Harnessing the Meditative Addictiveness of “Grown-up” Coloring

In early November, an extremely thoughtful and generous friend sent me an early birthday present: a Paris coloring book and a box of colored pencils. I live on social media, so I had been hearing more and more about adult people coloring as a way of calming the mind and reducing stress. But I had not yet tried it myself, so I was so happy to have everything I needed literally arrive at my doorstep – with no effort on my own part. (Thank you, Kimberly.)

So, since coloring is supposed to be both calming and meditative, one day, I decided to try coloring for 30-minutes as an alternative to my sitting meditation. Fast-forward 45 minutes, and the only reason I stopped coloring was because I had other scheduled plans. I expected to like it, but I didn’t expect to have to pull myself away. And, because I had decided to shut off all of my gadgets during my coloring session, it was a welcome break from all the technology that is always pulling at my attention.

It it cool. You should try it!  And here are some tips to make it better for you:

1. Set yourself up with good tools. This is actually an awesome tip not just for coloring, but for life in general. Having good tools removes one of the obstacles to getting things done by making it easier to do the task or project. I cannot tell you how many times I have struggled through with inferior tools. I’ve managed to get the job done, but it took me forever, and by the time I was finished, I was burnt. So get good tools. It is going to improve your life. For colored pencils, these are the two brands I thought were easiest and most fun to use: Koh-I-Noor tri-tone pencils ($30), which give more color and richness then single-toned pencils because each pencil has three tones that land on the page in a variety of ways depending on the technique and angles you use.

Koh-i-noor tri-tone color pencils
Tri-tone coloring pencils by Koh-i-noor give richer more complex color.

The other brand I really like are Studio Series colored pencils. They are less expensive ($14) and come in a set of thirty so you can create multi-dimensional color by just layering the colors on top of each other.

Studio Series Colored Pencils
Studio Series colored pencils are great if you are looking for a nice soft traditional colored pencil.


2. Find a coloring book you really like.  I love my Paris coloring book. It makes me so happy to color in, and also I like the images so much, I am probably going to tear out a few of the pages I have colored and make a little framed collection to hang on a wall in my apartment. So find a coloring book you like enough that you would display your finished coloring art.

For tons and tons of coloring book options – check out Amazon or your local book store – now that adult coloring is all the rage, they are really easy to find. For the saucy among us, there are even “swear word” coloring books when you need to blow off steam after a #$&*! day. Hells yah! 🙂

Adult Coloring Book Four Seasons: A Coloring Book
The featured image at the top of the post is from this coloring book “Four Seasons: A Coloring Book.”


3. Unplug. This is pretty self-explanatory, but just in case: what I mean is turn off your phone, your TV, your iPad, etc. If possible, try to find a quiet place where you will be not be interrupted. More and more there is very real [scientific] evidence of the great benefits of giving our minds and bodies a break from the screen and from multi-tasking. But regardless of what “they ” say, trust me when I tell you that you are going to enjoy this so much more, and get so much more out of the experience, if you let this be a single-task experience. Just do it! At least once.

4. Schedule your coloring time. This is another tip that is great not just for coloring, but also for life. I learned very late in life (meh) that if I don’t schedule things – especially fun things – there is a real good chance that something “more important” (such as checking Instagram and binge-watching The Royals) will take priority. So, if you want something to happen – especially “non-essential” fun stuff, it is a good idea to schedule it… as in, put it on your calendar.

Have you tried coloring as a “grown-up”? Do you notice the meditative qualities of it? Post below. Always really great hearing you.

coloring pencils and coloring markers
The easier it is to grab a pencil or marker, the easier it is to color.


Color Me Happy coloring book page
Not just for grown-ups: a page from “Color Me Happy” by Ava L., 10 years old.



About The Author

Anne Stericker

City-dweller, designer, writer and lifestyle consultant practicing the art of living well in the 21st Century. Fixated with good coffee, great design, and any little thing that makes life better.


  1. Amy | 16th Feb 16

    I love this idea. I may even try it as an unplugged activity for the kids in the afternoon.

    • Anne Stericker | 16th Feb 16

      Good idea!

  2. Larry Spinak | 16th Feb 16

    I haven’t tried it recently, but about 875,000 years ago I would color doodle-art posters. I don’t know if you remember them, but they were elaborate intricate posters accompanied by colored markers. The idea is much the same I think, although when I was young, I just colored for fun.

    I do have a one coloring book in reserve, the Existential Coloring Book (http://mcphee.com/shop/existential-coloring-book.html) and I can’t decide whether to keep it or give it to my little sister, who I suspect isn’t yet old enough to fully appreciate it. It may be time to break out the pencils!

    • Anne Stericker | 16th Feb 16

      That’s right Larry! I remember those posters, too! And that coloring book is funny! There’s something for everyone. Ha!

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