What are the best activity books and coloring books for grown-ups?
April 27, 2015 7:36 PM   Subscribe

Looking for anything fun, funny, beautiful, or creative.

Often, in the evenings, I'll hit a point where I am in the mood to do something kind of fiddly and fun and engrossing - more active than reading or watching TV - but not actually, you know, hard. I bet if I had any hand-eye coordination at all I'd knit or sew, but now I just waste these hours playing Binding of Isaac, even though I already spend too much time in front of screens.

I always adored coloring & activity books growing up but my absolute favorites were the Anti-Coloring books.. I've found a couple things that seem to hit the same sweet spot in terms of guided creativity, but geared towards adults. I think this might be a fun way to spend my evenings, and I'd love more recommendations along these lines.


Outside the Lines

Wreck this Journal

Scribbles


Most of the coloring books I've seen geared towards adults don't have quite the right aesthetic (lots of flowers and mandalas) but recommendations for straightforward coloring books would be welcome, especially if they're kind of strange and artsy.

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with - thanks!
posted by pretentious illiterate to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 98 users marked this as a favorite
 
If you are looking for regular color-in-lthe-lines coloring books, Dover Press has just about every style you could imaging.
posted by metahawk at 7:39 PM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yep, I love Dover Press's history coloring books. And for artsy they have all kinds of 'design' ones.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:41 PM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


And, well, if you want to color in some lady genitals, you have not one but two options.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:45 PM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I enjoyed Fat Ladies in Spaaaaace when I got it. I got coloring books as presents for several people during the holidays last year, including:

Unicorns Are Jerks
Color Me Drunk
Dinosaurs With Jobs
The Hipster Coloring Book For Adults: You've Probably Never Colored It
Sea Monsters
The Zombie Apocalypse
The 1990s Coloring Book
posted by angelchrys at 8:11 PM on April 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Dover will probably have some things that you want -- this, this, this and this may fit what you're going for.

Dr. Sketchy's Official Rainy Day Coloring Book may suit.

Taro Gomi has more coloring books, if you don't have them already.

While mostly aimed at kids, Usborne may be worth a look (especially in the "adult", "art", and "doodling and colouring" categories -- you can find them on Amazon). Lilt Kids may be a a bit too floral/etc. for you, but the "adult" category might have a few things you like. (Also on Amazon, as far as I can tell.)
posted by darksong at 8:15 PM on April 27, 2015


Darla Hallmark sells her adult coloring books on Etsy and Amazon.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 9:07 PM on April 27, 2015


Can't go wrong with Brandon Bird's Astonishing World of Art

For a really lovely "straight" coloring book: anything by Charley Harper
posted by O9scar at 9:48 PM on April 27, 2015


Excellent question! A recent NPR story, "Artist Goes Outside The Lines With Coloring Books For Grown-Ups," led me to poke around and bookmark a bunch of things like it: Johanna Basford - Colouring Gallery, Millie Marotta, Christina Rose, Coloring Books for Existential Angst, the Mindfulness Coloring Book (among other 'stress-relieving' books), and Hachette Pratique's Art-Thérapie catalog. I dunno if they're what you're looking for, but it looks like you'd have better luck at amazon.co.uk for the Basford and Marotta books, and I seem to recall some of the Hachette Pratique books might be reprints--not sure.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 11:52 PM on April 27, 2015


This might not involve enough creative input to hit the spot, but Thomas Pavitte has a whole slew of huge (over a foot tall), intricate dot-to-dot and colouring-by-numbers books for adults. I have a copy of the Cities one and find it absorbing.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 11:54 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


There are anatomy coloring books and botany coloring books.

Or you could do toned master drawing copies of Charles Bargue plates.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:09 AM on April 28, 2015


The Secret Garden
posted by Under the Sea at 4:06 AM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks you guys! I marked a few answers that I put on my Amazon wishlist, but they all look like so much fun. Can't wait to try them out!
posted by pretentious illiterate at 6:31 AM on April 28, 2015


I think that this child might have gotten the wrong idea... (An Amazon review from this link)

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Geography book for my 4 year old
By Molly Clinton on December 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book for my 4-year-old son. We live in Virginia, and I figured this would be a fun way for him to learn about our state. He loves the book, the lines are wide and he can use lots of colors. My only complaint is most of the drawings are not very accurate as far as the state outline goes. I also wish it would call out the city locations better.
posted by DRoll at 8:44 AM on April 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


I saw the most charming literary doodle book in the bookstore recently - it invites you to draw Anna Karenina's hair and such and such: Doodle Lit.
posted by kitcat at 11:24 AM on April 28, 2015


You might also enjoy zentangles.
posted by kristi at 9:34 AM on April 30, 2015


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