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everything you need to know about adult coloring

Everything You Need to Know About Adult Coloring

Coloring isn’t just for kids any more! Adults across the country are dusting off their pencil crayons and coloring books and re-discovering the joy of one of childhood’s favorite pastimes.

The adult coloring trend started when a British publisher approached artist Johanna Basford to create a children’s coloring book, and she suggested creating one for adults instead. Johanna’s adult coloring book became an international bestseller, and she’s since released two more. All three of her books – plus nine more by other authors – are on Amazon’s list of top 20 bestsellers.

Why is Adult Coloring so Popular?

Aside from the obvious reason (it’s fun!), a number of factors have contributed to the rise in popularity of adult coloring.

Adult coloring pages are more sophisticated and intricate than children’s designs, which makes them a great way for adults with any level of artistic skill to challenge and satisfy their creative and crafty side.

Art Therapy

Many adults also enjoy the therapeutic effects of coloring. By giving colorers a focus for their creativity without forcing them to start with a blank page (artist’s block, anyone?), coloring offers a unique way to relieve stress and produce a beautiful work of art.

Plus, we could all use a little less screen time.

What Do You Need to Start Coloring?

There are only two things you really need to start coloring:

1. Something to color.

2. Something to color with.

Finding something to color is easy – keep reading to see some of our favorite free pages – but knowing what to color with is a bit more difficult. Should you use colored pencils? Markers? Gel pens? Pastels? Finding the right tool can certainly seem like a daunting prospect.

To help you decide where to get started, here are some of the most popular tools:

  • Colored Pencils: Colored pencils are the best place for novice colorers to start. They’re easy to use, and they offer unparalleled versatility when it comes to applying color.
  • Markers or Pens: If you’re an experienced colorer and want to experiment with new techniques, try using markers and pens. Look for non-alcohol based inks – alcohol-based inks have a tendency to bleed.
  • Hard Shell Pencil Case: Good quality colored pencils may have a soft core, which means they will break very easily if you drop them. A hard shell pencil case will help keep your tools safe, no matter where you take them.
  • Pencil Sharpener: Any sharpener will do!
  • Pencil Lengthener: Don’t bother trying to color with that ever-shrinking stub of a pencil. Just grab a pencil lengthener and get down to business!
  • Good Quality Paper: If you’re printing your own coloring pages at home, be sure to print them on a high quality paper for the best results.

Paper Suggestions

The right paper can transform your colored pages from mere doodles into artistic masterpieces worthy of framing and hanging proudly on your wall.

Standard printer paper is too thin and smooth to be ideal for coloring. Instead, try using one of our paper suggestions, organized by paper weight from lightest to heaviest:

Printable Pages 

Now comes the fun part – choosing a page to color! There’s no need to spend tons of money on expensive coloring books when you can easily print pages off at home. Here are some of our favorite pages:

1.  Paisley Mandala

We love the detailed paisley pattern of this mandala.

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Download the printable via Nerdy Mamma.

2.  Intricate Owl

He may look stern, but this owl also looks super fun to color.

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Get this page here.

3.  Flower Power

This swirling floral pattern is a great place for new colorers to get started.

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You can download the page here, thanks to Nerdy Mamma.

4.  Full-Circle Mandala

If you like symmetrical, repetitive patterns, this mandala is the perfect coloring project for you.

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Download the page via Del’s Doodles.

5.  Button Bonanza

Recreate your mother’s button box – no buttons required!

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Download the page here.

6.  Paisley Overload

If you love paisley patterns, this page is perfect for you.

floral-free-printable-coloring-pages-for-adults-web

Download the page via Nerdy Mamma.

7.  Quick and Cute

This small pattern is great for colorers who don’t want to spend hours working on the same design.

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Download the page here.

8.  Geometry Rules

If you prefer straight lines to swirls, try coloring this cool geometric pattern:

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Get this page via Dover Publications.

9.  Elegant Elephant

This intricate elephant is just begging for bright colors.

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Download the page here.

10.  For The Birds

We love how the birds in the foreground of this page stand out against the mandala in the back. What a great chance to experiment with white space!

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Get the page from Nerdy Mamma.

For more free coloring pages, check out this list of 24 free downloadable coloring pages on Nerdy Mamma. A Girl and a Glue Gun also has a fantastic list of 35 free pages.

Coloring Tips

Coloring is like riding a bike. You can still get going even if decades have passed since you last broke out your colored pencils, but your balance might be a bit off. If it takes some time to get your creative juices flowing again, don’t worry! Here are some tips to get you started: 

  • If you don’t know what colors to choose, start with the rainbow! It’s bright, fun, and leaves you with unlimited possibilities. Another good way to get the ball rolling is to simply grab any color and get down to business. You’d be surprised how easy the rest comes to you.
  • Don’t press too hard on your pencils. You may break the tip, and you’ll get a better result if you layer your colors anyway. Instead of applying the maximum color in a single pass, apply multiple layers. You can always intensify colors by adding more layers, but you can’t take away layers once they’re there.
  • Test inks on scrap paper before you color with them. Check for bleeding, see how heavily the color applies, how fine the pen tip is, and how wet the ink is.
  • Take care of your tools! Keep your pencils sharp for detailed areas, and keep your markers and pens capped so they last longer.
  • Try using watercolor pencils. You can use them like regular pencils, but you can also use water to create other effects, just like watercolor paint.
  • Use white pencils or colorless blending sticks to blend colors. They’ll fill in the blanks on your paper without causing your color to lose intensity.

Color You Happy!

Coloring is a great hobby for people of any age. All you need is a few simple tools to exercise your creativity, relieve stress, and produce beautiful artwork – so what’s stopping you?

Steph Schinkel
Steph Schinkel

Steph is an avid crafter, DIY enthusiast, and regular contributor to The Paper who loves to handmake all of her cards. Above all else, Steph is a die-hard foodie with a massive sweet tooth and a deep, soul-consuming love for chocolate.