Coloring Books for Grown-ups: 7 Free Pages to Print
“Don’t be afraid to color outside the lines” is common advice for those looking to break out of a creative slump, but coloring inside the lines seems to have its artistic advantages too.
In the past few weeks, there has been a slew of articles about the phenomenon of adult coloring books, many of them sparked by the success of mega-hit Secret Garden by Johanna Basford (published by our sister company Laurence King—high five, buddies). Creativity benefits from constraints, which coloring books are great at providing. Curious to see what other books in this genre were out there, I peeked into the Chronicle Archives and found some ready to be jewel-toned gems. If you click on the images, you can download a printable version to give this whole coloring thing another go.
In 2013, we released two coloring books by Abbi Jacobson—Color this Book: San Francisco and Color this Book: New York City. If that name sounds familiar, it’s probably because she is ONE OF THE CREATORS OF BROAD CITY. Sorry for shouting, it’s just that I’m a big fan. Appropriately enough, the coloring books are filled with charming urban landscapes, so you can color away the smog and bring on the technicolor sunshine.
Another delightful find was the Indie Rock Coloring Book, put together by Yellow Bird Project which works with bands to create t-shirts that are sold to benefit charitable organizations. Andy J. Miller is the man behind the drawings and interactive activities that take inspiration from the likes of the Shins, Devendra Banhart, and the National. This book took me back to my childhood via my college days, which was a fun bit of time travel.
And lucky us, another coloring book is almost here. It’s called Fantastic Cities, and as the name suggests, it’s filled with entire worlds drawn by Steve McDonald that are very fun to fill in. It combines real cities like Amsterdam or Istanbul with mandala-like interpretations of the repetitive but not mechanical patterning found in all beautiful places. This sounds pretty great, and looks even better.
A word that seems to come up a lot in conversation about the appeal of coloring books is “meditative.” I think this points to a need for winding down without totally tuning out. In the capable hands of a skilled artist, you follow their lead and know exactly when you’re done. This is different from a lot of the complex projects we tackle at home and work, and in this way, maybe coloring inside the lines can be a bit rebellious too.
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