Eyeballs"--colored by Hillari Dowdie

Eyeballs”–colored by Hillari Dowdie–came from POSH ADULT COLORING BOOK: SOOTHING DESIGNS FOR FUN & RELAXATION.




"Secret Garden"--published by Laurence King--is one of the downloadable coloring pages.

“Secret Garden”–published by Laurence King –is one of the downloadable coloring pages.

Author Barbara Taylor Bradford once said that success is often a matter of knowing when to relax.   Lyricist and novelist Paulo Coelho wrote, “It’s a good idea to always do something relaxing prior to making an important decision in your life.”  And Ray Bradbury’s advice was four words: “Work. Don’t think. Relax.”

This summer’s hottest trend would fit right in with all three suggestions, and it’s as simple as turning to the right book. The right coloring book.   Boston psychologist Alice Domar, Ph.D., says coloring offers complete absorption…and keeps you in the moment. It engages “both sides of your brain…creative and tactical…and brings you back to a simpler time.”  Coloring (with pens, colored pencils, markers, even crayons) is this summer’s hottest trend, and it’s just getting started. Rumors have it that in addition to the many adult coloring books already available, Game of Thrones also has a coloring book in the works.

My mother was into her own form of  “adult coloring” long before it was popular.   She used to carry a small double-sided notebook (lines on one side, blank pages on the other) so that wherever she was, if she had an idea for a poem or article or story, she could jot it down. But before she began writing, she doodled an illustration on the blank side of the page.  By the time she had colored the illustration, she had a fuller, more vivid picture in mind and was ready to write.   Or sometimes she drew a picture, and later she wrote about it.

The July 12 issue of PARADE MAGAZINE calls coloring a way to “cheer up, chill out, and get your creative juices flowing.” It lists titles of successful coloring books with everything from whimsical animals and flowers, to Hindu and Buddhist mandelas (symbols that represent wholeness). PARADE also invites us to get started by going to for free downloadable coloring pages.   All the coloring page examples on this post come from that site, and there are many more choices.

To stop over-thinking and start relaxing, try the joy of coloring.   Or like my mother used to do before the dementia, illustrate a thought and move it from color to words.

birds design from POSH Coloring book

Fish design, and bird design in next picture, are from POSH Coloring Book; both pages are downloadable

Fish design, and bird design in picture above, are from POSH Coloring Book; both pages are downloadable.




Filed under art, art projects, Dementia/Alzheimer's, experiments, just doing the best we can, kindergarten lessons about life, memories for great-grandchildren, special quotations


  1. juliabarrett

    Oh my gosh! My husband just attended a seminar wherein he learned this! I do love to doodle and color- sort of make mandalas. Often when I’m drawing an answer to some problem comes to me. This is cool. I’m heading over to some internet site to buy an adult (not Adult) coloring book. Thanks, Marylin.

    • It really is catching on, Julia, and two other articles mentioned coloring was excellent for chronic pain relief and problem solving. How cool is that! When I was growing up, I hated coloring in the lines or in any coloring book–I always wanted rolls of butcher paper. But I really like the pages I’ve found in the adult coloring books, so I’m going to try one. The sample pages I included in the post were amazing to color!

  2. I heard about this. Took me back to my childhood because I used to love to color. Filled so many coloring books. Not sure I could find the time now though. 🙂

    • I know, Carrie. All I need is something else to get “addicted” to doing in place of doing the things I have to get done. But it is very relaxing, and I love using sharpie point markers. Very colorful.

  3. I love to doodle, draw and color but I don’t do it anymore because there is always something else to do. Thanks for reminding me. Have a relaxing weekend.

    • Even when I’m busy, Gerlinde–or maybe especially when I’m busy–I find myself doodling on the backs of envelopes or in the margins of pages, and I always rebelled against coloring inside the lines when I was a child. But as it’s turning out, I’m enjoying, and really relaxing, when I use colored pencils on the downloaded pages from Parade Magazines. You might give it a try!

  4. Yvonne has asked me a couple of times to get her an adult colouring book for her birthday. Until I saw some in a bookshop this week I wasn’t sure they existed. A wonderful way to relax I’m sure.
    xxx Massive Hugs Marylin xxx

    • And there are some amazing choices in adult coloring books to choose from, David. Have fun choosing a couple of good ones for Yvonne; you might enjoy trying some pages, too!
      Massive hugs to you, too!

  5. I just might have to check this out. Zentangle seems like it might be fun too.

    • There are so many choices that I never thought I would enjoy trying, and if someone had told me when I was a child that I’d want to color inside the lines as an adult, I would have thought they were crazy! 🙂
      Let me know how you like Zentangle, Jane.

  6. I have seen this concept before on a Facebook page and was immediately intrigued. When I shared the post on my own FB page, the idea didn’t get much traction (probably because it was over-taken by something more sensational – ha!)

    Little people in my SS class (age 2 1/2 now) pursue coloring with wild abandon and sometimes I join in with thick crayons. The designs you show here would go best with colored pencils. I like all of the quotes and references to the trend even in pop culture. It strikes me as a great way to move past writer’s block.

    • I’ve heard from a writer friend that the flying birds sheet I posted on the blog was a very effective way to not only get past writer’s block, but also ad some insights to another project that had ben set aside. So I’ll have to try that one and see what happens.
      2 1/2 is such a fun, energetic and wonderful age. Coloring with wild abandon is a great description, Marian.

      • This post so inspired me, I am planning to piggy-back on it (Saturday) with links back to you and then adding a part 2 with activities from a book I came across recently, Praying in Color. See, your posts are so powerful they even spawn offspring – ha!

      • I’m excited to see your post, “Praying in Color,” Marian. I’ll watch for it!

  7. I love colouring and always wish they would give me a colouring placemat at a restaurant (Like the ones they give the kids). I used colouring in my job search work shops and the participants said it was helpful, especially when making decisions. Great post!

    • Restaurant placemats have always been my choice of entertainment as we wait to order or get our food. Some have those funny puzzles or word searches, Darlene, but my favorites are the connect-the-numbers and then color in the drawing it forms. But they only give you 2-3 colors! 😉

      • That´s why you have to carry extra crayons in your purse (or coloured gel pens as I my case). Some restaurants won´t give adults the colouring placemats. (my hubby gets embarrassed when I ask for one!)

  8. I loved to color as a child. It was probably my favorite activity back in the day of limited tv and no video games! I did print out a coloring page from somewhere about a year ago. Coloring was trending on Facebook and I was motivated enough to download a page. I used my grandson’s colored pencils and colored away.
    I guess it’s time for another coloring episode. You reminded me how much fun it is! Thank you Marylin. xoxo

    • And until I discovered these coloring pages, Joanne, I thought my favorite return-to-childhood art project was sidewalk chalk. I still love making hop-scotch lines on sidewalks, and or writing a line, then having someone else write the next line, etc., until we have a poem. But they’re usually so bad that you hope for rain or get the garden hose and wash the poem away! 😉

  9. I read that article in Parade, Marylin.Coloring is a fantastic way to relax. Like puzzling, it has a way of keeping one still and in the moment. Since I’m not artistic when it comes to drawing, coloring is the perfect for me.

    • I’ve had a lot of fun with the 8×10″ pages (shown on the blog), Jill, and it surprised me. When I was growing up I wanted blank paper to draw on because I didn’t like coloring in the lines. And now I’m coloring inside very small, detailed picture lines!

  10. Jim

    I too fondly remember coloring as a child, and I think it was good discipline for me. I was always a kid on-the-go, moving with great energy from one summer activity to another until bedtime. Coloring did make me slow down for a while and “focus,” as you say, Marylin. My sister and the other girls in the neighborhood were way better at it than we boys. I’ve never thought of trying it as an adult. Couldn’t hurt. 🙂

    • I printed out several extra copies, honey, so next time we’re listening to the news on TV, I’ll hand you one, and we’ll see how well you can color while under the stress of world events! 🙂

  11. My boss used to doodle all the way through conferences and meetings although he never coloured them. Someone had them analysed once and claimed he was a psychopath. Perhaps! My art skills are sub-zero so if I wanted to colour I would need the lines drawn for me or a painting by numbers kit 😦

    • During boring department meetings, I’d start in the corner of a paper and draw mandelas and paisleys and mazes–nonstop–and the rule I gave myself was my pen couldn’t stop or lift from the paper. Of course I had to sit in a corner or second-row seat so no one would see what I was doing, Andrew, but it was certainly a better way to spend my time! 🙂

  12. Nancy Parker Brummett

    Great idea for de-stressing, Marylin. Maybe someday I’ll be able to allow myself to color outside the lines! 🙂

    • My college roommate my freshman year was a psychology major, Nancy, and she went to a seminar on “rules to break for better health,” or some similar title. I do remember the main point she brought back: it is definitely good to break free and take control by coloring OUTSIDE the lines! 🙂

  13. Don

    I really like the concept, Marylin. Haven’t tried it, but it looks so inviting.

    • You might like it, Don. Or if you don’t want to use actual “coloring book pages,” you can use blank paper and draw all kinds of objects quickly on the page, and then draw random horizontal lines across the page, dividing the objects with the lines, and then color in all the little spaces. The practice is to focus and see if you can close out things that are distracting you. 🙂

      • Don

        I like that – sounds good.

      • I tried it last night, and it worked, Don. It wasn’t great art, but I did close out other things that were distracting me. Unfortunately, those distractions really did need to be finished, but the coloring was a nice alternative…even though now the other work is still waiting!

  14. Hi Marylin, I also saw that write up in Parade. Several weeks ago, a friend of mine went to a “coloring party” with a group of adult women and she found it to be quite relaxing and fun. About a year ago, I bought a coloring gift box at Barnes and Noble titled: The Spirit of Celtic Art. I plan on trying it out this summer as part of my “self-care”.

    • Oh, Elaine, The Spirit of Celtic Art coloring gift box sounds excellent. I just might go out to Barnes and Noble and see if they still carry it! I’m glad your friend thought the coloring party was fun. It probably only worked if they didn’t talk about problems at work or home or with their health as they colored! 😉

  15. Marilyn … When I was growing up, I remember my Mom coloring with me in one of my coloring books. She was very creative in the colors she chose for flamingos, etc. So, last month, when I saw an “Art for Mindfulness Landscapes,” coloring book at Barnes and Noble, I picked up one for me and our granddaughter. Your Mom was right. They are an excellent way to unwind and think at the same time. 😉

  16. My mother used to colour in when she was pregnant with me and when I was little, along with her sister in law, so they discovered the stress-busting aspects of it early! We now run zentangle groups in our libraries which are all about doodling and colouring, not to produce great art, but just for the stress-relief and relaxation.

    • You’re the second one to mention zentangle, Andrea, and your explanation sounds so much more relaxing and fun. Maybe the fact that your mother colored when she was pregnant with you set you up even before birth to be so creative! 🙂

  17. Claudia

    This is so interesting to me. I have never heard of this approach before but it makes sense. I always find coloring with kids relaxing. When I was a kid, I colored a great deal. Loved it..had different stages like the black outline stage…the all orange and green stage…I remember the feeling of these days from half a century ago! Checked on amazon and there are hundreds of coloring books for adults…who knew? Everyone but me it seems!

    • Isn’t it great when one new idea can trigger the feelings from half a century ago! I love your “all orange and green” stage, Claudia. I went through an “all red and purple” stage, and then when I moved to yellow and pink, a friend and I painted my bedroom walls yellow–bright yellow!–and made curtains out of pink and yellow flowered fabric. I was bold and bright, to say the least, but I remember my mom just taking a deep breath, smiling and saying, “It’s your room, honey.” Bless her heart.

  18. These adult colouring books are burgeoning everywhere – a sign that the gentle art of colouring in is most definitely a stress reliever. I always liked colouring the graph paper in maths – a much better use I thought, than plotting data.

  19. Ooo, good idea, Jenny. I still have graph paper somewhere, and now you’ve given me a new idea! Yes!

  20. Now I know why I used to enjoy sitting down with the kids and colouring alongside them so much! I’ve always been a doodler too…and now it’s a trend! Who knew, lol 😉 What a wonderful trend too, thanks for the link Marylin, and what a lovely way to evoke relaxation and calm, both of which I feel just from reading your lovely post!

    • That’s how I felt when I colored with my daughter, Sherri, and looking back, I think it’s also how Mom felt when we sat at the table on rainy days and drew pictures for each other to color. There is something very “connective” and relaxing.

  21. Diana Stevan

    Very interesting, Marylin. No wonder I feel so happy when I paint or use colored pencils. It’s been a long time since I’ve done this. Thanks for the colorful kick.

    • Thanks, Diana. If my post gave you “colorful kick,” then you are very welcome and I’m very happy. For me, a “colorful kick” is what I get when I use sidewalk chalk with my grandchildren, when we get so excited that we draw all over the driveway and sidewalks! 🙂

  22. There is something very calming about drawing long curly lines and weaving them together. I used to do a lot of line design, but so little time for everything now.

    • That’s what I used to do, Renee, but mine were paisleys weaving their way into mazes of letters and circles. During faculty meetings I’d fill an entire page while everyone assumed I was taking prolific notes. Sounds like we both had calming solutions! 😉

  23. Pingback: Do You Like to Color? | Plain and Fancy

  24. I can see how colouring can be relaxing and meditative. However, my grandkids have me hooked once again to putting together jigsaw puzzles. I can waste a lot of time on those. 🙂

  25. color and design, some doodling, very relaxing. some one just mentioned adult coloring books to me yesterday! they are wonderful.

  26. Pingback: Tranquini: new relaxation drink shows the new way to relax – | Meditation Surprise

  27. Thanks for finally talking about >KNOWING WHEN-AND HOW-TO RELAX |
    Things I Want To Tell My Mother <Liked it!

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