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Adult Coloring Books : An amazing Success Story

Have you noticed ? Few years ago, in bookstores, you found few coloring books dedicated to adults … hidden in the aisles “creative hobbies”.
This type of activity was dedicated to children …

“In the years 2005-2010, when I wanted to color, I had to find coloring books for child with complex drawings ! For example, I remember of buying ‘Disney’s Princess & the frog coloring book’, there was some drawings with more details and complexity than others …” Meryl G on Facebook
Now, you can find hundreds of coloring books for grown-ups, in store aisles totally aimed to this type of book ! Adults are rediscovering that this hobby (that remind them their childhood) can provide them a lot of benefits : joy, quiet, relaxation …
Coloring books in a store
Coloring books in a store
In this page, we present you the history of this type of book, we explain why it’s such a huge success worldwide since few years, and we advise you the best books to buy (for beginners and experienced) !

Little history of coloring for adults

This trend and success is quite recent. It all began in 2011, when a drawing artist named Johanna Basford convinced her publisher (Laurence King) to create a coloring book for adults, instead of one for children, as this publisher was used to.

And it was a big success : The book “Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book”  has sold over two million copies worldwide !

Johanna Basford
Johanna Basford
Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book : A huge success !
Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book : A huge success !
At the beginning, the themes of these books were always the same : Anti-stress, Flowers & vegetation (like in Secret Garden), Mandalas …
Later, coloring books for grown-ups were published with black & white drawings of animals, monuments, characters.
The publishers and designers, motived by the success of this new kind of books, showed more imagination in their creations, for example they found inspiration in countries (China, Japan …), Cities (New York, Paris …), Art styles (Art nouveau, Art déco …), or old civilizations (Egyptians, Aztecs, Native Americans …).

“Last month it was my birthday … My whole family knew that I liked coloring … To my great joy and surprise, I have received 20 different coloring books ! No double ! And they have not consulted each other” Rebbie D
, on Facebook
The formats of the coloring books also changed : XXL pages, high quality sheets (cardboard), pages printed on only one side …

We also saw the emergence of magazines dedicated to Coloring for Grown-ups.
Coloring magazines for adults
Coloring magazines for adults 

On the Internet, many websites containing free content were created, this one ( and others.

People are interested in downloading for free coloring sheets, printing, and directly coloring it.

“With a website, I can choose coloring pages of various themes. It’s not like when I’m buying a book : most of the time in the book All the coloring sheets are from the same theme…” Ellen H, on Facebook

Why this success ?

British Designer Johanna Bradford, interviewed for the website, says :

“I’ve heard from so many people ranging from lawyers, financial advisers, business owners and busy mums, all say the same thing: that coloring in helps them relax. Then there’s people who are recuperating from illness or dealing with a difficult time in their lives, they too find the calming, almost meditative effects of coloring is beneficial to them.” 

So, Coloring is a good hobby for adults who want to reduce their stress … In this era where everything goes fast, we easily understand why it’s more and more appreciated !
People buy this type of book for themselves, as gifts for their friends and family … An occasion to offer real things, in a world where a lot of things have became virtual : music, movies … Who still offers CDs, DVDs and even BluRays ??

Where can I buy coloring books for adults / grown-ups ?

Now you can buy coloring books for adults anywhere : in bookstores or department stores.
And most of all, you can make your choice on Internet, for example on, you will find 5,997 results for the search term “coloring book adult” !
The prices are not too high : in general between $10 and $20.
For this type of book, you can’t buy used ones … Until you accept that some sheets are already coloured !

Which are the BEST coloring books for beginners ?

If you want to begin coloring, and you want to buy a first coloring book, we advise you to first buy a general one : “Anti-stress”, “Art therapy” … with drawings of many themes.
So, you will find by yourself which type or theme of drawing you prefer coloring.
If you are not against symmetry and repeated patterns, you can also chose to begin your new favorite hobby with Mandala coloring books. There are plenty books of this type, with variant difficulty levels. You can also visit our website 100% Mandalas !

Which are the BEST coloring books when you like complexity ?

When you have practiced a bit with “simple” books, you can chose to color books with more detailed designs and patterns, on the themes you like (animals, countries, civilizations, or nature …).
Caution : if you want to color complex drawings with lot of details, you must have the good material : brush markers, very fine tipped markers …

Which are the Bestsellers coloring books ?

If we observe the TOP 100 in, these books come first in the sales. See the number of comments !
Amazon's Top sellers for Adult Coloring books
Amazon’s Top sellers for Adult Coloring books

What must I verify before buying a coloring book ?

Before buying a coloring book, you must check different things, in order not to be disappointed :
  • Is the difficulty level OK ? According to the level of details : Not too easy and not too difficult for you ?
  • Is the quality of the drawings correct ?
  • Are the coloring sheets enough various to please you ? If no, you take the risk of getting bored, and not to color all pages !
  • Is the paper quality OK ? Caution : if you like to color with markers : color can pierce low quality or too thin paper !