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In the past, coloring books were considered an activity for children—today, it has become a niche market for adults. Specifically, coloring books are often advertised as a form of art therapy, such as coloring therapy will lead to greater mindfulness and well-being and a reduction in stress and anxiety.

Art therapy describes art-based activities like painting and drawing to help individuals overcome difficulties and improve their general well-being, often requiring a trained art therapist’s guidance. 

Numerous studies have reported promising results in the practice of art therapy. A study by Bell and Robbins (2007) found that participants who spent 20 min freely drawing showed significant reductions in negative mood and anxiety than those who only viewed and sorted famous art prints for the same period. In another study, the researchers found that participants induced in a negative mood showed significant positive mood increases after drawing than those who practice coping shapes or completed puzzles. 

Belchamber was the first to propose Coloring Therapy as a technique combining art therapy with meditation whereby individuals suspend their inner dialogue to rest from everyday life’s cognitive demands, thus reaching a state of enhanced well-being. 

Kabat-Zinn (1990) described mindfulness as an awareness that develops through purposefully paying attention in the present moment, non-judgmentally. The practice of mindfulness can reduce levels of anxiety, depression, fatigue, and stress. 

Coloring books and the use of mandalas have been believed as a method of alleviating stress and anxiety, improving mood and physiological changes. 

Johanna Basford

Johanna is a Scottish illustrator whose illustrations are hand-drawn using pencils and pens. Basford’s works can be found in coloring books, wallpaper, and other artworks. She is known to be a pioneer of the adult coloring book trend.


Coloring Books By Johanna Basford:


— More than 10 million copies of this book have been sold worldwide. 

— Has sold over 1.3 million copies in the US alone.

— Appeared on The New York Times Best Seller list.

— “The colorists have a queen, and her name is Johanna Basford.” —New York Magazine