Adult Coloring Books

Stack Overflow: Adult Coloring Books (Part 2)

Geek Culture Stack Overflow

If you haven’t read my prior review then consider checking out Stack Overflow: Adult Coloring Books (Part 1) since this article is a continuation of part 1. As I stated in my last review article, I have a slight coloring book addiction, and, yes, I am still pregnant and coloring for the time being. However, this will probably be my last review for a few weeks as I am seriously close to having a baby. Yay!

In this continued series, I will review the following five adult coloring books:

Adult Coloring Book

Similar to my last review, I broke down each book by target audience, complexity, and then I go into detail about the best options for coloring mediums. Also, I provided a sample page from each book so you can get an idea of the illustration styles. If you are interested in purchasing any of these coloring books, I attached a link to every title or image that will direct you towards an Amazon page or the publisher website.

I hope you enjoy this review as much as I enjoyed coloring these adult coloring books.


Adult Coloring Book

Creative Haven Owls Coloring Book by Majorie Sarnet

  • Complexity: Moderate
  • Paper Quality: Standard weight (similar to printer/fax paper) perforated pages
  • Illustrations: 31 owlish drawings on single-sided pages

The illustrations in Owls has a whimsical feel that is almost similar to the Zentangle method but not as busy. As seen in the above image, Sarnet mixes pattern styles which makes the illustrations pop more once you add color. I loved Sarnet’s illustration style so much that I purchased two different coloring books by her—Creative Cats being the other book. I would recommend this coloring book for anyone that enjoys owls, whimsical imagery, and mix-n-match patterns.

Creative Haven coloring books use some of the best standard weight paper quality I have experienced. I rated this coloring book as moderate since the illustration style feels appropriate for moderate to experienced colorists due to the heavy detailing, but a beginner colorist could easily enjoy this coloring book since the paper quality is so versatile with different coloring mediums. The framing lines around each illustration makes for a cleaner coloring experience as there are defined ending points to each illustration. Also, this illustrator is not afraid of using extensive detailing so be prepared to spend several hours coloring a single page, but the coloring experience is well worth the time and effort.

I found that almost every coloring medium works well with Creative Haven coloring books since they use some of the best quality paper in their coloring books. Even though the paper quality is still standard weight, the pulp level of the page is smooth like the gloss on laser printer or portfolio paper. The smoother surface works amazing with soft lead color pencils and allows for a smooth blending process, but the extensive detailing can cause some complications so make sure to keep a sharp tip at all times for those tighter spaces. I noticed that even hard lead color pencils apply smooth on the page like the soft lead color pencils—cheap or expensive, the quality of the coloring utensil doesn’t matter as everything applies like high quality. For the smaller detailed areas, I would recommend using a fine-tipped marker, gel pen, or an extremely sharp color pencil. Similar to other Creative Haven coloring books, I noticed similar issues with bleed-through levels while using both water and permanent based markers. So consider taking advantage of the perforated edges or place wax paper between pages to prevent bleed-through issues.

Adult Coloring Book

Creative Haven Creative Cats Coloring Book by Marjorie Sarnet

  • Complexity: Moderate/complex
  • Paper Quality: Standard weight (similar to printer/fax paper) perforated pages
  • Illustrations: 31 aMEOWsing drawings on single-sided pages

I am not really sure what to say about Creative Cats that I haven’t already stated about the prior coloring book since both the publisher (Creative Haven) and artist (Sarnet) are the same. The only difference in this coloring book is the theme. I would recommend this coloring book for all the crazy cat-ladies-in-training (myself included), and if you are not a cat person then I believe Sarnet also has a Dazzling Dogs coloring book.

I did notice that Creative Cats has heavier detailing than Owls which is why I rated this coloring book moderate to complex as the colorist might need a greater deal of focus and a steadier hand. Since there are finer details than the prior coloring book, I would recommend using fine-tip markers, extremely sharp color pencils, or 0.5 mm (or smaller) tip color pens.

Adult Coloring Book

Fanciful Folk Art Coloring Book by Karla Gerard

  • Complexity: Easy
  • Paper Quality: Standard weight (similar to printer/fax paper) perforated pages
  • Illustrations: 46 whimsical drawings on single-sided pages

I lived in Charlottesville, Virginia and I spent a lot of free-time perusing the local art stores. One of the common themes of the local artists was folk art. Folk art has a simpler style that appears child-like, but I promise that some folk art paintings I saw were mesmerizing and there was no way I could paint such vivid art, no matter what color medium I use. So, in an experienced colorists hands this coloring book could sparkle and shine. I would recommend this coloring book for anyone looking to spend a short amount of time coloring a single page or anyone that enjoys the simplicity of the folk art style.

Since folk art has a simple style and the illustrations uses wider lines, I rated this coloring book as easy. However, an experienced colorist could easily enjoy this coloring book as well. Every page has framing lines so there is a defined stopping point for every illustration. Personally, I feel framing lines elevate an artworks overall aesthetic when you display your finished product. This book works well with every color medium due to the pages smooth surface, so the paper quality and simplistic style of the illustrations makes this book perfect for beginners.

Since the illustrations have framing lines there is little concern with coloring close to the binding. However, the perforated edges make for an easy separation of the page from binding. Separating the page from binding might still be desired for other reasons like bleed-through issues. I experienced zero bleed-through issues with gel pens and water-based markers, but permanent markers did create heavy bleed-through. If you choose not to separate the illustrated page from the coloring book due to bleed-through issues then consider using wax paper when applying permanent marker. Since the illustrations have broader lines, a larger or chisel tipped marker work well on the page and there is little need to use a fine-tipped Sharpie or other permanent marker. When using color pencils, I noticed little difference between soft and hard lead pencils as they both applied with equal quality to the page. There were some issues with indentation while using hard lead color pencils but nothing that would distort the overall image. The overall coloring experience was fairly easy with every color medium.


Adult Coloring Books

Sacred Nature: Coloring Experiences for the Mystical and Magical by Lydia Hess

  • Complexity: Moderate
  • Paper Quality: Mid-weight (similar to proposal/laser printer paper) non-perforated pages
  • Illustrations: 38 full-page illustrations w/single word illustrations on backside of pages

This coloring book reminds me of the animated film The Secret of Kells; there is a Celtic calligraphy feel about the illustrations that is similar to the movie. The illustrations portray a serene and harmonic nature element that is soothing to the soul while coloring. If you are looking for a meditative or restorative coloring experience then this coloring book might be a perfect fit. One page contains the image and natural beauty of nature and on the adjoining page is a single meditative word that mirrors the illustration. The combination of word and illustration pulls you into a meditative state as you color, at least that was the case with my experience. I would recommend this coloring book for anyone in need of a moment’s peace from the chaotic world we call life.

I rated this coloring book as moderate due to the limitation of color mediums and there are several pages with finite detailing that might require fine tip pencils, pens, and markers. The good news is each illustration has framing lines or is centered on the page, so you don’t have to worry about squeezing your color utensil between the binding. Depending on the illustration, you could easily spend several hours or more coloring a single page, but it never feels taxing so the time spent coloring is enjoyable and the illustrations add a sense of serenity to the coloring process.

The paper in this coloring book is not as thick as a heavy weight (card stock) but the gloss level is similar which means the page doesn’t soak up the ink as fast, due to the gloss level. I made the mistake of running my knuckle over a freshly colored area and caused the ink to smear. I had a similar issue with gel pens, so if you are using pens or markers be careful of your hand placement. Also, when I used markers, the pulp of the paper started separating from the page. The only time I have ever seen paper react in such a manner is when I have over-colored a designated area of paper. However, I did not over saturate the page with my marker and the paper had a similar reaction, so consider avoiding markers with this coloring. Due to the waxy surface of the paper, I found color pencils work best with this particular coloring book. The waxy surface is perfect for blending soft lead color pencils, and there were minimal issues with indentation from color pencils. If you choose to use markers or pens with this coloring book consider using wax paper between pages as there is a heavy bleed-through issue. Also, these pages are not perforated and this coloring book has a heavy glue binding so carefully separate the page from book with scissors.


Adult Coloring Book

Secret Tokyo: Color Your Way to Calm by Zoe De Las Cases

  • Complexity: Easy/moderate/complex
  • Paper Quality: Mid-weight (similar to proposal/laser printer paper) non-perforated pages
  • Illustrations: 84 kawaii drawings on double-sided pages

I was born and raised in Japan so I get a tad nostalgic every time I see anything about Japan, especially when there are illustrations of Sailor Moon apparel, as seen in the above image. Kawaii!!! This coloring book has the potential to be a great starter coloring book since it has different complexity levels from page to page. Plus, the illustrations are fun and cute, so you can’t go wrong with this coloring book. If you are familiar with Japan or you are a fan of Japanese culture then this book is a must have.

Due to the finite details on certain illustrations and the fact that this coloring book has dual-sided pages, I would recommend this coloring book for experienced colorists. Also, the dual-sided pages create limitations in color mediums due to potential bleed-through issues ruining the backside imagery. There is an array of different images in this coloring book and some pages are simple enough for a beginner colorist but there are other pages that have more complex curves in the illustrations which would require a more focused eye and steadier hand. Some of the illustrations run-off the page so consider separating the page from the binding so you can color those edges, but be careful since this coloring book has a heavily glued binding which makes tearing a tad difficult—similar to separating pages from a sewn binding.

I would not recommend using markers of any type on this dual-sided coloring book because even the slightest bleed-through will ruin the backside illustration. For the best results, consider using color pencils and be aware that hard lead color pencils will leave a slight indentation on the page, so an extremely sharp soft lead color pencil is the ideal color medium for this book but color gently. Gel pens don’t bleed-through; however, due to the gloss level of the page gel pens don’t soak into the paper as well as standard weight paper. Be aware of the residual ink sitting on the page while coloring so you don’t smear ink across the page and ruin all of your hard work. A fine tip art pen will work on these pages but make sure to select a small test area to verify if your particular art pen bleeds-through the page. If you use color pens, I would recommend using 0.5 mm pens to fill in the finite areas of the more detailed illustrations.

If there is anything I did not cover in this review please share you comments, questions, and concerns in the comments below.

Adult Coloring Books

I am taking a short break from reviews until baby is born, but once I return expect a thorough analysis of the following ten coloring books.

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