Sometimes your gift recipient loves to color, but would like to try something different – and still get the same stress-relieving, creativity and mindfulness benefits. There are quite a few options to help you!
Some of these gift ideas don’t even require pens or markers; others give new and sometimes more challenging ways to use “traditional” coloring media. Either way, these are great alternatives to consider for gifting.
Scratching is where you scratch off a coating from the paper to reveal a white or colored layer beneath. Instead of pens or pencils, you use a stylus that exposes a surface beneath – colored or black and white. Black and white images can sometimes be colored as well.
Scratch & Create: Wild Garden is a great way to dive into scratch art! With the stylus (included), you’ll etch and scratch your way through 20 delightful, original art postcards. Each postcard is coated with silver, metallic, foil, and as you scratch away, you’ll reveal the full-color art beneath.
The book is 6.5″ x 6.6″ – great for travelling. Also available: Scratch & Create: Enchanted Forest
Mandalas for Meditation: Scratch-Off NightScapes is a follow-up to the Mandala Meditation Coloring Book. The beautiful, multi-color backgrounds spring to life when you scratch off the white lines.
A stylus is included with this 10″ x 9.8″ book.
In Cities: Scratch-Off NightScapes you will bring world-famous cityscapes to light. This unique 8-1/2″ x 12″ book features detailed dramatic vistas of 12 of the most beautiful skylines around the world, including New York, Paris, London, Toronto, and Sydney.
You may also want to consider a stylus set to go with a scratching art book, such as this one from Royal Brush:
No, not street art!. Sticker art can take several formats, from fitting number-coded pieces into an image to searching for the correct sticker for a spot like putting a puzzle together.
Extreme Stickering Animals has 15 stickering puzzles, each of which has a tessellated grid that has a few clues to get you started. Also included: almost 100 reusable stickers to complete the design. You have to match the sticker to the shape, which makes it like a jigsaw puzzle. When the last sticker is placed, you’ll have a beautiful glossy art poster that you could even frame. Images include dolphins, flamingos, golden eagles, dogs, cats, and more. The book is 8″ x 11.8″.
Where to Buy:
Paint by Sticker has images—including sunflowers, a fox, a hummingbird in mid-flight, two boats on the water—rendered in “low-poly,” a computer graphics style that creates a 3-D effect when the “painting” is done. As in paint-by-number, each image is divided into dozens of spaces, each with a number that corresponds to a particular colored sticker. Find the sticker, peel it, and place it in the right space. About 9″ x 12″, and the pages are perforated. Other books have different themes, such as Travel, Masterpieces, Music Icons, and Birds.
When you first look at spiroglyphic images you will only see spirals. But when you look a little closer and start to color between the lines, you’ll see the image begin to take shape. You can check out this video to see more.
In Spiroglyphics: Music Icons, you’ll see the face of a music icon begin to take shape when you start to fill in the spirals. This collection of 20 images features music legends such as Elvis Presley, Madonna, David Bowie, and Tina Turner. Put on some of your favorite music, grab some pens or pencils, and transform a set of simple lines into an amazing work of art! This book is about 12″ x 12″.
Querkles are coloring puzzles, sort of like color by number, from Thomas Pavitte, who created the 1000 Dot-to-Dot series (more on that below). With Querkles, you color in the numbered spaces (mostly circles of varying sizes) with only 5 colors. As you fill the spaces an image emerges. You can either use five varying shades of one color, or five different colors, as long as you have enough difference between light and dark.The contrast helps bring the images to life.
In Querkles: Icons you will reveal famous faces within the circles. This large book (approximately 10″ x 13″) has 20 portraits of famous folks such as John Lennon, James Dean, Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, and Nelson Mandela. Pages can be removed and displayed. There are also Querkles with animals, masterpieces, and cats.
As with coloring, this is similar to that childhood activity you remember, but taken to a whole new level. Dot-to-dot for adults does require good vision and a steady hand. In fact, I always use a ruler when I am working on my dot-to-dot creations. When you finish, you can just sit back and enjoy the result, or take out your coloring media and give it some life.
When doing dot-to-dot, you will want a really fine-tipped medium. I recommend a mechanical pencil if you are just starting out (always super-sharp!). My fave is the comfy Pilot mechanical pencil that comes in this great set that includes a great eraser. When I am feeling more daring, I use the grey from my set of Staedtler Triplus markers, or one of my grey Verithins.
1000 Dot-to-Dot: Cities was my first dot-to-dot and still my favorite. It has 20 pieces of fantastic, stylish line art. You also get a double-page spread. Tonal shading and detailed line work build as each numbered section is finished. The book is big – about 10″ x 13.5″. Also available with different themes: Wonders of the World, Animals, and Wonders of the World.
Extreme Dot-to-Dot Spectacular Places is another great option for someone who might like this format. Inspirational quotes stand beside the art, so you are intrigued and informed at the same time you create. This books is about 9″ x 11″ and the pages are perforated.
Even mandala fans can get in on the dot-to-dot action! In Dot To Dot Mindfulness Mandalas some of the more challenging versions have up to 10,000 dots to join – a perfect way to de-stress and take some relaxing time. The books is standard size (8.5″ x 11″) with 64 pages.
Color By Number
Color-by-number is another throwback to our childhood, but with a modern, adult twist.
I am a fan of Sunlife Coloring’s Quest Color By Number Books, and reviewed them last summer here. Sunlife has now come out with a few enhancements (larger numbers in particular), and I am having a particularly fun time with the Animal Quest Christmas edition. In these books, the image begins to appear as you color in a page filled with numbered, tiny hexagons. My husband’s 4 year-old grandson had a great time helping me match the numbers to the colors. The book is 8-1/2″ x 11″. The holiday-themed animals include Angel & Birds, Birds, Cat & Mouse, Cat & Dog, Deer, Donkeys, Elephant, Giraffe, and more.
In Color Quest: Cityscapes you will color-in scenes from London and Morocco; iconic landmarks such as the Rialto Bridge in Venice and the Chrysler Building in New York; and hidden gems like the Hallgrímskirkja Cathedral in Reykjavík, Iceland. This is a large book – almost 11″ x 15″ inches, with 20 different designs, in a range of complexities, on perforated paper.
Have you tried any of these coloring “alternatives?” Tell us about your experience in the comments section below!