Not to brag, but as a kid I was pretty kick-ass at colouring in. I won a lot of competitions and after reading it was my favourite past-time.
However, like most people I stopped colouring when I hit my mid-teens and I hadn't picked up a pencil for more than sprucing up a birthday card or gift tag in over a decade when adult colouring books popped up in the shops. I was instantly drawn to the gorgeous illustrations from Johanna Basford and Daria Song, and there have been a wealth of exciting releases since, from geekish outlets such as Harry Potter and Doctor Who, to established brand such as Penguin Books and Liberty London getting in on the action.
For this Christmas (or any gifting occasion, really), I have created the ultimate list of adult colouring books that will appeal to both men and women of a range of ages and will make great presents for friends, family and yourself!
Secret Garden, Enchanted Forest and Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford
If you have caught a whiff of the adult colouring book craze then you have no doubt come across Johanna Basford's gorgeous creations. She arguably set the wheels of the new new hype in motion with the elegantly drawn Secret Garden in 2013 and has since followed it up with Enchanted Forest (2014) and Lost Ocean (2015, pictured below). I have accumulated a MASSIVE stack of colouring books in the last few months myself and it's Enchanted Forest I'm currently spending my limited spare time colouring in. It perfectly fits the autumnal weather and my love for woodland creatures.
Book lovers rejoice with another literary beauty, an Alice-themed colouring book with the original illustrations from Sir John Tenniel! I am a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland and there are some real beauties within this hefty colouring book, including iconic characters such as the White Rabbit and Cheshire Cat, as well as fun patterned pages with keys, playing cards and royalty inspired illustrations.
The Time Garden by Daria Song
Together with Johanna's beautiful books, The Time Garden is the first adult colouring book I ever laid eyes on and what got me hooked on adult colouring in the first place; its incredibly intricate drawings are a piece of art in their own right. A second adult colouring book by Daria Song has just been released, The Time Chamber, though I haven't seen it in person myself yet and so I cannot include it in its own section. The cover is gorgeous though!
This one you guys, what a stunner! Whether you love Bengal tigers or red foxes, there is a beautiful portrait that will be right up your alley to colour. Each of the animals within this book are exceptionally well illustrated and my personal favourites are the pages with the North American moose, impala and Somali giraffe. Especially notable in this colouring book is that there are no images on the back pages, and dotted lines near the binding, making each portrait perfect to take out and frame once fully coloured in.
Dream Cities by Rosie Goodwin and Alice Chadwick
Oh em gee, you guys! As soon as I saw the first pictures from this one I absolutely geeked out. Combining my love for the Potterverse with beautifully drawn illustrations this really is the best of both worlds. There are some incredible patterns included as well, and after eyeing the book for many weeks (after all, I already have a huge stack of colouring books and should really finish those first before buying any more) I won this in an Advent calendar giveaway this month, which was very exciting, I can tell you that!
Secret Paris by Zoe de Las Cases
This one is delicately gorgeous and very feminine. Filled with typical Parisian items such as patisserie sweets, fashion accessories and iconic locations this is a treat not only for people who adore the city of love, but also those who are foodies or fashionistas.
The Magical Christmas: A Colouring Book by Lizzie Mary Cullen
Bonus: Secret Garden Artist's Edition by Johanna Basford
With Johanna Basford's books being so incredibly popular, Secret Garden has now also been released as a special artist's edition. The pages of this are incredibly sturdy and, like the Menagerie, printed one-sided only, making these perfect to take out and frame. Personally, I think once you've coloured a page in and framed it it would also make a very touching gift for a friend or family member as not only is it absolutely gorgeous for them to hang up, but it's very personal too.
And these are my favourite adult colouring books that have been released so far. Have you tried any of the above yet? Or do you have other colouring books you recommend? Let me know in the comments below!
*The books pictured above were either bought by me, gifted by friends and two were sent by publishers, but this has not influenced my opinion on any of the featured titles (I still spent HOURS browsing books shops to find my favourite ones!)