Press Out and Colour Birds

Press Out and Colour: Birds – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Press Out and Colour: Birds, is published and very kindly sent to me to review by Nosy Crow. This book is aimed at children but actually, it’s ideal for anyone who’s young at heart and I really enjoyed colouring my bird ready for the review. This book is hardback, a little larger than A5 and spiral-bound. The covers are a bright glowing red and the spine is pale blue with silver foiling on the spine and the front cover. On the inside covers are white line drawings on a gorgeous turquoise colour background showing 5 of the birds fully assembled and named on each. The book contains 10 models of birds which you can press out (before or after colouring), colour and assemble and then hang around the house. The pages are made of very thick card/hardboard and are covered in silver foil throughout. The birds are white with silver line-drawn patterns all over them which you colour within and these catch the light beautifully when you hang up your assembled bird and it moves against the light. The birds are printed double-sided with the same design on both sides so that you can colour it identically and have a 3D bird at the end. The cuts around the little sections that need to be removed in order to slot the bird together and hang it up are really well cut so that you can push the unneeded bits out with your fingers or something a bit pointier if needed. The pieces slot together really well and are very sturdy and will remain so if you don’t disassemble and reassemble them a lot so they won’t fall apart by accident and they shouldn’t need gluing. Each bird has a small hole that you can tie some thread through (the hole is a little small for string) and you could either hang the birds separately or together, or even create a mobile or ceiling centrepiece. If you don’t want to keep the birds hung up then they can be disassembled and the pieces can be popped back into the guides in the book for safekeeping. The guides can also be used as stencils to draw within (or you could draw around the pieces but be careful to only use pencil so you don’t accidentally damage your finished bird) so that you can create flocks more than the original 10 you’re getting. Simply draw within the slots and holes on the pieces to make sure it’ll slot together just like the original or, if you’re using thinner card, make them thinner and adjust with scissors as you go if it’s a bit too tight a fit! The birds included are: dove, blue tit, cardinal, cockatoo, goldfinch, hummingbird, owl, peacock, robin and swallow.

As mentioned before, the card is very thick hardboard and therefore you can use whatever mediums you fancy. I used alcohol markers on mine as they’re much more fade-resistant than water-based pens and they didn’t shadow at all. The patterns are quite detailed so you may struggle with pencils and little people almost certainly would so I’d stick to pens for this (do put down some protective stuff on the table if letting your child loose with Sharpies or it may not just be the bird that gets permanently subjected to their creative flair). These birds would make a perfect family project, you could do one each or even do a piece each and see what you come out with, I’m sure you could create some very tropical birds! It would be a lovely activity to do for or with your children and once you’ve completed all 10 you could hang them at different heights in their bedroom so that you and they are constantly reminded of the fun you had creating them together. The hardboard is really durable and will hold up to a fair bit of bashing, scrubbing, and over-colouring (children can get a little over-enthusiastic with pens sometimes) so these birds would be ideal for children of almost any age, if they can hold a pen and colour, they can colour these birds! The parts are all fairly big so it’s advised on the book that you don’t give it to a child under the age of 3 but above that you’ll be good to go!

In terms of mental health, what could be better than an activity that you can share with your children? The process of colouring them together will be sure to lift your mood and if you’re ever having a bad day or feeling anxious, go and check out your handiwork and lie on the floor gazing up at the masterpieces you and your children have created and imagine you’re a bird soaring through the sky and away from your problems; it can’t just be me who’s always wished they could fly?! The intricacy and detail level is surprisingly high for a book that’s aimed at children but the silver lines can either be coloured within by adults, or over by children, it really won’t matter either way and you’ll get some very unique birds regardless of the way you colour them. If you want the birds to look realistic then you could find some images of the bird to show your child so they can have a go at matching it or you can let their creativity loose and have a rainbow robin, pink peacock, or green goldfinch. All of the birds are made of 3 or 4 pieces so they’re really easy to assemble and they don’t take hours and hours to colour, even if you do colour each section separately (like I did) so they’re a great quick project to create something beautiful and displayable for your home!

I would highly recommend this book to those with children, or the young at heart. These birds are super cute and great fun to colour and they look even better once assembled, a fully coloured flock hung up in a room will look fabulous and be sure to delight your child and brighten up the darkest of days be those due to weather or mental health. Get colouring yourself a flock of brightly coloured birds!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Press Out and Colour: Birds
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Press-Out-and-Colour-No1-Zoe-Ingram/9780857637673/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The bird below was coloured using Sharpies.

Winter Dreams Postcards

Winter Dreams 20 Postcards – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Winter Dreams Postcards are illustrated by Hanna Karlzon, published by Gibbs Smith and are from my personal collection. These postcards are not taken from a book and have been published as a standalone postcard set and Hanna has categorically stated that there are no plans to turn these into a full length colouring book. This postcard book contains 20 postcards, it’s paperback with thick card covers and a black tape binding. The cover is a midnight blue with an illustration from inside the book with beautiful silver foiling accents and writing on the spine. The book has a lay flat binding meaning there is no spine to contend with so you’re able to reach and colour the entirety of the image; the postcards are easy to remove if you wish so they can be sent or gifted or even framed but they’ll stay in the book as long as you’re careful not to twist the spine. The cards are a cream colour which looks quite vintage, it’s fairly smooth with a light texture and is perfect for blending and shading with pencils but pens glide over it seamlessly too. Alcohol markers won’t bleed if you’re careful and they don’t spread. The postcards are printed single-sided and on the reverse are printed three address lines and space for a stamp with one of 3 little doodles within it. The drawings are either centralised or those that are full-page have a line border around them that’s just a couple of millimetres thick which would make framing them nice and easy without losing any of the image. The illustrations are all very similar to those used in the Daydreams postcard set in terms of intricacy level and content, none are impossible to colour and all will look beautiful when finished. The images are very nature-based and none of Hanna’s signature human drawings have been included. There also aren’t many gems at all. The illustrations include birds, reindeer, baubles, stars, a gingerbread house, snow globe, candles, lanterns, snowflakes and more. They’ve all got a bit of added whimsy and fantasy which is a huge part of what gives Hanna’s images such charm and sets them apart from others. These images are all winter and Christmas themed with a real Nordic style to them so you won’t find Father Christmas or Rudolph in sight but you will find some equally enchanting images inspired by Hanna’s homeland of Sweden.

In terms of mental health, these postcards are just perfect! Postcards offer a perfect smaller project which is less daunting to start and takes far less time to make progress on or finish than a full book page. The card is ideal for using any mediums and because they’re single-sided they’re perfect for framing so you can brighten up your darker days by just looking at all of the wonderful pages you’ve created, a great way of lifting your spirits. These postcards are nature-based and I find this the best thing for mental health as they’re very calming and peaceful and if you struggle to conjure up colour palette ideas you can just go with the one nature already created or spice things up a little if you’re feeling brave. The line thickness is consistently thin throughout but it’s not spindly thin. The intricacy and detail levels are pretty high but none of the spaces are impossible to colour. You will need fairly good vision and fine motor control to get the most out of these postcards. As for concentration level, these pages are ideal because their smaller size means they take less concentration and you can focus on individual aspects if you prefer and colour just one star or bauble rather than focusing on the whole picture at once. These postcards are ideal for good and bad days, they’re a manageable size and I personally find them very inspiring and easy to get into without having to stress over colours for hours, I can just dive right in. If you need any inspiration then just search online using Hanna’s name or the book title and you’ll find heaps of ideas to get you going!

Overall, I would highly recommend these postcards, they’re all beautifully illustrated and they’re perfect for days when you’re feeling poorly, down, or your concentration is waning. They make an ideal project to send to others, to frame, or to keep in the book and they’re truly beautiful even just to look through uncoloured!

If you’d like to purchase a set they’re available here:
Amazon UK – Winter Dreams Postcards
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Winter-Dreams-20-Postcards-Hann-Karlzon/9781423645603/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Stabilo 68 Fibre-tip pens.

Daydreams Postcards

Daydreams 20 Postcards – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Daydreams 20 Postcards are illustrated by Hanna Karlzon, published by Gibbs Smith and are from my personal collection. These postcards are taken from Hanna’s original colouring book Daydreams (reviewed by me here), there is also an artist’s edition available, reviewed by me here. This postcard book contains 20 postcards, it’s paperback with thick card covers and a black tape binding. The cover is the same colour and design as the original book but printed on a smaller scale with the same luxurious gold foil accents and writing on the spine. The book has a lay flat binding meaning there is no spine to contend with so you’re able to reach and colour the entirety of the image; the postcards are easy to remove if you wish so they can be sent or gifted or even framed but they’ll stay in the book as long as you’re careful not to twist the spine. The cards are a cream colour which looks quite vintage and matches the original book pages well, it’s fairly smooth with a light texture and is perfect for blending and shading with pencils but pens glide over it seamlessly too. Alcohol markers won’t bleed if you’re careful and they don’t spread. The postcards are printed single-sided and on the reverse are printed three address lines and space for a stamp with one of 5 little doodles within it. The drawings are either centralised or those that are full-page have a line border around them that’s just a couple of millimetres thick which would make framing them nice and easy without losing any of the image. The illustrations are all scaled down from the original book and while they are drastically decreased in size (see comparison photos with the book below), none are impossible to colour and all will look beautiful when finished. The image content is very nature-based and none of Hanna’s human drawings have been included. There also aren’t many gems at all. The illustrations include birds, insects, plants, flowers, leaves, buildings, rabbits and lots of underwater scenes and creatures. They’ve all got a bit of added whimsy and fantasy which is a huge part of what gives Hanna’s images such charm and sets them apart from others.

In terms of mental health, these postcards are just perfect! Postcards offer a perfect smaller project which is less daunting to start and takes far less time to make progress on or finish than a full book page. The card is ideal for using any mediums and because they’re single-sided they’re perfect for framing so you can brighten up your darker days by just looking at all of the wonderful pages you’ve created, a great way of lifting your spirits. These postcards are nature-based and I find this the best thing for mental health as they’re very calming and peaceful and if you struggle to conjure up colour palette ideas you can just go with the one nature already created or spice things up a little if you’re feeling brave. The line thickness is consistently thin throughout but it’s not spindly thin. The intricacy and detail levels are pretty high due to these images being scaled down from the book but none of the spaces are impossible to colour. You will need fairly good vision and fine motor control to get the most out of these postcards. As for concentration level, these pages are ideal because their smaller size means they take less concentration and you can focus on individual aspects if you prefer and colour just one bird or one dragonfly rather than focusing on the whole picture at once. These postcards are ideal for good and bad days, they’re a manageable size and I personally find them very inspiring and easy to get into without having to stress over colours for hours, I can just dive right in. If you need any inspiration then just search online using Hanna’s name or the book title and you’ll find heaps of ideas to get you going!

Overall, I would highly recommend these postcards, they’re a lovely new format using Hanna’s original illustrations and they’re perfect for days when you’re feeling poorly, down, or your concentration is waning. They make an ideal project to send to others, to frame, or to keep in the book and they’re truly beautiful even just to look through uncoloured!

If you’d like to purchase a set they’re available here:
Amazon UK – Daydreams 20 Postcards
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Daydreams-20-Postcards-Hanna-Karlzon/9781423645597/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils.

Magical Jungle

Magical Jungle: An Inky Expedition and Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
This review is of the UK edition of Magical Jungle published by Virgin Books. I also have a US edition published by Penguin and have written a comparison post about the differences between the two which can be found here. Both copies of the book were purchased by me as I was unable to secure review copies, I purchased the UK edition from Amazon UK and the US edition from Book Depository. This UK edition of Magical Jungle was printed in Italy.

Magical Jungle is a paperback, square book (25cm x 25cm) which is exactly the same size as Johanna’s previous three titles, Secret Garden, Enchanted Forest, and Lost Ocean. It has a black spine with white text, the same as Secret Garden and Lost ocean and it looks beautiful with the other titles on the shelf (see photo below). The UK edition has a removable dust jacket which has gold foiling accents on the front, really adding to the luxurious feel of this book. The jacket is made of thick paper which you can colour and the inside of it is covered with a beautiful jungle foliage pattern which has a waxy finish and can be coloured but only with certain mediums because most pens and pencils are repelled by the shine (alcohol markers are best for this and don’t bleed). This dust jacket is a little looser than the first two and feels a little thinner, it is off white and not cream (see the photo below to see the difference) so it does look a little different from the first two and is similar to Lost Ocean but not quite white. Under the dust jacket, the book is paperback with bright grass green card covers which have an inky black orchid and leaf design on the outside and inside covers. The paper is NOT the same as any previous titles or editions of Johanna’s books and also IS NOT the same as the US edition of Magical Jungle. The paper is most similar to the Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest paper but instead of being a yellowy-creamy colour, this is much whiter and more of an ivory hue. It feels equally as thick as the SG and EF paper and has a good level of texture so it’s not difficult to cover the gaps but you can layer and blend well with coloured pencils. I didn’t experience any bleeding or shadowing with water-based pens but everyone colours differently so do make sure you test them on the brand new colour palette test page at the back of the book (a very handy feature where you can not only check for how your mediums behave on the paper but also test colour combos on the new ivory paper).

The images are printed double-sided with no border and the spine is glue and stitch-bound, normally this would mean a little of each image was lost into it but Johanna has taken on board the concerns of us colourists and has deliberately left the spine as clear as possible in the vast majority of the images so this frustration is mostly gone! The book contains 80 pages of stunning images, the same number as in Lost Ocean, fewer than Johanna’s first two books (96 Secret Garden, 84 Enchanted Forest) but I have to say, I didn’t notice this at all until I looked at the specs on Amazon. The style of the images has somewhat changed and Johanna has added more double-page spreads and ribbon pages (those with an illustration running across the middle but not filling the entire page) and put in fewer patterns and mandala-style images though there is a running theme of images with symmetry which I know are a bit like Marmite within the colouring community. One issue specific to the UK edition is the print quality, I have checked with a couple of friends of mine who also have a UK edition printed in Italy and all of us have pixelation throughout the images. This is very subtle and is only noticed when you look very closely at the lines but nevertheless, it’s there and the lines aren’t crisp and neat as the original drawings would have been or as they are in the US edition (see comparison post for more information on this). This pixelation doesn’t particularly affect the enjoyment of the book but it is there and is present on all colouring pages throughout the book, see photos below for clarification.

The book starts with a “This book belongs to …” page where you can add your name and then goes on to show all of the animals that are hidden within the pages for you to find (at the back of the book all of the items are listed under a miniature image of each page they are contained within). You are then transported into Johanna’s Magical Jungle where you will encounter turtles, snakes, monkeys, parrots, and butterflies galore. The images range from double page jungle scenes, to mandala style images of insects, fruity repeating patterns, to single creatures taking centre stage in bordered images, and so much more. Your journey into the jungle starts with a double-page spread where you encounter a waterfall and a croc-infested lake. Walking through the jungle you discover tigers, pandas, tropical birds and tree frogs. There are scenes of gigantic leaves, jungle pools, monkey-filled canopies, jungle houses, ponds and so much more. Finally, at the very end of the book are 4 single-sided perforated pages printed on the same paper as the rest of the book with beautiful images that you can colour and then remove and frame. These pages would be perfect for wetter, more-likely to bleed mediums like watercolours or alcohol markers. These perforated pages have replaced the fold-out spreads of Enchanted Forest and Lost Ocean and while some people have been disappointed by this and in some ways I am too, they’re also really beautiful illustrations that will be wonderful to frame and I’m pretty sure this was Johanna’s way of appeasing the people who’ve been consistently asking for removable pages (which can’t be done throughout the book due to cost) and not have to wait until the Artist’s Edition is published next year in order to colour with alcohol markers or be able to frame some of our work. A number of the images in the book have large blank spaces where you can add your own inky leaves and creatures or just leave them blank if drawing isn’t your forte and unlike in Secret Garden there are no written hints so you’re free to create whatever your imagination can conjure up. If you need inspiration then head online to google, pinterest and Facebook colouring groups where there will be finished pages cropping up daily from people worldwide who are venturing into the foliage and colouring their own leafy jungle.

In terms of mental health, this book has different benefits from Johanna’s previous titles. This book is definitely less distracting and requires much less concentration because there are fewer elements on the majority of the pages and these are larger and less detailed. The line thickness is the same as her previous books and is very thin however the intricacy and detail levels are drastically decreased and this is her least detailed book to date which means it will suit far more of you, especially those of you with poorer vision and fine motor control who were just overwhelmed with the teeny tiny sections of her previous books. Fineliner colourers may be quite disappointed as there are very few images in this book that specifically lend themselves to colouring with fine nibs and if you’re wanting to use pens you’ll be much better placed using gel pens or fibre-tips (steer clear of alcohol markers, they’ll bleed through). The illustrations in this book are ideal for pencil colourers because there is so much space to blend and shade; there is also plenty of space to add your own backgrounds if you wish. The images aren’t arranged into a storyline and are more of a collection of jungle-themed illustrations, this means that the book doesn’t especially take you on a journey though it does definitely transport you to a far off place and offers a good level of escapism. The variety of image styles means that there is something for every concentration level as well as good and bad days of symptoms. There are ribbon images which could take you just a couple of hours to colour, centralised single images which will take a few hours, all the way up to jam-packed double-page spreads depicting jungle scenes which will take days or even weeks depending on what mediums and techniques you use to colour them and whether or not you add a background. The nature of the imagery in this book is superb for calming you down and helping you to zone out. I find nature scenes the best thing for calming down my anxious racing mind and this book really does that. The lack of intricacy is a shame for some of us but I know this increases anxiety in some colourers and for those of you who experience this, this book will be ideal for you! You can always add your own intricate patterns and details if you wish meaning you can combine colouring and zentangling if you choose.

Magical Jungle is a huge step away from the detail and intricacy of Lost Ocean and is most similar to the larger more open-spaced designs of Enchanted Forest. The content is very plant-heavy and is filled with leaves and flowers with lots of animals featured throughout; there have been some complaints from people who were expecting it to be animal-centric and who were disappointed so please do check out the images below and Johanna’s flick-through here. I personally really love this book, the print quality issues with the lines being pixelated in the UK version are a real shame and I do miss some of the detail of Johanna’s previous titles but in general this book is beautiful, I do wish there was more of a storyline with the images rather than it being a themed collection but overall it’s gorgeous and will be so lovely to colour and I can’t wait to get started on my next page.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of Magical Jungle it’s available here:
UK Edition
Amazon UK – Magical Jungle
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Magical-Jungle-Johann-Basford/9780753557167/?a_aid=colouringitmom
US Edition
Amazon UK – Magical Jungle
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Magical-Jungle-Johann-Basford/9780143109006/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils.

Magical Jungle Comaprison

Magical Jungle: A comparison between the UK and US editions

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Magical Jungle was released in the UK and US last week and after the huge online debates surrounding the differences between the UK and US editions of Lost Ocean last year and the popularity of my comparison post of that (found here), I thought I’d do the same for Magical Jungle. I was unable to get review copies so I have purchased the US edition from Book Depository and the UK edition from Amazon UK (purchase links below). I have heard that there are issues with some UK editions which have been printed in China, my copy was printed in Italy (more info below). You can find my review of the UK edition, including the image content etc here.

This is a long post because there are so many pictures included to illustrate each point but please bear with me because a lot of time and effort has gone into being as thorough as possible. Most of the things I’ve noticed don’t affect the enjoyment or use of the book, they’re just differences but there are a few items that are fundamentally different and do affect use so keep an eye out for those, they’re summarised at the bottom. Some of the very noticeable differences include size, print quality and paper type so here goes with the most comprehensive list of similarities and differences that you’re likely to find online!

  1. Dust Jacket –  This is one of the biggest differences between the editions. The UK edition has a removable dust jacket just like the UK editions of the first three books by Johanna Basford. It is a little looser fitting than the first two books and is ivory and a little thinner too (very similar to Lost Ocean but not white like that was). The book itself has bright grass green card covers with a black orchid and leaf design on the outside and inside covers. The US edition has a fully attached white cover made of card which has half size flaps inside that open out revealing the foliage design that is also on the inside of the UK dust jacket. The covers on both editions are fully colourable and matte in texture apart from the inside of the UK dust jacket which is waxy to the touch, this can be coloured with alcohol markers but water-based pens are repelled.
    Magical Jungle 1 Dust Jacket (1) US Magical Jungle 1 Dust Jacket (2) US Magical Jungle 1 Dust Jacket (3) UK Magical Jungle 1 Dust Jacket (4) UK Magical Jungle 1 Dust Jacket (5) UK
  2. French Flaps – The inside flaps of the dust jacket of the UK edition and the cover of the US edition have the same white line foliage drawing but this is printed much larger on the US edition than the UK edition.
    Magical Jungle 2 French Flaps
  3. Spine – The UK edition has a black spine with white writing (the same as Secret Garden and UK Lost Ocean) and the Virgin books symbol. The US edition has a white spine with black writing and the Penguin books symbol.
    Magical Jungle 3 Spine
  4. Book size – The UK edition is exactly the same size as Johanna Basford’s first three UK titles – 25cm square, the US edition is slightly larger (just like the US Lost Ocean) at around 25.5cm square making it about half a centimetre taller and wider.
    Magical Jungle 4 Book Size (1) Magical Jungle 4 Book Size (2) Magical Jungle 4 Book Size (3)
  5. Foil on cover – Both editions have gold foiling on the front but both have different aspects foiled. The UK edition has the tiger, chameleon, orchid and aspects of all three birds covered in foil, the title is partially foiled; the US edition has a few leaves, flowers and the whole toucan foiled instead and the title is fully foiled.
    Magical Jungle 5 Foil on Cover (1) US Magical Jungle 5 Foil on Cover (2) UK Magical Jungle 5 Foil on Cover (3) Magical Jungle 5 Foil on Cover (4) Magical Jungle 5 Foil on Cover (5)
  6. Foiling colour – The foiling is also a different colour and texture – the UK edition has gold foiling that is a darker colour, it’s difficult to describe but it’s more silver and bronze than specifically gold and is smoother to the touch, the US edition has much yellower gold foiling that is slightly rough to the touch.
    Magical Jungle 6 Foiling Colour (1) Magical Jungle 6 Foiling Colour (2)
  7. Spelling differences – As you’d expect, the UK edition has the British spellings throughout of colour etc, the US edition has color (always check your cover as it’s the easiest way of telling if you have a UK or US edition by the spelling of “colouring book”).
    Magical Jungle 7 Spelling Differences
  8. Cover design – The image on the cover of the UK edition is shifted up approximately half a centimetre compared to the US edition.
    Magical Jungle 8 Cover Design (1) Magical Jungle 8 Cover Design (2) Magical Jungle 8 Cover Design (3)
  9. Blurb – The UK and US editions have completely different blurbs.
    Magical Jungle 9 Blurb
  10. Paper quality – This is one of the biggest differences and one that has concerned me. We were promised by Johanna Basford herself that the paper in the UK and US editions would be identical however I can categorically state that it is NOT. The colour is different, the thickness is different and the surface texture is different. The UK paper is ivory and a much whiter hue, it is a little thinner but feels equally thick as Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest and significantly thicker than Lost Ocean. There is a little tooth but the paper does burnish after a few layers when tested with Polychromos and Prismacolor pencils. The US paper is ivory but a more cream colour though it’s still paler than the cream colour of Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest. The paper is the thickest yet and has a more visible tooth, it took far more layers for blending (see direct comparison below with identical numbers of layers with two polychromos pencils on the red and yellow leaf) and still isn’t totally burnished. In both editions water-based pens behave the same way and the paper in both is beautiful to colour on with pens as they glide really well with no feathering or spreading at all. The UK paper seems like it will shadow faster and more easily than the US edition and while I didn’t experience any shadowing in either, the UK paper did seem like it might with very dark colours if not using a light touch. It is unclear which edition has the official Johanna Basford paper but I’m guessing it’s the US edition. I’m working on finding this out and will update the post if and when I find out the answer. I personally prefer the colour of the UK edition but the US paper is easier to use pencils on and is less likely to bleed with water-based pens so I have to recommend that one.
    Magical Jungle 10 Paper Quality (1) Magical Jungle 10 Paper Quality (2) Magical Jungle 10 Paper Quality (3) Magical Jungle 10 Paper Quality (4) Magical Jungle 10 Paper Quality (5) Magical Jungle 10 Paper Quality (6)
  11. Page ink quality – Both books have equally permanent ink when tested with Derwent blender and burnishing pencils. Both smudged ever so slightly but I was pressing hard and there was very little ink transfer behind the image I fully coloured in the UK edition. My suggestion would be to use a scrap piece of paper behind your colouring in either edition of the book just to be safe.
    Magical Jungle 11 Page Ink Quality (1) Magical Jungle 11 Page Ink Quality (2) Magical Jungle 11 Page Ink Quality (3)
  12. Image size – The images in the UK edition are printed a little smaller than the US edition (up to 1cm overall and yes I measured a number of them with a ruler to check) meaning there is a larger white border around the images in the UK book compared to the US book. This difference isn’t especially noticeable but those of you with poorer vision or fine motor control would be best purchasing the US edition as the images are slightly larger throughout.
    Magical Jungle 12 Image Size (1) Magical Jungle 12 Image Size (2) Magical Jungle 12 Image Size (3) Magical Jungle 12 Image Size (4)
  13. Image orientation – The images in the UK edition are shifted upwards slightly when compared to the US edition, it looks as if both have had a section taken from a slightly larger original image and the UK edition takes the upper part and the US edition takes the lower part, this is very marginal, up to half a centimetre difference, but I noticed it and felt it worth mentioning. This only affects full page designs not any of the centralised images.
    Magical Jungle 13 Image Orientation (1) Magical Jungle 13 Image Orientation (2)
  14. Printing – The UK edition is printed in Italy (predominantly, some much whiter versions seem to be appearing and these have apparently been published in China) and the US edition is printed in the US.
    Magical Jungle 14 Printing (1) Magical Jungle 14 Printing (2)
  15. Image Quality – This is another major difference and issue between the two editions. The US edition has beautifully printed smooth lines which look as crisp as I imagine Johanna’s original drawings look. Sadly, the same can’t be said for the UK edition and before you ask, no I don’t have a bad copy, I’ve checked with a couple of friends and they have the same issues as I do in their UK edition. The lines are slightly pixelated and not smooth. This is the case throughout the book. A relative of mine has a history in book printing and after looking at the two books he said that this difference in print quality is because of the printing method used for the two books. The UK edition has been printed lithographically which often causes slight pixelation and this is present throughout and while it’s not noticeable from a distance (you may not have even noticed it yet in your copy, sorry if I’ve just ruined your enjoyment of it), it does become noticeable when you get closer to the page. It’s a real shame that Johanna’s images haven’t been printed with a completely crisp line. I’ve now looked through my copies of her other titles and this was also present on a few pages in Enchanted forest. This would again lead me to advise purchasing the US edition.
    Magical Jungle 15 Image Quality (1) Magical Jungle 15 Image Quality (2) Magical Jungle 15 Image Quality (3) Magical Jungle 15 Image Quality (4) Magical Jungle 15 Image Quality (5) Magical Jungle 15 Image Quality (6)
  16. Introduction page – The text on both editions is justified ever so slightly differently and there is an extra comma in the US text.
    Magical Jungle 16 Introduction Page
  17. Binding – The UK edition is stitched and lightly glue-bound whereas the US edition is only glue-bound and because of the fixed cover the binding is much tighter in the US edition. This will ease up with use, especially if you crack or break the spine (I always find this heartbreaking to do), but initially the US edition is much tighter and opens less flat than the UK edition.
    Magical Jungle 17 Binding
  18. Images in key – The key gives the locations of all of the hidden items throughout the book, these are listed in a completely random order in the US edition but in the UK edition they are listed numerically (from largest to smallest number) and alphabetically.
    Magical Jungle 18 Images in Key (1) Magical Jungle 18 Images in Key (2)
  19. Perforated Pages – The four perforated pages at the back of the book are 1cm wider in the US edition than the UK edition.
    Magical Jungle 19 Perforated Pages (1) Magical Jungle 19 Perforated Pages (2)

To sum up, if you’ve managed to make it this far, the two biggest factors affecting your decisions are these:

  1. Matching set – If you want your copy of Magical Jungle to match Secret Garden, Enchanted Forest and the UK edition of Lost Ocean as much as is currently possible (bearing in mind the difference in paper colour and thickness and level of intricacy), then you want the UK edition because it is exactly the same size and also has the distinctive removable dust jacket that we all know and love.
  2. Larger, easier to colour images, thicker paper and crisp linework – If your vision or fine motor control aren’t perfect then I’d definitely advise purchasing the US edition of Magical Jungle because the extra (up to) 1cm in the images will be useful. The paper is thicker and toothier making it best for pen and pencil users and the linework is printed more crisply and neatly so overall, apart from the dust jacket and slight difference in book size, the US edition is superior in almost every way.

Everything else I’ve listed is not a criticism and doesn’t impact use or enjoyment, I’ve just listed all of the differences to make people aware of what they are and to make it easy to identify which copy is which when looking at pictures of it online and elsewhere. In my opinion, the US edition offers a superior colouring experience to the UK edition and if you’re going to purchase just one copy then I’d suggest it be that one. If you notice any other differences then please do get in touch and I’ll add them to the list! Happy Colouring – You’ve definitely earnt it!

You can read my review of the contents of Magical Jungle, including my mental health recommendations here.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of Magical Jungle it’s available here:
UK Edition
Amazon UK – Magical Jungle
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Magical-Jungle-Johann-Basford/9780753557167/?a_aid=colouringitmom
US Edition
Amazon UK – Magical Jungle
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Magical-Jungle-Johann-Basford/9780143109006/?a_aid=colouringitmom

 

Millie Marotta's Wild Savannah Deluxe Edition

Millie Marotta’s Wild Savannah: Deluxe Edition – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Millie Marotta’s Wild Savannah: Deluxe Edition is published and was kindly sent to me to review by Batsford Books. This book is a genuine work of art and reviewing it has been really enjoyable because it is so beautiful to look through and to colour. You can read my review of the original edition of Wild Savannah here, I will be making comparisons to that version in this review for those of you who already have the original edition and for those of you who want to know the differences. The Deluxe Edition is a hardback book with a gorgeous fiery orange linen cover and a white screen-printed antelope on the front. The writing on the cover and spine is covered in beautiful gold foil and the book itself is very thick (see comparison photo below of original and deluxe editions) and hefty and just oozes luxury. The book arrives covered in thin plastic wrap to keep the cover safe which is a great idea so that it doesn’t get damaged or marked in any way. The book is a little larger than the original because of the hardback cover but the pages and images themselves are exactly the same size (I measured to check). The spine is stitched and lightly glue-bound so some pages are easier to colour into the spine than others. The images are printed single-sided on the right-hand pages and are borderless meaning a little is lost into the spine in the full-page images but it really is only a little. The pages are not perforated but could be carefully removed with a scalpel to frame or gift to others. The paper is thicker than the original (180gsm) and bright white, I used Stabilo water-based fineliners and they didn’t bleed or shadow at all. The paper is a good thickness but it cannot be described as card-like and is thinner than the paper found in Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden original edition and Artist’s Edition. The paper is very smooth and gives a fairly good surface for colouring with pencils but does burnish quite quickly so you don’t get a lot of layers. Unlike the Animal Kingdom Deluxe Edition, there are no gold ribbon ties or bookmark, I’m not sure why they’ve been removed but I thought it worth noting that they have been.

The book contains almost every image from the original and all are exactly the same apart from one bird image which has been reversed so that less of it is lost into the spine (see photo below). The images are almost all in the same order as the original book, a few of the images are swapped slightly or broken up by the fold out double-page spreads. The majority of the double-page spreads from the original book have been printed onto double-width paper which folds outwards to the left of the book so that the full image can be coloured without the spine running down the middle of the image like in the original. There are 14 of these double-page gatefolds. At the end of the book is an envelope attached to the back cover containing 5 square prints, all from the book with no new additions (these are all pictured below), these images include the lion, bird on a branch, panther, gazelle with a bird on its nose, and the jackal on a rock. These images are printed on the same paper as the rest of the book and would be ideal for framing so you can display your beautiful artwork. As with the original book, there are spaces on a number of the images to add your own backgrounds and details but there are no written hints which keeps the pages nice and neat. The line thickness is the same throughout and the same as the original and the lines are very thin so this is definitely a book for those of you with good vision and fine motor control.

This book has exactly the same content and mental health benefits as the original and the recommendations about that are also the same for this one so I won’t repeat it here but my review of the original Wild Savannah book can be found here. I personally feel that the price tag of £25 is a little steep but it is a genuine work of art and would make an excellent present or coffee table book, as well as the perfect book to display your artistic talent. Because the images are printed single-sided, I did find that this edition feels a little less cohesive than the original and feels a little more stilted rather than telling a story, however, it also really showcases your work because you only see one image at a time meaning you can really give it your time and attention when colouring and looking through it afterwards.

This is a stunning book which is a true work of art. I felt quite intimidated by it at first because it’s so perfect and I was worried about ruining it. At this price, I can’t afford multiple copies if I make a mistake so my advice would be to practice in a copy of the original book, found on Amazon for just £5 (link below), and then when you’re happy, colour your best version in the Deluxe Edition. If you’re a fan of Millie’s work or are new to it and wanting a luxurious colouring book then this book is ideal for you. It’s just gorgeous and definitely the most luxurious colouring book I’ve encountered so far and for fans of Millie’s work, it’s an absolute must-have!

You can purchase a copy here:
Amazon UK – Millie Marotta’s Wild Savannah: Deluxe Edition
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Millie-Marotts-Wild-Savannah-Millie-Marott/9781849943871/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you’d like a copy of the original version of Wild Savannah, it’s available below:
My Review
Amazon UK – Millie Marotta’s Wild Savannah
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Millie-Marotts-Wild-Savannah-Millie-Marott/9781849943284/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 fineliners.

Millie Marotta's Wild Savannah Postcards

Millie Marotta’s Wild Savannah: 50 Colouring In Postcards – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Millie Marotta’s Wild Savannah: 50 Colouring In Postcards is published and kindly sent to me to review by Batsford Books. As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of Millie’s work and this set of postcards doesn’t disappoint! They come in a lovely presentation box made of very thick card and covered in the same green colour inside and out as the spine of the original edition of Wild Savannah (you can read my review of that book here) and a scaled down version of the cover, complete with gold foiling, on the front. There are two sets of postcards, one including 30 postcards and the larger set containing 50 which is the set I’m reviewing here (do check listings carefully to make sure you’re getting the set you want). As stated before, this set contains 50 postcards, I expected there to be some duplicates but they’re all different and all beautiful! Some of the postcards are portrait, others are landscape. Some are of the whole original image scaled down and others are of sections of the original image at the original size so there is a real variety of intricacy levels from intricate to VERY intricate – the majority of the postcards are the same size as the originals or thereabouts. A few of the images do look incredibly challenging to colour, especially those that are whole animals filled with flowers and leaves because they’re so teeny tiny. The postcards are all standard postcard size and are printed onto bright white, smooth, thick card which didn’t bleed or shadow at all when I used my water-based pens. The back is left completely blank with no address lines or anything and just the name of the book in the bottom left hand corner. These postcards would be ideal to send or frame or even be used for craft projects!

In terms of mental health, as with all of Millie’s illustrations, they are really calming and great for dealing with anxiety and low mood. Because all of the images are natural and animal based, they are great for relaxing you and the intricacy and detail levels are perfect for keeping you absorbed in the task and distracted from any difficult thoughts or feelings you may be having. The images used are a wonderful selection from the original images and I didn’t notice any of my personal favourites missing. The size of each image means that colouring one doesn’t have to take days and you could easily finish one in a couple of hours with pens or take a little more time with pencils and really get blending and shading. You could even practice some backgrounds on some of the images with larger open spaces. These postcards are definitely for those of you with good vision and fine motor control, as with Millie’s books, they’re very detailed and the linework is thin so there isn’t much room for error however, the majority are perfectly colourable for those of you that can cope with detail and thin lines and they’re ideal for those of you who are already fans of Millie’s work as they absolutely don’t disappoint. The postcards have a multitude of uses and can be coloured and kept in their beautiful presentation box, sent to friends and family (in an envelope to protect them whilst in the post), framed coloured or even uncoloured in single or multiple frames and could be incorporated into craft projects. They’re much more versatile than a book and there’s no need to worry about bleed-through because not only are they printed on thick card, they’re also single-sided. If you already have Millie’s books, these are the same illustrations as Wild Savannah, with no new additions, however, they don’t feel samey and are a really beautiful, new way of presenting the images and their versatility means that they’re almost given a new lease of life. These postcards were sent to me to review but even if they hadn’t been, I’d have bought them out of my own pocket (like I did with the Animal Kingdom postcards) despite already having a copy of the Wild Savannah book because they’re so lovely and have their own merits and uses.

I can’t recommend these postcards highly enough. I don’t know the difference between the 30 set and 50 set so I can’t advise whether getting both would be a good idea because it may be the case that the 50 set has 20 new images in comparison to the 30 set or they could both be completely different. My personal recommendation would be to get this, the larger set, because you’re getting so many more postcards for not a lot more money. The whole product feels luxurious from the gold foiling on the front to the green coloured inside and the golden ribbon that you can lift out the postcards with. The postcards are printed very crisply and no corners have been cut in production. This is a beautiful item that I’m so pleased I got to review because they’re just gorgeous!

If you’d like to purchase a set of postcards, they’re available here:
Amazon UK – Millie Marotta’s Wild Savannah: 50 Colouring In Postcards
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Millie-Marotts-Wild-Savannah-Millie-Marott/9781454710103/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Staedtler Triplus Fineliners.

Millie Marotta's Animal Kingdom 2017 Colouring Calendar

Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom 2017 Colouring Calendar – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom 2017 Colouring Calendar is published and very kindly sent to me to review by Batsford Books. The calendar itself is the same size as most others at 12 inches square, making it significantly larger than Millie’s books. It includes 12 of Millie’s signature and most well-known designs from her first colouring book, Animal Kingdom, reviewed by me here (this calendar doesn’t include any new images though the January image is the cover image of the book which isn’t pictured in the original and is a print from the Animal Kingdom Deluxe Edition). I have included pictures of all of the calendar pages below so that you can decide if this is for you, as well as comparison photos of the book and calendar size. The covers are made of thick card with gold foiling accents just like the book cover, it is slightly shiny so it won’t take water-based pens if you want to colour the cover but you could use alcohol markers. The pages are made of thick white paper which is good quality – I thought it was going to bleed with water-based pens but there was no bleed-through at all and only very slight shadowing when using my darkest fineliners and none with my lighter colours. Do bear in mind, when writing on the calendar I’d strongly advise using pencil so that you don’t get bleed through onto the next month’s image, or indentation from using a biro. The images are printed a little larger in the calendar than in the book so this is a great purchase for those of you who found Millie’s books just a little too detailed and small. You definitely can’t use alcohol markers because the images are all printed double-sided with the dates for the previous month on the back of the page which will get ruined by bleed-through if you colour ahead but would be fine if you colour month by month. The paper is quite smooth but has a little tooth and I didn’t have any issues with getting a few layers built up with my Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils. The calendar is staple-bound so it’s easy enough for you to fold it back on itself for easier colouring as it’s a little unmanageable when it’s not folded in half. Each page has a small hole at the top so that the calendar can be hung and displayed on the wall easily. The date pages are smart, clear and easy to use, each is within a box so there’s space for you to add your appointments, anniversaries etc. The week starts on Sunday and international holidays are marked.

In terms of mental health, this calendar is ideal because not only does it give you hours of colouring fun and distraction, you can also easily display it on your wall to brighten up even the darkest of days and you’ll get satisfaction every day looking at all of your beautiful hard work. The slightly larger image size means it’s more suitable to those of you who don’t have perfect vision or fine motor control. It’s a great project that will help motivate you with a deadline of making sure each image is ready for the first day of the following month. The pages could also be removed at the end of the year once you’re done with the calendar and could be easily framed or gifted to others to bring enjoyment for years to come. As with all of Millie’s images, they are intricate and detailed and do require a fair amount of concentration which is great for keeping you occupied when you’re feeling anxious or low, they’re nature-based so they’re very calming and really lovely to look at. Millie’s images are really good for practising mindfulness techniques because they require a lot of focus and time to complete meaning this calendar is ideal for those of us who are mentally ill and needing to zone out. The line thickness is thin throughout but it’s not spindly so there is a little leeway when colouring.

I would highly recommend this for any colouring fan who needs a calendar in their life. Millie fans won’t be disappointed with this calendar, it’s beautiful with a lovely selection of designs and great paper quality and it will brighten up the darkest of rooms and moods. It would make a fabulous gift either as it is, or fully coloured for someone and it’s not only useful for the coming year as a calendar, but for years to come when you can frame your pictures to continue the joy.

If you’d like to purchase a copy it can be found here:
Amazon UK – Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom 2017 Colouring Calendar
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Millie-Marotts-Animal-Kingdom-2017-Calendar-MAROTT-MILLIE/9781849943925/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and PanPastels.

Harry Potter Poster Colouring Book

Harry Potter Poster Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Harry Potter Poster Colouring Book is published and very kindly sent to me to review by Studio Press. This book is huge at a whopping 28x35cms, it’s paperback with a flexible card cover that matches the original Harry Potter Colouring Book and has the same gold coloured spine and a picture of Buckbeak on the front. The spine has a lay-flat binding and the pages are removable if you wish but they’ll stay put in the book if you’re careful not to twist the spine too much. The posters are made of bright white, medium thickness card which is lightly textured so it’s ideal for use with pens or pencils and would be fine to use alcohol markers on too. The posters are single-sided and a mixture of portrait and landscape orientation. The majority of the images have a border around them so they’d be ideal for framing with minimal effort involved. The book contains 20 posters, most of these are images found in the original Harry Potter Colouring Book with a couple from the other two titles, 2 appear to be completely new and another is a new rendering of the four House crests and the Hogwarts crest in the centre, all of which have been pictured separately before but not all together. Sadly, three of the images are wallpaper-style designs which I always think is a shame in postcard and poster books because it feels like a waste but we all like to colour different things and these may be your favourite pages. Many of the images are the same as those pictured in the Harry Potter Postcard Colouring Book. The pictures include Harry and Hedwig; Aragog; Centaurs; the Crests; Harry, Ron and Hermione on Buckbeak; Dobby, Fluffy, Cornish Pixies and loads more. There is a good selection of different characters, objects and scenes depicted but do check the images below to decide if these image choices are ones you’re happy with.

In terms of mental health, this book will be ideal for Harry Potter fans who want some escapism and who love the idea of being able to frame or gift their work, or even just to work on a larger-scale project. The images are all upscaled so the intricacy and detail level is decreased from the original book and is easier to colour for those of you with poorer vision or fine motor control; there is a huge variance in these levels with some images having large open spaces and others having much finer detail to colour within. The line thickness also varies throughout from thin to thick and also varies within some of the images so this is certainly a book that would be ideal for those of you with fluctuating conditions or concentration levels. The image content doesn’t have much of an impact on mood or symptoms of mental illness or other conditions, however, it does offer escapism and would be ideal to colour while watching the films or listening to the audio books so that you can truly be transported off to Hogwarts and be fully immersed in the wizarding world.

I would recommend this book to those who are fans of Harry Potter and those who have already been enjoying the colouring books and postcard books. This is a great continuation of the series and while a few of the image choices are a little disappointing, it’s a very solid addition to the collection and one that’s sure to be a hit with those of you wanting to frame, display or gift your work, or to just try out wetter mediums on single-sided images.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this poster book, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Harry Potter Poster Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Harry-Potter-Poster-Colouring-Book-Warner-Brothers/9781783705962/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-tip Pens and Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.

Beatrix Potter Colouring Book

Beatrix Potter Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Beatrix Potter Colouring Book is published and was very kindly sent to me to review by Puffin Books. This year marks 150 years since the beloved children’s book author and illustrator, Beatrix Potter, was born. There aren’t many people whose childhood wasn’t filled with at least one or two of her charming animal-centred tales, mine included, so when I heard that a colouring book was to be made I was excited and a little nervous about whether it would live up to expectations. I can safely say it does, at least for me anyway!

The book itself is 25cm square, the same size as the bestsellers, it’s paperback with a partially coloured cream card cover with luxurious gold foiling accents, a gold spine, and one-third French flaps with a blue and white foliage design. The spine is glue and string-bound so it’s durable and strong and it’ll ease up over time so that you can reach the centre of the images and colour them fully. The paper is a creamy off-white but not yellowy, it’s medium thickness and lightly textured and I found it worked well with pencils and I was able to build up layers, water-based pens do shadow and may bleed but this isn’t an issue. The images in the book are printed single-sided with the exception of the first spread which includes a double-page spread of a map of Beatrix Potter’s world showing where all of her most-loved creatures live. There is a small treasure hunt at the front of the book with 12 items and creatures for you to find within the pages, there are no answers printed in the book so if you’re unable to find one it may allude you forever! The book starts with a beautiful This Book Belongs To page and then continues with the map, followed by 44 single-sided images (one of these is a duplicate in my copy which may be a printing error in mine or all copies, I’m not sure). On the back of all the pages is a thumbnail of the image and a brief description or title of the image content. The images contain all of the most well-known characters from Beatrix Potter’s books from Peter Rabbit to Jemima Puddleduck, Jeremey Fisher to Mrs Tiggywinkle, Squirrel Nutkin to Tom Kitten and heaps more. The images range from scenes to character portraits with associated items around them and include a few wallpaper style images too including carrots, acorns, flowers, leaves and miniature images of some characters. The illustrations aren’t direct copies of Beatrix Potter’s originals but they’re very much drawn in her style and the characters are easily recognised and you will certainly be able to mimic her colour and painting style if you so wish.

In terms of mental health, this book is just wonderful! It’s incredibly nostalgic and transports you right back to childhood and happy memories of being read the tales by parents or grandparents, watching the films on video, or even reading the books yourselves whilst snuggled up with your Peter Rabbit or Jemima Puddleduck cuddly toy (it can’t just have been me?!). Now, you get the chance to colour the images yourself and either replicate Beatrix’s colours and style, or bring a whole new lease of life to them by spicing up the colours you choose, it’s entirely up to you! The line thickness does vary throughout from thin to medium thickness and this is directly related to the intricacy and detail level of each image with the thin-lined pages having lots of intricate details to colour and the medium-lined pages having much larger open spaces where you can really go to town with your blending and shading if you wish. You certainly don’t need perfect vision or fine motor control in order to enjoy the majority of the pages in this book; the exceptions are a handful of the most detailed wallpaper-style images which you may prefer to just leave. This book is very natural and calming and the illustrations are utterly charming and filled with character so they’re wonderful for your mood and for brightening the darkest of days or settling the most anxious mind. Many of the images consist of collections of images and are therefore well suited to good or bad days with natural stopping points after just one carrot or portrait of Squirrel Nutkin, or on better days you can colour a full page. There are hours and hours of colouring fun held within these pages and before you know it you’ll be transported into Beatrix’s anthropomorphic world.

I would highly recommend this book to children, and nostalgic adults, whose childhoods were filled with the tales of Beatrix Potter. This book is beautiful and familiar and while it doesn’t contain the original illustrations, these are not far off and offer a great starting point to create your own Potter-esque masterpiece. This is a colouring book that truly transports you back in time and into another world and once you’re there, I’m not sure you’ll want to stop colouring it!

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Beatrix Potter Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/The-Beatrix-Potter-Colouring-Book-null/9780241287545/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, Peter’s fur was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils.

I Heart Baking Colouring

I Heart Baking Colouring – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
I Heart Baking Colouring is published and was very kindly sent to me to review by Buster Books. When I saw that my two favourite pastimes were being combined into one super cute book, I was very excited! I love baking and my favourite food is cake but colouring baked treats is guilt-free because you get all of the fun with none of the calories. This book is 15cm square, paperback with petrol blue card covers and silver foiling accents on the front. 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 single pages. This book is packed full of images of sweet treats, pastries, savoury dishes and even some fruit and veg (it does go a little off-topic at points). 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 cakes, doughnuts, sweets, vegetables, pizza, fruit, biscuits, macarons, teacups, kettles, bunting, cupcakes, aprons, Easter eggs, jam jars, baking equipment, and so much more! Many of the pages are collections of images of associated items and others are scenes of tea parties or biscuit displays. There’s a huge assortment of tasty treats packed in and this book is sure to keep up with your appetite for colourable baking but may make you hungry in the process.

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 Baking 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 doughnut and on better days you can colour a full table of cupcakes 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 baking enthusiasts and anyone looking for something fun and quirky to really go to town on. Cakes don’t have to be coloured in brown and you can add all sorts of splashes of colour with lime green icing and purple fruit. I love this book and think it’s a must-have for all colouring foodies!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
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.

Summer Nights

Summer Nights Coloring Book (Sommarnatt) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are con
Summer Nights Coloring Book is illustrated by Hanna Karlzon and published and very kindly sent to me to review by Gibbs Smith. This book was originally published in Sweden under the title Sommarnatt and it’s finally been published in English and I can’t tell you how excited I was to finally receive my copy! There has been a lot of worry about whether the English editions would match up in quality to the Swedish editions and I can confirm that they absolutely do! Gibbs Smith have meticulously published this so it’s identical to the Swedish editions except for being written in English, the paper is not only identical, it’s from the same paper mill so these books really are truly identical! So, now that’s cleared up, on with the review.

This book is hardback and just a little smaller than A4 at 21.6 x 25.8 cm. The covers are a beautiful pale pink colour with black and white butterflies with gold foiling accents and lettering adding a touch of luxury! The spine of the book is black with gold lettering (these books look really luxurious on the shelf and look like classic tomes). The pages are glue and string-bound and the pages are attached to a sturdy ribbon which is flexible rather than being rigidly glued to the hardback spine; the spine is durable and hard-wearing but it can be a bit difficult to get to the very centre of some of the pages though this does ease up with use. The paper is thick, cream and lightly textured and pencils work well on it, easily building up layers for blending and shading and water-based pens don’t bleed or shadow (always test somewhere inconspicuous because everyone colours differently). The illustrations are printed double-sided and consist of single and double-page spreads. The image content is really varied and utterly beautiful! The pictures are very nature-centred but not all of them are realistic or as you’d find nature in real-life. There are lots of images of women (11) with flowing hair, floral tattoos and piercings but if you’re not interested in colouring people, don’t despair, these are not the majority and there are heaps of images of animals, flowers and plants and lots of gems for those of you who, like me, are addicted to colouring gemstones! It’s hard to describe the sheer amount of content within this book but some of the pages include pictures of keys, bees, mice, houses, cats, owls, portraits, butterflies, spiders, mushrooms, frogs, birds, and just so much more! The illustrations are all drawn in a very ornate, highly decorative style and they’re just beautiful and they look incredible when coloured!

In terms of mental health, this book is just wonderful, it offers escapism, natural imagery and lots of whimsy and it’s perfect for distraction even just by looking through the images! The line thickness is consistent throughout and remains medium/thin so it’s definitely manageable to colour. The intricacy and detail vary throughout and mostly range from medium to high but a few have much larger open spaces. The detail is part of what makes Hanna’s work so special and beautiful, if you’re wanting to colour within each teeny tiny section then you’ll need to have very good vision and fine motor control but if you’re happy to colour over some of it and use it as texture underneath then moderate vision and fine motor control would be absolutely fine! Unlike Hanna’s first book Daydreams, this book doesn’t contain any images with written prompts to fill in the outline with your own patterns. This may be a welcome change for those of you who don’t like to draw. A number of the images are centralised and have large open spaces behind or within them so there are plenty of opportunities to create your own background if you wish, though if course this isn’t a requirement! I found this book and the illustrations within it great for my mood, just looking through it and noticing all of the different details, patterns and creatures makes me feel calmer and the images are just charming so they’re sure to lift your mood and keep you distracted from any difficult thoughts or persistent symptoms. The images do vary in size and difficulty and they consist of a mixture of collections of components and scene scape images. This makes it ideal for good and bad days because you can work on one flower or beetle on a bad day, or a whole page on a good day so it’s ideal for those with fluctuating conditions or concentration levels.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves natural images, highly ornate illustrations, and anyone who likes all things pretty. This book is genuinely stunning and one of my favourites, I love just looking through it and I can’t wait to colour it cover to cover!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available right now at Book Depository and will be shipping shortly from Amazon.
Amazon UK – Summer Nights Coloring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Summer-Nights-Coloring-Book-Hann-Karlzon/9781423645580/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you can’t get enough of Hanna’s work then check out her first book Daydreams, reviewed by me here.

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils.

Daydreams

Daydreams Coloring Book (Dagdrömmar)– A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Daydreams Coloring Book is illustrated by Hanna Karlzon and published and very kindly sent to me to review by Gibbs Smith. This book was originally published in Sweden under the title Dagdrommar and it’s finally been published in English and I can’t tell you how excited I was to finally receive my copy! There has been a lot of worry about whether the English editions would match up in quality to the Swedish editions and I can confirm that they absolutely do! Gibbs Smith have meticulously published this so it’s identical to the Swedish editions except for being written in English, the paper is not only identical, it’s from the same paper mill so these books really are truly identical! So, now that’s cleared up, on with the review.

This book is hardback and just a little smaller than A4 at 21.6 x 25.8 cm. The covers are a beautiful pale green colour with white birds and flowers drawn in black ink with gold foiling accents and lettering adding a touch of luxury! The spine of the book is black with gold lettering (these books look really luxurious on the shelf and look like classic tomes). The pages are glue and string-bound and the pages are attached to a sturdy ribbon which is flexible rather than being rigidly glued to the hardback spine; the spine is durable and hard-wearing but it can be a bit difficult to get to the very centre of some of the pages though this does ease up with use. The paper is thick, cream and lightly textured and pencils work well on it, easily building up layers for blending and shading and water-based pens don’t bleed or shadow (always test somewhere inconspicuous because everyone colours differently). The illustrations are printed double-sided and consist of single and double-page spreads. The image content is really varied and utterly beautiful! The pictures are very nature-centred but not all of them are realistic or as you’d find nature in real-life. There are lots of images of women (10) with flowing hair, floral tattoos and piercings but if you’re not interested in colouring people, don’t despair, these are not the majority and there are heaps of images of animals, flowers and plants and lots of gems for those of you who, like me, are addicted to colouring gemstones! It’s hard to describe the sheer amount of content within this book but some of the pages include pictures of beetles, butterflies, cats, mice, birds, mushrooms, leaves, flowers, dragonflies, fish, shells, underwater creatures and just so much more! The illustrations are all drawn in a very ornate, highly decorative style and they’re just beautiful and they look incredible when coloured!

In terms of mental health, this book is just wonderful, it offers escapism, natural imagery and lots of whimsy and it’s perfect for distraction even if just looking through the images! The line thickness is consistent throughout and remains medium/thin so it’s definitely manageable to colour. The intricacy and detail vary throughout and mostly range from medium to high but a few have much larger open spaces. The detail is part of what makes Hanna’s work so special and beautiful, if you’re wanting to colour within each teeny tiny section then you’ll need to have very good vision and fine motor control but if you’re happy to colour over some of it and use it as texture underneath then moderate vision and fine motor control would be absolutely fine! Three of the spreads have a patterned image on the left side and an outline of the same image on the right with writing suggesting for you to draw your own patterns, these images give huge scope to be able to copy the original, create your own patterns or even add galaxies, sunsets or silhouettes, the possibilities are endless! A number of the images are centralised and have large open spaces behind or within them so there are plenty of opportunities to create your own background if you wish, though of course this isn’t a requirement! I found this book and the illustrations within it great for my mood, just looking through it and noticing all of the different details, patterns and creatures makes me feel calmer and the images are just charming so they’re sure to lift your mood and keep you distracted from any difficult thoughts or persistent symptoms. The images do vary in size and difficulty and they consist of a mixture of collections of components and scenescape images. This makes it ideal for good and bad days because you can work on one flower or beetle on a bad day, or a whole page on a good day so it’s ideal for those with fluctuating conditions or concentration levels.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves natural images, highly ornate illustrations, and anyone who likes all things pretty. This book is genuinely stunning and one of my favourites, I love just looking through it and I can’t wait to colour it cover to cover!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available right now at Book Depository and will be shipping shortly from Amazon.
Amazon UK – Daydreams Coloring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Daydreams-Coloring-Book-Hann-Karlzon/9781423645566/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you can’t get enough, there’s an Artist’s Edition of Daydreams which is also available, you can read my review of it here. Alternatively, you can also get more of Hanna’s beautiful work in her second colouring book – Summer Nights.

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils.

Blomstermandala Malarbok

Blomstermandala Målarbok – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Blomstermandala Målarbok is illustrated by Maria Trolle and published and very kindly sent to me to review by Pagina Förlag. This is one of the many stunning titles that has come out of Sweden in the last year and luckily for the rest of us worldwide, the US publisher Gibbs Smith has acquired the rights to it and will be publishing an English edition in March 2017 (I know it’s a long wait but it’s definitely worth it and if you can’t wait it’s available below).

This book is just a little smaller than A4, measuring 21.6 x 25.4cm, it’s hardback with very sturdy thick covers and a green-gold tape covering the spine, the title is embossed in gold on the front and spine of the book. It is glue and string-bound and the spine is fairly tight so it’s not very possible to reach the very centre of the images though this will ease up with use. The paper is thick, cream and lightly textured and pencils work well on it, easily building up layers for blending and shading and water-based pens don’t bleed or shadow (always test somewhere inconspicuous because everyone colours differently). The illustrations are printed double-sided and consists of single and double-page spreads and a whopping 16 pages have black backgrounds. The images consist of beautiful nature-inspired pictures from garden scenes to floral mandalas, bunches of flowers to animals and whimsical scenes of slightly anthropomorphised animals and homely scenes. Heaps of flowers and animals are included: daffodils, lupins, tulips, sunflowers, roses, poppies, peonies and forget-me-nots; rabbits, hedgehogs, mice, birds, deer, cats, foxes, squirrels and even a frog. The illustrations are beautifully drawn and utterly charming, they’re really pretty and floral but also very natural and they’re an absolute joy to colour!

In terms of mental health, this book is just fantastic because it’s so centred around nature and is inherently very calming and relaxing. Even just looking through the book soothes my mind and noticeably slows it down and it really helps distract you from any negative thoughts or difficult symptoms. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is thin but not spindly thin so there is a little leeway for slight issues with vision and fine motor control though you will need a fairly high level of both of these but not perfect! The intricacy and detail levels vary throughout from large open spaces all the way down to small spaces but nothing is teeny tiny and none of the sections would be impossible to colour separately if you wish. The imagery is just beautiful and I absolutely love it, there’s a lot of variety but all centred around the same floral garden theme which makes it feel really cohesive and it’ll look incredible coloured cover to cover! The images are often made up of lots of component parts which is ideal for those of you with poor concentration or symptoms that make completing a whole page too daunting or difficult and you can easily colour one mouse, apple or daffodil and still get a sense of achievement. On better days you can tackle a whole page or even a double-page spread so this book is filled with lots of different size projects. A number of the images are centralised images with space around them where you could add your own backgrounds, there are no written hints so this is by no means obligatory but the option is there if you wish, the images do of course look finished without any additions though.

I would highly recommend this book to people who love Swedish colouring books and who love nature. The illustrations are beautiful and they’re drawn in a mostly realistic style which makes them ideal for realistic or surreal colour schemes. If you like pretty images of flowers, animals and plants then you’re sure to love this book, it’s gorgeous and utterly charming from beginning to end!

This book is currently only available to buy from The Pen Store, however, US publisher Gibbs Smith have acquired publishing rights and will be publishing it in English in March 2017, I know it’s a long wait but I promise it’s worth it and I’ll add links for pre-order as soon as they’re available!

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils.

Calming Colouring Flower Patterns

Calming Colouring Flower Patterns: 80 Mindful Patterns to Colour In – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Calming Colouring Flower Patterns: 80 Mindful Patterns to Colour In is published and kindly sent to me to review by Batsford Books. This book is 22cm square, paperback with a partially coloured floral pattern on the front cover. The spine is glue and stitch-bound so it’s sturdy and durable but a little difficult to get it to lie flat or get into the centre of each image, the majority of the images don’t enter the spine and with use it’ll ease up so this isn’t much of an issue. The paper is bright white, lightly textured and medium thickness, it faintly shadows with water-based pens but this will easily be covered by colouring the reverse image and there was no bleed-through; pencils work fairly well and a few layers can be built up. The book contains 80 images of flower patterns which are printed double-sided and are a mixture of single and double-page spreads. The illustrations are very cohesive and range from wallpaper-style images to full page floral images, repeating patterns to patterned strips, reverse black and white images to mandalas and more. The illustrations are quite samey and at points a little dull or basic compared to many of the colouring books we’ve been spoilt with but it’s great for zoning out and practicing your skills for some of the more advanced books.

In terms of mental health, this book is pretty good for distraction without being too taxing or strenuous. The images are natural and very floral and foliage-based, they’re fairly calming and easy to pick colours for and because of the repetition you can really focus on colouring each section and practising mindfulness so that you’re distracted from your thoughts and symptoms. The line thickness varies throughout from spindly thin to very thick and everything in between, most of the lines stay around the thin and medium range so the images are very colourable for people with even quite poor vision or fine motor control. The level of intricacy and detail also varies hugely throughout from very detailed to larger open spaces so this book would be ideal for people with fluctuating conditions or concentration levels. You can complete a small section or flower, or a full double-page spread and there are natural stopping points so it’s perfect for your good and bad days.

I would recommend this book for people who want an easy book to zone out with and use for distraction from thoughts whilst practising mindfulness and focusing on breathing. The images are fairly repetitive and a little samey but for the most part they’re pretty and fun to colour.

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Calming Colouring Flower Patterns: 80 Mindful Patterns to Colour In
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Calming-Colouring-Flower-Patterns-Graham-Leslie-McCallum/9781849943833/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-Tips.

The Country House Colouring Book

The Country House Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Country House Colouring Book is illustrated by Amy Jane Adams, and published and kindly sent to me to review by Pavilion Books. This book is landscape (21.6 x 27.9cm), paperback with flexible card covers and ½ flaps, the cover has a partially coloured image which is contained within the book and has bronze foil accents adding a touch of luxury. The spine is glue and stitch-bound so it’s sturdy and a little tricky to get to lie flat and to reach the centre of the pages however, there is a border around most images so only a few enter the spine and this will loosen up with use. The paper is bright white, lightly textured and heavily shadows with water-based pens and these will bleed through if you’re not careful; pencils work well on this paper and you can build up a few layers for blending and shading. The book contains 96 pages of double-sided illustrations, most are contained to a single page but a few are double-page spreads.

The images are all of National Trust country houses from all over the UK, the images are each titled with the name of the country house and which county it’s in and these are arranged into alphabetical order which makes finding specific places very easy to do. At the back of the book is a 5-page alphabetised list of all of the country houses that are included, as well as a short paragraph explaining what each image specifically depicts which is very helpful as a number of the illustrations are fairly abstract or are compilation pictures which can be difficult to decipher if you’re not familiar with the specific content. The images range from showing the front of the property in a relatively realistic drawing style to items found within the country house including paintings, dresses or furniture pieces, surreal representations of the buildings to compilations of buildings, items, and even associated historical people. The illustrations are very stylised and most aren’t drawn very realistically or especially neatly. The style is quite random and chaotic with line thickness haphazardly changing and lines joined up unnecessarily or not joined where they should be. It’s very difficult to describe the style so I’ve included lots of photos below but to me it looks almost like they’ve been drawn on an etch-a-sketch which isn’t a criticism, they’re just not drawn in the style I expected and this may prove surprising or disappointing to people who aren’t pre-warned. The illustrations depict a huge number of country houses from Anglesey Abbey to Corfe Castle, Hardwick Hall to Packwood House, Speke Hall to Wightwick Manor and heaps more, it includes castles, houses, manors, objects, and even historical figures.

In terms of mental health, I personally found the illustration style quite challenging and chaotic and therefore didn’t find it relaxing at all because it’s difficult to identify different parts of the drawing and work out how to colour each section. The line thickness varies throughout the book and within some of the images and ranges from spindly thin to medium thickness so there’s a real range and the random variations mean some of the images look a little untidy or not quite finished. The intricacy levels vary hugely throughout from extremely intricate to much larger open spaces so in order to fully enjoy this book you’re likely to need very good vision and fine motor control. A fair few of the images have very large open spaces where you could add your own details or backgrounds, there are no written hints though so you don’t have to do this at all but a few of the pages look a little sparse with one object in the centre and nothing else. The illustrations vary in size so this is an ideal book for those of you with fluctuating conditions or concentration levels because you can focus on a page of an object on your bad days or a full page of a building front on your good days. I think it would suit people who are more artistic than myself who can appreciate the surreal nature of the images and who don’t mind such varying line thicknesses.

I would recommend this book to the very artistic, who feel able to decipher the imagery and get colouring. The paper isn’t suited to pens so I’d strongly advise using pencils to get the most out of the artwork. Please do check out the photos below to decide if the art style suits you or if it’s a little too abstract. I’m sure people could create wonderful finished pages with this book, sadly I’m not able to really do it justice as it’s so far out of my comfort zone.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – The Country House Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Country-House-Colouring-Book-Amy-Jane-Adams/9781909881778/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.

Millie Marotta's Tropical Wonderland Deluxe Edition

Millie Marotta’s Tropical Wonderland: Deluxe Edition – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Millie Marotta’s Tropical Wonderland: Deluxe Edition is published and was kindly sent to me to review by Batsford Books. This book is a genuine work of art and reviewing it has been really enjoyable because it is so beautiful to look through and to colour. You can read my review of the original edition of Tropical Wonderland here, I will be making comparisons to that version in this review for those of you who already have the original edition and for those of you who want to know the differences. The Deluxe Edition is a hardback book with a gorgeous dark blue linen cover and a white screen-printed crested pigeon on the front. The writing on the cover and spine is covered in beautiful gold foil and the book itself is very thick (see comparison photo below of original and deluxe editions) and hefty and just oozes luxury. The book arrives covered in thin plastic wrap to keep the cover safe which is a great idea so that it doesn’t get damaged or marked in any way. The book is a little larger than the original because of the hardback cover but the pages and images themselves are exactly the same size (I measured to check). The spine is stitched and lightly glue-bound so some pages are easier to colour into the spine than others. The images are printed single-sided on the right-hand pages and are borderless meaning a little is lost into the spine in the full-page images but it really is only a little. The pages are not perforated but could be carefully removed with a scalpel to frame or gift to others. The paper is thicker than the original (180gsm) and bright white, I used Stabilo water-based fineliners and they didn’t bleed or shadow at all. The paper is a good thickness but it cannot be described as card-like and is thinner than the paper found in Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden original edition and Artist’s Edition. The paper is very smooth and gives a fairly good surface for colouring with pencils but does burnish quite quickly so you don’t get a lot of layers. Unlike the Animal Kingdom Deluxe Edition, there are no gold ribbon ties or bookmark, I’m not sure why they’ve been removed but I thought it worth noting that they have been.

The book contains almost every image from the original with the exception of half of two double-page spreads (the monkeys in the trees, and patterned elephant pages that are pictured below). The images are almost all in the same order as the original book, a few of the images are swapped slightly or broken up by the fold out double-page spreads. The majority of the double-page spreads from the original book have been printed onto double-width paper which folds outwards to the left of the book so that the full image can be coloured without the spine running down the middle of the image like in the original. There are 13 of these double-page gatefolds. At the end of the book is an envelope attached to the back cover containing 5 square prints, all from the book with no new additions (these are all pictured below), these images include the crested pigeon, butterfly, symmetrical foliage design from the first page of the book, panther, and the peacock centralised into a square image. These images are printed on the same paper as the rest of the book and would be ideal for framing so you can display your beautiful artwork. As with the original book, there are spaces on a number of the images to add your own backgrounds and details but unlike the original, there are no written hints of what to add which I personally much prefer because it leaves the page a lot neater. The line thickness is the same throughout and the same as the original and the lines are very thin so this is definitely a book for those of you with good vision and fine motor control.

This book has exactly the same content and mental health benefits as the original and the recommendations about that are also the same for this one so I won’t repeat it here but my review of the original Tropical Wonderland book can be found here. I personally feel that the price tag of £25 is a little steep but it is a genuine work of art and would make an excellent present or coffee table book, as well as the perfect book to display your artistic talent. Because the images are printed single-sided, I did find that this edition feels a little less cohesive than the original and feels a little more stilted rather than telling a story, however, it also really showcases your work because you only see one image at a time meaning you can really give it your time and attention when colouring and looking through it afterwards.

This is a stunning book which is a true work of art. I felt quite intimidated by it at first because it’s so perfect and I was worried about ruining it. At this price, I can’t afford multiple copies if I make a mistake so my advice would be to practice in a copy of the original book, found on Amazon for just £5 (link below), and then when you’re happy, colour your best version in the Deluxe Edition. If you’re a fan of Millie’s work or are new to it and wanting a luxurious colouring book then this book is ideal for you. It’s just gorgeous and definitely the most luxurious colouring book I’ve encountered so far and for fans of Millie’s work, it’s an absolute must-have!

You can purchase a copy of the Deluxe Edition here:
Amazon UK – Millie Marotta’s Tropical Wonderland: Deluxe Edition
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Millie-Marottas-Tropical-Wonderland-Deluxe-Edition-Millie-Marotta/9781849943734/?a_aid=colouringitmom

You can purchase a copy of Millie’s original book here:
Review – Tropical Wonderland
Amazon UK – Millie Marotta’s Tropical Wonderland
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Millie-Marottas-Tropical-Wonderland-Millie-Marotta/9781849942850/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 fineliners.

Tangle Magic

WORLDWIDE GIVEAWAY and Review – Tangle Magic: A Spellbinding Colouring Book With Hidden Charms

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Tangle Magic is illustrated by Jessica Palmer, published and kindly sent to me to review by Search Press Publishing. Search Press have very kindly offered to sponsor a Worldwide Giveaway for 2 copies of Tangle Magic (entry details at the bottom of this post, just above the photos). I am blown away by this book and have spent more time than I should have just looking through the pages, always noticing something new, there’s just so much detail included and so many aspects that aren’t immediately obvious but that you notice over time. I nearly cried when I saw that I had very kindly been mentioned in the dedication (see photo below) and that so many of my ideas for image content had been used, most notably the wonderful crystal ball, free from tangles so we can all colour it realistically, Jessica, from the bottom of my heart, thank you, for the dedication, for including us colourists in your inspiration process, and for creating such a wonderful third book! Emotional, mushy bit over, let’s get on with the actual review!

This book is 22.2cm square (10 inches), softback with a soft touch flexible card cover with line drawings on the front and back which are contained within the book and the pages are flexibound meaning they’re quite tight to begin with but the spine eases up with use and Search Press have reliably informed me that with sensible amounts of bending (including bending the covers so far back that they touch each other completely) the spine will hold up and you’ll be able to access the entire page. I’m yet to be brave enough to try this but you can certainly get very close to the centre of each image without much difficulty and the pages are stitch-bound which always increases durability. The paper is thick, bright white and lightly textured, (the same as Tangle Bay), water-based pens don’t bleed or shadow as long as you’re careful and there is plenty of tooth to be able to build up layers of pencil for blending and shading. The outlines of the images aren’t 100% permanent so when using pencils or heavy pressure, make sure you pop a spare sheet of paper behind your work to protect the proceeding page, the transfer is fully erasable but the paper will save time so you don’t have to be erasing things.

The book contains 75 pages of double-sided images which consist of a mixture of single and double-page spreads and they are filled with all manner of magical things. The content is a little different from what you might be expecting so I’ll describe it as best I can and have posted lots of photos of inside the book below so you can see inside for yourself. I was expecting to see predominantly magical paraphernalia and while there is plenty of that, the content is far more wide-ranging than I was expecting, I was thinking mostly witches, potions, magic wands and tricks, and there is lots of that, but there are also lots of anthropomorphised animals throughout which are either magical themselves, or in some cases performing magic tricks, or even the subject of spells. There are fairy tales included from the princess and the pea and what looks to be Aladdin in duck form, to a snow queen swan (or goose) and the characters of the nursery rhyme Hey Diddle Diddle and even the owl and the pussycat who appeared in Tangle Bay (they appear to be favourites of Jessica’s). All things weird, wacky, spellbinding, mystical and magical are included and while it’s not especially traditional, the wide-ranging content is fantastically diverse and covers everything from witches and potions to tarot cards and fortune telling, magic spells and rabbits out of hats, enchanted creatures and objects, and heaps of mythical creatures including a phoenix, unicorns, dragons, a lizard king and lots of other anthropomorphised creatures. This book is the perfect third instalment of the Tangle series and is a great combination of the heavily tangled and patterned designs from Tangle Wood, and the more whimsical anthropomorphised animals that we found in Tangle Bay. Tangle Magic is packed with content, all of which is original and fresh whilst still being very much drawn in Jessica’s signature hyper-detailed style. The book doesn’t tell a story or have a particular feeling of continuity but it is extremely cohesive and very much sticks to the magical brief. Unlike the previous two titles, there aren’t any pages with any particularly large open spaces left and there is only one frame rather than several so this book is much more geared towards those who want to just colour instead of adding their own drawings and features, though there is still plenty of space for backgrounds to be added if you wish! At the beginning of the book is a beautiful full-colour gemstone colouring tutorial and there are plenty of gems drawn that you can practice on throughout the book to perfect your skills!

In terms of mental health, this book offers fantastic escapism and will provide wonderful distraction from even the most intrusive of thoughts or symptoms. The line thickness varies a little throughout but mostly it’s thin and spindly then so you’ll definitely need very good vision and fine motor control to enjoy this book. The intricacy and detail levels are extreme and second to none, however don’t be put off, while there is a very high level of detail and intricacy, you can easily colour over this (see my chameleon picture) and use it as texture underneath rather than colouring within each section which makes it far less daunting and overwhelming and also means that your vision and fine motor control don’t need to be so good! There is so much to look at within each page that you really do get transported into Jessica’s wonderful, whimsical world and I have found this book fantastic for my mood because the illustrations are of nature which is inherently calming, but they’re also spiced up with lots of fun, humour and intrigue which piques your interest and keeps you focused on the here and now rather than being lost in your thoughts. This book is absolutely beautiful, hyper-detailed and will look absolutely incredible coloured in because there’s so much variety and because the content is magical you can use whatever colours you like and have purple dogs, red ducks and bright blue owls, the only limit is your imagination!

I would highly recommend this books to fans of Jessica’s previous books Tangle Wood and Tangle Bay, Tangle Magic has returned to the hyper-detailed zentangled patterns, with a wonderful whimsical scattering of anthropomorphised animals to lift your mood and fill the book with fun. All things magical and mystical are pictured and the content is extremely wide-ranging so there’s sure to be something to suit everyone.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of the book it’s available to pre-order here –
Amazon UK – Tangle Magic
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Tangle-Magic-Jessic-Palmer/9781782214632/?a_aid=colouringitmom
Search Press (first stock will arrive there next week so this is the fastest way of ordering a copy) – https://www.searchpress.com/book/9781782214632/tangle-magic

Jessica’s first two books can be found reviewed by me here – Tangle Wood, Tangle Bay.

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and the magic was coloured over using Sakura Gelly Roll Clear Stardust Gel Pen.

WORLDWIDE GIVEAWAY: Search Press have very kindly offered to sponsor a Worldwide Giveaway for one person to win two copies of Tangle Magic, one for them, and one to share with a friend. If you’d like to enter, head over to my Facebook Page and enter here by 8PM GMT on Sunday the 31st of July.

Coloring Notebook

UK Giveaway and Review – The Coloring Notebook

The Coloring Notebook is published and kindly sent to me to review by Coloring Notebook LLC. Colouring notebooks and journals are becoming increasingly popular as people are wanting to combine their love of colouring with their desire to write, many people associate journaling or writing a diary with adding doodles but for those of us with no drawing or doodling talent, the colouring notebook solves the problem of wanting to be creative but not being able to draw. This book is A5, hardback with a soft feel black cover with the words Coloring Notebook embossed on the back cover, it has a card slip around it which is removable and states what type of paper is inside and it has a black elasticated band to keep the book closed making it the perfect size and design to take with you on the move. The spine is glue and stitch bound so it’s durable and should be hard-wearing but this does mean that there is a gutter down the centre of the pages which makes it difficult to reach the centre of the images. The book and pages have rounded corners and there is a helpful yellow satin ribbon bookmark to mark your page for easy access, on the inside of the back cover is an expandable thick paper pocket which is described as able to fit A5 sheets of paper but is an inch too short for this. The coloring notebook contains 176 pages of 100gsm pages, the paper is described as archival quality and the website states you can use most mediums but I found this not to be the case. The paper is a cream colour and is thin (outlines of the images can easily be seen through the pages), I experienced heavy shadowing throughout and bleed-through in numerous places so I’d avoid using any type of pen apart from possibly gel pens, and sticking to coloured pencils which are ok to blend and layer on this paper though there’s not much tooth so you can’t build up a lot of layers. The notebooks all contain the same images but you can order them with plain, lined or dot-grid paper so they can be used for a multitude of tasks and you can order the best one to suit your needs. I was sent lined and dot-grid copies and am personally a fan of the lined paper as the dots are quite faint though this would be useful for creating diagrams or patterns. The illustrations themselves are a really random and quirky assortment of pictures created by numerous artists, they are mostly single pages and kept to the right hand page and 5 are double-page spreads. There are a fair number of double-page spreads with no images so there is plenty of room for writing, doodling or drawing, as well as over 50 colouring pages so there’s loads to keep you busy all in one notebook. The images range from cartoons and random objects like floppy discs to futuristic scenes from space, fantasy scenes of a Godzilla-style monster rampaging through the streets, to images of cupcakes and pasta dishes. There really is something for everyone, there’s even a mandala!

In terms of mental health, this notebook is great for those of you who want to combine journaling, doodling or drawing with colouring, you could even use it to jot down notes about your mental health and keep a record of it. The line thickness varies throughout and ranges from medium thickness to spindly thin so you’ll need pretty good vision and fine motor control for some of the images. The intricacy and detail levels do vary but most of the images are very intricate and detailed with few large open spaces meaning these images will take quite a long time to colour. There are a number of images that are made up of various small component parts so this notebook can definitely be easily used by those with fluctuating symptoms or concentration levels because you can easily colour one cupcake or raccoon on a bad day, or a whole page or even double-page spread on a good day when your focus is good. This notebook offers a great way of being creative for those of us who can’t or don’t like to draw and who want to combine creativity with journaling or note-writing of some kind. The illustrations are so varied that you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy colouring and they’re not pretty or girly so this notebook would suit male and female colourers alike with its quirky, fun and often downright random imagery!

I would recommend this coloring notebook to people who want to combine colouring with any activity that they usually use a normal notebook for. If you’re a pen-lover then I’d steer clear because of the thin paper as it bleeds badly, but if you love colouring in pencils or pastels then you’ll love combining colouring and writing or doodling. These notebooks aren’t available on Amazon but can be ordered to most places worldwide from the Coloring Notebook website here.

If you can’t wait to get your hands on one and would like a copy with the dot-grid paper then head over to my Facebook page where I’m running a giveaway for my second copy. This competition is open to UK residents only and will close at 8pm on Monday the 11th of July.

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.

Dagdrömmar Tavelbok

Dagdrömmar Tavelbok (Artist’s Edition) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Dagdrömmar Tavelbok is illustrated by Hanna Karlzon and published and kindly sent to me to review by Pagina Forlag. This book is the Artist’s Edition of Dagdrömmar, the hugely popular debut colouring book by Hanna. I don’t have the original book so I’m afraid I can’t make direct comparisons between the two and I’m unsure if the images are printed on a larger scale than the original (I will put in measurements of a few below so you can compare if you have the original and will update this review when I have the English version in a month).

This artist’s edition measures 29.5x21cm (A4), it’s paperback with thick but flexible card covers which are a beautiful green colour with black and white line drawings of Hanna’s beautiful birds and flowers with gold foiling accents on the front and back. The book has a black 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 (I’ve shown my finished page to a few people and they all think it was painted or printed because it’s 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 illustrations chosen are lovely and very cohesive; I’ve seen lots of finished pages from Dagdrömmar and the images chosen are not a cross-section of the pages, they’re quite niche, there are no pictures of people or mammals (except for one curled up fox), they are all depicting birds, insects and flowers and are quite similar to each other without being samey. All of the images are pictured below so that you know exactly what you’re getting, the illustrations are truly beautiful and are perfect for those who love to colour natural images.

In terms of mental health, this book is just wonderful, seasoned readers of my blog will know that I strongly believe that natural images, and those depicting nature are the best for mental health and calming you down and this book is no exception, the images are very relaxing! The line thickness is consistent throughout and remains medium/thin so it’s definitely manageable to colour. The intricacy and detail vary a little throughout from medium to high and this is part of what makes Hanna’s work so special and beautiful, if you’re wanting to colour within each teeny tiny section then you’ll need to have very good vision and fine motor control but if you’re happy to colour over some of it and use it as texture underneath then moderate vision and fine motor control would be absolutely fine! I found this book and the illustrations within it great for my mood, just looking through it and noticing all of the different details, patterns and creatures makes me feel calmer and the images are just charming so they’re sure to lift your mood and keep you distracted from any difficult thoughts or persistent symptoms. The images do vary a little in size and difficulty and they mostly consist of a collection of components which is ideal for good and bad days because you can work on one flower or beetle on a bad day, or a whole page on a good day so it’s ideal for those with fluctuating conditions or concentration levels. The fact that the pages are printed single-sided and are removable is fantastic because it means you can remove your works of art and frame them or gift them which is a great way of reminding yourself of what you can achieve and brighten up the darkest of days.

I would highly recommend this book to those of you who are already fans of Hanna’s work and have the original book, those who love to gift or frame their colouring, and those who like to use alcohol markers or wet media as there’s no worry about ruining any reverse images. The illustrations chosen are beautiful and extremely cohesive and are wonderfully calming. The Swedish version is available now from here, and the English version is due to be published on August the 9th and can be pre-ordered here:
Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/29jmp55
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Daydreams-Artists-Edition-Hann-Karlzon/9781423645573/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and the white highlights and accents were created using a White Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen.

Measurements – Wingspan of Dragonfly top wings: 19.1cm; Height of tallest bird of pair with key on string: 23.9cm.

Harry Potter Magical Places and Characters Colouring Book

Harry Potter Magical Places and Characters Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Harry Potter Magical Places and Characters Colouring Book is published and kindly sent to me to review by Studio Press. This book is the third in the Harry Potter Colouring Book series, you can find my reviews of the other two here: Harry Potter Colouring Book and Harry Potter Magical Creatures Colouring Book. A fourth title is due later in the year called Artefacts. Grab your wand, bring a lantern, swat up on your incantations and let’s get delving into the classrooms of Hogwarts and the nooks and crannies of Diagon Alley. This book is paperback with a glossy accented cover and a red spine, it’s A4 in size and glue-bound meaning that a little of some images is lost. The images are a mixture of single and double-page spreads with many of the single pages having a thin border meaning that they’re not lost into the spine. The book contains 96 pages which are printed double-sided. The paper is bright white and thick (they’ve sorted out the paper issues since the first book), and didn’t bleed or shadow when tested with water-based pens, it’s lightly textured and perfect for pencils, you can get plenty of layers for blending and shading! N.B. The US edition is published by Scholastic and has creamy-yellow paper which is lightly textured and does bleed and shadow with water-based pens, this seems to be the same paper as was used in the first print runs of the first book (more information about this can be found here). I would strongly advise all colourists to order a UK edition to avoid disappointment with paper, these can be purchased via Book Depository (link below).

The images are drawn by multiple illustrators so they’re cohesive in content but some are drawn quite differently from each other. The images themselves include many stills from the films which are drawn very realistically so it’s very obvious who each character is and they look just like the actors in costume playing them. There are also images based on concept art for the films and a few patterns are included which do feel a bit like “filler” images but there are fewer of these in this book than the previous two (about 5 versus 15+). A huge number of different places and characters are pictured from obvious inclusions of Hogwarts, Dumbledore’s office and various classrooms, to less familiar places such as the Weasleys’ shop, the Hogwarts Express, and the library. There are single and double-page spreads of film scenes such as Harry and Hagrid visiting Diagon Alley, the Sorting Ceremony in The Great Hall, Delores’s introduction in The Great Hall, Transfiguration class, repotting the mandrakes in Herbology, Delores’s office including her many plates of cat portraits, a Quidditch match, Hagrid’s cottage, and even scenes from inside Gringotts. All of your favourite characters are pictured too including all of the main students and teachers, portraits of the Fat Lady and Dumbledore, Voldemort, Fred and George Weasley, the Dursleys, and even Professor Trelawney. At the end of the book are a number of full colour pages of the images included in the book meaning you can either copy the colour schemes in those or pick your own, they’re also great for helping you re-live the magic of the films and get yourself back into the world of Hogwarts – as if any of us ever left!

In terms of mental health, this book doesn’t have an awful lot of impact on it unless you’re a Harry Potter Mega Fan in which case it’s likely to considerably lift your mood and give you hours and hours of distraction and enjoyment. The images take a long time to colour if you want them to look realistic so you will need fairly good levels of concentration. The line thickness varies from very thin to thick but mostly it remains thin so you will definitely need good vision and fine motor control to get the most out of this book. The best part of this book is that it has coloured pages at the back which can be used to copy or give inspiration for colour schemes, you can also easily google the scenes, objects or creatures to find images of them from the films to work out exactly how to colour them so they look true to the film, or you can go it alone and try out your own colour schemes with bright pink robes, green snow and yellow broomsticks – it doesn’t have to be realistic, remember it’s a magical world! Some of the illustrations are very intricate and detailed and others are much simpler with larger open spaces so this book does have a variety of difficulty levels to accommodate your good and bad days.

All in all, this is a good book, it’s better than the last because it’s more specific with fewer gaps in content and fewer “filler” images however I do find it less cohesive and a little more random. If you liked the first two Harry Potter colouring books then you’re sure to like this one and if you weren’t so keen on them then check out the photos of inside this one below before writing it off. The paper quality is better than the first and it’s great that you can use pens and pencils in it to really go to town! I would recommend it for any Harry Potter fans but do look at the images below so you can see if you’ll like it. A number of people have stated online that they were deeply disappointed with the content of the first book and I have to say I was a little disappointed myself, I expected more scenes and few, if any, patterned or object-focused images, with the focus of this book being on places, there are a lot more scenes so you’re more likely to like it if that was what you were hankering for. Pop on your robes, wrap up in your scarf (house colours of course), hop on your broomstick and fly straight to Hogwarts and get colouring the magical places and characters that reside there and beyond.

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Harry Potter Magical Places and Characters Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Harry-Potter-Magical-Places-Characters-Colouring-Book-Warner-Bros/9781783706006/?a_aid=colouringitmom

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

Harry Potter Magical Creatures Postcard Colouring Book

Harry Potter Magical Creatures Postcard Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Harry Potter Magical Creatures Postcard Colouring Book is published and very kindly sent to me to review by Studio Press Publishing. This is the postcard book of the Harry Potter Magical Creatures Colouring Book, reviewed by me here. This book contains 20 postcards of single page images from the book that have been scaled down from the originals to fit on the 16.2x12cm pages. The postcards are standard size and have a lay flat binding which makes them easy to remove when you wish but is sturdy enough to keep the postcards in place while you’re colouring and for if you wish to keep them as a complete book. The covers are made of thick card with green tape down the spine, the cover image is the same as the original book so it’s easy to tell which postcard set matches which book. The back of each postcard has a patterned border (these vary a little throughout), an outline for a stamp and four address lines accented by a feather quill with a small varying symbol in the centre. Each of the 20 images is taken directly from the book and scaled down to fit the page rather than being smaller sections of the original design. The card itself is bright white and lightly textured (it’s a little different from the card used for the Harry Potter Postcard Colouring Book reviewed by me here), the card is fairly absorbent so when using water-based pens be careful of spreading and be aware that the colours appear a little darker than usual, I didn’t experience any bleed-through or shadowing at all. Pencil works well and you can build up plenty of layers or colour in blocks with no white tooth left. The images are printed single-sided and are a fairly good selection from the originals, only a couple of the images are the wallpaper-style patterned images which feel a bit like filler images, the rest are very good stand-alone images which you’ll love colouring! A great selection of creatures is depicted including centaurs, Buckbeak, Fluffy the three-headed dog, Fawkes the phoenix, Hedwig, and many more (all pages are photographed below).

In terms of mental health, this book doesn’t have an awful lot of impact on it unless you’re a Harry Potter Mega Fan in which case it’s likely to considerably lift your mood and give you hours and hours of distraction and enjoyment. If you enjoyed the Harry Potter Magical Creatures Colouring Book then you’re highly likely to enjoy these postcards and the different scale offers different opportunities for colouring the images again and being able to frame or gift them and they’re a much more manageable size for bad days when your concentration or focus are poor and you need a quick colouring fix. The images still take a fairly long time to colour if you want them to look realistic, especially if you use pencils but they’re considerably quicker than the book pages were. The line thickness varies but is a lot thinner than the book and ranges from medium to spindly thin but mostly it remains thin so you will definitely need good vision and fine motor control to get the most out of these postcards. There aren’t any pre-coloured inspiration images in this postcard book like there were in the original but you can easily google the creatures to find images of them from the films to work out exactly how to colour them so they look true to the film, or you can go it alone and try out your own colour schemes, it doesn’t have to be realistic, remember it’s a magical world! Some of the illustrations are very intricate and detailed and others are much simpler with larger open spaces so the postcards do have a variety of difficulty levels to accommodate your good and bad days.

I would highly recommend these postcards to Harry Potter fans and to fans of the Harry Potter Magical Creatures Colouring Book, they are great fun to colour and would be ideal to incorporate into craft projects, frame for a Harry Potter themed room, or gifting to others to share the magical love.

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Harry Potter Magical Creatures Postcard Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Harry-Potter-Magical-Creatures-Postcard-Book-Warner-Bros/9781783705955/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils.