Adult coloring books. That’s right: last year’s big gift trend is still going strong. But just looking at the sheer wall of coloring book titles can get overwhelming. How do you pick one? Aren’t they all the same, really? In my experience, a lot of them are. Like any pleasure worth the emotional investment to cross the threshold into guilty pleasure, you have to dig in to find the really good stuff. How do you do that? You ask an expert. As the inventory manager for this section, I see a lot of adult coloring books, and I can tell you with certainty that not all coloring books are created equal. If you’re looking for a gift (or to treat yo’self) here are my nine favorite alternative adult coloring books.
What makes an adult coloring book an “alternative” coloring book? It matches the completely arbitrary criteria I just made up. Basically, if it gets a second glance from me, it gets a pass. It can’t have the words “mandala,” “patterns,” “peace,” or “nature,” or “garden” in the title. (Don’t get me wrong: there are plenty of really good coloring books with those in the titles–and I definitely have recommendations for the best of that category as well–but they tend to blend together for me).
Check your ambition at the door with the hilarious new coloring book, Failure Is an Option. When striving for success sounds like far too much effort, color your way through 30 helpful reminders that phoning it in and lowering your expectations are perfectly adequate mantras. With fun illustrations and cynical quotes for every perforated page, you can color elegant works of grim resignation for your friends, family, or yourself. If you’d rather not give a damn about love, work, and the slow crawl of human existence, Failure Is an Option is the perfect coloring book!
The Post-Structuralist Vulva Coloring Book demystifies gender and pleasantly confuses your assumptions as you are drawn into its mesmerizing bricolage of patterns, folds, and whorls. Color away the false binaries between male and female, words and text, inside and outside, art and nature. As you meditate on the sameness and difference of the vulvas on each page, you will grow to question your interpellation into dominant systems of knowledge. By overwhelming the senses with vulvas, you will interrogate the meaning and very existence of this social construct we call the vulva and the instructions for living that come with it. Quotations from post-structuralist philosophers, from Foucault to Derrida, Lyotard to Kristeva, accompany the art, and can be colored and even edited into new constructs and timely critiques of the patriarchy. No longer must vulvas be either crudely objectified or shrouded in mystery All hail the vulva The vulva hails you .
With daily stresses like annoying coworkers, red-faced bosses, endless traffic, and whatever shit you have going on at home, sometimes all you need to tell everyone to fuck off. Now you can say it in color Relieve some stress with easy and beautiful art that also happens to feature your favorite profanities. Feel the zen wash over you as you color in or outside the lines however you damn well please. Take your defiance up a notch with more complex patterns, or take the easy route when you unwind. Do whatever the fuck you want.
Climb up to the moon with this amazing fold-out coloring book, the longest in the world Color an amazing tower, all the way from your house down on the ground, past dragons, witches, space ports, and flying elephants, to reach the moon at the very top Grab your pens and let’s get going Can you climb all the way to the moon? Hours of fun for coloring enthusiasts of all ages.
Climb down to the depths of the ocean in this amazing fold-out coloring book, the longest in the world Color an amazing tower, all the way from a boat bobbing in the waves, past sea dragons, mermaids, aqua robots, and sharks, to reach the deep ocean floor. Hours of fun for coloring enthusiasts of all ages.
“Mystical Cats in Secret Places: A Cat Lover’s Coloring Book” offers hours of coloring fun and relaxation, featuring detailed artwork of loveable cats surrounded by enchanting scenery, eye-catching ornaments, and friendly creatures. Honoel’s vibrant illustrations reveal more surprises upon every viewing, and are just waiting to be colored, making Mystical Cats an unforgettable treat for any cat lover.
They form the largest animal group on the planet. They can vary in size, from only a few millimeters up to 12 inches. Some are highly poisonous and others are stunningly beautiful. You can find them in all types of climates, including dry deserts and lush rainforests. Welcome to the fascinating world of insects! Wonderful Insects is a coloring book filled with detailed ink drawings and patterns inspired by a variety of insects and plants from all corners of the world. The book contains 64 pages of beautifully hand-drawn illustrations created by biologist and illustrator Emma Hulten. Coloring-in is a great way to become calm and relaxed while having fun with color, shapes and the imagination. Giving life to every page will put you in a contemplative, creative mood. The drawings are perfect for decorating with colored pencils as you let your mind wander. Regardless of whether you are a full-blown nature lover or scared of insects, Wonderful Insects is a must-have. It allows you to enter the marvelous world of insects at your own pace, while coloring-in. Let yourself be inspired by their beauty, intriguing shapes and patterns.”
Manga artist and Pop Surrealism superstar Camilla d Errico presents her first everadult coloring book, filled with portraits, patterns, and the stunning artwork her fans and collectors have come to love. This one-of-a-kind book offers you the opportunity tocollaborate with d Errico, adding your colors to her gorgeous black and whitelinework. Featuring everything from haunting and surreal character portraitsto pages filled with patterns and designs all rendered in d Errico sinimitable style, “Pop Manga Coloring Book “is guaranteed toprovide hours of coloring fun and excitement.
Crossing the line from line art to Pop Art, The Official Bob’s Burgers Coloring Book follows in the best-selling pop-culture coloring book footsteps of Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, and Outlander. This collection serves up not only images of the best moments of the show, but also enough puns and fun to have the show’s ravenous fans salivating with hunger and hilarity. Bob’s Burgers is enjoying a true pop- cultural moment, with an original comic-book version by Dynamite Entertainment still setting records since its launch in 2014, a soundtrack album of original music from the series featuring music from indie band Sleater-Kinney (Portlandia’s Carrie Brownstein), and now an ongoing, multi- city live tour that presents the cast and crew re- creating some of the most popular episodes in front of packed houses across the country.
In this lavish coloring book for adults, the fanciful, elegant world of artist/playwright/filmmaker Jean Cocteau comes alive. As a playwright, he is best known for “The Human Voice “(1930); as a filmmaker, for directing “Beauty and the Beast “(1946) and “Orpheus “(1948). In the 1910s, he was a prominent member of the Paris avant-garde, forming friendships and professional relationships with Picasso, Stravinsky, Gide, Proust, and Apollinaire. His paintings and graphic art were playful, avant-garde expressions, exploring mythological themes and subjects, personal portraits, and domestic scenes.
1. The Post-Structuralist Vulva Coloring Book
Let’s belly flop right into the deep end, shall we? This coloring book will strip away your preconceived notions of gender: you very well can’t define gender by biological features when literally everything has a vulva, can you? By overwhelming your visual landscape with vulvas*, this coloring book challenges you to look critically at the gendered messages hidden in the images you see everyday, and question how these images reinforce oppressive social constructs. Vulvas are not mysterious. Vulvas are everywhere.
2. Failure is Always an Option: Negativity to Color and Display
Let’s face it, not everything in life is beautiful. Not all of us give a damn about inner peace, love, nature, or magic. Embrace your inner cynic by coloring 30 helpful mantras and reminders that lowering your expectations is a perfectly adequate response to the overwhelming nature of work/society/family/yourself.
3. F*ck Off I’m Coloring: Unwind with 50 Obnoxiously Fun Swear Word Coloring Pages
This coloring book is a confluence of two cathartic activities: being creative and swearing. Strangely enough, these two activities might be healthy to perform together. Studies show that swearing helps you to be more emotionally expressive**. And coloring is shown to be calming. Who said emotional language can’t be beautiful? (Reminder: please swear and color responsibly. Saying swear words is certainly cathartic, but hearing swear words can be harmful, particularly if those words are pejoratives. Fortunately, those words aren’t in this book.)
4. To the Moon: the Tallest Coloring Book in the World and To the Ocean Deep: The Longest Coloring Book in the World
Who needs a book when you can color a 15-foot fold out poster? Completion is the name of the game here: rather than normal-size pages that contain individual images that you can color in an evening or two, these two “books” contain only one huge image. In To the Moon, take a trip into the outer space, starting at your house and flying past space ports, witches, and flying elephants! To the Ocean Deep invites you to dive down to the most mysterious parts of our world, starting on the surface in a boat and swimming past sharks, mermaids, sea dragons, and robots! These are great for both children and adults to enjoy on family nights together!
5. Mystic Cats In Secret Places: A Cat Lover’s Coloring Book
Cat-lovers know that felines are creatures that have dual-citizenship to our world and Some Other Place. They are graceful. They are enigmatic. They are independent. They bury their own poop. This absolutely stunning coloring book illustrates the secret lives of our furry friends in arcane and whimsical places…definitely not in that empty shopping bag. A must have for all cat-lovers!
6. The Wonderful Insect Coloring Book
I lied a little when I said I wouldn’t focus on nature. This coloring book is dedicated to the largest animal population in the world: insects! With 64 beautifully hand drawn illustrations by biologist Emma Hulten, you can explore insects from all corners of the globe. Personally, I am in constant awe of the work that insects do for the planet, and I hope that this coloring book will make people more aware of the beauty behind these workhorses of our world.
7. Pop Manga Coloring Book: A Surreal Journey Through a Cute, Curious, Bizarre, and Beautiful World
Speaking of strange beauty, allow me to introduce you to the wonderous world of Camilla D’Errico, an Italian-Canadian artist who is making waves with her intersection between surrealism and pop manga styles. By coloring in her styles, you can choose the emotions you want these illustrations to convey. Makes a great gift for teens interested in pop manga styles (and a primer for surrealist imagery as well). Art is important.
8. The Official Bob’s Burger’s Coloring Book
And while we’re on the subject of pop culture, prepare to have your heart poop its pants: Bob’s Burgers has a coloring book! With coloring and activities, this is a great gift for the smart, strong, sensual Belcher in your life. Use a marker because These Collards Don’t Run.
9. Jean Cocteau Coloring Book
Austin is a town that is not short of hipster film lovers. I live with one myself. This book features the colorful, original avant-garde drawings from classic French filmmaker Jean Cocteau, director of La Belle et la Bête (1946) and Orpheus (1948). Includes a full color print of the poster from La Belle et la Bête and various doodles of early 20th century Parisian life.
*My spellcheck wants me to know that the plural of “vulva” is “vulvae.” I thought you should know as well.
**For more on this topic, What the F?: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves by Benjamin K. Bergen.