A trip to London, Paris, Tokyo or Rio may not be in your immediate future, but you can transport yourself there with fine tip markers or a set of coloured pencils.

The adult colouring book craze coupled with the adult lust to travel inspired artist Steve McDonald to create Fantastic Cities: A Coloring Book of Amazing Places Real And Imagined.

Immerse yourself in arresting aerial vistas of the great cities of the world along with bonus architectural mandalas, all with detailed line work on pristine white pages.

Like travel, colouring adventures can stimulate the mind to explore possibilities, distract from anxiety and offer an escape from stress.

“You can do colouring in a mindful way,” suggests Paul Kelly, founder and clinical director of The Mindfulness Clinic in Toronto, “focusing on it, thoughtfully choosing colours and trying to stay in the lines. Part of mindfulness is concentration. When you’re fully engaged in colouring, the mind is quiet, so there is stress relief.”

Heather Reisman, CEO of Indigo, finds adult colouring books calming.

“I’ve recently become very interested in the practice of mindful meditation,” she says, “so I have embraced this trend.”
Reisman’s Indigo stores carry more than 100 titles of adult colouring books and they continue to be bestsellers.

“We were delighted by how this trend has taken off,” says Reisman. “We first saw it start gathering momentum in early 2015. From the moment books like Secret Garden hit our shelves, customers kept asking for more. People want colouring books about nature, fashion, cities and their favourite books and movies.”
Reisman’s own favourite: Anna Karenina: A Colouring Book Love Story, which was developed by the Indigo team. “We know lovers of Tolstoy’s classic novel will have a hard time putting it down,” says Reisman.

Fashion lovers will delight in the Comrags colouring book that captures the fashion trends, hairdos and styling influences of the past 30 years.

With 13 pages of iconic Comrags designs, accompanied by notes from the designers Joyce Gunhouse and Judy Cornish, creative types can fill in the lines with their own choice of colours and patterns. The Comrags Colouring Book is on sale at comrags.com or at the store in Toronto.

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Even if you’re not into colouring, an imaginative flight of fancy can carry you away and that’s just what Bruce Poon Tip’s interactive book, Do Big Small Things does.

Every page is an invitation to consider a journey, explore and expand your boundaries and record your adventures. It’s part journal, part inspirational notebook and part exploration of the world outside and the world in you.

You’ll share Poon Tip’s journey to the rainforest and be reminded that “there are moments that put a knot in the pit of your stomach – a twinge of doubt accompanied by the urge to leap. Freedom is calling.”

You’ll need pen, pencil or markers for some pages. For example, the page with the white rectangle against a colourful sky: “You are your own country – create your flag.”

For two blank pages, you’ll need some friends: “My friends can fill these pages however they want.”

The last four pages are glossy cardboard postcards to separate and keep or send. They follow the final suggestion for your journey: MAKE love, art, dinner, notes, friends, mementos, conversation, postcards.

Books cost $15 to $20 and are available at book and art supply stores and online at www.amazon.ca and www.indigo.ca. And don’t forget the crayons.