The colouring-in books for adults craze has calmed down somewhat since the becoming the new 'hot thing' a few years ago. But now the fad is over, many people are still carrying on colouring – finding that it helps with mindfulness, and helping their desire to mentally and physically relax.
With a wealth of poorly drawn, hastily thrown together books and magazines around, we felt compelled to put bring together books by some really talented artists – illustrators we've featured over the years here at Digital Arts, whose work has been commissioned by book publishers and advertising agencies and have appeared in galleries around the world.
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 share the night with friends colouring Mike Perry's goofy book for the Comedy Central show Broad City, we've got you covered. And keeping in mind that Christmas is approaching, these could make for some great, if not hilarious, gifts.
Johanna Basford Ivy and the Inky Butterfly
Johanna Basford OBE is back with another incredible colouring book (after her first pioneered the entire adult colouring book craze) this time armed with a 1,200 word narrative that sits alongside her trademark illustrations.
Ivy and Inky Butterfly follows the narrative of a bedtime story Johanna would tell her daughter Evie through over 75 different black-line illustrations. Ivy has a vivid imagination. She follows a magical butterfly through a secret door into the beautiful world of Enchantia where she meets a realm of quirky characters.
Although the story might seem for children, the colouring remains pretty challenging, so the book is for young and old to enjoy. Expect to colour in a wildflower meadow, gargantuan garden, trinket-filled tree houses, a woodland, castle full of treasure and some 200 butterflies.
The book has been made with ivory paper with smooth texture to allow for coloured pencil or pens.
You can check out different techniques on how to colour Johanna’s books – as well as helpful illustration tutorials – on her YouTube channel.
Johanna Basford Secret Garden, Enchanted Forest, Lost Ocean, Johanna's Christmas and Magical Jungle
But that's certainly not Johanna's only colouring in book. Secret Garden kickstarted the colouring-in books for adults trend, and its now sold over a million copies. Last year she was 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.
Much of 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.
Mike Perry The Broad City Colouring Book
You may have seen Mike Perry's bright and cheeky illustrations on TV – especially if you're a fan of the Comedy Central show Broad City – but soon Mike's illustrations could be on your coffee table from September.
After illustrating all the individual title sequences used for Broad City, Mike is releasing a colouring book with Laurence King filled with detailed illustrations based on the quirky narrative and colourful characters of the show – so expect to see "all kinds of funnies".
Mike says The Broad City Colouring Book is designed to be enjoyed and experienced amongst friends.
"When I was thinking about the book originally, I was fantasising about this idea of getting stoned and colouring the book with your best friends," he says.
"You’re sitting there, and you have these really dense pages, and you’re just chilling in the afternoon, maybe having a glass of rosé, and you’re just doing some colouring.
"I tried to encourage collaboration by putting certain pages upside down, or one page in a certain direction and the other in another direction, so if you were sitting down across from your friends they could work on one side and you could be working on the other.”
Modern Toss Mindless Violence Colouring Book
One may assume this book would not be for the faint-hearted according to its title, but in fact, the book was created to give you an “overwhelming sense of inner peace” as you mindlessly go about colouring in the outlines of these rather ridiculous scenarios. Perhaps its an unexpected therapeutic wind down after a hard days work, or a way to calm down after somehow finding yourself in a tizzy. Whatever the situation, it can’t be as bad as this women about to swing a bat at an unsuspecting man on his phone.
If Mindless Violence is too much for you, Modern Toss also have The Working Day, Mindlessness and The Weekend colouring books.
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 £7.98 from The Book Depository.
Good Wives and Warriors Escape to Wonderland
This 96-page paperback is available in the UK for as little as £5.24.
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.
Jon Burgerman Burgerworld
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.
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.
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.
Buy Lizzie Cullen's books from Amazon: Magical City, Magical Journey, Magical Christmas, Bon Voyage!: An Adult Colouring Book for Lovers of all Things French, Buena Vista: A Colouring Book for Lovers of all Things Spanish, and An Adult Colouring Book for Lovers of all Things British.
The Huge & Beautiful Trumptivity Coloring & Activity Book
Although this book by Chris Piascik and Shayna Cochefski 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.
Not The Right Moon: The Chris Pratt Colouring Book
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.
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.
For 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.
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.