i-heart-colouring-christmas

I Heart Colouring Christmas – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
I Heart Colouring Christmas is published by Buster Books and purchased by me for my personal collection. I know I’m a little late to the party and that Christmas was 3 weeks ago now but we all know how the song goes about wishing it could be Christmas every day and with this lovely little book, it can be! This book is 15cm square, paperback with white card covers and red foiling accents on the front (this isn’t to be confused with the book of the same name published in 2015 which has silver accents on the cover). The spine is glue and string-bound making it very durable but a little tricky to reach the centre of the images, it will ease up over time. The paper is bright white, medium thickness and lightly textured, pencils work well on it and water-based pens don’t bleed and only occasionally shadow so as long as you’re careful this book can be used with felt-tips and fineliners if you wish; steer clear of alcohol pens or you’ll ruin the reverse image with bleed-through. The illustrations are printed double-sided and are a mixture of single and double-page spreads with the majority being double-page spreads. This book is packed full of images of Christmas trees, Christmas puddings, jumpers, presents, food, bells, baubles, candy canes and so much more! The illustrations are drawn by a number of different artists and therefore there are a number of image styles throughout. Some of the content includes fireplaces, gingerbread houses, heaps of presents, advent calendars, snowman scenes and lots more. Many of the pages are collections of images of associated items or repeating patterns, the majority aren’t scenes or snapshots, they’re collection images. There’s a huge assortment of tasty treats packed in and this book is sure to keep you feeling festive despite the decorations being packed away and the food being a distant memory and a slightly enlarged waistline.

In terms of mental health, this book is a great one for distraction. It’s lots of fun, full of quirks and whimsy, and a great one to flick through during a bored moment. The size of the pages means that you can finish a page in a matter of minutes if you wish so this is an ideal book for those of you with very poor concentration or who like a really quick colouring fix. The line thickness varies throughout and ranges from thin to medium/thick. The intricacy and detail levels also vary hugely from teeny tiny details all the way up to much larger open spaces. This means that it’ll suit most levels of vision and fine motor control though I’d advise against anyone with particularly poor levels of either of those buying this book as you won’t get the most from it. I Heart Christmas Colouring epitomises variety and really does have something for everyone and every concentration and ability level. On bad days you can opt to quickly colour one jumper or penguin and on better days you can colour a full stack of presents or anything in between. This book is a great size to pop in your bag for colouring on the move as it doesn’t take up much space.

I would highly recommend this book to any festive fans who wish it could be Christmas all year long and anyone looking for something fun and quirky to really go to town on. Christmas doesn’t have to just be coloured in December and this is a great book for bringing back some Christmas cheer and get you using your glitter gel pens and red and green coloured pencils.

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – I Heart Colouring Christmas
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/I-Heart-Colouring-Christmas-Part-2-Lizzie-Preston/9781780554549/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you like the look of this book, why not check out my review of another in the series, I Heart Baking Colouring.
Amazon UK – I Heart Baking Colouring
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/I-Heart-Baking-Colouring-Various-Illustrators/9781780554488/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-tip Pens.

holbein-pencils

Holbein Artists’ Colored Pencils 150 Set – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Holbein Artists’ Colored Pencils aren’t very well known yet, but they really should be! These pencils are from my personal collection and I purchased them just a few weeks ago, since then, I’ve used them every chance I’ve had and I have to say, I love them, they’re quite possibly my favourite pencils! It was quite a risk clicking the buy button because they’re pretty expensive and I could find very few reviews so it was a bit of a leap of faith but the completed pages I’d seen were so beautiful that I just had to have them and see what they were like.

Availability, Cost and Set Sizes
The pencils are Japanese and are available in open stock in Japan but almost impossible to find out of sets anywhere else in the world, they’re also not available in shops worldwide and can therefore only be bought online outside Japan. There is a huge variety of set sizes and palettes ranging from a set of 12 all the way up to the full 150 set which is available either in a sturdy cardboard box (this is the set I bought and am reviewing), or in an incredibly beautiful looking wooden box with trays in wooden drawers. These pencils are expensive so they’re a real investment and it’s really worth shopping around as the set I bought I’ve seen ranging from £227 all the way up to well over £300, some places to look for them are Ebay, Amazon UK and US (check the US ships to you) and Amazon Japan which was where I bought my set (see bottom of post above photos for info about how to order from Amazon Japan and a direct link to the set).

Colour Range and Presentation
The pencils are available in 150 colours and what sets these apart from any other set I’ve seen is the sheer variety and range of pastel colours, you also get 6 metallic colours and 6 fluorescents as well. The colour range is very varied and doesn’t feel shade-heavy in any shades and I haven’t particularly found it lacking in colours either though I do always hanker for more browns but this is one of the easiest colours to make when mixing other shades together, I’ve just not got around to making a colour mixing chart yet. The pencils themselves look most similar to the Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils, they have a full colour round barrel which is thick and feels very well made, the wood casing is perfectly formed on all 150 of my pencils with no scratches, splits or off-centre leads. The non-colouring end is rounded and also coloured so your pencil lead can’t come loose from the casing and be pushed out the end like Prismas have been known to do. The pencils have gold writing, and a gold ring, similar to that on the Polychromos pencils but it’s much further from the end (see photos below), so they’re easy to tell apart. The pencils themselves are thicker than normal, the same thickness as Polychromos and they have a substantial, thick lead. Each pencil has a unique colour name and number printed on it and the lightfastness star rating.

Packaging
The packaging is superb and possibly the best I’ve seen for pencils (excluding the extortionately priced wooden box/drawer sets you can buy), the box is made of very thick cardboard and it doesn’t warp or twist at all, inside the lid it lists all of the pencils with their English and Japanese colour names, their unique colour number which is what they’re ordered by on this list and a chart with dots indicating which sets each pencil can be found in which is very useful for discovering the differences between sets and also being able to buy the smallest possible set when you start running low on certain colours! Each layer of pencils has a sheet of packing foam over it which helps absorb vibrations during transit, there is also an instruction manual which is sadly written in Japanese, though there are a lot of pictures so you can mostly guess at the techniques it’s teaching, and a small booklet containing the same packaging information as the box lid and opening out to show a colour sample of each pencil. The box contains three thick cardboard trays of pencils, each has a plastic insert that has individual slots for each pencil to sit in, the edges of two of my plastic inserts did arrive a bit broken however this isn’t affecting use, the cardboard trays have well-attached blue ribbon loops to aid lifting them out and this prevents warping and twisting of the trays. The pencils arrive pre-sharpened but not to a fine point, they all have a flattened end as if the tip has been cut off or they’ve been sharpened against something (see photo below), I’ve never seen this in a set of pencils before. A number of them also arrived with a strange residue on them that seemed a bit waxy, odd as the pencils are oil-based, this easily rubs, sands, or sharpens off though and it’s visible on the pencils it affects as the tip looks cloudy (see photo below) so there’s no reason to ruin your colouring page, just check the tip and clean it first and then you’re good to go.

Sharpening
The pencils sharpen beautifully, I use a T’Gaal Adjustable Pencil Sharpener which is arguably the best sharpener around (read my review of it here) and I’ve had no breakages and they sharpen to a nice point. The leads are relatively hard, significantly harder than Prismacolor Premiers and a tad softer than Faber-Castell Polychromos so they keep sharp for a good while during colouring and the tips don’t crumble. I personally use the “1” setting on my sharpener as I hate losing lots of wood at once and prefer to use a shorter point which is why in the photos below the point is short, these pencils hold up well on all of the T’Gaal’s settings including the longest point.

Blending
The pencils blend like a dream! Prismacolor Premiers are arguably the best and easiest pencils to blend due to their soft core but these Holbein pencils are a pretty close second and I found them a little bit easier to blend than Faber-Castell Polychromos. As yet, the only time I’ve needed to use a blending pencil has been when I’ve wanted to fade to white but haven’t wanted to lighten the colour by blending with a white pencil (see the blue, purple and pink gems in the photo below). They are really easy to layer, giving a good even coverage and being very sensitive to pressure, they have a beautiful vibrant pigment as you can see from the photographs of my colour charts below which I’ve not filtered or edited in any way, that’s truly how they look in real life! The pencil barrel colour is very similar and pretty accurate to the lead colour, but as always, I would still recommend creating a colour chart, it’s a great way of getting used to the pencils and how they perform on paper/card and it’s a really handy resource to have so that you can easily compare within and between brands so you can make perfect colour choices!

Erasing and Smudging
The pigment of the pencils erases pretty well, even when fully burnished, obviously you’ll never be able to completely remove all of the pigment, especially when burnished, but a surprising amount does come off, particularly when using a battery operated eraser which was what I used for the test below. As with all pencil pigments, it does smudge a little with pressure however, the smudge below was only created from deliberately rubbing at the pencil with my finger and will only smudge during normal use if you get any pencil “dust” which happens very little in use as these pencils really don’t crumble.

Overall, these are expensive and they’re not an item to purchase lightly, however, I can’t recommend them highly enough, there are no production issues at all in my set and none that I’ve heard of within the colouring community, the colour choices are unique and vibrant, they blend beautifully and are a great addition for those looking for more colours who already have any other pencil sets as these don’t contain a huge number of duplicate colour options. They sharpen well, with no issues and the packaging protects them well and makes them really easy to use without needing to decant them elsewhere unless you want to. These pencils would be a wonderful first artist’s grade set, or in addition to others and the pastel colours are just incredible! If you’re wanting to splash out on a new set then you should definitely consider these, I was so anxious about purchasing them but as soon as they arrived and I finished stroking the pretty colours and actually started using them, my fears were allayed and I instantly fell in love with them as has everyone else I’ve seen using them!

Purchasing
If you’d like to purchase a set then you could try out a set of 12 though these are still just over £2 per pencil but at least you’ll then know if you like them and have spares if you then splurge on the full set.

Amazon UK:
12 Colour Pastel Shade Set
12 Colour Basic Shade Set
24 Colour Set in Tin
36 Colour Set in Tin
50 Colour Set in Cardboard Box
100 Colour Set in Cardboard Box
100 Colour Set in Wooden Box with Drawers
150 Colour Set (as reviewed here) in Cardboard Box
150 Colour Set in Wooden Box with Drawers

Amazon Japan
150 Colour Set (as bought by me and reviewed here) in Cardboard Box
All Holbein Pencil listings on Amazon Japan

Amazon Japan ordering instructions
Google Chrome has a pretty accurate page translate tool which I used, you’ll first need to set up an Amazon Japan account and add your payment details and postal address, do this first or it’s really difficult to accurately find out prices. Don’t get too excited when you discover the pencils are mega cheap, the postage and import duties are an absolute killer, this set of pencils worked out at about £165 but the postage and import taxes left me paying another £60, this is all calculated by Amazon and paid upfront so there should be no unexpected fees when they arrive with you though I can’t guarantee this but I didn’t pay anything extra for mine. They also arrived ridiculously quickly, I was told it would take 7 days from Japan to the UK with standard delivery and in fact they took just 4 which is quicker than some UK deliveries I’ve had! The delivery packaging wasn’t great, just a thin bit of paper wedged in the box with no bubble-wrap or anything but my pencils seem to be absolutely fine and the set packaging itself is really good and protective which will help avoid any damage.

romantic-country-the-second-tale

Romantic Country: The Second Tale – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Romantic Country: The Second Tale is published by St Martin’s Griffin and is from my personal collection. Ever since Romantic Country was published in April, I’ve been eagerly anticipating this second instalment in the three-part series. I didn’t think it was possible to love a book more than Romantic Country, but I do love The Second Tale more, it feels more in depth and has even more exciting content as well as all of the beauty and charm of the first book. It’s illustrated by Eriy, a Japanese artist who creates her work using a toothpick dipped in ink. This whole book took approximately 1200 toothpicks and because of the way the lines are created they’re not a uniform thickness and aren’t a stark black colour (more on this later). This series was the series I’ve been hoping would be made, with its childlike charm but with adult levels of intricacy, it’s what I always felt was missing for me in JB’s books, don’t get me wrong, hers are stunningly beautiful, I really love them, but they’re a little too perfect for my imagined perfect series. Eriy’s books are utterly charming, not quite perfect, and truly heart-warming and that’s what makes them so wonderful.

This book is square, the same size as the bestsellers, paperback, with a removable paper dust jacket with partially coloured images from the book on the front and back. The book itself has brown card covers with a wraparound line drawing from inside the book and blank covers on the inside. The paper is a lovely rich creamy colour (it’s hard to describe but it’s a little warmer in colour than the paper in Johanna’s first two books but not yellowy and it’s the same as in Romantic Country), and it’s thick and doesn’t bleed or shadow with water-based pens when used carefully, it also held up well to water and didn’t bleed through at all with my Derwent Inktense pencils. The paper is lightly textured and while you can’t get loads of layers, pencils do lay down well on it and it’s perfectly possible to get some lovely blending and layering. The spine is glue and stitch-bound so it’s durable but a little difficult to get to the centre of each spread, however, spines of this type do ease up with use so do persevere. The images are printed double-sided and borderless and are a mixture of single and double-page spreads so a little of each image is lost into the spine to begin with. The images themselves are beautiful, charming, and begging to be coloured and are split into the following 5 chapters: 1. The Glow of Beautiful Old Castles; 2. Magnificent Lakeside and Mountain Landscapes; 3. Fairies and Works of Nature; 4. The Witch and the Hidden Secret Forest; 5. Cheerful Town Scenes. The book starts with a single page spread showing a map of Cocot (the name of the land in which the book is set, which was dreamt up in the imagination of Eriy when she was a child), depicting the landmarks introduced in this book. Following this, are two double-page spreads showing mapped scenes of the landmarks which are pictured in more detail later in the book so you can clearly see where they’re situated in relation to each other. Following the maps, the images show beautiful scenes of mushroom villages, shopping streets, witches’ houses, shop interiors, vegetable gardens, interiors and exteriors of castles, windmills, churches, underwater scenes including a mermaid, holiday scenes including Halloween and Easter, fairy houses, village markets and so much more! Each image is shown as a thumbnail at the back of the book too with a short description telling you more about each place and life in Cocot, you will truly want to move there and never leave! At the back of the book is a removable fold-out poster featuring the main character who is followed through the book (a little girl called Elena) and her duck friend Joset, which is fully colourable and can be cut out and glued together to create two beautiful 3D scenes showing a castle interior and the forest.

In terms of mental health, I doubt there’s a book that’s better for it in all honesty! Certainly for mine anyway! The illustrations are so charming and because they have a beautiful childlike quality to them they really have a nostalgic aspect which will remind you of colouring books you used as a child but with so much more detail and intricacy that it’s still very entertaining as an adult. The content is wonderful because it whisks you off to a simpler, happier, gentler place where there is a slower pace of life and mythical creatures live alongside people and even witches are good. The line thickness varies throughout because Eriy draws with a toothpick and so it naturally varies however the majority of the lines are thin but not spindly so they’re perfectly colourable with moderate vision and fine motor control. The lines themselves are not a stark black, they’re an uneven brown because they’re drawn in dipping ink and while this may not sound great and does take a little getting used to, it truly adds so much charm to the drawings and these illustrations just wouldn’t look right drawn in harsh, black, perfect lines. The images range in intricacy and detail from large open spaces of the stained glass window page I coloured and scenery, to small intricate details of vegetables, books and leaves, and everything in between, it’s very wide-ranging but the intricacy level in this book is significantly higher in most images than in Romantic Country though most of the images would still be suitable for those with moderate, or higher, vision or fine motor control so this is a great book for nearly anybody! The images are detailed and contain lots of things to look at and colour but most are not so overwhelming that you don’t know where or how to start and because they’re all depicting real things like buildings, plants, and food, they’re easy to work out colour schemes for whether that be subtle pastels, realistic browns and greys, or bright fantastical colours, this book isn’t so perfect that you don’t want to touch it which is part of its huge appeal. The images are really cohesive and almost tell a story as you walk through the streets, castles, countryside and shops, by the end of the book you really feel like you’ve visited Cocot and you’ll be planning your next visit as soon as you can!

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to colour scenes, landscapes, shops, food and flowers. This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen and I’m pretty sure it’s my favourite with its charming illustrations and beautiful thick paper. This book is cute, pretty, whimsical, magical and charming and it truly is the book of my dreams, and hopefully of yours, if you don’t already have Romantic Country then get that too, this series is truly perfect!

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this gorgeous book then it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Romantic Country: The Second Tale
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Romantic-Country-The-Second-Tale-Eriy/9781250117281/?a_aid=colouringitmom

You can find my review of Romantic Country here. Or it’s available to purchase here:
Amazon UK – Romantic Country
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Romantic-Country-Fantasy-Coloring-Book-Eriy/9781250094469/?a_aid=colouringitmom

Romantic Country: The Third Tale will be published in May 2017 and is available to pre-order here:
Amazon UK – Romantic Country: The Third Tale
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Romantic-Country-The-Third-Tale-Eriy/9781250133830/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Derwent Inktense Pencils activated with water which I applied as sparingly as possible.

safari-tavelbok

Safari Tavelbok (Artist’s Edition) – A Review

Safari Tavelbok is illustrated by Emma Fällman and published and kindly sent to me to review by Pagina Förlag. This book is an artist’s edition but there is no original colouring book, the images are only currently published in this format. This is another beautiful Swedish offering which is currently only available from international websites (links below, directly above the photos). The book itself measures 29.5x21cm (A4), it’s paperback with thick but flexible card covers which are a beautiful pale blue colour with greyscale images from inside the book with gold foiled text on the front and back. The book has a pale pink tape binding meaning the pages lie completely flat when the book is open and they can be removed for framing. The pages are made of thick cream card which is lightly textured and absolutely fabulous for using pencils on as they layer really well and blend seamlessly (my boyfriend thought I’d painted the page I coloured because the blending is so smooth). Water-based pens also work really well on this card and don’t bleed through or sideways and there isn’t even a hint of shadowing either. The illustrations are all single-page designs and are printed single-sided so you can use whatever medium you fancy without worrying about bleed-through. The 20 illustrations are drawn in a really unique style, they’re greyscale, but where most greyscale books are photographs that have been turned black and white, these images are all hand drawn by Emma but she’s added lots of shading in different levels of grey so that you know exactly where the shading on each part should be, she’s also added texture to fur and feathers which is really handy! The images are all really natural with a quirky twist, most of them are of animals but they’re wearing scarves, jewellery, fancy collars and even floral headpieces. The remainder are of exotic plants, flowers, and fruits. The illustrations are truly breath-taking, I’m not a fan of greyscale ordinarily, but these images are stunning and fascinating to look at, they’re so lovely in fact that they’d look wonderful framed just as they are, though they really do come to life when you add colour to them.

In terms of mental health, this book is pretty good, the natural aspects of the imagery are really calming and grounding while the quirky aspects of the illustrations are quite energising and intriguing and give you plenty to look at which is a great distraction. It might just be me, but I really enjoyed just looking through the images and wondering why the animals were wearing jewellery or clothing and started imagining them in real life and what scenarios a flamingo might want to wear beads for. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is very thin. The intricacy and detail level varies from whole flamingos to tiny leaves and everything in between, this also varies depending on how you want to colour the images e.g. whether you want to colour each scale on the snake separately, or colour over them and use them as texture underneath. You’ll need fairly good vision and fine motor control to get the most out of this book as there are some very fiddly bits. This book would be ideal for beginner colourists who want to learn about blending and shading, it can be really tricky to work out where light and shade should be in an image but the greyscale nature of Emma’s illustrations takes out the guesswork and you simply colour the darkest grey parts in the darkest shades and the white areas in the lightest shade and blend them in between. You will need fairly good concentration but there are lots of natural stopping points so you won’t feel obliged to finish a whole page and can colour one banana, one leaf or a whole chameleon and then stop if your symptoms are plaguing you. I found that this book was great for escapism, I often struggle to concentrate for too long when using pencils to blend and shade but I managed to complete my giraffe in one sitting because once I started I was hooked. There is plenty of space on most of the pages to add your own drawings or backgrounds if you wish but this is totally optional, there are no written hints and the pages will look beautiful with or without added extras.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to those who like or want to try greyscale, those who want to learn to blend and shade, and those who love colouring natural images of plants and animals with an added bit of quirkiness. This is a really unusual book, different from anything else I’ve seen and the production is fantastic, making it ideal for users of any colouring medium and the artwork would look incredible framed as it is let alone with your own colour added!

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available for International delivery at the following stores:
Pen Store – http://www.penstore.com/art-design/safari-tavelbok-artist-edition
Bokus – http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163612930/safari-tavelbok-20-illustrationer-att-farglagga/

The image below was coloured using Prismacolor Premier Coloured Pencils.

deluxe-edition-serenity

Deluxe Edition Serenity – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Deluxe Edition Serenity is published and kindly sent to me to review by Parragon Books. The book is described as a deluxe edition and indeed it is, but this is the only edition published, there is no regular edition. This is one of two titles and the other, Happiness, can be found reviewed by me HERE. The book is 26cm square, the hardback cover is a beautiful dark grey colour with a linen-style texture, the illustration is printed in white and the text on the cover and spine is embossed in turquoise foil. The spine is glue and stitch bound so it’s durable but quite difficult to get the book to open fully and lie flat. The book fastens shut with beautiful pale turquoise ribbons and there is an identical ribbon bookmark which is very handy for marking the page you’re colouring. The pages are all printed single-sided and all of them have a thin border around them meaning none enter the spine and they would be easy enough to remove and frame if you wish. The paper is medium thickness, bright white and smooth, water-based pens shadow occasionally, alcohol markers will bleed so pop a protective sheet behind your work, pencils give even coverage because of the smoothness but it’s difficult to blend or layer with them because there’s no visible tooth. At the back of the book is a pocket containing a colourable poster which opens out to be a square, 4 times the size of the book pages (see photo below). The images themselves are mostly patterns of various types from swirling to geometric, repeating to random, floral to angular and lots more. There is a huge amount of variety within these images however, a huge thing to note is that they are stock images taken from Shutterstock and iStock, this is perfectly legitimate and there are no copyright issues with this at all and a large number of colouring books are created in the same way, sadly this is where the problem is, if you’ve got a large collection of colouring books then some of the images in this book will be repeats; this won’t be the case if you have books illustrated by specific artists but any that don’t have illustrators named are likely to be created from stock images and they often use the same ones so do check out the images below. While this is quite a criticism, it’s only the case if you have lots of similar books, if this is your first book then it’ll be a fabulous introduction to the world of colouring and you won’t find a lot of books that have this amount of variety. My review probably sounds more negative than it should, most of this is disappointment, the production of the book is so good that I expected the image content to match that and in my view it simply doesn’t. Luckily the price of around £10 is very good still and given that it’s a single-sided book this is a really good price but the images don’t live up to the cover image and hardly any are nature-inspired as the cover image suggests.

In terms of mental health, this book offers a lot of variety so it’ll cover good days, bad days and anything in between. The content is very neutral with it being patterns so there’s nothing that might upset your mental health and you also don’t have to use any specific colours or try to make any of it look realistic so the sky really is the limit when it comes to colour choices. The line thickness varies throughout from spindly thin to medium thickness. The intricacy and detail levels also vary hugely from teeny tiny details that you’ll struggle to colour within and probably have to colour over, to larger spaces however none of the images are overly basic or able to be viewed as children’s images therefore you will need pretty good vision and fine motor control to enjoy the majority of the book and very good levels of both to enjoy the most detailed and fine-lined images. You don’t need perfect concentration to be able to enjoy this book as some illustrations consist of lots of component parts which you could colour one or two of on a bad day, or you could colour a whole page on a good day. None of the images will take you ages to colour, especially not in pen so you can get a sense of achievement quite quickly without rushing through the book in a matter of weeks. The poster at the back is a nice added feature and a much larger project, I personally find it a very strange image choice as it doesn’t seem special and isn’t really the sort of image that you’d want to frame or display once finished, but that could just be me, everyone likes different things.

Overall, I have to say that I’m deeply disappointed by this book. The production quality is really high, to the point where I really can’t fault it, but the images chosen are just stock images found in countless colouring books before this so not only will you get repetition from other books in your collection, it’s also not at all inkeeping with the cover or production. It offers good variety for pattern-lovers and will be very useful for pen-lovers who won’t have to worry about bleeding but the book just feels a bit samey and doesn’t really stand out like I expected from the cover.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Deluxe Edition Serenity © Parragon Books Ltd 2016

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-tip Pens.

deluxe-edition-happiness

Deluxe Edition Happiness – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Deluxe Edition Happiness is published and kindly sent to me to review by Parragon Books. The book is described as a deluxe edition and indeed it is, but this is the only edition published, there is no regular edition. This is one of two titles and this is my personal favourite, the other, Serenity, can be found reviewed by me HERE. The book is 26cm square, the hardback cover is a beautiful dark grey colour with a linen-style texture, the illustration is printed in white and the text on the cover and spine is embossed in gold foil. The spine is glue and stitch bound so it’s durable but quite difficult to get the book to open fully and lie flat. The book fastens shut with golden yellow ribbons and there is an identical ribbon bookmark which is very handy for marking the page you’re colouring. The pages are all printed single-sided and all of them have a thin border around them meaning none enter the spine and they would be easy enough to remove and frame if you wish. The paper is medium thickness, bright white and smooth, water-based pens shadow occasionally, alcohol markers will bleed so pop a protective sheet behind your work, pencils give even coverage because of the smoothness but it’s difficult to blend or layer with them because there’s no visible tooth. At the back of the book is a pocket containing a colourable poster which opens out to be a square, 4 times the size of the book pages (see photo below).

The images themselves are mostly nature inspired and range enormously from plants, flowers and leaves, to animals, insects, and shells. There is a huge amount of variety within these images, those of you who’ve already read my review of Serenity, the other title in this series, will know that the images in both books are stock images taken from Shutterstock and iStock, this is perfectly legitimate and there are no copyright issues with this at all and a large number of colouring books are created in the same way, luckily, I don’t recognise many, if any, of the images used in this book (not the case in Serenity where a huge number have been used in countless books) so this is unlikely to duplicate images in your current colouring book stash. A lot of the images are heavily patterned rather than especially realistic, however, they’re really good fun to colour and because they’re all created by different illustrators there is a real range of styles and designs. I expected this book to cost way more than £10, especially as it’s produced so nicely and printed single-sided. The cover image isn’t especially indicative of what’s inside so do check out my photos below.

In terms of mental health, this book offers a lot of variety so it’ll cover good days, bad days and anything in between. The content is very natural which is ideal for mental health and for calming you down and helping you zone out. The patterns within the images are also great because you aren’t restricted to colouring the animals and plants realistically if you don’t want to so the sky really is the limit when it comes to colour choices. The line thickness varies throughout from spindly thin to medium thickness. The intricacy and detail levels also vary hugely from teeny tiny details that you’ll struggle to colour within and probably have to colour over, to larger spaces however none of the images are overly basic (I coloured one of the simplest) or able to be viewed as children’s images therefore you will need pretty good vision and fine motor control to enjoy the majority of the book and very good levels of both to enjoy the most detailed and fine-lined images. You don’t need perfect concentration to be able to enjoy this book as some illustrations consist of lots of component parts which you could colour one or two of on a bad day, or you could colour a whole page on a good day, it’s ideal for those of you with fluctuating conditions. None of the images will take you ages to colour, especially not in pen so you can get a sense of achievement quite quickly without rushing through the book in a matter of weeks. The poster at the back is a nice added feature and a much larger project, I personally find it a very strange image choice as it doesn’t seem special and isn’t really the sort of image that you’d want to frame or display once finished, but that could just be me, everyone likes different things.

Overall, this isn’t one of my favourite books but it’s a very nice addition to any collection and would be a great starter book, as well as being ideal for those with fluctuating conditions. The production quality is really high, to the point where I can’t fault it, the images aren’t particularly special but do offer a huge amount of variety and the single-sided printing makes this book ideal for colourers who prefer to use pens and other wet media.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Deluxe Edition Happiness © Parragon Books Ltd 2016

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-Tips and Staedtler Triplus Fineliners. The white accents were made with a White Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen.

frame-fantasia

Hidden Nature Frame Fantasia: A Colouring Book to Keep Your Favourite Moments – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Hidden Nature Frame Fantasia is published and kindly sent to me to review by Promopress and illustrated by Toc De Groc – a Barcelona based trio of ladies who run a design studio. They were the creators of the stunning book Hidden Nature and this second book is just as beautiful with a different theme but similar style. This book is square (the same size as the bestsellers), paperback, with a beautiful floral embossed white card cover and removable paper slip with the title and coloured illustrations from inside the book. The spine of the pages isn’t attached to the cover apart from at the back and it’s a lay-flat binding meaning you can access the entirety of the page, and that you can remove them if you wish. The book contains 45 single-sided images with a frame in each one that you could cut out and then add a photo or your own drawing and then frame the whole thing for yourself or others. The paper is bright white and really thick (160gsm), it’s not card-like but it’s some of the thickest paper I’ve seen in a colouring book and there isn’t even a hint of bleed-through or shadowing with water-based pens so it’s perfect with all of your water-based markers and with pencils whose colours will show up beautifully on the paper. The images are borderless and all contain nature-themed illustrations with lots of hidden features throughout and each one contains a frame of varying size, shape, and number. One of the things that stands out most about this book is the little cat who is hidden within each page (bar one – the motorcycle page). He’s shown in various different sizes throughout and sometimes he’s the main feature of the image and other times he’s hidden somewhere for you to find. The image content is really varied, all nature-themed, but with loads of different objects and animals added in, all covered in florals. The themes range from love to music, Christmas to under the sea, tropical to afternoon tea, travel to makeup and so much more. Great numbers of animals are also included from unicorns to birds, turtles to flamingoes, butterflies to dogs and of course lots and lots of cats! Some of the images are of scenes, some are set up like still life, some are object shapes made out of lots of flowers and leaves, and others have animals hidden within them. Each one is single-sided with a peach coloured back page with co-ordinating white line art. At the very back of the book is a double page spread of beautiful lettering in both upper and lower case which you could trace over to add greetings or initials to your frames if you wish.

In terms of mental health, this book is great, it’s filled with nature which is ideal for calming you down and helping you to relax and zone out but it’s all drawn in a cartoony style which brings character and whimsy to the images. The frames are a really novel concept and they’re ideal because they give you a project with a goal at the end and the finished pages, once removed from the book, would be fantastic to add photos, greetings or drawings to and then gifted either as they are or framed. The illustrations are drawn in a consistently thin line throughout so this isn’t an ideal book for those of you with poor vision or fine motor control issues, but the line isn’t spindly thin so it’s manageable to stay within the lines when you’re colouring. The intricacy and detail levels vary throughout but range from medium to high levels of intricacy and most of the images contain a lot of details meaning there are lots of different parts to colour on each page though you can of course colour over these in blocks if you choose. The images are quirky and fun and will be sure to bring a smile to your face, they don’t take themselves too seriously and this book doesn’t feel intimidating or too perfect to colour in like some others do. This is a friendly book that starts off with a page where you can write your name and continues into a beautiful, floral-filled world where you can get lost and colour in whatever colours you fancy without realism forcing you to colour everything a specific colour. I personally found this book very calming and relaxing and it really did cheer me up on some of my darker days while I was colouring it ready to review. The images are varied and often made up of lots of component parts so if you’re having a bad day and your concentration is poor you could colour just one flower, or cupcake, or heart and then go back to it when you’re feeling better, or on good days you can plough your way through the pages that are filled with detail and intricacy.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone that likes nature based images, and anyone who likes cartoon-style drawings. The images are quirky and whimsical and are a great combination of objects and animals intertwined with natural florals and they’re drawn so beautifully that they’re just crying out for colour to be added. This is a fabulous book for pen fans who want to be able to use their water-based pens without having to worry about the dreaded bleed-through and those who want to colour pretty floral images.

You can purchase a copy here:
Amazon UK – Hidden Nature Frame Fantasia
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Hidden-Natures-Frame-Fantasi-Toc-de-Groc/9788416504442/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you like the look of this book then check out the first one in the series here:
Review – Hidden Nature
Amazon UK – Hidden Nature: A Colouring Escape for Grown-ups
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Hidden-Nature-Toc-de-Groc/9788415967729/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was colouring using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Stabilo 68 fibre-tips.

 

pukka-pad-colour-in-and-personalise-project-book

Pukka Pad A4 Colour In and Personalise Project Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Pukka Pad A4 Colour In and Personalise Project Book is part of the Pukka Pad stationery range and was kindly sent to me to review. This notebook is A4 in size and exactly the same size, shape and format as their standard project notebooks with spiral-binding, thick flexible card covers, and 5 differently coloured plastic pocket divider pages with tabs that can be written on to label each section (the colours of these are black, bright pink, yellowy-green, pale pink and lilac). All of the pages are lined with the usual thickness lines of this style of notebook. What makes this project book different is the 6 sides of covers that you can colour. At the front of the book are two double-sided card covers each with a different design on, the front of each has the Pukka Pad logo on, coloured in pink on the first, and left blank on the second, the inside covers of each are still uniquely designed and these don’t have the wording on them. The back cover is identical to the two designs on the first of the front covers so you get 6 A4 sides to colour with a total of 4 unique designs. The card the covers are printed on is very thick and one side is quite shiny and the other matte, both textures are equally easy to colour on with alcohol markers and I experienced no bleed-through or shadowing when using either side so you’ll be able to colour all 6 covers using alcohol markers if you wish. The matte sides will be fine to use water-based pens on or pencils if you wish, but the shiny sides are only really suitable for alcohol markers as the surface repels water-based inks. At the bottom of each notebook page is a doodle bar with the same pattern repeating throughout the book, I personally found this a shame because I’m not overly keen on colouring the same pattern 200 times, it would have been better to have them all different if possible or at least alternating between a few designs. The paper is standard notebook paper so it’s relatively thin at 80gsm and sadly, water-based pens do noticeably shadow when colouring the doodle bar on each page. When writing, there is a little shadowing but this is standard throughout most notebooks of this type. The doodle bar itself is a simple mosaic style floral pattern which certainly has lots of scope for different colour palettes, you could challenge yourself to do a different one for each of the 200 copies! The covers are a good variety of images with one being butterflies (2 copies), one repeated flower designs, one the mosaic style floral pattern shown much larger and in full (2 copies), and one a floral, circular, scaly type pattern.

In terms of mental health, this notebook doesn’t offer a huge amount of colouring so as a specific colouring product it’s not ideal, however, as a notebook, that you might need to be using anyway, with added colouring to do, it’s a really nice product and it’ll be really handy for giving you a quick colouring fix. When I was at uni and sat in lectures I’d often draw heaps of simple shapes and then colour them in, it helped me concentrate and stay focused, I wish colouring notebooks had existed at the time because not only would I have had space to write lecture notes but I could also have coloured in without having to look like a teenager with a ridiculous crush by drawing and colouring in hearts all over my book because I couldn’t draw anything else. The line thickness varies across and throughout the images from spindly thin to medium thickness, the intricacy and detail levels vary hugely too from teeny tiny spaces to larger open spaces, you will need pretty good vision and fine motor control but it doesn’t need to be perfect and you could easily do what I did and colour over some of the small sections or background patterns. The doodle strips on each page won’t take you long to colour at all which is ideal for colouring on the go and colouring on bad days, you could colour all of the covers ready for using the notebook for a new term or semester, or you could colour as you go and just fill in sections when you fancy. This notebook once finished will look fabulous and be really personal and it’s sure to brighten up your day and make dull lecture notes a bit more exciting.

Overall, I would highly recommend this project book. There’s not a huge amount of different imagery to colour which is a bit of a shame but it’s nicely produced and the images included are very nice, the project book itself is great as always from Pukka Pad!

If you’d like to purchase one, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Pukka Pad A4 Colour In and Personalise Project Book

The cover below was coloured using Sharpie Fine Point Alcohol Markers, the notebook page was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.

inka-shade-dragonfly-pool-colouring-lampshade-4

Inka Shade: The Lampshade you can Color – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Inka Shade is a new company and concept which is bringing a wonderful new product to the colouring market – lampshades! Like many of you, now I’ve started adult colouring, I’m always on the lookout for new things I can colour, as soon as I see something black and white I instantly start imagining colour schemes so I was very excited when I discovered that colouring lampshades were a reality! These lampshades come in two styles and each style can be either a main ceiling light or a lamp, some designs are only available in one style but each listing clearly states if this is the case. The kit contains your colouring lampshade strip which is a surprisingly long piece of plastic-backed material with the design printed on the outside. Many of the designs can be ordered in plain black and white or as a partially coloured option with the background printed in a specific colour. I requested the beautiful Dragonfly Pool design from Tangle Wood by Jessica Palmer with a pale blue background. The kit also contains two large metal rings, one for the bottom to hold the shade in the correct shape, and one for the top so that it can be fixed to your ceiling light. It also contains a self-adhesive Velcro strip so that the lampshade strip can be fastened around the metal rings and a long self-adhesive strip with rubber grooved material to place the metal rings into on the inside of the lampshade. It also contains a very well-written instruction booklet including diagrams and clear step-by-step instructions, while it’s easy to follow these, it’s a bit fiddly putting the whole thing together so I’d advise roping someone else in to help you, I did mine this weekend with my mum which made it much easier. I found that mine was a little loose around the metal rings but it’s possible to adjust it with the help of another person by undoing the Velcro and tightening or loosening it around the metal rings. Another quick note is that the metal ring at the top that fastens on to your ceiling light fixing is very large and you’re likely to need a silicone ring to make this ring smaller so that it fits, a link to the ones we purchased for this can be found below, just above the photos. All parts of the lampshade are made really well and are good quality, nothing feels cheap or poorly made or fitted.

The lampshade itself is either entirely white or has a coloured background, these are clearly marked on the website so there’s no confusion, they’re not currently available in a range of colours, each is available plain or in one colour of their choosing. There is a huge range of designs and many are from artists you’ll recognise including Chris Garver, Jessica Palmer, Valentina Harper and Kludo White. The content of the designs is also really wide-ranging from mandalas to campervans, animals to plants, patterns to quotes and so much more. I’m a huge fan of Jessica Palmer’s work so when I saw that some of the lampshades had her designs on, I had to choose one of those and I’m so glad I did. The linework is printed really crisply onto the lampshade and the background is also printed faultlessly, one small criticism I have is that some small sections of the background haven’t been filled in and colour-matching to fill these in was pretty difficult, however there were only about 5 small sections on the whole lampshade so it’s not that noticeable and this may not be the case in other designs and obviously wouldn’t be in the case in any of the plain styles. I was sent the barrel lampshade without a lamp kit so that I could use it on a ceiling light and it’s huge, much larger than most lampshades I’ve seen so do check out my photos below and the measurements on the website before ordering. The barrel shades are significantly larger than the pedestal shades. The lampshade strip is really long so you’ll need a good clear space on the floor or a large table to be able to colour it easily. Pencils and water-based markers won’t work on this material so this is definitely a project for those of you who like to use alcohol markers. It is possible to blend on this material if you wish, I’ve not got a lot of experience of doing this so I played it safe and block coloured everything which I thought might look a bit rubbish but I’m honestly in love with the finished piece. I would suggest thinking through your colour choices quite carefully, very dark colours like the darkest green and dark purple I used don’t work so well as the light doesn’t shine through it enough so slightly brighter or paler colours are best to stick to and then they give an almost stained glass effect. The lampshade material is quite strange to colour on and does seem to use up quite a lot of ink so make sure you’ve got new pens or spares so you don’t run out half way through, it doesn’t feel absorbent and I really can’t describe it properly as it’s not paper, it has no texture and seems to be shiny but not totally plastic. If you’re careful you only get minimal striping in your colouring but this doesn’t totally disappear like it does when using alcohol markers on paper. According to my contact at Inka Shade you can also use crayons, or oil pastels, even if you’re able to get pencils or water-based pens to work on the material which I think would be a struggle, they don’t have enough colour pigment to illuminate well so I’d strongly advise sticking to alcohol markers so you get a nice vibrant finish.

In terms of mental health, I would highly recommend these lampshades. They take hours to colour and provide a very good project to work through, they also give you a huge sense of achievement and satisfaction when they’re finished. While they’re a bit fiddly to assemble and you may need help from another person, once they’re assembled and up, you’ll be instantly cheered up, I honestly smile every time I see mine whether the light is on or off because I’m just so pleased with how it turned out and proud of how lovely it looks. They’re a bit addictive too, now I’ve done one I keep looking at the other designs and thinking about how good they’d look in all of the rooms in my flat and even as gifts for people! The line thickness varies across the designs but there are lots of photos on the website of each one as well as dimensions so you’ll be able to pick one out that will suit you. The intricacy and detail level also varies hugely between shade designs with some being extremely detailed and others being much more open designs with larger spaces to colour. The design I chose has a variety of line thicknesses and sections sizes and instead of colouring within each tiny space on the dragonfly wings, I decided to block colour over them and use the lines as texture underneath which I’m really pleased with. You also don’t have to colour each section and could easily leave some white as the light still shines through, I drew turquoise lines on each of the bubbles to indicate shape and left the background of each white and I love the effect it’s given. The sheer number of designs offered means there’s something suitable for everyone with themes ranging from nature to patterns to vehicles, there’s sure to be something that will help your mental health, and suit your home décor and once finished it makes a great talking point too!

Overall, I would highly recommend these lampshades. They’re great fun to colour, really varied in content and they’re a lovely reminder of all you can achieve!

If you’d like to purchase one, all of the designs can be found here, they currently only offer delivery to the USA but you can contact them on the website to arrange shipping elsewhere in the world where they will provide you with a quote once you’ve provided your address.

The lampshade below was coloured using a mixture of Promarkers and Sharpie Fine Point Markers.

i-bring-you-flowers

I Bring You Flowers: 20 Greetings Cards to Colour – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
I Bring You Flowers is published and very kindly sent to me by Print Works, an imprint of Pagina Förlag. This book is illustrated by Maria Trolle who illustrated the hugely successful Blomstermandala. This is a postcard book (the description states greetings cards but they’re actually postcards), it’s standard size with a lilac tape binding and black covers with a design from inside on the front cover with pinky-silvery foiling accents. The postcards have a standard lay-flat binding meaning the book opens completely flat without needing to be held and you can reach the entirety of the page to colour it, it also means you can remove the postcards to gift to others if you wish but they do stay put if you’re careful not to twist the binding. They are printed onto thick card which is a light cream colour (all postcard books from Pagina are printed on the same card), and lightly textured, water-based pens don’t bleed at all and alcohol markers only started to shadow after a number of layers were added, they didn’t spread sideways so these are perfect for users of alcohol-markers. The card isn’t very textured so you may struggle a little with blending and shading with coloured pencils though Prismacolor Premiers work pretty well. Each postcard is printed single-sided with a small co-ordinating motif at the bottom on the back with the publishing information. Of the 20 cards, 14 of them have written greetings on them (all written in English), the others have space for your own greeting, these greetings include Congratulations, Thank You, Happy Birthday, Love You, and more. Every other card has a black background which is a lovely feature as it really shows up the colours, with no need to add your own background! The images themselves are very similar to those found in Blomstermandala so fans of that book will love these cards. The illustrations are very floral, and nature-inspired with lots of leaves, flowers and animals. All of the linework is black apart from two of the images which are a paler colour I’m not quite sure why, this doesn’t affect enjoyment or colouring ability though. All but one of the postcards are portrait orientation.

In terms of mental health, this postcard book is lovely. As many of my readers will know, I am completely in love with postcards, they make the perfect small project for those days when you’re feeling really poorly, or your concentration isn’t good. These postcards have just the right amount of imagery to keep you focused and distracted, without needing to spend hours on them or be thinking particularly clearly. The linework is consistently thin throughout and the intricacy and detail levels range from medium sized spaces to very small so you’ll definitely need good vision and fine motor control to enjoy these postcards, as well as some sharp pencils or decent fineliners. The images are a great size to get finished in a couple of hours if you use pens, or much longer if you want to blend and shade with pencils. They provide the perfect project to send to others, coloured or uncoloured, and they’d look beautiful attached to handmade cards, or even framed. The nature themes are lovely and really calming, looking through this book is like walking through a beautiful garden and as you turn the pages you can feel your anxiety ebbing away and your depression easing a little, I could anyway!

I would highly recommend these postcards to fans of Maria’s work, those who love natural images, and those who like small colouring projects to keep or send to others. These postcards are beautiful with no filler images and the black background on half of them is a lovely, unusual feature.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s currently available here:
Pen Store – http://www.penstore.com/art-design/i-bring-you-flowers-20-greeting-cards-to-color
Bokus – http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163612701/i-bring-you-flowers-20-greeting-cards-to-color/

It may also get picked up for English release by Gibbs Smith who will be publishing Maria’s book, Blomstermandala, in April which can be pre-ordered here:
Amazon UK – Twilight Garden
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Twilight-Garden-Coloring-Book-Mari-Trolle/9781423647065/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Sharpie alcohol markers.

doodle-artist-dogs

UK Giveaway and Review – Doodle Artist: Dogs

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Doodle Artist: Dogs is a lovely book illustrated and kindly sent to me by Annette Rand. Annette has very kindly sent me two extra copies of this book and her other new title Doodle Artist: Guinea Pigs so that I can run a giveaway. This is being run on the pinned post on my Facebook page and is open to UK residents only due to postage costs, it ends at 8pm on Monday 28th of November. Good luck!

This book is filled with 2 copies of 20 full-page images of dogs and they’re fab! Annette used images of real dogs to create the outlines so that they’re realistic and then she filled them all with her signature patterns so if you’ve loved her previous books, you’ll love this one too! This paperback book is A4 size, with a portrait cover and a mixture of portrait and landscape images. The book is glue-bound so it’s a little difficult to get it to lie flat but the images are printed single-sided with a large border around them so none of the image is lost into the spine. The paper is standard Createspace paper which gets a pretty bad rep but you can’t see half the proceeding images through it, the paper is bright white and thick enough that my water-based fineliners didn’t bleed at all (they did shadow) or chew up the paper in any way so it was a joy to colour and would be perfect for pens or pencils and you could even use your sharpies or alcohol pens with a protective sheet behind so that the next image doesn’t get spoiled. Each of the 20 images portrays a different dog breed with 2 copies of each so you could colour copies to match your current, or past, pets. The dogs included are: Toy Poodle, Jack Russell Terrier, German Shepherd, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Basset Hound, Cavavlier King Charles Spaniels, Bulldog, Dachsund, Whippet, Pug, Beagle, Saluki and Golden Retriever, Chihuahua, Border Collie, Shih-Tzu, Dogue de Bordeaux, English Cocker Spaniel, Rough Collie, Weimeramer, and Cairn Terrier. Annette’s clever use of realistic outlines and stylised patterns makes these dogs easily identifiable and the patterns really add to the texture of the pictures and often looks like fur, they’re really lovely! If you’re not sure what breed each one is there’s a helpful key at the front of the book with a named list of the images so you can check. 3 of the images in this book have a black background which is a nice touch and will really make your colours pop, one is even drawn in a stained glass window style which could look incredible when finished!

In terms of mental health, this book is lovely. It’s really calming and has various different levels of intricacy to suit your good and bad days. The line thickness is the same throughout and I would describe it as thin but not very thin (approximately fineliner thickness). The lines are crisp and accurate with no fuzziness, blurring or not quite joining up so this is a really professional looking book. I really enjoyed colouring this book ready for review and it was a great design to use my glitter gel pens on. The dogs are beautifully drawn – some are swirly, some are patterned, some are furry and others are contoured. This really is a fabulous book for animal lovers and those who love dogs, it would also be an amazing book for vets! The majority of the images aren’t drawn to be exactly like real-life dogs, they have realistic outlines but they’re covered in patterns which means that you can use any colour scheme you like, as you’ll see from my glittery rainbow Jack Russell Terrier below!

I found this book really calming and relaxing. As with all nature themed books, I find them the most relaxing and the best at reducing my anxiety levels and this book was no exception. The pictures are beautiful, there are no filler images and each has definitely earnt its right to be there and you could even cut them out once you’re done and frame them. The variation in levels of detail and intricacy means that as long as you have fairly good vision, you’ll be able to enjoy this book on your good and bad days and those of you with moderate to good fine motor control will definitely get a huge amount out of this book. The image below was coloured using UK supermarket own-brand glitter gel pens.

If you’d like to get a copy of this book then it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Doodle Artist: Dogs
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Doodle-Artist-Dogs-Annette-Rand/9781530798179/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you’d like to read my reviews of Annette’s other titles then click below:
Doodle Artist Butterflies
Doodle Artist Fanciful Rats
Doodle Artist Guinea Pigs
Doodle Artist Peaceful Patterns
Doodle Artist Pets
Doodle Artist Rabbits and Hares
Doodle Artist Simply Snowflakes

doodle-artist-guinea-pigs

UK Giveaway and Review – Doodle Artist: Guinea Pigs

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Doodle Artist: Guinea Pigs is a lovely book illustrated and kindly sent to me by Annette Rand. Annette has very kindly sent me two extra copies of this book and her other new title Doodle Artist: Dogs so that I can run a giveaway. This is being run on the pinned post on my Facebook page and is open to UK residents only due to postage costs, it ends at 8pm on Monday 28th of November. Good luck!

This book is filled with 2 copies of 20 full-page images of guinea pigs and they’re super cute! Annette used images of real guinea pigs to create the outlines so that they’re realistic and then she filled them all with her signature patterns so if you’ve loved her previous books, you’ll love this one too! This paperback book is A4 size, with a portrait cover and a mixture of portrait and landscape images. The book is glue-bound so it’s a little difficult to get it to lie flat but the images are printed single-sided with a large border around them so none of the image is lost into the spine. The paper is standard Createspace paper which gets a pretty bad rep but you can’t see half the proceeding images through it, the paper is bright white and thick enough that my water-based fineliners didn’t bleed at all (they did shadow) or chew up the paper in any way so it was a joy to colour and would be perfect for pens or pencils and you could even use your sharpies or alcohol pens with a protective sheet behind so that the next image doesn’t get spoiled. Each of the 20 images portrays a single guinea pig, pair or even a group, with 2 copies of each so you could colour copies to match your current, or past, pets. Annette’s clever use of realistic outlines and stylised patterns makes these guinea pigs look really cute and the patterns really add to the texture of the pictures and often looks like fur, they’re really lovely! There’s a real variety of image content from a guinea pig dressed up in steampunk clothing to various portrait style images, a guinea pig hiding in flowers, some dressed up in floral garlands and even wings, and there’s even a guinea pig mandala! Who’d have thought you could get so much content variety from 20 images of the same small furry animal?!

In terms of mental health, this book is lovely. It’s really calming and has various different levels of intricacy to suit your good and bad days. The line thickness is the same throughout and I would describe it as thin but not very thin (approximately fineliner thickness). The lines are crisp and accurate with no fuzziness, blurring or not quite joining up so this is a really professional looking book. I really enjoyed colouring this book ready for review and it was a great design to use my glitter gel pens on. The guinea pigs are beautifully drawn – some are swirly, some are patterned, some are furry and others are flowery. This really is a fabulous book for animal lovers and those who love guinea pigs, it would also be an amazing book for vets! The majority of the images aren’t drawn to be exactly like real-life guinea pigs, they have realistic outlines but they’re covered in patterns or dressed up in costumes or with props which means that you can use any colour scheme you like, as you’ll see from my glittery rainbow guinea pigs below!

I found this book really calming and relaxing. As with all nature themed books, I find them the most relaxing and the best at reducing my anxiety levels and this book was no exception. The pictures are beautiful, there are no filler images and each has definitely earnt its right to be there and you could even cut them out once you’re done and frame them. The variation in levels of detail and intricacy means that as long as you have fairly good vision, you’ll be able to enjoy this book on your good and bad days and those of you with moderate to good fine motor control will definitely get a huge amount out of this book. The image below was coloured using UK supermarket own-brand glitter gel pens.

If you’d like to get a copy of this book then it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Doodle Artist: Guinea Pigs
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Doodle-Artist-Guinea-Pigs-Annette-Rand/9781539162339/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you’d like to read my reviews of Annette’s other titles then click below:
Doodle Artist Butterflies
Doodle Artist Dogs
Doodle Artist Fanciful Rats
Doodle Artist Peaceful Patterns
Doodle Artist Pets
Doodle Artist Rabbits and Hares
Doodle Artist Simply Snowflakes

min-mandala

Min Mandala en Målarbok – A Review

Min Mandala en Målarbok is a beautiful Swedish colouring book illustrated by Maria Ljungeld of Black White Mustard, and published and very kindly sent to me to review by Pagina Förlag. This book is 25cm square, paperback with flexible card covers that are made of recycled style card with a beautiful embossed coloured mandala on the front, with ¼ French flaps with more coloured embossed mandalas on the flaps and blank covers inside. The spine is glue and string-bound so it doesn’t lie completely flat but all of the mandala designs are contained to a single page so none of them enter the spine and the entirety is colourable. The images are printed double-sided and all of them are single page designs with a small border around them which would make them ideal for framing if you don’t mind sacrificing the design on the reverse. The paper is the same paper as is always used in the Pagina published books (e.g. dagdrommar and sommarnatt), it’s cream and medium thickness, it’s pretty smooth so coloured pencils go on evenly, water-based pens don’t bleed at all and only slightly shadowed but this won’t be visible once you colour the reverse image. The book contains 85 images, the majority of which are mandalas and a few are more obscure patterns or scenes. The mandalas mostly aren’t your typical mandalas, a few are but many consist of themed objects with themes including dentistry, music, leaves, jewellery, DIY, hair, sewing, breakfast, cookery, sport, travel, bugs, Christmas, and so much more, the variety is honestly astounding! At the back of the book are 4 grey lined templates for you to have a go at drawing your own mandalas if you wish.

In terms of mental health, this book is great because it mixes mandalas with easily identifiable objects. This concept is really useful because many of us use mandalas to calm ourselves down so repetitive pattern is ideal for this, and having identifiable objects means that you can use their natural colour scheme if you wish so there’s no need to think or deliberate over colour choices, you can just pick out the correct colours and get colouring you stress and anxiety away. The line thickness is consistently thin throughout and the intricacy and detail level varies from large open spaces to very detailed and small parts with the majority of the images consisting of a lot of detail and small parts. You’ll need pretty good vision and fine motor control but it’s also worth noting that while intricacy can put people off, as long as it’s not too intense it’s very good for getting you to focus properly and get out of your head and away from your anxious thoughts. The content of the mandalas and patterns is mostly pretty neutral and natural and you can really zone out and just colour in each section in the colours you’ve picked out. The object focused pages would be ideal for your bad days because you can focus on colouring just one item, or two or three, rather than the whole thing which you could focus on during better periods. They do require a fair bit of concentration but most of them are very clear to see what the content is so you don’t have to do much deciphering. The mandalas are all hand-drawn so they’re not perfect, they have a lovely friendly quality to them and they don’t seem quite as intimidating as the perfectly precise, entirely spherical kind. As seasoned readers of my blog will have noticed I almost always colour mandalas in rainbow colours and this isn’t just because I like rainbows, it’s because when I’m anxious it’s really hard for me to make decisions and with a rainbow you don’t have to make any, you just colour each consecutive section in the next colour and somehow mandalas always look awesome like that!

Overall, I would highly recommend this book. It’s the most varied mandala book I’ve seen and it’s got a great mix of traditional patterned mandalas and more obscure object filled mandalas so there really is something for everyone.

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s currently available in a few international stores which do ship to most places worldwide, just use Google Translate or the translate feature on Google Chrome to check you’re ordering the correct things and check the conversion so you know how much you’re paying too.
Pen Store – http://www.penstore.com/art-design/min-mandala
Bokus – http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163612558/min-mandala-malarbok/
Aldibris – http://www.adlibris.com/

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Stabilo 68 Fibre-tips

enchanted-forest-journal

Enchanted Forest Journal – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.

Enchanted Forest Journal is illustrated by Johanna Basford and published and kindly sent to me to review by Laurence King Publishing. I will freely admit to being a total stationery addict – I love nothing more than a brand new pen or notebook, so when I saw that our colouring Queen Johanna Basford had released another colouring journal, I had to have a copy, her first colouring journal Secret Garden can be found reviewed by me here. This journal comes shrink-wrapped in plastic so unfortunately, even if you’re able to hunt it down in the shops, you won’t be able to see inside so here is my review to unlock its mysteries and show you inside so you can make an informed decision. This journal is beautiful, as you’d expect. It’s really luxurious from its hardback cover with a beautiful woodland scene from the book and gold foiling accents, to the black linen-style spine and beautiful gold-edged pages, this journal oozes class and specialness and will be perfect for using as a diary, writing special notes or taking down your life story, or even using as a scrapbook, this journal is certainly not for your run of the mill shopping or to-do lists! The journal is A5 in size and contains 144 pages which are plain and un-lined meaning you can write in it or even use it for doodling, the corners are rounded so there are no harsh lines or corners making this journal feel very warm and inviting. There is a handy cream ribbon bookmark so you can easily find your place each time and on every double-page is a small image from Johanna’s Enchanted Forest colouring book. The 72 illustrations include loads of different leaves, fish, birds, owls, feathers and more, and they look stunning on each double-page spread either left uncoloured or brightening it up with splashes of colour. The cover has a paper strip which is folded over but not attached stating the title of the journal and the price and description on the back of it, which can be removed. The inside covers are cream with black line drawings of Johanna’s flower patterns which can be coloured and the first page of the book has space to write your name. The paper is cream adding to the luxurious, vintage feel of the book and it is smooth meaning it’s a little tricky to layer your coloured pencils but it is doable with a bit of effort. I tried out my water-based fineliners and they didn’t bleed at all and only had the slightest hint of shadowing with very dark colours but I only noticed because I was closely inspecting it. The ink does transfer ever-so slightly when pressing hard with pencils so do use a spare piece of paper behind when burnishing the images to avoid image transfer. My recommendation would be to use pencil to write in the journal or water-based pens rather than ball-points which would dent the paper heavily and take away from its lovely smooth feel.

From a mental health perspective, this journal is fantastic because it gives you small little colouring projects for the days when a whole page is far too overwhelming. The illustrations are small and can be completed in a short amount of time meaning you don’t need a good attention span or level of concentration to be able to enjoy each illustration. You could complete them one by one, in order, each time you get to writing on that page, or pick and choose your favourites. The images are intricate and detailed, some at the same level as contained in the original book and others are much smaller and therefore more intricate and detailed so if you’re wanting to colour these images you will need extremely good vision and fine motor control, a steady hand and some sharp pencils or a trusty set of fineliners so that you don’t go over the spindly thin lines. I found that the illustrations are ideal for testing out colour schemes and techniques ready for doing my ‘best’ version in my copy of Enchanted Forest but this is also a great stand-alone journal.

I would highly recommend this journal for Johanna Basford fans, stationery addicts, and those who love to write and ‘need’ a new notebook. This is wonderfully luxurious, beautifully illustrated and ideal for mixing colouring and writing and it’s perfect for your bad mental health days when all you can cope with colouring is a sprig of leaves or a little fox. This journal is gorgeous and certainly the best I’ve seen and its gold-edged pages are a lovely addition.

You can purchase a copy here:
Amazon UK – Enchanted Forest Journal
Book Depository Worldwide (cover shown is incorrect but item is right) – http://www.bookdepository.com/Johann-Basfords-Enchanted-Forest-Journal-Johann-Basford/9781780679181/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The images below were coloured using Stabilo Point 88 fineliners and Prismacolor Premier Coloured Pencils.

colouring-book-of-cards-and-envelopes-a-year-of-celebrations

The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: A Year of Celebrations – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: A Year of Celebrations are published and very kindly sent to me to review by Nosy Crow Publishing. These cards are the fifth of five sets, you can find my reviews of the previous sets here: Christmas, Summertime, Flowers and Butterflies, Nature. This book is fantastically well made and everything has been thought of, matched and produced with quality in mind. The book itself is large at 28cm square, it’s paperback with a flexible card cover with gold foiling lettering and detail. Inside the front cover are instructions detailing how to fold the envelopes for the cards. Following this are pages of colourable cards with two on each page connected by tabs on perforated pages which are very easy to remove from the book with no issues or bending and a thin strip that the perforation is attached to that you can cut off with scissors to neaten up the card edges. There are 24 cards, each with a unique design, and all 4 sides of the cards have illustrations on that you can colour including a “Coloured For You By…” section on the back, they measure 13.5cm square when folded. Following the card pages are 24 unique envelope designs that match the cards perfectly and are printed in the same order as the cards so it’s very easy to match up the paired cards and envelopes together. The envelopes have illustrations on the front, each of the four flaps, and the whole of the back of the page which makes up the inside of the envelope has a repeating design on it that can be coloured if you wish. The folding instructions are very clear and easy to follow and the pre-scored lines on the cards and envelopes allow for a perfect fold every time. On the very last page of the book are usually 24 circular stickers with matching designs to seal the envelopes with, in this set you get a whopping 36 which I found really exciting and means that instead of trying to match each one up correctly, there are a number of suitable ones for each card.

The card itself is bright white, medium thickness and lightly textured. I experienced absolutely no bleeding or shadowing when using water-based pens; alcohol markers will bleed through. Pencils would be ideal for these cards if you’re wanting more subtle colours, or wanting to blend and shade. The envelopes are printed onto bright white, thick paper which I didn’t experience any bleed through of water-based pens on but did get the lightest of shadowing when I coloured too slowly and the ink saturated the paper a bit much so do please be careful if you’re wanting the inside of your envelopes to remain pristine for colouring too. Sadly, the space left on the front of a few of the envelopes is pretty small and not exactly suitable for a normal length postal address and there is also no space for a postage stamp (I have been contacted by the publisher who has explained that this may well be changed in future reprints so there is a larger space for addresses). You could add an address label, and simply stick the postage stamp over the design but for perfectionists like me this isn’t an option and it is a shame this wasn’t quite thought through. When posting these cards to friends and family I will be popping the whole thing inside a normal envelope so that I can keep the envelope design intact. A larger number of the envelopes have just one image on the front so there is plenty of address-writing space so just pick your cards carefully if you’re wanting to be able to post them.

The designs themselves are utterly charming and absolutely adorable. This set is different from the previous four because it doesn’t centre around a specific theme and instead contains all of the cards you need for celebrations throughout the year. The break down of the cards and celebrations is as follows: 1 x Happy New year, 2 x Valentine’s Day, 2 x Mother’s Day, 2 x Easter, 2 x Father’s Day, 4 x Birthday, 1 x Anniversary, 2 x Congratulations (one generic, one for a new baby), 2 x Thank You, 2 x Christmas, 1 x Love, 2 x Thinking of You, and 1 x Get Well Soon. Unlike the cards in the previous books which were scenes or collections of pictures, these all have pretty lettered greetings indicating the celebration they’re for, plenty of them still have scenes, cute animals or leaves, flowers or gems on them but at the centre is the greeting. Every aspect of every card, envelope and sticker is unique, there are no doubled up/rearranged designs, and no corners have been cut. The cards feel luxurious and are extremely well made, I couldn’t ask for more from a set of colouring cards, and with an RRP of just £9.99, often being found for under £5 they’re an absolute bargain and I’m sure I’ll be purchasing set after set of these.

In terms of mental health, I personally found these cards absolutely fantastic. I’ve been having a stressful week with anxiety and these cards have really helped me to calm down, zone out, and focus on a manageable project which I could colour in sections or larger bits when I was feeling better and despite it being the hottest week of the year, they’ve reminded me that my favourite time of year is on its way! The line thickness is thin throughout and the images are mostly very intricate and detailed with a few larger spaces on leaves and animals but predominantly each image consists of lots of small elements so these cards are definitely for those of you with pretty good vision and fine motor control. The image content is really natural and has a childlike quality which adds so much charm and character to the illustrations and is sure to brighten the darkest of days and spread a little cheer throughout the year, no matter how low you’re feeling. The cards take a surprisingly long time to colour so you get hours and hours of enjoyment from this book and you can really spread the colouring love by posting them coloured or even uncoloured to family and friends.

I would highly recommend these cards to anyone looking for greetings cards to colour and send, or anyone wanting to persuade their friends or family into starting colouring, these cards are so charming that the recipient surely can’t help but start colouring them if they’re sent uncoloured! You’ll need pretty good vision and fine motor control to enjoy them but if you have those then you’re sure to love these cards, they’re genuinely perfect!

If you’d like to purchase a set, they’re available here:
Amazon UK – The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: A Year of Celebrations
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/The-National-Trust-The-Colouring-Book-of-Cards-and-Envelopes—Year-of-Celebrations-Rebecc-Jones/9780857638564/?a_aid=colouringitmom

Can’t get enough? Check out my reviews of the other available sets here:
Nature
Flowers and Butterflies
Summertime
Christmas

The card and envelope below were coloured using Stabilo 88 Fineliners and Stabilo 68 Fibre-tips.

buena-vista-a-colouring-book-for-lovers-of-all-things-spanish

Buena Vista: A Colouring Book for Lovers of All Things Spanish – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Buena Vista: A Colouring Book for Lovers of All Things Spanish is published and was kindly sent to me to review by Johan Murray Learning. This book is illustrated by Lizzie Mary Cullen who has previously published three books in her very distinctive illustrative style (I reviewed The Magical Journey here). This new book is part of a geographical series which is a bit of a step away from her original books but they have some really fun features and are most definitely still quirky! A second in the series is already published and has been reviewed by me here.

This book is 25cm square, the same size as her previous books and the bestsellers, it’s paperback with flexible card covers and a blue spine with blue accents on the cover. The spine is glue and string-bound and most of the images are contained to one side of the spread so not too many enter the spine. The paper is bright white, medium thickness and lightly textured, water-based pens don’t bleed at all and only shadow if you press particularly hard with a dark colour, pencils work fine on the paper and you can certainly blend and shade to create effects. The images are printed double-sided and are a mixture of single and double-page spreads but most are single pages with centralised images that don’t go near the spine. This book contains lots of images of Spanish architecture, Spanish food and other things inspired by Lizzie’s travels around the country. Each page contains a phrase or saying written in Spanish and each picture contains a small hidden item that relates to that phrase. At the back of the book is a list of the phrases written in Spanish, what they mean in English and what the English version of that phrase or saying is. Following this are thumbnail images of each illustration identifying what and where the hidden item on that page is. Each page in the book is numbered making it easy to identify the phrase and hidden items on the clue pages at the back. The imagery isn’t quite as Spanish as I’d have liked but it does have some typically Spanish things like flamenco dancers, fans, Sagradea Familia, castanets, the city of Ronda, and more. All of the illustrations are drawn in Lizzie’s signature fish-eye lens style so everything is warped outwards with few, if any, straight lines. Some of the images have the text externally and others have the text worked in as the main feature of the image. There are quite a large number of mandala-style images which although pretty, have little or nothing to do with Spain and feel a little out of place. This book would be a good present for someone who’s learning Spanish or planning to go to Spain soon.

In terms of mental health, this book is great distraction but can be quite challenging. Lizzie’s illustration style isn’t for everyone, the warped perspective of each image can make identifying the content quite difficult and so some people are put off by this, however, if you take time to identify each section and work out what parts should be what colour, the finished image can look incredible! The line thickness is consistent throughout and is thin and spindly thin. The intricacy and detail levels vary from moderate to extremely detailed so you will need very good vision and fine motor control to make the most out of this book. You will need a very good level of concentration in order to identify the image parts and to work out the perspective of each illustration. There isn’t a specific testing page at the back of the book but there are a number of pages where you could easily test your mediums to ensure that they don’t bleed through or react badly with the paper. The book offers a good level of escapism and transports you off to Spain through the food, scenery, and architecture that is unmistakably Spanish. It even might help with your understanding of the Spanish language as you read and possibly learn some of the phrases written throughout the book. There are quite a lot of centralised images where space is left that you could use to add your own drawings of backgrounds, however this is by no means compulsory and the images will look finished without any added features.

Overall, this is a really nice book that is well thought through, the phrases and sayings written throughout are a really novel concept for a colouring book and a great way of theming the images and this book takes you on a lovely trip through Spain all from the comfort of your own home. The images aren’t as Spanish as I’d have liked and the unique perspective of Lizzie’s illustrations does make identifying some of them quite tricky, but persevere and you’ll be greatly rewarded with some incredible finished artwork!

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Buena Vista: A Colouring Book for Lovers of All Things Spanish
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Buen-Vist-Lizzie-Mary-Cullen/9781473640191/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Staedtler Noris Coloured Pencils.

bon-voyage-a-colouring-book-for-lovers-of-all-things-french

Bon Voyage! A Colouring Book for Lovers of All Things French – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Bon Voyage! A Colouring Book for Lovers of All Things French is published and was kindly sent to me to review by Johan Murray Learning. This book is illustrated by Lizzie Mary Cullen who has previously published three books in her very distinctive illustrative style (I reviewed The Magical Journey here). This new book is part of a geographical series which is a bit of a step away from her original books but they have some really fun features and are most definitely still quirky! A second in the series is already published and has been reviewed by me here.

This book is 25cm square, the same size as her previous books and the bestsellers, it’s paperback with flexible card covers and a blue spine with blue accents on the cover. The spine is glue and string-bound and most of the images are contained to one side of the spread so not too many enter the spine. The paper is bright white, medium thickness and lightly textured, water-based pens don’t bleed at all and only shadow if you press particularly hard with a dark colour, pencils work fine on the paper and you can certainly blend and shade to create effects. The images are printed double-sided and are a mixture of single and double-page spreads but most are single pages with centralised images that don’t go near the spine. This book contains lots of images of French architecture, French food and other things inspired by Lizzie’s travels around the country. Each page contains a phrase or saying written in French and each picture contains a small hidden item that relates to that phrase. At the back of the book is a list of the phrases written in French, what they mean in English and what the English version of that phrase or saying is. Following this are thumbnail images of each illustration identifying what and where the hidden item on that page is. Each page in the book is numbered making it easy to identify the phrase and hidden items on the clue pages at the back. The imagery isn’t quite as French as I’d have liked but it does have some typically French things like cheese, wine, the Metro, sunflowers, the Moulin Rouge, the Sacré-Cœur and more. All of the illustrations are drawn in Lizzie’s signature fish-eye lens style so everything is warped outwards with few, if any, straight lines. Some of the images have the text externally and others have the text worked in as the main feature of the image. This book would be a wonderful present for someone who’s learning French or planning to go to France soon.

In terms of mental health, this book is great distraction but can be quite challenging. Lizzie’s illustration style isn’t for everyone, the warped perspective of each image can make identifying the content quite difficult and so some people are put off by this, however, if you take time to identify each section and work out what parts should be what colour, the finished image can look incredible! The line thickness is consistent throughout and is thin and spindly thin. The intricacy and detail levels vary from moderate to extremely detailed so you will need very good vision and fine motor control to make the most out of this book. You will need a very good level of concentration in order to identify the image parts and to work out the perspective of each illustration. There isn’t a specific testing page at the back of the book but there are a number of pages where you could easily test your mediums to ensure that they don’t bleed through or react badly with the paper. The book offers a good level of escapism and transports you off to France through the food, scenery, and architecture that is unmistakably French. It even might help with your understanding of the French language as you read and possibly learn some of the phrases written throughout the book. There are quite a lot of centralised images where space is left that you could use to add your own drawings of backgrounds, however this is by no means compulsory and the images will look finished without any added features.

Overall, this is a really nice book that is well thought through, the phrases and sayings written throughout are a really novel concept for a colouring book and a great way of theming the images and this book takes you on a lovely trip through France all from the comfort of your own home. The images aren’t as French as I’d have liked and the unique perspective of Lizzie’s illustrations does make identifying some of them quite tricky, but persevere and you’ll be greatly rewarded with some incredible finished artwork!

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Bon Voyage! A Colouring Book for Lovers of All Things French
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Bon-Voyage-Lizzie-Mary-Cullen/9781473640184/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Staedtler Ergosoft Coloured Pencils.