You've probably noticed more and more coloring books for adults popping up at retail stores recently. That's because it is a great way for grownups to take some time to relax and focus on art without having to be particularly artistic. There are some great coloring book apps built specifically for the iPad that cater to different techniques. We've got a list of the best coloring books for adults for all occasions.
Pigment offers the most versatile coloring experience. You can color with a variety of tools, including pencils, markers, airbrushes, watercolors, oil paints, and more. You can blend colors, including lighter on top of dark, and press light or hard to produce a different thickness of strokes. There are hundreds of colors to choose from, each with a shading gradient so you can customize your hues.
There are three ways to color with Pigment. You can use Automatic, which will allow you to color wildly, but you will still stay within the lines, Freehand, which is like real-life coloring where you will go outside of the lines if you aren't careful, and Advanced, which lets you select multiple spots on an illustration to color in at once. This last option allows you to color across different sections, while only coloring the objects you want.
There are also a few tools that are not at all realistic but can be loads of fun to work with. The Fade and Broom brushes create a unique shading on your illustrations and the Fill brush lets you simply tap to add color to an object.
The best part is that Pigment works beautifully with Apple Pencil to create shades and depth to each page you color.
There are dozens of free pages and plenty of great tools, but if you are a coloring fanatic, you can subscribe to Pigment's premium service for hundreds of illustrations, additional brushes, and new coloring books each week.
If you color in real life and are looking to recreate that experience on your iPad, Pigment is the best app in the App Store.
Lake has the unique feature of being a coloring book for artists, by artists. Well, you don't actually have to be an artist, but if you are, you'll really appreciate the time and effort that each of these Instagram illustrators put into their work, work that you can make even more interesting with your own color creations.
The color palette is vast, with varying shades conveniently connected on a rotating wheel. You can start with red and switch to the lightest shade of pink or a deep reddish brown. Each page also comes with a pre-made color palate suggestion, curated by the artist who illustrated it.
You can pick from five different artist tools to work with, and you have the ability to adjust the brush size of each. You can also choose whether to restrict or free up coloring outside the line.
If you feel good about supporting working artists, you won't want to skip this coloring book app. It's full of great illustrations and gets updated all of the time.
Colorfy offers a simple fill-in-the-object style of coloring so that you don't have to work as hard to get a beautiful illustration. You can choose from a few dozen hues or upgrade to a monthly subscription to unlock more than 100 different shades. Plus, you can create your own shades using the pigment shading tools.
When you are finished coloring, you're definitely not done creating. The next step is to add a filter. These fun overlays will make your page look like an oil painting, graffiti on a brick wall, or even a knitted swatch. Your finished artwork can be shared to various social networking sites. You can also publish pages to the Colorfy feed for others to comment on, or even add their own colors, too.
You can also create your own illustrations to color by creating artwork from pre-made stickers and backgrounds, or by taking a picture of something you've drawn in real life.
If coloring can sometimes stress you out because of all of that movement you have to use with your hands, Colorfy will give you a pleasant experience without all of the scribbling action.
Recolor takes the whole digital coloring thing to the next level with 3D objects that you can actually color all sides of. Grab a soda can or ceramic vase and turn it into a virtual work of art. There are more than a dozen categories with hundreds of illustrations.
Recolor uses the tap-to-fill style of coloring, which can be very helpful when you are trying to fill in those tiny objects. In addition to the flat color gamut, you can upgrade to gradients and "Live" colors, which make things have a sort of swirling effect.
You can submit your artwork to the Recolor gallery where others in the community can "Like" your stuff.
My favorite tool in Recolor, though, is the scanner. You can scan in illustrations and color them digitally. I have a couple of vintage Star Wars comic books that I've been afraid to jump into because I don't want to ruin their value. Recolor's scanner lets me color the pages without affecting the original book
If you like fill-in style coloring, but want a lot of hue options, give Recolor a try.
If you're looking for an adult coloring book app that will let you fully express yourself with different colors and effects, then Colorest is a good choice.
With Colorest, you get a large variety of different coloring pencil sets, including rainbow and even glitter pencils that actually sparkle when they're used. The rainbow pencil features about six colors at once, and it definitely offers a unique effect. There are also multiple ways to color, including different brushes, and full Apple Pencil support.
Colorest also features different canvas types, which will alter the end result. The app includes wood, carpet, and even underwater. There are also plenty of different coloring books available in Colorest, from mandala to entangle to girl's life to middle earth, and more. Once you're done coloring, you can put your art in an AR frame to share it with friends and family.
Colorgram is jam-packed with thousands of pictures for you to color, including mandalas, patterns, animals, florals, and other beautiful pieces of artwork.
If the initial download isn't enough to satisfy you, there are always images being added daily, which you'll be able to access with a premium subscription. Colorgram also has a ton of colors to choose from, and while the app is designed with adults in mind, it's still great for younger boys and girls thanks to the variety of images. Once you're done coloring, you can watch a time-lapse video of your coloring from start to finish, and there are even cool effects that you can add to finalize the art's beauty.
Do you have a favorite coloring book on the iPad? Let us know what makes it so special in the comments below.
July 2019: Added Colorest and Colorgram.
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Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.