Adult Coloring Books Relieve Stress

Written by in Color & Texture, Create, Inspire

Yoga for the Brain?

Adult Coloring Books Bring Therapeutic Benefits

Oommm.  Relax with a … coloring book? Yes. Coloring books for adults are the new rage in publishing here in the United States, but in other countries, such as France, they’ve been more popular than cookbooks in recent years.

Why, you ask? As many people can attest, coloring is therapeutic—it’s a way for adults to unwind and feel creative at the same time. In addition to its emotional benefits, coloring is also good exercise for your brain, providing stimulating eye/hand coordination. Anyone can get in on the action.

Botanicals artwork by Lisa Congdon; Mid-Century Modern Animals by Jenn Ski; Carnival by Sarah Walsh.

Botanicals artwork by Lisa Congdon; Mid-Century Modern Animals by Jenn Ski; Carnival by Sarah Walsh.

My favorite coloring books are the Just Add Color series by Rockport Publishers. Not only are the illustrations amazing, but each hefty page is perforated for easy removal. The intent is for readers to make frameable art that they can hang in their home. Each book contains 30 line art drawings with themes from folk art and botanicals, to carnival, circus, and mid-century modern designs.

Lisa Congdon, who did the drawings for the bestselling Botanicals book (as well as Folk Art and Geometric Patterns), is delighted and surprised at the response. “I had no idea that they would be so popular. I can’t keep them in stock in my online shop, and even places like Amazon keep running out of them. It’s really been an amazing thing to witness, and I think it says a lot about our need as a culture to find a way to relax, unwind, and focus on something meditative like drawing inside lines.”

Congdon also notes that coloring books are less intimidating than sitting down and drawing. You don’t have the pressure of filling a blank page—instead, you’re invited to fill in the lines in any colors you please. There are no right or wrong ways to color.

“Sometimes people will send me images of their coloring books colored in or post them on Instagram and tag me. It’s interesting to see how different people color them,” Congdon says. There are social media pages dedicated to coloring, and many people are hosting coloring parties. Even though the groups are formed online, these parties are a great way to interact face-to-face, away from the computer and share a love of coloring.


Congdon is currently working on three new books for Rockport due to be released in Spring 2016. Here’s a sneak peak at a couple of the illustrations.


  1. 08
    Mary said:

    Where do I get them? Are they at any bookstore?

  2. 08
    Emily Potts said:

    These books are available at Barnes & Noble and on

  3. 08
    Susanne said:

    Buy them at Michaels craft store–along with colored pencils and markers!

  4. 08
    Marj said:

    Dover also publishes some beautiful coloring books on translucent paper. The designs have heavy black outlines and black page edges; after coloring, you can put them in a window or on a lampshade etc. for a stained-glass effect.

  5. 08

    I love these coloring books! I copy the page so I can color it over and over. I use Prismacolor Pencils. They are awesome and you can blend the colors. Expensive, but worth every penny!

  6. 08

    You can get most of the books online at Amazon and if you’re looking for a good set of pencils check out “Colleen” pencils, especially their neon sets.