Colouring Makes a Comeback

In a very digital world, a very analogue trend is making a surprising comeback: adult colouring. We’re not talking sordid images (though there is potentially a niche market there as well), just good old fashioned colouring in, with some pens or coloured pencils, sat round a table, diligently trying to stay inside the lines. Think: your second grade art lesson, but with a glass of wine.

The new wave of adult colouring books, such as Johanna’s Basford’s Enchanted Forest, are selling out everywhere and have recently hit the top seller spots on And for good reason. Even prior to being coloured in, the drawings—black and white scenes of forests, animals or mandalas—are intricate works of art themselves.

But it’s not simply the beauty of these books that’s appealing to adults, according to illustrator Johanna Basford, whose 2013 book, Secret Garden, has sold 1.4 million copies. Basford argues that the deeper appeal of her books is in part down to the digital inundation of her ‘readers,’ who need something to turn to that isn’t a screen. In a world of stressed-out adults who are constantly bombarded by devices, notifications and worries about the ‘mortgage, a horrible boss or … climate change,’ the books are a throwback to the simpler times of pen and paper.

After witnessing the success of books such as Basford’s and their ameliorative impact on stress, publishers are now launching a new wave of the colouring books, aimed specifically at stress reduction and mindfulness.

If you’re interested in participating in the colouring revival, there are a number of books available on Amazon, for all your colouring needs.

If you’re more of a colouring observer, check out Johanna’s Colouring Gallery, which features some stunning finished colouring projects completed from her books.

Or listen to an interview with Johanna Basford here.