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Anatomy coloring books: How to use & free PDF

Let’s be honest: sometimes, learning anatomy feels boring and never-ending. Even worse, a lack of enjoyment in our study material actually makes it more difficult to understand and remember. So what’s the solution? Simple - find ways to inject more fun into your studies!

Luckily, fun, fast and efficient learning is what we here at Kenhub are all about. That’s why today we’ll be sharing one of our favourite tools for achieving exactly that: anatomy coloring books. Keep reading to discover what makes them so effective and how to incorporate them into your routine. Plus, download your own anatomy coloring book for free! 

Download your free anatomy coloring book at the bottom of this article!
Download your free anatomy coloring book at the bottom of this article!
  1. What are anatomy coloring books?
    1. How to use
  2. The best anatomy coloring books to buy
    1. The Anatomy Coloring Book (4th Edition)
    2. The Physiology Coloring Book (2nd Edition)
    3. Netter’s Anatomy Coloring Book
  3. Free anatomy coloring book PDF
  4. Other ways to learn anatomy
    1. Memory palaces
    2. Mind maps
    3. Kenhub: The most comprehensive collection of anatomy study tools.
  5. Sources
+ Show all

What are anatomy coloring books?

Simply put, anatomy coloring books consist of pages of black and white anatomical structures ready to be coloured in. But these are not like your standard coloring book. Rather than being randomly arranged, the content within is organised very precisely and logically so as to gradually build your knowledge and understanding.

Generally, an anatomy coloring book will divide subject matter into sections, with each section containing many topics. For each topic you will find black and white anatomical drawings, often accompanied by labels, related text and terminology. 

Tired of keeping track of so many study materials? Learn anatomy with a comprehensive, step-by-step online anatomy course with videos and quizzes.

The idea is that in spending time coloring in structures, you’ll improve your memory of both their location and function by building strong visual relationships. Many study strategies encourage students to create relationships when learning new information because it is better for long-term retention compared with reading and rote memorization. A coloring book does this for you by presenting a structure and its associated term on a single page, and instructing you to fill both of them using the same color.

It basically anchors two features, providing a common point for both. Not to mention that coloring is easy and fun! Anatomy learning can quickly become dull and boring when you confine yourself to one method of learning and repetition. Coloring partially eliminates the mind numbing text, essays and explanations required to describe and understand anatomical structures.

How to use

Not all anatomy and anatomy and physiology coloring books are presented in exactly the same way, but the following text will give you a good idea of what to expect if you’re thinking of purchasing one. Limited funds? Skip to the bottom of the article to learn about and download our anatomy coloring book for free. Can't wait? Download it right now!


At the top of each topic or page, there is often a mini-guide called coloring notes. Think of this as an instructional list explaining in what order to assemble the pyramid of learning as efficiently as possible. This column explains in what order to colour the structures and what type of colour to use for each. Just as the sequence of topics are informed by logic, the order of colouring of diagrams in each topic has a similar logic. The ultimate aim of both is to facilitate learning and understanding by building it from the ground up.

Looking for a reference point for your coloring? Check out the extensive free HD color atlas from Kenhub. 

An anatomy coloring book also comes with a coloring system. To follow it, you basically need to fill the outline of a structure and its respective term with the same color in order to relate them. The black and white images can be matched by a numbering and/or lettering system accompanying both the terms and structures. Alternatively, the structures are labeled.

A second aspect which you need to do to follow the coloring system is to use different colors for different sets of terms-structures. Subtypes of the same term-structure can be distinguished by using different shades of the same color obtained by varying the pressure of the pencil’s point for dark or lighter shades. In simple terms, use the same color for related features and different colors for different sets of features.

It may sound a little complicated written down, but in practice it couldn’t be easier or more enjoyable! Are you feeling convinced and interested try this study method for yourself?  In the next section, we’ve rounded up our pick of the best anatomy coloring books. 

The best anatomy coloring books to buy

With so much choice, how can you make sure you’ve chosen the best anatomy and physiology colouring book on the market? Since you’ve got the important task of studying to get on with, we’ve saved you some time by doing the research for you. Check out some of the Kenhub teams’ top picks below.

The Anatomy Coloring Book (4th Edition)

As one of the most popular anatomy coloring books of all time, and it’s easy to see why. Organized based on the anatomical systems of the body, this coloring book contains 162 two-page spreads including color-key systems linking anatomical terminology with detailed illustrations. You can even purchase the book as a paperback, eBook or spiral-bound version.

It has been revised numerous times since its date of publication, with the most recent 4th edition offering more informative text descriptions and enlarged artwork for a better visual experience. A great gateway to the world of anatomy coloring books. 

The Physiology Coloring Book (2nd Edition)

From the same illustrator behind “The anatomy coloring book”, “The physiology coloring book” is a must-have for all students learning these two subjects in tandem. A total of 320 pages of informative, two-page spreads focusing on individual topics allow students a comprehensive, yet easy-to-understand physiology learning experience.
Thanks to the skillfully created illustrations and complementary text descriptions, this book will help you to dramatically improve your understanding and memorization of this often tricky subject.

Netter’s Anatomy Coloring Book

A list of the best anatomy coloring books wouldn’t be complete without mentioning “Netter’s anatomy coloring book”, from the publishers behind the highly respected Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy and Netter’s Anatomy Flash Cards. By coloring in everything from nerve courses and bifurcations to muscle origins and insertions from multiple views and dissection layers, this human anatomy coloring book allows you to reinforce your understanding of anatomical structures and have fun at the same time.
With stunning illustrations based on those from the original Netter’s atlas, this human anatomy coloring book allows you to develop and reinforce a better understanding of the relationship between the working of different body systems and individual organs.

Even better? This coloring book also provides illustrations with multiple views, magnifications and dissection layers to really take your knowledge to the next level. Plus, quizzes, tables and review questions can be found in each section to help you master challenging structures.

Free anatomy coloring book PDF

Unfortunately, all of the above coloring books come at a price. With so many textbooks and learning tools to buy as an anatomy student, it would be understandable if buying an anatomy and physiology workbook seems like one financial step too far. That’s why we’ve provided you with our sample anatomy coloring book for FREE below. 

Kenhub anatomy coloring book cover and sample coloring page.

In the Kenhub anatomy coloring book pdf you’ll find six labelled illustrations on some of the most essential yet trickiest structures to learn:

What are you waiting for? Download this free anatomy coloring book now!


Kenhub anatomy coloring book - free download.

Other ways to learn anatomy

Anatomy coloring books are one of the best, but certainly not the only fun and creative ways to learn anatomy. So if coloring isn’t really your thing, why not try one of these other methods?

Memory palaces

A memory palace, is a powerful method of memorizing material by combining visualizations with spatial memory. How? By summoning in your mind a real or imaginary location you know very well, and where you can store mnemonic images. 

Through precisely linking elements of the topic you’re learning to specific objects or entities within this location, walking through this location in your mind will remind you of everything you need to know about the topic. Intrigued? Read our full guide on how to learn anatomy with a memory palace.

Mind maps

Mind maps are a study method based on picking a central topic of study and branching out related concepts from this. Not only are they a great way to link information together in a logical, efficient manner, but they help you to make complicated topics feel much less overwhelming by breaking them down little by little. To learn more, check out our full guide to mind-mapping like a pro.

Kenhub: The most comprehensive collection of anatomy study tools.

If you’re looking for a more engaging and interactive tool for anatomy learning, Kenhub might be the perfect solution for you. 

With videos comprehensively covering over 600 topics in less than 30 minutes each, six types of spaced repetition inspired quizzes including identification practice, clinical question banks and personalization options, a huge library of easy to read articles and a complete HD color atlas, it’s your one stop shop for all things anatomy learning. Oh, and did we mention dedicated support where you can get your anatomy questions answered by our Anatomy Geeks? 

Find out more about the many benefits of learning anatomy with Kenhub, and how you can use it to ace anatomy - back-breaking textbooks and time demanding handmade flashcards not included!  

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