Latest Obsession: Adult Colouring Books

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So I’m pretty late to this party, but colouring book fans are right: colouring is relaxing. I remember when I was a child, an aunt had a colouring book she loved. It featured prismatic patterns, and would probably fit right in with the current trends in adult colouring. I don’t know if adult colouring was a big thing back then, but I prefer to think my aunt was a couple decades ahead of her time.

The current trend in adult colouring began with Johanna Basford‘s books last year, I believe. I tried to get a copy for my sister (who had read about it online), but Indigo stores were completely out of stock. I didn’t quite understand the trend at the time; I had coloured a bit in adulthood, but it never quite stuck.

But over the past couple of months, I’ve really gotten into the activity. Part of it is that I’ve started using coloured pencils rather than crayons, and I find I really prefer that. I tried markers at the Penguin Random House Canada #DigitalDetox event colouring table and it makes the page look even prettier, but I think markers make me too nervous about making a mistake. Coloured pencils are much more forgiving.

Also, I find that colouring is extra fun when I’m listening to an audio book or when I’m watching Netflix or any one of my British mystery DVDs that I’ve seen before, so I don’t have to concentrate fully on the plot.

So here are the colouring books that I’m loving right now:

Boy Bands: A Colouring Book


My current obsession with adult colouring books began with a friend’s Christmas gift: a Boy Bands colouring book from Team Art. What self-respecting 80s or 90s kid can resist the opportunity to colour in the Backstreet Boys? A young Justin Timberlake even makes an appearance in the preview below:


Team Art has an amazing collection of other titles as well, including Parks and Rec and a Beyonce-themed colouring book.

Sherlock: The Mind Palace



This purchase was an impulse buy at Toronto indie bookstore Book City. I was in the shop looking for a birthday gift for someone, and I ended up getting not just the birthday gift, but also a cookbook and this Sherlock colouring book. After all, Benedict Cumberbatch’s illustrated face was looking right at me from a table display, and I could hardly leave him hanging, now could I?


There are a lot of great scenes from the series in this book, and similar to Basford’s treasure hunt-themed colouring books, clues to each mystery are hidden throughout these pages. (For example, on one page, I wondered why a bottle with two pills was rather incongruously displayed in the scene, then I remembered it was a clue from the very first Sherlock episode.)

If you live in Toronto, I highly recommend Book City or any one of the other independent bookshops around. Otherwise, it’s fairly easy to find at Indigo or Amazon.

Cats in Paris

Cats in Paris

I discovered Cats in Paris at the Penguin Random House Canada #DigitalDetox event, and really, that cover is utter catnip to crazy cat lady bookworms everywhere (ahem: me). I took one look at that cat adorably draping itself around those books and fell utterly in love. I tried to push it to the back of my mind as a someday treat kind of thing (after all, I still had the plenty of Boy Band pages to fill in),  but really, all it took was needing to add a few extra dollars to qualify for free shipping on an online order, and I had my excuse to add this to my shelf.

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There are lots of colouring books out there with hyper-detailed, oddly patterned cats, but I just love Won-Sun Jung’s whimsical style, which made the cats look sinuous in motion and/or just plain adorably fluffy. Look for it at your local indie, Indigo or Amazon.

Paris Street Style


I also discovered Paris Street Style at the Penguin Random House Canada event and found myself immediately intrigued. This is probably the one in my collection that’s most similar to the colouring books I had and loved as a child, with various outfits to fill in with wild colour combinations. (My childhood version was princess-themed rather than Paris-themed, but the source of pleasure was the same, I think.)


I love the overall look of this colouring book; it’s a bit smaller than the average colouring book, and designed somewhat like a journal, with a ribbon marker and elastic closure. Look for it at your local indie, Indigo or Amazon.

All the Libraries Toronto


For anyone who loves Toronto and/or libraries, Dundurn Press has published a beautiful colouring book featuring all 100 branches of the Toronto Public Library. The publisher held a colouring contest a few months ago, and the entries show just how creative you can be with a bunch of buildings that are likely coloured fairly neutrally in real life. (The winner even drew a dragon on top of the Dufferin/St. Clair branch!)

Toronto Reference Library

The illustrations were created by Toronto artist Daniel Rotsztain, who apparently began the project as “a love letter to the Toronto Public Library.” It’s a pretty cool project, and I just love the idea of paying tribute to a city’s library system. I assume that the Page and Panel comic book shop at the Toronto Reference Library would have this book in stock (I haven’t verified this myself, so I could be wrong, but it seems logical, no?), but if not, this book is available at Indigo and Amazon.



Have you also rediscovered your love for colouring books? What got you started and what do you like to colour? Let me know in the comments!

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