloring book features 77 templates designed to reduce stress and ease your mind. Its author, Lucy Macklow, is a board-certified, licensed art therapist with a BA in psychology. Color Me Stress Free offers a wonderful mix of illustrations printed on one-sided heavyweight paper. With designs that range in complexity from novice to advanced, the book is divided into seven chapters, each with its own theme accompanied with an introduction from the author on how to enhance your mental wellness.
3. Make Life Your B*tch: Motivational Adult Coloring Book
This kick-ass coloring book features quirky and profane typography that will give you the boost you need to power through these tough times. “This adult coloring book is designed to help you color away your stress, take control of your life, and do a little a** kicking,” as written in the book’s description. Another reviewer writes, “I love to curse, I love to color. This is a perfect combination.” Does that sound like someone you know?
4. Adult Coloring Book: Stress-Relieving Patterns
This New York Times bestseller features 46 pages of beautiful patterns that will put your mind at ease. Whether you are seeking something easy going, intermediate, or challenging, this book has something for all moods. The designs vary in complexity page by page, and are thick enough for you to use a gel pen without having to worry about bleed through. You can also rip out pages easily, so once you’re done, you’ll have no trouble putting your artwork on the fridge or in a frame.
5. Splendid Cities: Color Your Way to Calm
One downside of quarantine is not being able to get out and explore our beautiful city — or any other for that matter. Let your imagination lead you out the door as you color in cityscapes from around the world and a few in the sky.
6. Adult Coloring Book: Designs
Money is a little tight for many of us right now. If you’re looking for a quality coloring book for a low-quantity cost, this is the book for you. Adult Coloring Book: Designs is the highest-rated low cost adult coloring book on the market right now. It features 48 one-sided illustrations of mandalas, geometric shapes, and other high-resolution prints. The paper is thick and perfect for colored pencils but also works well with gel pens and brush pens when laid over a piece of card stock. For #3.99, this coloring book is well worth the price.
7. Vogue Colors A to Z: A Fashion Coloring Book
It’s not blue: it’s cerulean. Re-write/color the history of fashion with Vogue Colors A to Z: A Fashion Coloring Book by Valerie Steiker, culture editor at Vogue. The stylish book features 26 of the iconic magazine’s vintage covers — each associated with a letter of the alphabet — from 1912 to 1932. The pages are heavyweight and non-perforated that allow for the use of gel-based pens without bleed through. If fashion is in your DNA, this is your book.
8. Harry Potter Coloring Book
If you’re looking to escape into a world of fantasy, where better to go than the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Experience the magic of the spellbinding images, portraits, and posters inside. This one is a must for any Harry Potter fanatic.
9. Calm the F*ck Down: An Irreverent Adult Coloring Book
If we’re honest, the COVID-19 outbreak has us all pretty shook. While morning cocktails can often put your head together, it’s probably not a good habit to slip into on the daily. Calm tf down instead with this profanely cute coloring book. Even (especially) in times like these it’s important to keep a sense of humor. Laugh, color, and relax through their silly, swear-y typography and illustrations.
10. Mandala Coloring Book For Adults With Thick Artist Quality Paper, Hardback Covers, and Spiral Binding
Uncover the entrancing corners of the cosmos through these sacred mandalas. This book features 50 original, hand-drawn mandalas that will induce a state of Zen-like meditation. It’s spiral bound with artist-quality paper, which means that you won’t have to deal with the discomfort of bending the book to have it lay flat. Presently, this hardback book has 5 stars on Amazon with nearly 900 ratings.
[Featured image via Barnes and Noble]