Skip to navigationSkip to content

Photos: New coloring books for adults are good for your health

AP Photo/Matt Rourke
Old school.
By Sonali Kohli
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

For all the adults who ask for a kids menu just so they can color, there’s good news: There are entire coloring books just for grown ups, and they’re gaining popularity, with two adult coloring books currently topping Amazon’s bestseller lists.

The recent release of illustrator Johanna Basford’s second coloring book for adults, entitled Enchanted Forest, received a flurry of publicity, aligning with recent research suggesting that adults benefit from play breaks. Similar creative outlets for adults have cropped up in various parts of the world, including an adult preschool, an adult ball pit, and laughter clubs.

Psychologists told the Huffington Post that, by engaging multiple parts of the brain, coloring allows us to focus on the lines, movements, and colors in front of us, use our imaginations and be creative, and de-stress.

As Basford told NPR:

I think there’s something quite charming and nostalgic about coloring in. And chances are last time you picked up pens or pencils you didn’t have a mortgage or like a really horrible boss or anything. So yeah, it’s just a really nice way to be creative. You don’t have to sit down with a blank sheet of paper or, you know, have that scary moment of thinking, ‘What can I draw?’

The work of coloring book aficionados can be quite captivating. Basford asks users to post their finest works on her website, and here are some of the results, either from Enchanted Garden or her first adult coloring book, Secret Garden:

Courtesy of Johanna Basford, coloring by Ariel.)
The coloring job with the most likes on Basford’s website, from the book “Secret Garden.”
Courtesy of Johanna Basford, coloring by "In bed with SerialColorieuse"
An intricate owl from the “Enchanted Forest” book.
Courtesy of Johanna Basford, coloring by Bethany L.
A nature-infused animal from the “Enchanted Forest” book.
Courtesy of Johanna Basford, coloring by Brianna
Some serious shading skills.
Courtesy of Johanna Basford, coloring by Cíntia Graciani
Not your toddler’s coloring book.
Courtesy of Johanna Basford, coloring by Yoon Ji-Heun
Can you spot the cat hiding out
In one’s imagination, owls can be yellow and red.
Courtesy of Johanna Basford, coloring by Ty Segurado


📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.