The colouring-in for adults craze has exploded in the last year. Taking over front shelves of bookstores and topping bestseller lists, the phenomenon capitalised on mindfulness, and the desire to mentally and physically relax.
With illustrators releasing their own colouring-in books left, right and centre, we thought it wise to create a list of 10 of the best from a talented bunch of artists who we’ve featured on Digital Arts in the past.
Whether you prefer relaxing at home after work with a glass of wine, some pencils and Johanna Basford’s
Secret Garden (the book apparently Kate Middleton enjoys), or you want to salivate over beautiful cakes from The Great British Bake Off with Tom Hovey’s colouring book version, or even indulge in your secret love for Chris Pratt – it’s available for you and probably at a very low price.
And keeping in mind that Christmas is fast approaching, these could make for some great, if not hilarious, gifts.
Best adult colouring book: Tom Hovey
Great British Bake Off
Hodder & Stoughton have published a companion colouring book to the
Great British Bake Off: Perfect Cakes & Bakes to Make at Home cookbook this September.
The Great British Bake Off Colouring Book features 90 illustrations from GBBO official illustrator Tom Hovey.
Illustrations have been chosen from previous series – including the 'peacock cake' by 2015 winner Nadiya Hussain.
Find out how illustrator
Tom Hovey draws the TV show’s mouthwatering cakes in our interview with him.
Buy The Great British Bake Off Colouring Book for only £4.99 from The Book Depository.
Best adult colouring book: Good Wives and Warriors
Escape to Wonderland
This 96-page paperback is available in the UK for
as little as £3.49.
It provides all the favourite characters and scenes that make up the much-loved story of Alice in Wonderland, such as the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter Tea Party, the White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat.
Good Wives and Warriors, aka Becky Bolton and Louise Chappell, have also illustrated
Escape to Shakespeare’s World and Escape to Christmas Past.
Buy Good Wives and Warriors’ Escape to Wonderland: A colouring Book Adventure from Amazon, Book Depository, Waterstones and other major retailers.
Best adult colouring book: Johanna Basford
Secret Garden, Enchanted Forest, Lost Ocean, Johanna's Christmas and Magical Jungle
Secret Garden kickstarted the colouring-in books for adults trend, and its now sold over a million copies. She's also just been awarded an OBE for her contribution to art and entrepreneurship at Buckingham Palace, with Prince William mentioning Kate Middleton's enjoyment of the book. Read our interview with Johanna about how she drew the book and how it became so successful.
Secret Garden's appeal comes from that Johanna's black-and-white drawings are beautiful artworks in their own right – whether drawn on labels for her husband's brewery Brewdog, large scale artworks or all over a white dog statue – but also give artists scope to create their own versions through colouring in.
The world of plants, flowers and animals she's created also appeals to a large section of the audience for adult colouring-in books.
Since Secret Garden was released, Johanna has created four more books with different themes:
Enchanted Forest, Lost Ocean, Magical Jungle and the forthcoming Johanna's Christmas.
Buy Johanna Basford's books from Amazon: Secret Garden, Enchanted Forest, Lost Ocean, Magical Jungle, and Johanna's Christmas (pre-order).
Best adult colouring book: Jon Burgerman
Burgerworld couldn't be more different from Secret Garden. Bold and graphic rather than delicate and elegant, it's the most outright fun of the books here.
As Jon tells us
here, Burgerworld is a colouring book for both adults and children. It features a whole host of artworks by the doodle-master for you to colour in – plus some stickers too.
Buy Jon Burgerman's Burgerworld from Amazon.
Best adult colouring book: Shan Jiang
The Bicycle Colouring Book: Journey to the Edge of the World
With cows casually floating by and whales taking to the sky,
Shan Jiang’s eye-popping, intricate illustrations captures a wide range of audience interests - taking the colourer on a fantastical, dizzying journey from the street to ancient Latin American pyramids.
Cleverly, the illustrations also form a flip book – and in the middle of
The Bicycle Colouring Book, there is a colourful gatefold spread.
Buy The Bicycle Colouring Book from Amazon.
Best adult colouring book: Lizzie Mary Cullen
Magical City, Magical Journey, Bon Voyage, Buena Vista and more
At first glance you might mistake Lizzie Cullen's
Magical City for one of Johanna Basford's books – but that just because its publishers have copied the cover design style of the most popular book in the genre (as have many other publishers of adult colouring books).
Lizzie's art style is distinctly different from Johanna's though. It's more psychedelic, and based on the principles of psychogeography – the artistic representation of a place based not just on what it looks like but it's history, feel and people.
Read our interview with Lizzie about how she drew the book.
Buy Lizzie Cullen's books from Amazon: Magical City, Magical Journey, Magical Christmas, (pre-order), and Bon Voyage!: An Adult Colouring Book for Lovers of all Things French, Buena Vista: A Colouring Book for Lovers of all Things Spanish A n Adult Colouring Book for Lovers of all Things British.
Best adult colouring book:
The Huge & Beautiful Trumptivity Coloring & Activity Book
Although this book
by Chris Piascik and Shayna Cochefski was was created before Trump's election win, it still may appeal to some as a way to release much needed-stress relief.
Buy The Huge & Beautiful Trumptivity Coloring & Activity Book: Coloring Therapy to Deal with Donald Trump from Amazon.
Best adult colouring book:
Not The Right Moon: The Chris Pratt Colouring Book
The internet loves Chris Pratt (evidence:
Chris Pratt Delicious, Fuck Yeah, Chris Pratt and Buzzfeed’s 31 Times Chris Pratt Was Perfection In Human Form). Possibly too much.
Thankfully, here’s your chance to give Chris some analogue love across his best roles and moments - be it Andy Dwyer swapping sweaters, Owen Grady riding Raptors or Paul facilitating inter techno relationships for Joaquin Phoenix. So many great lines, so much Pratt.
Buy Not The Right Moon: The Chris Pratt Colouring Book.
Best adult colouring book: Ollie Munden
The Tattoo Colouring Book
Ollie Munden's illustration style draws heavily on both American and Japanese tattoo traditions – so who better than the
regular Digital Arts contributor to produce a book of linework for you to colour in.
The Tattoo Colouring Book, Ollie created 120 new illustrations of owls, samurai, fish, devils,mermaids, religious icons and more.
Like Johanna Basford's colourng books, this is published by Laurence King – so uses the same printing technique where black-and-white artwork is accented with gold foil.
Buy Ollie Munden's The Tattoo Colouring Book from Waterstones.
Best adult colouring book:
Bill Murray is the coolest guy on the planet, so why wouldn't you want to colour in scenes of him taken from films from
Lost in Translation to The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
Unlike the other adult colouring books here, this book features artworks by more than one artist – 20 in total including Nicholas Stevenson, Anneka Lange, Murray Somerville, Hattie Stewart, Tobias Hall, Rich Fairhead, Logan Fitzpatrick, Catherine Askew, Beth Harris and Mya Munnelly.
For only four quid, you also get two versions of each artwork on each spread: outline for colouring-in on the left and a colour art print on the right.
Buy Thrill Murray from Belly Kids, Amazon or Waterstones.