Coloring Books Are Not Just For Kids

secretgardencovImage via Amazon


By now, you’ve probably heard about this best-selling coloring book that has sold over a million and a half copies. Suddenly it seems that “adult” coloring books are trending — they’re not R-rated, but created with an older audience in mind. Why the sudden popularity? NBC News reports that coloring is calming. Lisa Congdon, artist/author of several Just Add Color titles: Botanicals, Geometric Patterns, and Folk Art, believes that it’s not only creative, but meditative. She explains that the hobby is a refuge from all the screen stimulation and stress that we receive everyday; it’s an analog activity that takes us back to our childhood. Even coloring groups are now all the rage: a Facebook Group called “Coloring For All” has over 4000 followers!

Need more convincing to pick up some crayons? Here’s 10 coloring books to try:


TeamArt_GoT_intImages by Team Art


Game of Thrones A Coloring Book from Team Art in Canada features 22 characters to color from the popular show based on George R R Martin’s books. Added benefit: constructive coloring while watching your favorite show!


cityscapesintArt by Steve McDonald


Fantastic Cities: A Coloring Book of Amazing Places Real and Imagined by Steve McDonald (Chronicle Books) is full of lovely cityscapes for travel and architecture buffs to color and contemplate.



CMGGosling3Art by Mel Elliott


Color Me In Good Ryan Gosling by Mel Elliott (I Love Mel) is the “Unofficial Coloring Book.” Mel Elliott has a terrific series with all your boy crushes including Jamie Dornan and James De Franco.



CongdonbotanicalsArt by Lisa Congdon


Just Add Color: Botanicals by Lisa Congdon (Rockport Publishers) is part of a great series of coloring books, in which Ms Congdon has contributed three. It’s hard to choose which one to get first, so I suggest splurging on them all!


Flow Coloring Book

Flow Coloring BookImages via Flow Magazine


Flow: Coloring is a Form of Happiness Book by Helen Dardik and Carolyn Gavin (Flow Magazine) is a visual delight. If you’re a fan of Flow Magazine or Canadian illustrators Helen Dardkik and Carolyn Gavin, you’re in for a treat.



mindfulness_2Images via Amazon


The Mindfulness Coloring Book by Emma Farrarons (Boxtree Ltd) is the perfect antidote to a busy day. The best thing about this book is its small size—you can carry it around with you.

poster-a-colorier-parisposter-a-colorier-paris-1Images via Omy


Poster Géant À Colorier Giant Coloring Poster: Paris (Omy Design & Play) is technically not a book, but something waiting to be transformed into your living room masterpiece. Their entire product line is perfect for the child at heart.


basemanpageIllustration by Gary Baseman


Outside the Lines: An Artist’s Coloring Book for Giant Imaginations edited by Souris Hong-Porretta (Perigree Books) is a terrific collection of drawings from artists including Keith Haring, Gary Baseman, and Ryan McGuiness. A portion of the profits is donated Moca’s Education Program.



indiepageArt by Andy J Miller


The Indie Rock Coloring Book by Yellow Bird Project and Andy J Miller (Chronicle Books) will give you insta-cool-cred. Plus all royalties go to a good cause.




Color Me Drunk (Potter Style) is cheeky fun. And surprise! There’s a drawing by yours truly on page 95.




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Edward Gorey’s Illustrated Letters

floatingworldsIf you’re a fan of Edward Gorey’s wonderfully charming-creepy drawings, you’ll adore this collected correspondence between the illustrator and his editor/collaborator/friend, Peter F. Neumeyer. Floating Worlds is an intimate portrait of their friendship revealed in 75 type- and hand-written letters, 60 postcards, and 38 illustrated envelopes (9 are displayed here). The two met in 1968 and collaborated on three books: Why We Have Day and Night, Donald & the … , and Donald Has a Difficulty.

Floating Worlds is available through Pomegranate.


Postage is only 6¢ !


I’m curious about this creature that graces much of his mail.floatingworlds7FloatingWorlds_p150floatingworlds8FloatingWorlds_p44floatingworlds3

Wouldn’t you love to get mail like this? What’s fun is that they inspired a contest for envelope art—click here to check those out!

Illustrations © The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, courtesy Pomegranate. All rights reserved.


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Drawn In: Artists’ Sketchbooks

Keeping a sketchbook or journal is a great way to practice drawing, jot ideas down and keep a record of things. But sometimes it seems a bit daunting to fill up all those empty pages, so I thought it would be great to see what other artists do with their sketchbooks.


Luckily for me, Julia Rothman, creator of the beautiful blog, Book By Its Cover, has already compiled a book full of sketchbooks: Drawn In: A Peek Into the Inspiring Sketchbooks of 44 Fine Artists, Illustrators, Graphic Designers & Cartoonists (published by Quarry). Here’s a few of my favorite drawn diaries from the book:


(above) Tad Carpenter, Kansas City, Missouri



(above) Lars Henkel, Essen, Germany



(above) Sarajo Frieden, Los Angeles, California



(above) Sam Bosma, Baltimore, Maryland



(above) Renata Liwska, Calgary, Canada



(above) Ted McGrath, Brooklyn, New York



(above) Andy J Miller, Columbus, Indiana


As you can see, they each have a preferred medium, and some incorporate collage too. I love how Ted McGrath’s books are bursting! All images are from Julia Rothman’s Drawn In, published by Quarry Books. If you’re curious about the author, check out her interview on Brain Pickings, or click here to see more sketchbooks. Click on the artist name above to see more of their work.

OK, now get working on yours!

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James Chapman’s Soundimals

British doodler (and PhD Physics candidate!) James Chapman seems to be fluent in animal sounds. His popular tumblr blog is now published on paper and we had to share some of his sensational drawings from Soundimals with you.


It appears that most people agree on what sound cats make, but take a look at how animals sounds differ in various languages.








5All images via James Chapman

Who knew birds squawked differently around the globe? See more of James Chapman’s pictures on his blog. And order his book here.


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10 Fashion Doodle Books

For Fashion Week NYC (February 12-19), we count down our 10 favorite fashion doodle books!



10. Pantone Fashion Sketch Pad by Pantone LLC

Brought to you by Pantone, creator of the color-matching system used by designers, printers, and manufacturers, this one is for serious sketchers, fashion illustrators and designers. It’s loaded with a glossary, color palettes, and figurative templates ready to be taken to the shows and dressed by your designs!


9. The Fashion Coloring Book by Carol Chu and Lulu Chang

Fashionistas can familiarize themselves with over fifty iconic designers while coloring in illustrations by book designer/illustrator Carol Chu and fashion blogger Lulu Chang.


8. 20 Ways to Draw a Dress by Julia Kuo

Part of a series that lets you to draw alongside Julia Kuo, an illustrator based in Chicago and Taipei.


7. Fabulous Fashion: Over 100 Designer Doodles to Complete and Create by Nellie Ryan

Prolific illustrator Nellie Ryan hails from New Zealand and once worked for fashion designer Jasper Conran. Her series of doodle books are chocked-full of drawings that you can create or complete.


6. Rosie Flo’s Coloring Fashion Show by Roz Streeten

I remember when I first saw one of Rosie Flo’s charming Coloring books in a neighborhood toy store in Brooklyn. There are now a dozen in the series created Roz Streeten with her daughters (whose combined middle names form the series’ namesake). This one pops out so kids can stage their own fashion shows—so fun! And, you can share your art with Rosie Flo and maybe win a prize!


5. Color It Chic: By You and Nancy Riegelman

This book is big—256 pages of clothes to color and draw by the author of 9 Heads: A Guide to Drawing Fashion. There is a follow-up focused on Accessories too.


4. Fashion Doodles by Anita Wood (Author) and Jennifer Kalis (Illustrator)

I love the girlie-ness of this book—it’s adorned with curly type and soft colors. Doodlers will not only enjoy designing and coloring this book, but they’ll love the bits of fashion trivia as well.


3. Fashion Exercise Book: Drawing, Doodling & Coloring In by Frances Moffatt

Follow illustrator Frances Moffatt’s drawings or invent your own designs in this fantastic fashion workbook.


2. My Wonderful World of Fashion by Nina Chakrabarti

Originally from Calcutta, India, Nina Chakrabarti, creator of this popular series studied at Central St Martins and Royal College of Art (London). They’re full of gorgeous drawings and fashion inspiration. You may not have couture in your closet, but you can dream about (and create) them in this doodle book!


1. Doodling for Fashionistas: 50 Inspiring Doodle Prompts and Creative Exercises for the Diva Designer in You by Gemma Correll

I’m most excited about this book—which comes out next month—because I’m a HUGE fan of Gemma Correll, author of What I Wore Today and pug expert. She’ll not only inspire you to draw, but she’ll likely make you laugh.

Images credit: Amazon or respective publishers’ websites.


Favorite Doodle Books

We’d be remiss if we didn’t have a year-end list, so here’s our Favorite Doodle Books this year:


Most Colorful Cast

The Little Factory of Illustration by Florie Saint-Val (Tate Publishing) takes budding artists on a tour of a fantastical factory, helping them create a show by exploring collage, pattern-making and composition.


Adorable Instruction

Illustration School: Let’s Draw by Sachiko Umoto (Quarry) is ideal for artists who want a bit more drawing direction, especially in replicating the cuteness that is Sachiko Umoto. Learn how to draw people, characters, animals, flowers, plants and more!



For Fashionistas

32 Ways to Dress a Bunny (Wee Gallery) is one of three mini models to dress with doodles. You’ll want to collect them all.


Super Silly

Make Faces: A Silly Scribble Activity Book by Christopher Harrisson (Ivy Press) is appropriately titled and bound to induce a gaggle of giggles and a lot of doodling.


Cutest Concept

The Small Object Thumbprint Portraits by Sara Neuburger (Chronicle Books), the follow-up to her popular Thumbprint Masterpieces, comes with a two-color ink pad and stickers that cartoonists can use to complete the scenes.


Occupational Accessories

I Could Wear That Hat! by Ben Sanders (Thames & Hudson) is perfect for day-dreamers, doodlers and me.


Terrific for Typographers

Draw Your Own Fonts by Tony Seddon (Ivy Press) is designed for those who fancy fonts, and want to create artful alphabets.


Artfully Awesome

Marion Deuchar’s Draw Paint Print like the Great Artists (Laurence King Publishing) is fabulous—I love her drawings, handwriting, and books. This one introduces kids to fine artists as well as teaches art concepts through fun projects and activities.


Designer’s Delight

Lastly, here’s two books for an aspiring architect—they’ll learn about design and designers while developing their own design skills.
Archi-Doodle: An Architect’s Activity Book by Steve Bowkett (Laurence King)
Draw Me a House: Architectural Ideas, Inspiration and Coloring In by Thibaud Herem (Cicada)


PS. Our favorite doodler is Taro Gomi, author of Scribbles, Doodles, and Squiggles. Two lucky artists will win one of his mini doodle books: Cheer Up or Grumpy. To enter the prize drawing, just submit a drawing in our current Show & Tell, Loolygadoodling.



Images credit: or the respective publishers.



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My Teacher is a Monster

One of my favorite things to see/do in Austin was the annual Texas Book Festival. I loved seeing the authors and illustrators in person and hearing about their process or career commencement. A few years ago, I got to see Peter Brown present his Children Make Terrible Pets, and am happy to report that his newest book, My Teacher is a Monster, is just as gorgeous. It has a nice message about how people can surprise us.


On his blog, Mr Brown talks about how personal this book is for him, as many of his kith and kin are teachers, and shares an anecdote that inspired the book along with some great sketches. I wanted to show a few of his sketches that show the development of the main character.



It’s funny to note that his earlier sketches had the monster undressed, but her hat and dress really help describe her character, don’t they?

PS. Don’t forget to check out Mr Brown’s other books here and download the Activity Kit too.

All images via Peter Brown.