Guide to Adult Coloring Books

If you haven't heard about adult coloring books, you've been living under a rock. I have always loved coloring, so I was really excited when these books started popping up everywhere. As I have been coloring, I've learned a little bit about what to look for in your coloring books and supplies, and I thought I'd share some of my advice and a few of my colored pages. I'll try to keep this post updated as I try out more books and art supplies.

First off, I use colored pencils in my coloring books. I have tried several different brands, and I have a few to recommend. Prismacolor Verithins (pictured above) are a really nice set of hard colored pencils. Prismacolor is a very well known brand of artist quality colored pencils. Their "regular" Premier colored pencils (pictured below) are fairly expensive (about a dollar a pencil unless on sale), and are very soft and vivid. They are great for coloring large areas in bright colors.

However, most coloring books have lots of tiny little areas to color, which makes the regular Prismacolor pencils a bit tricky to work with. Prismacolor Verithins are their thinner harder cousins. They hold their sharpened tip very well and are great for coloring in the tiny spaces in coloring books and they are far more vivid in color than most of the harder colored pencils I've tried (oh, and they cost half as much as the regular Prismacolor colored pencils at about 50 cents a piece).

Update (7/16): Husband got me a set of Prismacolor Scholar pencils (pictured below) for my birthday. They are fantastic. They fall right in between the Verithins and the Premier Prismacolor pencils in hardness--which means they are "medium," and they run around the same price as the Verithins at 50 cents a piece. The package indicates they are supposed to be less likely to break, and they also come in a really nice plastic easel case that's very convenient.

My other colored pencil recommendation is regular Crayola colored pencils. They have a medium soft lead and bright colors at a great price. They are your best value bet (at around 25 cents a pencil).

I know it's not a very exciting recommendation, but after trying several brands, I gravitate towards the Crayolas and the Prismacolors. If you have recommendations for other brands to try, let me know in the comments. (I love excuses to buy art supplies! :) )

As for coloring books, I have flipped through dozens of them at Barnes and Noble and Walmart (they have a surprisingly large collection of them in the book section) and searched through lots of reviews on Amazon. Some things to look for are: designs that get you excited to color, designs that are intricate enough to keep you interested but not so intricate that you'll find it tedious, and nice thick paper.

My two favorites right now are Joyous Blooms by Eleri Fowler (pictured above) (she also just released a My Mother, My Heart that has a Motherhood theme) and Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford (pictured below) (she also has Secret Garden, Lost Ocean, and Magical Jungle due out in Aug. 2016). I like Joyous Blooms because it is filled with colorful garden themed designs that are large enough that I don't feel like I have to sharpen my pencils every ten seconds. It also has some Mandala type designs like the wings above that are very soothing to color because of their repeating nature but are sort of a twist on a traditional Mandala (by being made of wings or butterflies or flowers). The Basford coloring books have some designs that are a little more intricate than the Fowler designs.

The Enchanted Forest is filled with animals and trees and whimsical designs like the treehouses below.

Basford also has note cards you can color that correspond with each of her books. The peacock design below is a notecard from the Secret Garden set.

If you look closely you'll see I colored out of the lines a bit on this one. The design is tiny, only about 2 1/2 inches across, so you'll need good sharp pencils for those notecards.

Update (7/16): My newest coloring book was picked up in the "bargain" section at Barnes and Noble. It's called Coloring for Creativity. It's 288 pages long! It is filled with a ton of designs. The paper isn't as thick as my two other recommendations and the designs are often printed right into the center binding, but you definitely get a lot of coloring options for your buck with this one (as it's under $10 online and at Barnes and Noble). The same publisher also has one called Coloring for Tranquility that's on my wishlist.

Happy Coloring! If you've colored in some great books, let me know in the comments so I know what to try out next!


  1. Oh, no! You colored outside the lines?! AWESOME! So glad you're enjoying coloring, but remember to keep it fun! Your choices for books and pencils are dead on.

    1. OH, I know...I get hung up on little spots while I'm coloring, but I rarely notice them when I'm all finished. It's good to keep it in perspective and enjoy the process. :)

  2. Oh, and you'd probably like the Vive Le Color Japan. Check out my review at Tx!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Plastic Wrap Alcohol Ink on Small Ceramic Bowl

Splatter Resist Alcohol Ink Tile

Alcohol Ink Washer Necklaces