Colouring in for adults - discover your inner child

Last week I bought some colouring-in books, but not for the kids - for me and a close, school-mum friend of mine for her birthday. When I gave her the gift, the other mums also wanted one. My friend has told me that even before putting pencil to paper, she and her daughter spent ages (and quality time) gazing through the beautiful, intricately detailed pages, deciding which to colour first.

Have you ever found yourself joining in with your child as they colour in their stencils or activity books? When you go to child-friendly cafes and restaurants, do you find yourself covering every square inch of the butcher’s paper with crayon doodles?

In the past, parents have had to fight over crayons in restaurants, find restraint from suggesting which colours to use, or felt frustration when our kids have gone over the lines!

Now, more and more adult colouring-in books can be found in bookstores as well as online colouring pages directed at adults. And it’s more than just colouring-in – it’s therapy! Adults are rediscovering their inner child and embracing colouring-in, finding that it’s a great way to calm minds and reduce stress.

We can colour in on our own or do it with the kids. There's no added pressure of wondering what to do as when the kids say "you draw something". Simply pick a pencil, any pencil, and colour.

An image doesn’t have to be coloured all at once – I can keep coming back to it as required, as time permits or as mood dictates. It’s my picture which means my rules (or no rules!). I can choose balance and symmetry in my selection of colours or throw all “rules” to the wind and just play with it for a quirky result. If I don't like the result it doesn't matter, it's just for me. And if I'm colouring with the kids, they're just happy that I'm engaging in an activity with them.

I notice that when I colour in, my thoughts start to become calmer and my mind clears. I find I’m focusing on the image and colours in front of me and slowly forgetting all else. It’s almost hypnotic. There is also a touch of nostalgia as I remember doing this as a kid.

Here’s how to do it.

Find something to colour:
Find books or images you love (plenty to choose from in stores or online). I found The Mindfulness Coloring Book and the popular books by Johanna Basford at Dymocks, (which is what I purchased for my school mum friend for her birthday last week).

These books by art therapist, Lacy Mucklow, encourage you to smile, relax and unwind.

Unique Magazines publish a series of Zen colouring magazines:

Search Amazon or other online shopping sites for titles such as Pretty Patterns or Creative Therapy colouring books.

On social media, you can search Pinterest for links and inspiration and FaceBook groups are popping up for people to share their results.

After just a quick browse online I found the following colouring pages
1. The Guardian provides some free prints as a preview to The Secret Garden by Johanna Basford (see book link above)
2. Colouring pages for adults and teens offers animals, castles, churches, seasons, places, people and more.
3. Color Pages for Mom has over 400 prints to choose from.
4. Coloring Life has a great choice, particularly if you like artists such as Klimt, L├ęger, Haring or Dubuffet.
5. Coloring pages for adults has hundreds of printables in 34 different categories including Art, Mandalas, Oriental, Paris, Vintage and more.
6. Another Colouring pages for adults with a lovely selection of Mandalas.
7. Color Mandala has simple to intricate mandalas to colour online, download or design your own!
8. Coloring Crew have some more mandalas.
9. In the Playroom shares some links to great colouring books plus free printables.
10. Hello Kids has beautiful intricate colouring pages, perfect for adults.
11. Sheri McClure-Pitler's Place To Be includes Fantasy, Abstract, Geometric, Pop Art and lots more.
12. Amy Brown coloring pages are perfect if you like fairies.
13. Dover Publications provide some free samples of their Creative Haven colouring books, including Art Nouveau, Flower Fashion, Mehndi and Steampunk.
14. Patterns for colouring have a pattern library full of gorgeous designs.
15. If you want even more, a Google image search results in countless images and patterns for adults to enjoy.

How to release your creative side
~ Find pencils or textas that you love using plus a good sharpener.
~ Play with colour.
~ No rules!
~ Pay attention to yourself. See if you are drawn to particular colours, shapes or images.
~ Play with bold colours, play with pastels.
~ Colour in block colour or experiment with shading and texturing.
Your own space, your own time
~ Stock up on your favourite pencils and textas.
~ Colour in before going to sleep to calm the mind and relax.
~ Sit in the sun and colour in.
~ Go to a coffee shop on your own and colour in.
~ Colour while the kids are doing homework (tell them it's your homework).
~ Join the kids whilst they are doing their own colouring in.
~ When you have no other reason except that you enjoy it, colour in! 

Just beware, the kids may want to join you, so make sure they have something to colour and their own pencils also!


  1. Great write up, colour books for adults are very popular in the UK, please check out my article Colouring for adults it goes into some detail about the health benefits of doodling