Discover the Math – Yes, Math! – in Adult Coloring

Adult Coloring
The beauty of snowflakes is in the math! Source: CC0 Public Domain

A confession: I am a wanna-be-geek. I love math and science, and in my career as a finance executive I used and explained numbers every day. I’ve seen every episode of The Big Bang Theory at least twice. Godel, Escher, and Bach is one of my favorite books of all time.  I find it fascinating that math is the foundation of much of the beauty in nature, such as snowflakes and the spirals of seeds in sunflowers.

So I was thrilled to find Patterns of the Universe: A Coloring Adventure in Math and Beauty. This newly-published adult coloring book is a collaboration between writer Alex Bellos and artist Edmund Harriss and adds a bit of braininess to the relatively simple act of coloring while keeping the stress-relieving benefits.

Adult Coloring
Patterns of the Universe by Alex Bellos & Edmund Harriss

Besides providing a great relaxing activity, the publisher says that this book will also help you see that math isn’t just about numbers – that it is also physically and thoughtfully beautiful. I agree: when I am coloring a pattern, I really get to know its lines and curves. I also start to see how it was designed = which is in a way doing math without doing any of the drudgeries, such as calculations. And when you color an illustration, you are creating within defined boundaries (the lines); this is exactly what mathematicians do.

The illustrations in this book are stunning, and each includes an easy-to-understand explanation of the math behind it. For the “keeners” like me, there are 13 bonus activities at the back of the book including a guide for creating your own unique designs. Here’s one I have completed:

Adult Coloring
Colored-in Deformation from Patterns of the Universe

If you are trying to convince a numbers person or brainiac in your life to join the adult coloring fold, Patterns of the Universe would make a perfect gift, even if that person is a kid (at least 8). The 144 pages include 65 single-sided illustrations so you can use any marker, pencil or pen, but do slip a sheet of paper behind each drawing if you are using alcohol-based markers (to learn why, check this post). At 8″W x 8″ L x 1/2″D, it is on the smaller side and reasonably portable.

Patterns of the Universe is available at for US$10.75 and for CD$19.53.

Do you have any favorite types of illustrations that you love for more than their ability to relax you? Let us know in the comments below!



3 thoughts on “Discover the Math – Yes, Math! – in Adult Coloring”

  1. Jackie Mann says:

    Would love to see information on how to use alcohol, Vaseline, baby oil, etc with colored pencils. Thank you

    1. adultcoloring101 says:

      Jackie – Absolutely, and thanks! We have several posts about blending in the works, including one on using various solvents with colored pencils. Make sure you are subscribed to our emails to be notified when these posts go live!

      1. Penny Levalley says:

        I have seen some you tube were they were using different technics on using oils and Vaseline but I am still working on the blending technics myself. How to establish on what direction the light is to be shining so I know which gets lighter color and which gets dark color. But defiantly would like some more advise on using these technics.

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