The market for adult coloring books is exploding. While a couple of years ago, coloring books were squarely for kids, now there are scores of coloring books made and marketed for adults. It’s not the only kid product that’s been pushed to an adult market—gummy vitamins and graphic novels are proof of that—and it’s certainly a popular one.

If you look up Amazon’s Best Seller’s book list, you’ll find a lot of them; a couple even make it into Amazon’s Best Sellers of 2015 (so far) top ten. Magazines like The Atlantic and The New Yorker are writing about the trend, trying to explain the phenomenon. People are joining clubs about them and people and orga­nizations such as libraries are throwing parties around them. So why are coloring books for adults the latest rage?

For one, it’s an easy way to express creativity. As kids, we are often encour­aged to color, draw, and otherwise be creative, but as adults, it’s easy for creativ­ity to get pushed to the side, what with everything else going on in our lives. With coloring books geared towards adults, they can let themselves be artistic without having to commit the time and money to something like an art class. Adult col­oring books are relatively cheap (around $10) and can be pulled out whenever you have a couple of extra minutes.

Another reason adults are increas­ingly picking up coloring books is be­cause they find them to be calming. One of the best-selling adult coloring book companies, Blue Star Coloring, even ad­vertises its books as being “stress reliev­ing.” Many reviewers on Amazon agree, saying that coloring has a calming effect on them. It’s not just coloring book users that say they can have a positive affect; there are psychiatrists who back it up. Carl Jung, whose theories influenced modern psychiatry, introduced drawing mandalas, a spiritual symbol from In­dian religions which generally manifests as a circle-based geometric design, to the Western world as a therapeutic technique. Many adult coloring books still use the mandala as the basis for its patterns.

However, not all adult coloring books are patterns. Although patterns ranging from simple to intricate are popular in adult coloring books, there are plenty of books geared towards other grown-up interests. Are you obsessed with Sherlock? There’s an official Sherlock: The Mind Palace coloring book for you! Are you all about getting your drank on? Then pick up Color Me Drunk: A Drinking and Drawing Activity Book. Are you two steps away from being a crazy cat lady? Make it one step away with Colorful Cats: 30 Best Stress Relieving Cats Designs.

There’s plenty of options to choose from.

So, do you feel like picking up a book, but don’t know where to begin? Here are some books to get you started.

IF YOU WANT TO COLOR PATTERNS

Pick up Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Patterns by Blue Star Coloring. There’s a good variety of patterns, from the most simple to the finest of details.

IF YOU WANT TO COLOR A CELEBRITY

Browse the Colour Me Good series. They have books for a variety of celebri­ties, including Tom Hiddleston, Taylor Swift, Ryan Gosling, and Harry Styles.

IF YOU WANT TO COLOR SOMETHING YOU’VE SEEN ON TV

There’s a variety of officially licensed coloring books for your favorite television shows, including Sherlock, Game of Thrones, and Outlander.

IF YOU WANT A FUNNY COLORING BOOK

Try Unicorns are Jerks: A Coloring Book Exposing the Cold, Sparkly Truth by Theo Nicole Lorenz. At last, you’ll see the side of unicorns they don’t want you to see. The author’s other coloring books cover topics like the trials of being a mer­maid, the 9 to 5 life of dinosaurs, and fat positivity. In space!

All of the coloring books mentioned in this article can be found on Amazon, and many physical bookstores are catch­ing on to the adult coloring book trend, so be sure to browse and see if any catch your fancy. And remember, if you see a coloring book for kids and still really want to color in it, any coloring book can be an adult coloring book as long as it brings you the peace and joy you’re looking for.

ILLUSTRATION BY FELICIA CHANG
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