Have you ever wondered which adult coloring book artwork remains a popular standout regardless of the trend? If you guessed mandalas, then you got it right!
In this article, we’ll be discussing this beloved artwork and what makes it so appealing to colorists. What’s more, we’ll be giving you the low-down on five of the most recommended mandalas coloring books known to colorists right now.
What Are Mandalas?
Just about any kind of illustration can help us relax while coloring it. But one particular artwork stands out not just for its beauty, but because of its ability to help us find our inner calm. That artwork is the mandala.
By now, mandalas have become well-known artistic symbols of spirituality and are becoming more visible in pop culture. Let’s go back and discover a little bit of the history of the mandala.
Rooted in Buddhism and Hinduism, a mandala is a geometric pattern that symbolizes the ideal universe and the individual’s search for completeness. We see it in many other cultural works of art as well, and, remarkably, out in nature itself. Take a close look at these natural and biological wonders in this video, How Sacred Geometry Is Embedded in Your DNA - Secrets of Geometric Art by Dearing Wang. The mandala is everywhere!
Is it any wonder, then, that we find mandalas so comforting? It’s already a part of nature and humanity.
So if you’re looking for a great mandala coloring book to relax, reflect, and free your creativity, then we’ve got a treat for you!
We’ve gathered these amazing mandala coloring books to help you figure out which one is right for you.
How We Did Our Review
If you’ve read our previous article, What Are the Best Coloring Books for Adults?, then you’re probably familiar with our criteria for reviewing these books. We stayed true to what we know works well.
Here’s a bit of a summary for our criteria:
We searched the internet for highly-recommended coloring books for adults on Amazon (and by ‘highly recommended’ we mean recommended by you, the members of coloring communities), checked out customer testimonials and reviews, and finally narrowed down our list to five books.
We then put together the features of the books that we know matter most to colorists and placed them under Our First Impressions section. Here, you will find our opinions on a book’s paper quality, construct, and illustrations. Mandalas are naturally pretty, but don’t worry! We didn’t get distracted by the pretty mandalas. We really took a closer look at each book’s designs to see the defining traits of the illustrations.
And who best can tell colorists what a coloring book is like than someone who actually did color the books? We picked a page from each book and dove right in, using gel pens, art markers, and colored pencils. This is all in the name of professionalism, of course (oh, who are we kidding? We had a blast coloring these pages!)
Last, but not least, we give you Our Verdict. The table above lists the pros and cons of each book. In Our Verdict, we elaborate on those points. We aim to give you a clear picture of what makes these books good, what they can improve on, and whether or not we think you may enjoy them.
So, are you ready to take the plunge with us? Let’s begin!
The Art of Mandala Vol. 1, by Jason Hamilton
When Jason Hamilton’s The Art of Mandala first makes its way to your hands, you’ll get the impression that this is something meant for an artist. We know that’s the impression we got! The soft covers have the appealing color combination of deep purple and gold, as well as a smooth, velvety feel. If you’re someone who enjoys the look and feel of a coloring book in your hands, then this one will put you in a creative mood right off the bat.
It also features a free color swatch page. Colorists who love to put swatches of colors and combos together will love the color swatch page. After all, colors and the different combinations that you can make out of them are works of art all on their own! Here’s an exciting video of making color swatches by Sarah Renae Clark.
The book is light, small, and perfect-bound, which is the type of binding you usually see on magazines or paperbacks. That makes it ideal for anyone who wants to curl up in their favorite chair and color away with the book on their lap.
Our Coloring Experience
We began our coloring journey on these mandalas coloring books with colored pencils, and on Jason Hamilton’s Art of Mandala, colored pencils glided on the pages. The paper was smooth enough that no tufts of paper from the paper tooth actually stood out and clung to the pencil tip.
It may be a little too smooth, however. Layering on colors needs a bit more paper tooth for grip. So if you find that your pencil tips are sliding over the surface of the paper without leaving as much layer of color as you need, just repeat your strokes over the spot. Don’t increase the pressure on your coloring medium; you're risking damaging the paper and your leads that way.
As a little side note for you colored pencil enthusiasts, you may want to check out Best Paper for Colored Pencils by Coloring Bliss. You may find it helpful if you also like to download free printable coloring pages.
Taking the instructions on the color swatch page to heart, we put a free page underneath each page as we colored to act as a blotter page (several sheets of bond paper did the trick). The pages of The Art of Mandala are a bit on the thin side, so bleedthrough can be an issue, particularly when using art markers.
The mandalas themselves are pretty. They come in varied lines, some thin and delicate, while others are thick, so if you have line preferences, you’ll find something to your liking in this book. There are also mandalas with areas that are already filled with black ink.
The Art of Mandalas promises that each of the 50 mandalas in the pages have been designed to soothe the soul. In our experience, they do. The illustrations are beautiful, and, set against crisp, bright white pages, their artistic quality really stands out and will inspire you to do your best coloring.
The Art of Mandala is a great book for those who enjoy coloring their stresses away indoors. Light, this book is easy to get comfortable with. It uses perfect binding, and that usually signals fragility in a coloring book. But this book’s binding isn’t completely aligned to the spine only. That means it can take more page flipping and more cover folding and tucking.
This book would definitely appeal to adult coloring enthusiasts who enjoy putting together color swatches as much as they enjoy coloring in pages. It would also appeal to those who don’t have as much time to finish a coloring page as they’d like. The book is small, so it takes less time to complete a coloring page.
Entangled Coloring Book, from Creative Haven
Entangled struck us as whimsical. Perfect-bound, or bound at the side with thermal glue, and with a cover art of colorful doodles set against a white backdrop, it looked much like the coloring books we loved as children. The paper is thin, but still a little bit thicker than The Art of Mandala’s.
All this brings a rush of nostalgia for the good old days, when coloring was as much play as it was a creative outlet.
What was intriguing about the book is that the second coloring page mirrored the fully-colored artwork on the inside of the front cover. So if you want, you can always use the inside-cover artwork as a reference for coloring the second page.
Inside the back cover of the book, there’s also another fully-colored artwork that mirrors yet another one of the coloring pages in the book. We won’t tell you which page it is, though, to avoid spoilers! 😉
Our Coloring Experience
As a coloring book from Creative Haven, Entangled reaches out to experienced colorists. We like the fact that the book comes with perforated pages--experienced colorists out there will surely appreciate that their artwork can be readily taken from the book and given away as gifts, framed, or included in many other crafts.
The book features 31 patterns of swirling mandalas inspired by the Zentangle method. Most of the lines are thick, and some designs are very intricate, which means you would want to work with fine-tipped mediums on them, such as gel pens. As this is a book designed to appeal to more experienced colorists, mixing mediums should be an exciting challenge!
If you want to see what a mixed-media artwork could look like, check out Mandalas Colouring Book by Colorya -- mixed media example by Claire Holoway Colouring.
We found that the paper, though appearing similar to The Art of Mandala, is actually a bit more toothy. It works well for layering colored pencils and can take gel pens well. Again, as with the first book, we suggest using a blotter page of sorts to protect the coloring page that comes after.
It should be noted, though, that because it’s a perfect-bound book with thin pages, the perforated pages may become downsides to your coloring experience.
As with most perfect-bound books, we had to hold down the other side while coloring to keep it from closing. This could cause damage because the more you tug at the book, the weaker the perforated edges become. So be very gentle with this book or you may find that your pages have detached long before they’re ready!
A fun book to color if you’re looking for something more dream-like than soothing, Entangled proves that mandalas are flexible works of art. It provides the same kind of satisfaction as doodling on a blank piece of paper as you let your imagination fly...but your imagination is in flying colors!
The cover art may make you think that the book itself is side bound, but Entangled’s pages aren’t marked by any other print except for the illustration. You can color it in any position you want. Whether you’re right or left-handed, you can enjoy this coloring book for adults. We also consider it a plus that Entangled is a bit bigger than most adult coloring books, so there’s plenty of room for arm movement when coloring the areas of an illustration that are on the edges of the page.
However, we advise finding extra pieces of paper, or even something thicker, such as cardstock, to use as a blotter page. Entangled’s pages are thin, and if you use art markers or gel pens, bleedthrough will be a problem.
It’s also a fairly thin book overall (there are only 31 illustrations), which means it may not be so easy to take it with you on the go. Putting it inside your bag may just bend the edges of the book.
Balance, Angie’s Extreme Stress Menders Vol. 1 by Angie Grace
This was the third book we reviewed, and we thought that it seemed to strike a balance (pun intended!) between The Art of Mandala and Entangled.
Similar in size and book design to Jason Hamilton’s The Art of Mandala, Balance sports the semi-glossy front cover of Entangled. The pages are also of the same texture, coloring, and thickness as the first two books. But this is where the similarities end.
Balance features 50 designs, all of which are drawn with thin, almost delicate lines. There are no spots that are already filled in with black ink; there are no sharp angles or straight lines incorporated into the mandala designs.
The mandalas themselves are incredibly intricate! At times, the patterns can be so tiny that it’s hard to pinpoint an exact starting point or end that define them.
We think that Balance would appeal not just to experienced colorists but those who specialize in coloring mandalas.
Our Coloring Experience
Colored pencils and gel pens in hand, we set about coloring Balance. The intricate designs may require better control over your mediums.
The paper is the standard kind of paper you see on most coloring books. You may need a blotter page/paper to prevent ink bleedthrough, especially when using gel pens and art markers. But on the page itself, it takes pens, pencils, and markers well. It’s also tough enough to take a bit of erasure.
Which brings us to this side note: have you ever made a mistake using colored pencils that only erasure could correct? If you have, then you must have wondered if you should, or even could, erase colored pencil work.
Check out Easy Way to Erase Coloured Pencil by Amie Howard Art. She gives tips and possible results when you erase colored pencil artwork.
Balance is a coloring book for mandala lovers—and by that, we mean colorists for whom the hobby of coloring is all about the mandalas and the benefits they provide.
It’s a straightforward book. There are no color swatch pages, no art examples, no blotter pages, not even a back cover blurb to tell you a little bit about what the book offers the colorist. We’re no experts, but this may be the sort of mandala coloring book a therapist who adheres to the healing benefits of art therapy might recommend.
We’d also say that this book may appeal to illustrators as well, or those who can appreciate the detailed intricacies of the illustrations themselves. Unless your coloring skills are advanced, your choices of coloring mediums to use in this book are limited to those with ballpoint-sharp tips, like gel pens. If you prefer colored pencils, you’d want to keep sharpening them to keep them sharp and pointed.
We recommend this book to those who love intricate details. But if you prefer larger patterns, this book may not be for you.
100 Magnificent Mandalas by Jade Summer
Although printed single-side, the back of each coloring page is black. This is helpful for preventing seeing the color blotches from the mediums used on the page. The paper is a bit thin, however, so we advise using a blotter page to prevent bleedthrough.
Our Coloring Experience
If you’re familiar with Jade Summers’s work, then you know that she doesn’t shy away from thick lines. In this book, nearly all the illustrations are drawn with thick lines.
We chose to color 100 Magnificent Mandalas with art markers and colored pencils. The lines are thick; we felt only art markers can pop in the midst of all those bold lines and some of the parts that are already filled in with black ink. A lot of the areas have already been filled in with black ink, so there weren’t as many areas to color in compared to the pages of the previous coloring book we reviewed.
The paper takes art markers, colored pencils, and gel pens quite well, and it may require the use of a blotter page, like the other books. The paper quality needs a bit of improvement though. And the perfect binding isn’t ideal for such a thick book. The binding needs to be stronger to hold so many coloring pages together.
Jade Summers is a popular name in the adult coloring world and with good reason. Her books are varied, accessible, and affordable. Her 100 Magnificent Mandalas works like a quick fix for a mandala craving. The pre-inked spots on the illustrations are also a fun way to visualize using the white of the paper itself as highlights.
Mandalas To Color Volume 4
This mandala coloring book made us smile when we first unboxed it. First impression? It’s a worthy addition to ColorIt’s line of mandala coloring books for adults.
It has all the ColorIt coloring book features: top spiral binding, hard covers, artist-quality paper, and beautiful illustrations.
But does all this hold up Mandalas To Color IV’s promise to “help you connect with your inner self through coloring”?
We’re about to find out!
Our Coloring Experience
Mandalas to Color Volume IV (or Mandalas IV from here on out) artist-quality paper can take any coloring medium you want. We used erasers to correct small mistakes from colored pencils, and we're happy to let you know the paper tooth on the area that took the brunt of the erasure remained sturdy enough for layering afterward.
The free blotter page sure was helpful when we whipped out the more heavy-duty coloring mediums, such as the art markers. It’s thick enough to provide adequate protection, durable enough to withstand coloring damage—after all, it’s the one page in the book that will be used every time you color—and thin enough that it doesn’t bunch the page while you’re coloring above it.
The top spiral binding and the hard covers just make coloring on the go that much simpler. Of course, we didn’t go far while we were coloring, but it was certainly convenient when we decided to color out in the front yard so we could soak up some sunshine while coloring.
Inked by Terbit Basuki, the designs, line thickness, complexity, even the page coverage of the artworks are varied.
It seems like Mandalas IV is a winner, like the ones that came before it. But there are also a few cons that we’d like to point out.
The spiral binding may dig into your coloring arm if you choose to color with it on the side rather than the top. It's easy enough to get around this minor discomfort; just take a break every now and then, or consider coloring with the book positioned with the spiral binding on top.
The book itself is quite a bit bulky and weighty, but you can still carry it on the go.
The illustrations are large. If you're looking for smaller illustrations so you may finish coloring them in less time, then this book may not be for you.
Overall a great book if you love mandalas, coloring, or coloring mandalas, Mandalas IV is a wonderful addition to your collection of relaxing hobbies. It caters to colorists of all skill levels and it’s a tough little nugget in the oft-times fast-paced world of adult coloring.
Would you like to see how Mandalas IV can help you get into a calm, even meditative zone? Watch Introducing Mandalas To Color Volume IV and let Lucy and May show you how to find your zen through coloring!
Mandala coloring books for adults are famous primarily for their ability to relieve stress and calm our minds. With that being said, each adult coloring book that we reviewed in this post has something to offer the colorist looking to de-stress.
However, we have to say that Mandalas IV has the most to offer. A bit pricier, perhaps, than most of the books we’ve reviewed for this post, but what it takes in pennies it adds in quality.
The other books are more affordable and they can all be found on Amazon. But they may not be as accessible elsewhere, which may be something to consider for those who prefer to check out more varied reviews before purchasing.
Jade Summers’ book is the most accessible—her work is everywhere and very well known.
All in all, Mandalas IV stands out among the others here if you’re looking to de-stress your mind with coloring without stressing about the quality of your coloring experience. For durability, artistic quality, and convenience, Mandalas IV really delivers.
Did you find this review helpful? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think!
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