My two mindfulness colouring books

Mindfulness and tools to relax: adult colouring books

by Mori

Happy Sunday! Or, happy whichever day you happen to read this. 😊 Wouldn’t it be lovely if it was always Sunday?

I’m sure you’ve heard of mindfulness before, at least the term being discussed in various mental health-related contexts. As someone with depression history, I am familiar with some mindfulness techniques, such as adult colouring books, that have been recommended to me in therapy. I’ve done a lot of research over the years on mindfulness in general and would love to write a bit more about it at a later date. 

For now, however, I want to concentrate on something that’s related to mindfulness and, specifically, art and creativity: awesome, beautiful, fun adult colouring books! Or, as you can also say it, colouring for mindfulness. 🌻 

There are physical colouring books available, and I’ll include some examples below if you’d like to try them out yourself. Some people prefer digital experience over physical, kind of like how it is with writing a journal or reading a book, so I will also mention my favourite mobile colouring app that I’m actively using! Both these tools have definitely helped to improve my mental well-being.

Please note: this post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through my link. This is at no extra cost to you but will help towards keeping my blog up and running. Thank you!  ♥

But first, what is mindfulness?

If you’re like me, you tend to hurry through your day sometimes, worrying about what’s coming the next day, next week or even next year – or feeling regretful about what’s happened in the past, without pausing to notice much about what is happening around you right now. I’ve been trying to capture more of those ‘right now’ moments recently and it has been super beneficial towards my mental health. (Read about some happy moments here.)

Mindfulness is about making an effort to notice what’s happening in your mind, body and surroundings in the present moment. It is a technique you can learn, and many people use it to manage their day-to-day wellbeing. It helps you to enjoy the world around you more and understand yourself better – when you’re more aware, you begin to experience things that you have been taking for granted in a deeper, renewed, way.

Some actual benefits of practising mindfulness include lower stress levels, improved mood, increased concentration and focus. Personally, I have noticed that colouring is a great way to temporarily let go of racing thoughts, and just concentrate on one, pleasant thing. This makes me indeed feel calmer and helps me to fall asleep quicker as well if I do some colouring later in the evening.

Even though mindfulness has roots in Buddhism as well as meditation, there are no requirements to be spiritual or religious in any way to practise it. 

Mindfulness and art therapy: adult colouring books

You probably did some colouring as a child. Do you remember the feeling of joy when you opened a new, fresh page in your colouring book, took out your colouring pencils, imagination bursting with exciting and pretty images of what you’d be creating next? 😄

You might not think about it that often anymore in your adult life, but colouring books for adults do exist, and they are a great tool for mindfulness. I currently have two books in progress for physical colouring and they help me with stress-relief and focused thinking. I also love cats, so it’s no surprise that the books are cat-themed! 😸

One of them was a gift from my friend who brought it from France, and the other one that I talk more about below I bought myself.

Adult colouring books - my book 1

The book I’m currently colouring is called CATS (Colouring for mindfulness) by Mesdemoiselles, a duo of illustrators, Aurélie Castex and Claire Laude.

I went page by page and counted 84 unique cat-themed full-page illustrations. The book is not expensive (at least at the moment of writing this, and at the time when I bought it myself), and since there are so many different pictures and most of them super intricate with tiny details, it can take a long time to finish colouring everything. I’ve only done a few and it’s been months! 

So I would say that this one is a good quality adult colouring book and well worth the purchase. This book has a lot of positive and 5-star reviews on Amazon as well, saying the same. I did see someone mention that they didn’t like the binding method though. I haven’t come across any issues with it myself, but they mentioned it took some manoeuvering to get the middle part flat. I just tried it myself and it seems fine when I flattened an unused part of it on an even surface (desk, floor).

The paper is quite thick, not too glossy, so it’s easy and perfect for coloured pencils!


Rookie tip

I normally colour with wooden pencils, but since I also have sharpies and felt tip pens, I tried to colour with those a couple of days ago for the first time. Here’s a valuable tip: do NOT colour with sharpies! They are great for some things, but not for this, as the colour is so strong that it will ruin whatever you have on the next page. 😑

The colour of the sharpies is not the only thing that is strong about them. I also got a headache from using them even on a tiny area of the illustration as my nose is so sensitive to strong smells.

Look what happened when I coloured a balloon in pretty magenta colour – using a sharpie:

Adult colouring books - balloon 1
Here is where I coloured it - isn't it pretty!
Adult colouring books - balloon 2
Here is what the next page looks like. 🙁

Here's what I recommend to start with

Here is a ‘starting kit’ you can get on Amazon that I can recommend based on my own colouring experiences so far, including the CATS book I mentioned above! If you get the coloured pencils (I highly recommend them over felt tips), don’t forget to also buy a sharpener if you don’t have one already. 👍

Note: the prices mentioned above are guide only, as they might vary if Amazon puts these products on sale or out of sale at any point.

Additionally, these ones below look AMAZING and they are on my own wish list at the moment! 😍

Note: the prices mentioned above are guide only, as they might vary if Amazon puts these products on sale or out of sale at any point.

Adult colouring books: mobile app

I have an iPhone 7 Plus at the moment and I tend to do everything on it except extensive blogging activities as I want a proper keyboard for typing… But, of course, I searched for a good-quality colouring app some time ago!

I have now used Happy Colour by Numbers for several months and it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. I wish I had found it even earlier. It’s free, although if you want to play without being interrupted by occasional ads, you can unlock the ad-free version as an in-app purchase later (I did that myself to maximise the relaxation aspect).

Having a mobile colouring app is great when you’re commuting to/from work for example and not carrying your pencils and books with you. This one is great as it gives you the number of bits that you still have left un-coloured in each picture, and also gives you a little satisfying vibration when you’ve coloured in one.

Check out Happy Colour for iOS on the App Store here, and for Android in the Google Play Store here.

Have you ever used adult colouring books? Which ones are your favourites? What about mobile apps for colouring? I’d love to hear about it! 😊

By the way, my cat Arthur also contributed to this post…

Arthur likes the books too - for napping. Here he is mid-yawn.
Adult colouring books - cat 2
There it is... biiiig yawn!

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Thanks for reading. :) Leave a reply?


Molly @ Transatlantic Notes October 28, 2019 - 2:20 am

I’ve repeatedly looked at these colouring books and have wanted to get them but never got around to it, but I can really see the value in them so I’m going to find some I like. I also think my husband would benefit from them as he battles some health issues. Thanks for sharing!

Mori October 28, 2019 - 12:51 pm

Hi Molly! I’m sure you’ll find a nice one that you and your husband will both like! 🙂

jmsauca October 28, 2019 - 8:00 am

Great post. I love using felt tips as they give the opacity of sharpies without bleeding through. I’m not a fan with colouring with pencils but you can make such pretty gradients with pencils. I love colouring; I can really slow everything down and focus on my current state, giving me more strength and control to tackle whatever is stressing me

Mori October 28, 2019 - 12:55 pm

Thanks for your comment! 🙂 I also love felt tips but the ones I’ve tried also bled through – not as thoroughly as sharpies though. I’d love to try out some different ones and find some that fit with colouring books without ruining the next page. Felt tips give a more intense and brighter colour than pencils.

Dayle Hill October 28, 2019 - 5:25 pm

I love colouring books! Thanks for the tip about the sharpies – I used to use felt tips and they bled through, so I was thinking about using sharpies instead!

Mori October 28, 2019 - 7:52 pm

Hi Dayle, glad you found it useful! Yeah sharpies would definitely bleed through as well. I think some felt tips are not as strong, so you could try some different ones out – I’ll try too at some point as I do like to use them due to the colour being more intense than with pencils. 🙂

Taryn The Dragon October 29, 2019 - 9:41 am

One of my favourite past times. I mostly use “sharpies”, we call them markers or kokis, and as a result of the bleed through I often take the books apart. The good ones become cards or framed little gifts of goodness. The “bad” ones I see as a learning opportunity in colour theory. I would eventually like to expand on the colour and see if I can draw or paint. You never know. Maybe its a hidden talent. But for now I will enjoy my colouring!

Mori October 29, 2019 - 10:36 am

Hey Taryn, that’s an AWESOME piece of advice, taking the books apart. It might not be easily possible with all of them, depending on the binding, but I can see in mine that it would be possible! Thanks for the tip! 😁

Taryn The Dragon November 1, 2019 - 10:22 am

Look forward to seeing your creations! 🙂

Finlay Games October 29, 2019 - 9:53 am

Great advice! I discovered adult coloring books a few years ago, when I was trying to overcome self harm. They are amazing! Such a fantastic distraction technique to cope with anything, plus its so relaxing and works fabulously as self care. I use the same brand of pens, only I prefer ink, I cant get on with pencils!

Mori October 29, 2019 - 10:39 am

I’ve heard that about pencils and people not liking to colour with those before. That’s very interesting and I’d love to hear more about that to dig deeper on the reasons. Glad to hear colouring helped you with overcoming self-harm. 🙂

Finlay Games October 30, 2019 - 7:52 pm

I think for me, ink pens feel like they flow better, if that makes any sense? Like l dont have to try so hard to let the ink colour the piece, that l have to do with pencils?

Mori October 30, 2019 - 7:56 pm

Ah yes that makes perfect sense. Interesting! I prefer that the pencil kind of “eases me into” the colour, if that makes sense. And I can add another layer to make the colour bolder if I want to. Maybe somehow related to confidence with the colouring. 😀

Thriving Wonders (@ThrivingWonders) October 29, 2019 - 10:07 pm

Coloring is my favorite when I need to relax.

Mori October 30, 2019 - 10:23 am

Glad to hear it works for you! 🙂 One of my favourites too.

Melissa October 30, 2019 - 5:05 am

Coloring is fun. I agree with you about not coloring with sharpies. Thank you for your pencil sharpener and other recommendations. Great post.

Mori October 30, 2019 - 10:24 am

Thanks for your kind words Melissa! 🙂 Hope you have a lovely day!

Alynn98 October 30, 2019 - 5:02 pm

I love adult coloring books! They helped me get through finals week during college! I would color in between study sessions and between my finals because it helped me calm down and focus my mind. These are some great tips! Thank you!

Mori October 30, 2019 - 5:04 pm

Thanks for your kind words Anna. 🙂 Awesome to hear that colouring helped you through your finals! It’s definitely good for improving focused thinking. 🙂

My Haute Talk November 8, 2019 - 1:22 pm

I used to enjoy coloring. I’m going to need to give it another try.

Mori November 8, 2019 - 7:40 pm

Nice, I look forward to hearing how you like it this time around. I hope you find it enjoyable and relaxing! 🙂


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