Let’s take a minute to talk about swear word coloring books, guys.
(Oh, and also: there’s more than a little foul language ahead. You have been warned!)
Back around Christmas 2015, UK-based Etsy artist Sarah Bigwood unveiled her twist on the coloring book trend on Kickstarter.
It was different from other coloring books; instead of pretty florals or mandalas, it featured intricately detailed cuss words.
People loved it. They seriously went nuts for this thing. It was a hit on social media, and many major news outlets had covered this weird new mutation of the adult coloring book trend. By the time Bigwood’s Kickstarter ended, it had raised over 130 times the goal of £100, totalling £13,710 when all things were said and done.
Popularity of this sort of thing proven, it triggered an explosion of these “swear word coloring books” on Amazon in late January and early February, and people thought they were so funny that they skyrocketed to the top of the bestseller lists.
The problem? Practically all of these books exist because of that one Kickstarter, and they were quickly produced in order to meet the sudden demand. And honestly, some are WAY better than others.
To give you some idea of the frustrating thing about this, when I search “swear word coloring book” on Amazon, I get well over 400 results, but I had trouble scraping together ten books to feature in this post. That’s a lot of knockoff coloring books!
Still, I think well-produced swear word coloring books are a fun trend for a few reasons:
- It makes coloring a little “edgier” — they’re the badass alternative to floral, pattern, and animal coloring books.
- Cursing is scientifically proven to reduce stress, so why not do it in style?
- Most (though not all) of the illustrations in swear word coloring books are simple enough to complete in about an hour, which is just enough time to blow off steam from a stressful day.
- There’s just something funny about sharing a beautifully colored swear word on social media!
Still deciding whether to get in on the swear word coloring book bandwagon?
Well, I’ve got some good news for you! Creative Collective is graciously offering a copy of their book Have a Nice Life, Asshole to one lucky Cleverpedia reader! They also provided me with a copy to check out, which I’ve reviewed in detail just below. Enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post for a chance to win!
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Have a Nice Life Asshole: Breakup Stress Reliever Adult Coloring Book
Have a Nice Life, Asshole is a swear word coloring book with a twist: all the cuss words and phrases inside are geared towards the one who
got away you couldn’t wait to get away from. It is geared towards a female audience but many of the pages are more neutral and it can be enjoyed by those of either gender.
Creative Collective, the team behind this book, sent me a copy to review and I had a blast picking out some pages to color in markers and colored pencils.
There are 50 original illustrations to color and they are printed on just one side, so the reverse is left blank, avoiding the bleed-through problem. The paper is white and thin to medium weight but still supported the different coloring supplies I tried.
I love the organic quality of most of the illustrations; you can tell that the illustrator actually created the linework here by hand instead of relying on a computer to generate patterns for them, which I absolutely love. A few of the illustrations throughout the book have a font over top of a pattern, which is still nice, but I definitely prefer the more “illustrated” feeling pages with hand drawn text. Fortunately, there are 50 unique designs here, more than the majority of swear word coloring books, and I would say over half of them have that hand drawn feel!
The pages aren’t perforated and as you can probably tell from the samples below, I prefer to work on coloring pages outside of the book they came in, so getting them out was a bit of a struggle. First I tried ripping out a page, which gave it a jagged edge that would have ripped through some of the designs in the book that are a little closer to the page. Whoops.
Next I tried using an old x-acto knife to slice a page out, which was a lot more successful, though I still ripped a little near the top — I am pretty sure this was more due to the dullness of the blade than the technique not working. (It was a knife I had leftover from my final project in art school, which involved several hundred cut sheets of paper. It has definitely seen sharper days!)
I didn’t want to crack the binding because I still needed to take photos of the book (haha), but as long as you aren’t taking pictures, the easiest way to cut pages out of glue-bound coloring books is to lay the book open to the page you want, flatten the crease as much as you can (which typically cracks the binding), and then use an x-acto knife or sharp box cutter to CAREFULLY remove the page. Using a metal ruler or the other side of the book as your guide, slice from the top all the way down to the bottom, keeping your fingers out of the way. You can sometimes remove many pages at once using this technique, and it’s a great trick for removing pages from coloring books when the design goes too close to the center.
Here are the pages I tested out:
Wow, this was fun. First of all, how cute are those foxes?! I love their attitude, along with the phrase, “I can’t pretend you aren’t an idiot anymore.” The placement of the words and the flowers is great. I might cut this one out into an oval and use it to cover a journal or something, since I don’t love the look of the torn edge. (Need some ideas for how to use your colored pages when you’re done with them? Check out these ideas for DIY journals, gift wrap, magnets, and more!)
I based the color scheme off of the foxes, coloring them a bright orange with my Tombow dual brush pens (available here in a 96 pack!). Then I picked the orange and some nice pinks out of my set of Staedtler triplus fineliners. I wanted the letters to contrast from everything and really jump off the page, so I went with blues — one of my Tombows and one of the fineliners. If I were doing this again, I might use a brush pen for the bigger letters too vs. using the fineliner to avoid a little streakiness, but hey, hindsight is 20/20.
Despite being a little on the thin side, the paper stood up really well to the markers. It was really satisfying coloring the spaces in, and I liked that the lines were just wide enough to be a little forgiving if I didn’t stay perfectly in the space, especially with those brush pens. The markers didn’t run at all, and there wasn’t a ton of bleed through — definitely enough that I wouldn’t want a design on the other side, of course, but small enough that you’d only need a sheet or two behind it to protect the next page if you’re coloring inside the book. Here’s a close up of the back of the sheet so you can see what I mean:
Overall, a really fun experience! I finished the page in about an hour while listening to an audiobook, and it was a pretty chill experience.
Before I start talking about this one, yes, I know, I haven’t finished it yet! I ran out of time and wanted to get this giveaway out to you guys. Sorry! :P
I picked this page to use colored pencils on because I noticed the lines were just a tiny bit thinner than the last page. For the fish I went with a similar color scheme as on my markers page (guess I was just in an orange/pink kind of mood!) and also picked out a nice gradient of colors for the water. I haven’t figured out how I want to finish the words up yet — any suggestions?
I used both my Prismacolor premiers and my Caran d’Ache Pablos on this page. Personally, I preferred the Caran d’Ache colored pencils because they are a little firmer and kept a point for all those fine details a little longer, but the Prismacolors still felt fine on the paper. In this picture, I used the Prismacolors for the yellow on the fish and all the leaves, and the Caran d’Aches for everything else. The pencil sharpener and eraser I use are both by Staedtler.
This is one of those pages that I especially enjoy the more “organic” feel of the drawing. It’s just really fun to color in images like this. They’re less predictable than computer generated patterns, which I think makes them more relaxing.
I’m psyched to try out pages from the rest of the book! Here are some of my favorite phrases:
- I’m better off without you
- My balls are bigger than yours
- I faked it every time
- Your brother is better looking
- I’m over your shit
- Have fun with herpes
- I’m too hot to be sad
- I’ve upgraded
- Size Matters; No one wants a small glass of wine
Overall, this was a really fun book to try out. Though I’m not seeing any relationship problems in my near future (I hope, anyway!), it’s definitely nice to have on hand in case I need to let off steam. The book is well-made, and the illustrations are better designed than the vast majority of swear word coloring books, not to mention the fact that it also seems a bit classier!
I would definitely recommend grabbing a copy, especially if you or a friend of yours just went through a messy breakup. It is a fun and relaxing way to say “we are never ever getting back together”! Buy it here on Amazon!
Calm the F*ck Down: An Irreverent Adult Coloring Book
This Amazon bestseller offers up a variety of sarcastic and tongue in cheek phrases alongside patterns and other illustrations. As of this writing, it has nearly 250 reviews and a solid 4.5 stars. As far as swear word coloring books go, this is one of the tamer ones. Definitely not child-friendly in the slightest, but still not as offensive as some of these books can be to some people.
Some of the phrases you’ll find to color in this book are:
- Something to do until the Valium kicks in
- Me? Sarcastic? Never.
- You’ll do
- Home is where the vodka is
- Suck it up buttercup
- Dance like no one attractive is watching
The book contains two color test pages, where you can color a swatch of each color you want to work with and build palettes to use later in the book. This is a new feature I’m seeing in a lot of coloring books which I love, because it gives you the opportunity to test how colors look together on the same paper you’ll be using them on. If you’ve ever tested a marker on one sheet of paper and then in your coloring book it came out way darker, you know what I’m talking about.
The book has 21 illustrated pages to color, which are printed on one side only so that if your markers bleed you can protect the next page. The difficulty and line width ranges from page to page, with some really simplistic images with fat lines, and some more complicated pages with thin lines and smaller spaces. The paper is a little on the thin side, so if you want to use markers you’ll want to either protect the next page, or carefully remove it from the book.
Overall, I would say some of the pages of this book are higher quality than others, but if you like the sayings in the book, you’ll probably get a kick out of coloring them. This would be a pretty fun one to take to a coloring meetup because it’s not as overtly offensive as some of these books can be, but it’ll still make people laugh. I call that success for a coloring book! Grab your copy here.
The Sweary Colouring Book: Digital Download with 20 Pages of Fancy Swears
This is the unassuming fancy swear word coloring book that started the trend.
This book has twenty pages of intricately detailed swear words. Unlike some other swear word coloring books, this one has no background patterning — all the focus is on the cursive cuss word in the center of the image, which has doodles, leaves, swirls, and flowers coming off of it. These are all hand-drawn and therefore have a very organic feel to the linework that you don’t find in a lot of mass-produced copycat coloring books.
Some of the phrases you’ll find to color in this book are:
- Fuck this Shit
- Piss Off
There is a full list of words on the Etsy page, I feel a little uncomfortable listing them all here!
I’ve linked here to the digital download, which you can purchase and buy instantly, but she also has a hard copy available on her Etsy shop. The advantages of the digital download are that you get it right away, you can choose the kind of paper, and you can print your favorite pages as many times as you’d like. The disadvantages, of course, are that the digital download version is more expensive and that you may not have paper on hand that is a high enough quality to color on. It depends on your preferences and the materials you want to use.
Sweary Coloring Book: Swear Words Relaxation for Adults with Mandalas & Paisley Designs
This coloring book essentially does one thing over and over: it layers a swear word over top of a heavily patterned background. The patterns range from florals to paisleys, mandalas, and swirls. There is no intermingling between the words and the background (if that matters to you) — the words are BOOM right there on top of everything.
This book includes two versions of each image: one copy in the normal black and white, and one copy printed in a lighter grey in case you want to color the outlines (with gel pens, for instance!). There are twenty unique designs which overall double up to 40 pages to color when you count both the black and grey versions. The pages are single-sided. The paper is a little on the thin side, so if you want to use markers you’ll want to either protect the next page, or carefully remove it from the book.
In addition, the book comes with a PDF copy so you can print your favorite pages over and over again. According to the Amazon description, it also includes “10 bonus swears coloring pages,” which brings the total up to 50.
Here are some of the swears you’ll find in the book:
This book has over 120 reviews on Amazon and currently has 5 stars. There are lots of customer photos to check out — one I particularly liked had a full color background and then filled in the text for the swear word with gold gel pen. Grab your copy here!
Sweary Coloring Book: A Beautiful Adult Coloring Book with Relaxing Swear Words to Calm Your Tits
This is the second book in the same series as the one above and it includes many of the same features, including the black and grey versions of the book and the PDF copy so you can reprint your favorite pages.
Like the last book, it features all text over patterns, though the patterns in this one vary a bit more than the last. Again, there are apparently 20 unique designs in black and grey, and 10 digital bonus pages.
Generally, the language in this book is more “colorful” than the last book. Here are some of the swears in this book (click over to Amazon to see the full list):
Both of these books are great for markers because you have a lot of room for error — the black lines are generally pretty thick, so if you run over them a little bit while you color it’s not a big deal. The paper is a little on the thin side, so if you want to use markers you’ll want to either protect the next page, or carefully remove it from the book. Grab a copy here!
Beautiful Swears: An Adult Coloring Book
This book strives to make swear words beautiful, as the name makes clear. Most of the pages feature swear words and phrases on banners over leaves and flowers. This book is a great choice if you love coloring florals but want that little extra “oomph” that the swear words give you.
Beautiful Swears is a little smaller than most coloring books, at about 8 inches square. It features 25 original designs to color. Though the designs are one-sided, the paper is again a little on the thin side, so if you use markers you’ll want to take it out of the book or protect the following pages.
Here are some of the “beautiful swears” included in this coloring book:
- FUBAR (fucked up beyond all recognition)
- Shit House
If you are looking for a classier swear word coloring book, this may be what you are looking for. Click through to Amazon and “look inside” the book to see more samples of what you can color!
Naughty & Nice: Adult Coloring for Your Sweetheart & for You
Relationships are a rollercoaster ride, and this swear word coloring book is a great way to blow off steam and express your love. As the title suggests, some of the pages here are “naughty” and some are nice (a little cleaner).
This coloring book is by the same creator as the last one, and is the same square format, although according to Amazon it is very slightly larger than the last. The pages are still a little on the thin side, so remove the page or protect the following sheets if you want to use markers.
Here are some of the phrases included in this coloring book:
- Still Love Your Stuff
- I fucking love you
- Let’s Get Day Drunk
- Love Your Ass
- I’m a Motha Fuckin’ Princess
- Let’s Not Adult Today
- Bitches Be Trippin’
Sweary Coloring Book: The Adult Coloring Book with Filthy Swears and Cute Kittens
By the same author as the Sweary Coloring Books 1 and 2 above, The Sweary Coloring Book is more focused on just a word or phrase with extra doodles in and around the letters. The doodles range from flowers, leaves and vines to animals like cats, dogs, and bunnies.
The book features over 30 single-sided pages to color, including 33 swears and several pages of Secret Garden-esque animals like the badger shown above. Like this guy’s other books, it includes a digital edition of the book so you can print copies of your favorite pages. It also comes with 10 bonus pages.
Here are some of the swears you’ll find in this book:
There are lots more that I’d rather not list here, so click over to Amazon if you want to see them all!
I Am Sick of This Sh*t (Swear and Relax #1): Swear Word Coloring Book
Like some earlier books in this list, this swear world coloring book features patterns with text layered over top. The patterns are a little more self-contained though, so if you wanted to cut them out they might make for some interesting crafting material!
This book (and others in the same series) are branded as a relaxation aid — color a swear and chill out, instead of saying a few choice words to someone you’ll regret crossing. The patterns include flowers, mandalas, cats, dogs, and other cute animals. As the description urges, “After all, nothing goes better with the f-word than a mandala!” Um, okay!
There are 24 original designs here, printed on one side of the page only. Like basically all the books on this list, the paper is a little on the thin side, so if you are coloring with markers, watch out for bleed-through.
Here are some of the swears included in the book:
- Kiss my shiny ass
- Calm the fuck down!
- Damn it
- What the fuck did I just read?
Granny Swears: An Adult Coloring Book With Swears Grannies Would Say
This one is kind of just here for the silliness. Like the swear word coloring book trend but want something a little cleaner to try out? Get this book of “Granny Swears” and it may just fit the bill. Filled to the brim of clean or slightly risque things just like granny would say, perfect for getting your feet wet. (Note: While this book is mostly clean, there are a few swear words in it still. If this would bother you or the recipient, please check the list on Amazon to judge for yourself.)
This book includes 20 unique illustrations. A little unusually for coloring books, each design is printed twice in the book, so you can recolor it a second time, or pass one off to a friend to color. The pages are printed single-sided on fairly thin paper.
Here are just a few of the hilarious sayings you can color in this book:
- Oh, for Pete’s sake!
- Well, bless your little heart
- Kiss my grits!
- Ah, fiddlesticks!
- Fudge nuts
- Going to hell in a handbasket
This would make a great joke gift. Grab your copy today!
GIVEAWAY: Enter to win a free swear word coloring book!
Now is the moment you’ve been waiting for! Click the options below to enter to win a copy of “Have a Nice Life, Asshole” by Creative Collective. The more ways you follow us, the greater your chance to win!
Got a friend who could really use this coloring book in their life right now? Share it with them via email, Facebook, or Twitter using the “refer friends” option below, and if they sign up via your link, you will earn an extra entry. You can also share the giveaway with all your Facebook and Twitter followers using this option.
Thanks again to Creative Collective for providing review and giveaway copies!
Update: This giveaway has now ended. Thanks to everyone who entered, and congratulations to our winner, Brittany! Stay tuned for future giveaways — there are lots more to come, so make sure you subscribe over there in the sidebar!!
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