If you're into relaxing but in an edgy way.

I was glad to jump aboard the color away stress bandwagon when it pulled into the zeitgeist two years ago. I love art. I love color. I’m a lie-awake-at-night bag of neuroses. I carved out some time twice a week to work on the requisite mandala. It was peaceful and meditative. It was also a little boring.

A few weeks ago, a friend forwarded me a link to the gift I definitely need right now: a coloring book with a Golden Girls theme. Pictures of cheesecake? Blanche’s palm-printed budoir? The lanai? (Please, let there be a picture of the lanai!) YESSSSSSSS.

Are you as tired as I am of coloring geometric figures? Beyond “the girls” from Miami, there are tons of other anti-mandala options worth trying. So grab your grab your Crayola Twistables and let’s do this. Here are the best adult coloring books that do NOT involve mandalas.

Buffy Coloring Books

It’s Not TV… It’s Art.

Get your red wedding on with The Official Game of Thrones Coloring Book or choose a proper palette for BBC’s Sherlock. Beat Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s darkness with candy-colored brightness, or color like it’s 1743 in The Official Outlander Coloring Book.

David Bowie coloring book

Face the Music

Do you dare imagine Prince outside his purple realm? Belt out Madonna’s “True Blue” while making her hair Cyndi Lauper-orange? Could you make David Bowie any more electrifying than Ziggy Stardust himself? From the legendary Chuck Berry to Nirvana  and your favorite rap sensations, these books are a great way to unwind as you rock out to your favorite sounds.

Unicorns are jerks coloring book

The Anarchist’s Coloring Books

If you really want to rage against the coloring machine, the I Hate Fairyland coloring book follows a punk-rock six-year-old who will “hack and slash her way through anything to get home.” Also lovingly, miserably offbeat: Unicorns Are Jerks. With eighteen examples of unicorns texting in theaters, eating your leftovers, and loitering on street corners, it’s your chance to finally color the cold, hard, sparkly truth.

Vogue coloring book

Some Like It Haute

Remember the montage in Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead when Sue Ellen is (remarkably, with no formal art training) single-handedly designing the company’s new line? I always wanted to be part of her team, coloring in the fashions with all the tools in my professional artists’ case. Fashion coloring books with iconic images from Vogue, Air Jordans, or #OOTD are the next best thing. Along the same illustrated lines is this Color At Home book of “interior design candy” which reminds me very much of the old Barbie Dream House Colorforms set I still track regularly on eBay.

Harry Potter coloring book

Black and White and Read All Over

Lit lovers won’t mind burying their noses in the illustrated escapades of Harry Potter, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Edgar Allen Poe, Anne of Green Gables, and more. For a fun family activity, have one person read aloud from the book for inspiration while everyone colors along.

Adult coloring book

Color Me Bad

Coloring as foreplay? No judgement here as long as it doesn’t accidentally end up in your kids’ backpack. The Adult Coloring Book, this Naughty Coloring Book and the sexy Men in Uniform book are just a few of the definitely-for-18-and-over options available. If colorful language is more your bag, there’s an impressive assortment of swear-word coloring books from A##hole to Zero F*&cks Given. Talk about artistic expression.

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