|Sit the F**K Down and Colour|
Kids today have no idea what it was like to be a child for us adults! Back in the ‘olden days’ we had no tablets to play games on, and nor did we know what a laptop was! A computer was something that was out of reach of all but the wealthiest of families – and even then was not up to much – and a mobile phone was a fantasy! In fact, it’s all too easy to forget that the time I’m talking about was not back in the Dark Ages, but actually around 40 years ago. That’s quite a sobering thought!
So what did us kids do back then, in the days before we became digitally entranced? Well, if you were a boy, you probably played with your Dinky cars or train set, and for the girls, it was dolls all the way. But there was one fun pastime that both boys and girls of a certain age always enjoyed: the colouring book. Whether you used pencils, crayons or felt-tips, children across the land could be found on a weekend or an evening colouring in a wide variety of outline pictures, and then moving on to the next one.
Put like that, it sounds incredibly boring! In fact, it was quite fun and therapeutic, and it still is. Younger kids do like to colour things in, and that brings us onto the subject of this review. You see, the thing is, adults like to colour things in, too! It’s a great way of whiling away a few spare hours, and you can also hone your artistic skills. This is why adult colouring books are all the rage at the moment – really, they are – and when we say adult, we don’t mean it’s ‘adult’ content (well, actually, some are)! We mean these are more difficult than your average colouring book, so before we get onto the review, let’s talk a bit more about what they are all about.
How It Works
Table of Contents
- 1 How It Works
- 2 The Top 10
- 3 Features to Consider
- 4 Let’s Wrap It Up!
We must say, whoever had the bright idea of marketing adult colouring books was a genius; these things are selling like hot cakes, and they are an excellent way of relieving stress. Art has always been around us, but not everyone can draw, so the colouring book – which already has its images in place – is the perfect choice for someone who wants to draw, but can’t! So, what can you expect from these colouring books?
Well, as we went into this review with little knowledge, we didn’t know quite what we were going to find, so were quite surprised at the variety and at the content of some of them. A few are traditional ones where you simply colour in the shapes, others are clever ones where you uncover an unknown image by completing the colours, and some are a little bit risqué. All are great fun, and they are not expensive at all.
The simple fact is these are an excellent idea for anyone who enjoys taking time out to relax, and they also make great gifts. There are plenty to choose from, too, so we had great trouble getting down to a list of ten! Right, let’s have a look at them then, and see if we can help you find the best ones for your enjoyment.
The Top 10
We have to admit that there is something very beautiful about some of these books, and Colour Quest – our first entry – is typical of these. This is a colour-by-numbers book, so you get full guidance, but it has a difference that makes it even more enjoyable than some of the others. The clever touch is that you will see nothing at first, and as you colour in, you bring the picture to life gradually. The end results are very impressive, and it would make an excellent gift for someone looking for a relaxing pastime.
There are varied subjects and methods in this book: you have animals that are hidden by dots and a cathedral that is formed from triangles – the latter being very clever indeed – and it is made from quality drawing paper. It’s a big book, too, so you get a nice large-format picture once you are finished, and it’s guaranteed to be enjoyed, and perhaps not just by adults! We said these are not expensive, and as you can find this one for about a fiver, it’s very good value and a perfect gift idea.
Yes, we know we said in the intro that these books are not about adult content, but some of them are! If you are easily offended, this one is not for you, but if you are stressed and want to take it out on something, we recommend that you have one of these to hand! In short, each illustration is a swear word – some of them very rude indeed – so it’s certainly not for the kids, and if you think that’s puerile, you need to expand your sense of humour!
The thing is, the subject matter might be questionable to some, but the illustrations are actually so beautifully done you cannot help but appreciate them. It’s a nicely produced product and is about A4 size – so not large format but not too small – and will keep you amused and entertained for hours. It’s perfect for thinking of someone who fits the insult while you’re colouring, is a great stress reliever, and at around £7 is not at all expensive. Just remember, don’t let the kids get their hands on it!
If you are unaware what a mandala is (and we weren’t) it’s a spiritual symbol used in Buddhism and Hinduism and in meditation, and this book has plenty of them for you to colour in. You can use this book as a companion for meditation or simply as a relaxing way of relieving stress, and there are many very beautiful versions of what will become a familiar symbol. It’s very satisfying as the images can be quite complex, so a steady hand is required for the best results.
This is another A4 book, and one that features the images on bright white one-sided paper that is a suitable and quality 60-pound stock – that’s artists quality. You get a total of 37 images so there’s plenty of scope for use, and it is very soothing to look at when finished. At around a fiver for a paperback this is not at all expensive, and comes highly recommended for anyone who enjoys colouring in.
Now we’re back to the more adult offerings with this one, nattily entitled ‘Sh*t Happens! It’s very neatly put together, and includes a whole selection of adult phrases that are – how do we put it – a little far from the norm! We would include some of them, but there may be children reading this review so we won’t! The thing is, these books really do relieve the stress, and if you have a particularly annoying boss or colleague, you can dedicate one of these very nicely detailed images to him or her!
This is another A4 book and one that is also produced using quality paper that is specially finished for colouring, and it can be used with any drawing or colouring medium. It’s nice in the hand and the images are inventive – for want of a better word – and it will give you many hours of colouring fun and stress-free drawing. Once again, if you’re easily offended, it’s not for you, but it is great fun and at around £7 is good value.
Now for something completely different! This one, Enchanted Forest, is inspired by typical children’s ‘hidden quest’ books, and is very impressive indeed. The book is actually a journey through the forest of the title, completed by colouring in successive plates, which takes you on a quest to find what is hidden at the centre of the forest itself. The journey involves mazes, caves and more, and if that sounds childish to you – it did to us – rest assured it’s actually great fun, with superb images and some clever touches.
The quest also includes finding important hidden objects along the way – everything from gems and keys to treasure chests – and is completed only when you finish the very last drawing. Only if you collect all the objects can you open the castle door and find out what is inside. It really is great fun, is produced on quality paper and is a large format book, but we must say if you don’t have a great attention span, you might want to look elsewhere. Otherwise, it’s excellent, and at under £7 is very good value – you get a lot for your money!
From the same series as the one above, this one, Lost Ocean, is inspired by typical children’s ‘hidden quest’ books, and is very impressive indeed. The book is actually a journey through the ocean of the title, completed by colouring in successive plates, which takes you on a quest to find what is hidden at the centre of the forest itself. The journey involves shoals of fish, shipwrecks and more, and if that sounds childish to you – it did to us – rest assured it’s actually great fun, with superb images and some clever touches.
The quest also includes finding important hidden objects along the way – everything from gems and keys to treasure chests – and is completed only when you finish the very last drawing. Only if you collect all the objects can you open the final frame and find out what is inside. It really is great fun, is produced on quality paper and is a large format book, but we must say if you don’t have a great attention span, you might want to look elsewhere. Otherwise, it’s excellent, and at under £5 is very good value – you get a lot for your money!
Another clever take on the traditional colouring book format, this one uses a series of sketches by a well-known artist who has been drawing for many years, and as he produces mainly black and white images, they are perfect for colouring. The images are very beautiful indeed and are of a varied selection of subjects, and you will find this one to be an entertaining and interesting book to relieve stress or simply enjoy.
It’s another A4 book so is an easy size to carry around with you – perfect for keeping you entertained on a long train journey or flight – and is a high-quality item printed on artist-quality stock. You get a collection of 25 impressive sketches, so there is plenty to keep you occupied here, and it can be used with any medium. There are no instructions here, you simply colour in as you see fit, and we like it for its interesting content. You can also buy others in the series, and at less than five quid, it’s very good value.
Millie Marotta is a bit of a superstar in the colouring book world, having created many that have become best sellers. This one features a selection of highly intricate drawings of an imagined tropical paradise, leaving you to enjoy filling in the gaps and creating the colourful images. The rainforest setting gives you plenty of scope with birds, plants and other animals to colour in, as well as much more besides, and the final result is entirely up to you.
It’s great for relaxing, and may even be fit for the more creative of children, and at 90 pages you certainly get a lot for your money. The paper is artist quality so you can get the best results and use whatever medium you wish, and it’s a large format book so there is plenty of time to be spent colouring in. It’s also worth remembering that it is available as a package deal with other books in the series, and as you can find this one for around £5 it is well worth considering.
From the same author as the above, Millie Marotta is a bit of a superstar in the colouring book world, having created many that have become best sellers. This one features a selection of highly intricate drawings of an imagined landscape, leaving you to enjoy filling in the gaps and creating the colourful images. The setting gives you plenty of scope with birds, plants and other animals to colour in, as well as much more besides, and the final result is entirely up to you.
It’s great for relaxing, and may even be fit for the more creative of children, and at 90 pages you certainly get a lot for your money. The paper is artist quality so you can get the best results and use whatever medium you wish, and it’s a large format book so there is plenty of time to be spent colouring in. It’s also worth remembering that it is available as a package deal with other books in the series, and as you can find this one for around £7 it is well worth considering.
Our final choice is a nice idea; you get 60 images over 30 pages, and all are pictures of animals. It’s a great gift, then, for the stressed out animal lover who likes to colour in! It comes with paper that is suitable for using with watercolours if you wish – in fact, most of these do, so if you want to colour in with paint, you can – and it can be used with any medium. The paper is heavy stock and high quality, and it is a quality item throughout.
The book is square format and a good size so you get plenty of scope for relaxing colouring in time, and it has a nice feel to it. All images are impressively presented, too. As you get change from £3 – yes, really – you can buy this one as a great gift or for yourself, and it will bring you hours of pleasure.
That’s our list of ten adult colouring books, each of which is high quality and with some great innovations throughout. You will find one for you or get inspiration, we hope, but before we go on to sum things up, let’s have a quick recap of the important features to look out for.
Features to Consider
So, you have decided you want a colouring book, and we don’t blame you! They really are great fun and make an ideal way to relax, de-stress or simply enjoy yourself, and they are also surprisingly affordable. Before we finish, here’s our list of things to consider before you buy.
Size – there are various sizes of books available here, so if you want one for when you are travelling, make sure it’s a convenient size. We recommend no more than A4 format for on the train or elsewhere, as it is easy to transport and will not get in the way of others.
Format – by this we mean the actual content; some of these have a random selection of images, others are on a theme, and some are quest-type books, so you have plenty to choose from.
Adult – a few of these are filled with rude words for you to colour in, and they are great fun, but if you are offended by these, don’t go there! Also, they are not great for kids, so not for under-18’s.
Quality – If you are going to colour things in you want paper quality that is of a suitable standard, so make sure you check this out before you buy or you may be disappointed.
As it’s not worth mentioning cost – some of these are ridiculously cheap for what they are and you easily get change from £10 for any of them – that’s our list of features to consider, so all that remains now is to wrap things up!
Let’s Wrap It Up!
We approached this review unsure of what we would find, but came away pleasantly surprised. Adult colouring books really are great fun – and great stress relievers – and we recommend you take a closer look at the above selection before you decide which to buy. It’s difficult to recommend something that will always be personal choice, so the only real preference we can point out is that some people may find a couple of these books offensive, so it’s best to steer clear as those as gifts if you are not sure. As for the rest, every one has its merits, so take your pick, settle back, and enjoy your quality time colouring in, just like you did when you were a child!