Have you ever sat down to color with your children on a rainy day and discovered that you stayed at the table, filling pages with crayon-bright colors, long after the kids had wandered away? Coloring is just so relaxing. It seems like everyone has figured this out: coloring books for adults, without cartoon characters and dot-to-dot puzzles, line shelves in art-supply stores, bookshops and stationery stores.
Coloring is more than a relaxing activity, though; it can actually be a time of prayer. I’ve had the pleasure of road-testing four new Catholic coloring books for grownups.
From Pauline Books & Media
When Pauline Books & Media released two coloring books for adults this summer, they paired the books with albums of meditative music to help turn that time of relaxation into a time of prayer.
Our Lady’s Garden, a large-format coloring book, includes various images of Mary, flowers, and Marian prayers. You’ll also find coloring pages centered on quotes from the Blessed Mother at Fatima, Lourdes and Guadalupe. Some pages feature invitations to write your own prayer petitions. The images are simple line drawings with graceful lines and intricate designs. Some of the images are a two-page-wide spread. Flowers and stars feature prominently in these designs.
Windows into Christ turns the stained-glass windows of the Cathedral of Chartres, France, into coloring pages. Passages from Scripture and prayers are found throughout the book, which is made up entirely of two-page spread designs. Events from the life of Christ are presented in chronological order. Because Windows into Christ is based on stained-glass windows, the drawings are no less intricate than those in Our Lady’s Garden, but the designs are bolder, with heavier lines approximating the lead between the variously-colored panes of stained glass in the cathedral windows.
From Franciscan Media
Franciscan Media just published At Play in God’s Creation: An Illuminating Coloring Book by Tara M. Owens and illustrated by Daniel W. Sorensen.
A coloring book has an author?
This one does! There’s a surprisingly beefy introduction on contemplative prayer, in which the author explains:
these pages contain more than lines and spaces, quotes and reflections. At Play in God’s Creation is an invitation to meditation and contemplative prayer….The words woven throughout are breadcrumbs dropped by our playful guides along the way, saints and sinners who have walked in the world before us, who understand the love of God and our brokenness in ways both profound and simple.
This coloring book is packed full of beautiful designs to color, and it’s not all hearts and flowers. You’ll find a crown-of-thorns page with a candle in the center, water imagery, intricate Celtic knots, buildings, birds, landscapes, and, yes, hearts and flowers. There are also prayer prompts, quotes from saints and mystics, and even hidden pictures to find! It’s not just a coloring book–it’s a prayer journal.
From Ave Maria Press
Artist Daniel Mitsui recently released The Mysteries of the Rosary coloring book from Ave Maria Press. The intricate drawings in this coloring book are based on stained-glass art that depicts the various mysteries of the Rosary, as well as the four Evangelists, some prophets and several saints. The paper in this book is of lighter weight than the others, and I haven’t tested markers on this paper yet, so I can’t speak to whether ink would bleed through. (I’m still at the colored-pencil stage).
The only drawback I found with these coloring books is that the pages are not perforated, so they are not easy to remove. I prefer to work on a clipboard or tabletop rather than hold the book flat on a table while I color. Both books are printed on heavy, high-quality paper, which is especially important for those who color with felt-tipped markers.
Whether or not you think you’re very artistic, time spent coloring is calming and meditative. These coloring books are steeped in prayer and will inspire you as you color.
The fine print: I received complimentary copies of each of these coloring books, courtesy of the publishers, but no other compensation, for my review. Opinions expressed here are mine alone. All Amazon links are affiliate links. Purchases made using my affiliate links help support this website. Thank you!
This month I’m joining all the cool kids in the #Write31Days adventure! I didn’t pick a keyword or a theme, because just getting something written for all 31 days is challenge enough for me right now.