Celebrate National Coloring Book Day 2023 with These Coloring Tips and Ideas

Last Updated: February 3, 2024

Ready to celebrate National Coloring Book Day 2023? Whether you're a beginner or seasoned colorist or just coloring to escape from everyday stress, we have some fun and fresh coloring ideas and designs to get you in the spirit of this exciting holiday.

From stunningly realistic florals to whimsical designs, these coloring pages out of our must-have coloring books will get your creative juices flowing. Plus, learn a bit about the history of National Coloring Book Day. So get out your coloring supplies and color your heart out!

Purple flower colored with Altenew Watercolor 36 Pan Set

Watercolor 36 Pan Set

When Is National Coloring Book Day? 

National Coloring Book Day is celebrated every year on the 2nd day of August. We all grew up bringing life to images in coloring books with our favorite crayons and markers. This day helps us relive those precious moments and emphasizes that coloring is a hobby for everyone, regardless of age and gender.

Exotic Blooms Watercolor & Marker Coloring Book Bundle

Exotic Blooms Watercolor & Marker Coloring Book Bundle

A History of Coloring Books  

The history of coloring books can be traced back to the 17th century when the concept of coloring illustrations began to emerge in Europe. They were initially intended for an adult audience and hand-painted by skilled artists. These early coloring books often featured intricate designs and detailed scenes meant to be colored with watercolors or other artistic mediums. It was in the 19th century that coloring books started to be produced for children.

The breakthrough came with the development of the lithographic printing process, which allowed for mass production of black-and-white illustrations that could be easily reproduced. This advancement enabled the creation of affordable coloring books, quickly gaining popularity among children as entertainment and education. Early coloring books primarily contained simple line drawings of animals, nature, and everyday objects.

In the 20th century, coloring books experienced a significant boom in popularity, driven in part by advancements in printing technology and the rising interest in child development and education. Iconic characters from comics, cartoons, and movies began to appear in coloring books, further fueling their appeal among young audiences. Moreover, educational institutions recognized the value of coloring books to develop children's fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and creativity.

Throughout the years, coloring books have continued to evolve. They diversified in themes, catering to various interests and age groups. Some artists and illustrators also started creating elaborate and artistic coloring books that appealed to adults seeking stress relief and a creative outlet.

The creation of a National Coloring Book Day is courtesy of a publication house. Back in 1970, Dover Publications released its first coloring book for adults called “Antique Automobiles Coloring Book.” To celebrate and promote coloring books, especially for adults, the publishing company created National Coloring Book Day in May 2015.

Space Garden Artist Alcohol Markers Set & Coloring Sheet Bundle

Space Garden Artist Alcohol Markers Set & Coloring Sheet Bundle

Do Coloring Books Help Anxiety?

Coloring books have been known to help people with anxiety and stress. It's no secret that many adults enjoy using coloring books because of how therapeutic coloring feels. The act of coloring and using calming shades actually boosts cognitive function while simultaneously reducing heart rates.

According to Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, “colors are the mother tongue of the subconscious.” He developed art therapy and believed that “expressing oneself through images and colors could help patients recover from trauma or distress.” 

Exotic Blooms Watercolor Coloring Book & Artists' Watercolor 24 Pan Set Bundle

Exotic Blooms Watercolor Coloring Book & Artists' Watercolor 24 Pan Set Bundle

Color therapy helps with anxiety issues and stress relief. Recently, adult coloring books became popular, with more and more people posting their work on social media channels. Whereas children’s coloring books have simpler images designed to help them develop their coloring skills while enhancing their creativity, adult coloring books have curated images and patterns that will alleviate stress and relax the mind.

How to Celebrate National Coloring Book Day

National Coloring Book Day is a beautiful celebration of the joys of coloring. We've put together a roundup of coloring book ideas and designs to help inspire you. From mandalas to foliage to flowers, there's something for everyone. So, grab your favorite coloring book, some crayons, markers, or watercolors, and get started! Happy coloring!

Altenew Alcohol Based Marker Sets and Coloring Book

READ: Coloring Tips for Using Alcohol Based Markers

1. Reiko colored a page out of the Whimsical Flower Bunch Coloring Sheets using some Alcohol Markers without thinking too hard about coloring techniques. That’s one of the best things about coloring booksyou just need to let the coloring flow.

Coloring Tips from Reiko: To create a shadow, I use only one color. First, color a surface evenly. Then, add the second and third layers with the same color. To create a shiny spot, use a white gel pen (like the one from Must-Have Gel Pen Set) and simply add some lines or dots on the chosen spot or area.

2 handmade cards with alcohol marker colored and hot foiled flowers

READ: Hot Foiling Fun with Coloring Book Images

2. Did you know that you can add beautiful hot foiling effects to images from the Whimsical Flower Bunch Coloring Sheets?! This coloring book is perfect for celebrating National Coloring Book Day 2023! It’s filled with 12 awesome whimsical designs you can enjoy coloring for hours. Think: flowers, foliage, and birds with lots of empty spaces to fill in with stunning colors! In addition, some images feature accompanying inspirational words that will definitely brighten your day.

handmade greeting card with 3 watercolor flowers from Altenew Watercolor Coloring Book

READ: A Page Out of Altenew’s Coloring Books!

3. Sometimes, all you need is a long coloring session to unwind and have some “me time.” Erum took a page out of the Exotic Blooms Watercolor Coloring Book and used the Artists' Watercolor 24 Pan Set for this fun and easy coloring session.

Thinking of you card with watercolor flowers on the card front

READ: Create a Background For a Simple Watercolor Coloring Book Image

4. Using a page out of a coloring book is a quick and easy card making hack that everyone should try. Norine took it a step further by adding a unique background to her watercolored florals.

DIY greeting card with pink flowers from watercolor coloring book

READ: Easy Watercoloring Using Altenew Coloring Book

5. Like Norine, Lydia also took a page out of the Exotic Blooms Watercolor Coloring Book and used it as the front of her card! Watch the video below to see how she made the image come to life using Liquid Watercolors.

6. Whether you’re a card maker or a scrapbooker, you have to admit that sometimes you just want to express your creativity in a simple way. Reiko believes that coloring can be one way to stay creative, minus the fuss or hassle. If you don’t have access to coloring books, you can still celebrate National Coloring Book Day 2023 by using your favorite outline stamps and coloring away—just like Reiko did!

Coloring stamped flowers on a notebook page using color pencils

READ: Quick and Easy DIY Notebook Decoration

7. We’ve all been taught to “color within or inside the lines.” But have you tried coloring OUTSIDE the lines? Zinia has some tips and tricks for achieving a unique look by choosing not to follow the lines

Colorful scrapbook page with a photo of a puppy and decorated with watercolor flowers

READ: Coloring Outside the Lines

Coloring Tip from Zinia: Don't worry about applying the color perfectly or avoiding colors from bleeding; let the water flow and do its thing.

3 pages from Altenew watercolor coloring books featuring watercolored flowers

READ: Watercoloring Tips – Using Negative Space for Watercoloring Light Flowers

8. Like many colorists and painters, Emily has struggled to color white or very light flowers for a long time. She admitted that they always seemed to look very dingy because she kept adding more gray to add shadows and dimension. Luckily, she figured out a couple of tricks to achieve those light-colored (or even white!) petals which she craved so desperately using the Altenew Watercolor Coloring Book.

cattleya flowers colored with pencil on a DIY greeting card

READ: Pencil Shading on Cattleya

9. Have you heard of pencil coloring? Yes! You can use graphite or regular writing pencils to add shading to images. This creates a soft and almost ethereal look! Erum colored in the Build-A-Flower: Cattleya images in her card, but you can try this technique on any coloring book image or pattern.

no-line watercoloring on exotic blooms from Altenew watercolor coloring book

READ: No-Line Watercoloring on Exotic Blooms Watercoloring Book

10. Just like unplanned trips and catching up with friends, there’s nothing more fun than being spontaneous. At first, Erum wasn't going to add many details to the flowers (from the Altenew Coloring Book), but you never know what will happen during a coloring session. She got so lost in her coloring that she just kept on coloring and having fun. And that’s the whole point of coloringjust go with the flow and have fun

Watch the video below to see how she did this no-line detailed coloring.

11. Colorist and Altenew friend Kathy Rac is well-known in the crafting world for her yearly coloring challenge. She expressed her love for Altenew’s Happy Pomegranates Stamp Set, especially for watercoloring, because the fruit and leaves are “nice and open so the water can flow within the fruit and leaves.” 

Watercolored pomegranate flowers on a DIY birthday card

READ: Simple Watercolored Birthday Card

Her top tip when it comes to coloring is to “add black to the nooks & crannies.” This will really make your colored image pop!

Coloring book with flowers on the page colored using Altenew Woodless Watercolor Pencil 24 Set

Woodless Watercolor Pencil 24 Set

Happy National Coloring Book Day!

Today is National Coloring Book Day, so we hope you’re spending some time enjoying your favorite coloring book! If you need a little inspiration, be sure to check out the fun and exciting ideas and techniques in this blog post. From florals to nature scenes, there are plenty of beautiful designs to choose from. And if you want to take things up a notch, try adding some color theory into the mix. Whether you’re relaxing at home with friends and family or taking some time for yourself, we hope you have a great day celebrating all things coloring!

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