How to Draw Inky Wonderlands – 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.
How to Draw Inky Wonderlands is now released worldwide and I have been lucky enough to be sent a copy of the UK and US edition by Johanna Basford in order to write this comparison post for you all. Every time Johanna releases a new book there are huge online debates about which edition is ‘best’ to buy, what the similarities will be and what will be different and so I’m here to tell you about each and every difference so that you can make an informed choice. I have reviewed the UK edition here and the US edition 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. If you’d prefer to watch a video where I talk through and show all of the differences then scroll all the way to the bottom of the post where it’s embedded. 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 the cover colour, book size and paper type, so here goes with the most comprehensive list of similarities and differences that you’re likely to find online!

If you want to just skip ahead to the most crucial differences then look at points 1, 9, 14, 17, 20, 31, and 38, and the summary section at the bottom.

  1. Book Size – Each edition is the same height as the previous titles from the same country but they are not the same size as each other. This time they’re rectangular (like Ivy and the Inky Butterfly) and the US edition is 25.5cm by 21.5cm and the UK edition is half a centimetre smaller in each direction.
    1. Book Size How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 1. Book Size How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2)
  2. Cover Design – The cover design is very slightly zoomed in on the UK edition so the US edition has a little extra detail on 3 out of the 4 sides, at the bottom it appears to have been shifted slightly up on the UK edition and so it has a little extra image there.
    2. Cover Design How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 2. Cover Design How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2)
  3. Penguin Logo – The US edition has the Penguin Publishing logo subtly placed in the top right corner inside the seahorse image. The UK edition has a swirl design in its place. The US edition is published by Penguin, the UK edition is published by Virgin Books an imprint of Ebury.
    3. Penguin Logo How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
  4. Foiling Colour – The foil colour is gold on both but it’s ever so slightly yellower on the US copy and it’s shinier and smoother on the US copy too, it feels a little rougher on the UK edition.
    4. Foiling Colour How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 4. Foiling Colour How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2)
  5. Foiling Aspects/Amount – Both editions have completely different aspects of the cover foiled, with the UK edition having significantly more foiling than the US edition.
    5. Foiling Aspects Amount How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 5. Foiling Aspects Amount How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2)
  6. Coloured Background – The UK edition has a beautiful pink background behind the title, the US edition has a lovely duck egg blue background behind the title.
    6. Coloured Background How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
  7. Coloured Accents – Both editions have different aspects coloured and both have different colours, the UK edition only has pastel shades ranging from green to pink and the US edition has a much wider range of colours including pastels and more vibrant shades. There is much more colour added to the US edition though this is limited to the bottom right corner of the cover whereas the UK edition has small coloured accents scattered all over.
    7. Coloured Accents How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 7. Coloured Accents How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2) 7. Coloured Accents How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (3)
  8. Pencil on Cover – The pencil lines on the UK edition are printed much darker than on the US edition.
    8. Pencil on Cover How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
  9. Spelling – As ever, this is one of the most noticeable differences and it’s a really easy way to identify which edition you’re looking at because of the spelling of the word “colour” in the subtitle. Throughout the book there are various different spellings and sometimes completely different words are used due to the language differences between UK and US English. Examples of this include: Autumn/Fall, Sweets/Candy, Greaseproof Paper/Baking Parchment.
    9. Spelling How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
  10. Blurb – The UK and US editions have completely different blurbs. There is far more text and information on the US edition than the UK edition.
    10. Blurb How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 10. Blurb How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2) 10. Blurb How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (3)
  11. Cover Colour – The UK cover is whiter than the US cover, neither is cream but the UK edition is very white.
    11. Cover Colour How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
  12. Back Cover Images – The illustrations and tutorials on the back cover are printed much larger on the UK edition than the US edition, probably because there’s more space due to less text. There is also an illustrated tutorial at the bottom of the US back cover that isn’t shown on the UK edition however it is included in both books, just not on both covers.
    12. Back Cover Images How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
  13. Spine – Usually the book spines are black in the UK and white in the US. This time (as with Ivy and the Inky Butterfly), both are white with black text, it’s printed a little blacker on the US edition. The UK spine has two foiled drawings on it, the US spine has no foiling. The motifs differ too with the UK edition having a seahorse and a key and the US edition having a pen. The text is much larger on the US edition than the UK and the font remains consistent throughout the spine on the US edition whereas half of the title is written in italics on the UK edition spine. Neither edition has the subtitle printed on the spine this time. Finally, the UK edition has the Virgin Books logo and the US edition has the Penguin Books logo.
    13. Spine How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 13. Spine How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2) 13. Spine How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (3) 13. Spine How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (4) 13. Spine How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (5) 13. Spine How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (6)
  14. Binding – The UK edition is stitched and glue-bound whereas the US edition is only glue-bound. This makes the US edition less durable and can lead to pages falling out. The spine of both editions has to be worked in order to get the book to lie flat and if you work the spine too much, the US edition may fall apart whereas the UK edition will be much more durable.
    14. Binding How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
  15. Thickness – Due to the paper in the US edition being thicker (see point number 20), the book is thicker overall too.
    15. Thickness
  16. Weight – The UK edition weighs less than the US edition at 474g vs 511g. A 37g difference.
    16. Weight How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 16. Weight How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2)
  17. Dust Jacket – This is usually one of the biggest differences between the editions, with the UK edition usually having a removable dust jacket and the US edition having it attached. This time (as with Johanna’s Christmas and Ivy and the Inky Butterfly), neither of them have removable dust jackets. This is probably a very sensible choice as they’re prone to getting damaged and with this being a drawing book that’s meant to be worked in, you need to be able to work in it unhindered, however, I’m personally a little sad because I do really love the removable dust jackets but at least it’s one fewer thing to have to choose between when deciding which edition you want to purchase. The covers are made of thick card folded into ½ French Flaps inside. The card used for the UK cover is significantly thicker and less bendy than the card used for the US cover.
    17. Dust Jacket How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
  18. French Flaps (Images and Layout) – Both editions have ½ size French Flaps, they have the same illustrations but a very different layout with the UK edition having an image on each flap and the information from the US blurb about Johanna’s social media accounts on the back flap, and the US edition having both illustrations on the front flap and images of most of Johanna’s previously published titles on the back flap.
    18. French Flaps How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 18. French Flaps How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2)
  19. Inside Cover Design – The illustration on the inside covers is differently orientated with more of the image being printed in the US edition than the UK edition.
    19. Inside Cover Images How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
  20. Paper – This is one of the biggest differences between the two editions. The paper is not identical and is unique to each country. Johanna changed papers when Magical Jungle was published and her specially created ivory paper that was named after her is in all US copies of Magical Jungle, Johanna’s Christmas, Ivy and the Inky Butterfly, World of Flowers and now How to Draw Inky Wonderlands. In the UK we have a whiter ivory paper which Johanna and her team scoured the globe for and this is in all UK editions of Magical Jungle, Johanna’s Christmas, Ivy and the Inky Butterfly, World of Flowers, and How to Draw Inky Wonderlands. The UK paper is equal in thickness to Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest and significantly thicker than Lost Ocean, it has a little tooth but does burnish after a few layers of Polychromos and Prismacolor Premiers. 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 takes far more layers for blending. 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. I personally prefer the colour of the UK paper but the US paper is much easier to use pencils on and is less likely to bleed with water-based pens so I have to recommend that one.
    For drawing, I tested out the Staedtler Pigment Liners that Johanna recommends and uses herself. They worked well on both papers however the 0.2 size pen seemed to spread a little on the US paper. My partner and I tried it in case it was user error on my part and we both experienced the same thing however it was mostly just with that pen and not the other two sizes I tried so it’s possible it was just a dodgy pen but I don’t have a spare to test. Pencil erased well in both books but was significantly easier to erase in the US edition.
    20. Paper How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 20. Paper How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2) 20. Paper How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (3) 20. Paper How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (4) 20. Paper How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (5)
  21. Title Page Image Size – The title page image is printed 1.5cm larger in the US edition than the UK edition.
    21. Title Page Image Size How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 21. Title Page Image Size How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2)
  22. Copyright Page Information – There is much more information on the copyright page in the UK edition than the US edition.
    22. Copyright Page Information (1) 22. Copyright Page Information (2)
  23. Copyright Page Design – The design on the copyright page is printed much larger in the US edition and therefore a little less of the design is shown, despite the larger page size.
    23. Copyright Page Design Size and Orientation How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 23. Copyright Page Design Size and Orientation How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2)
  24. Printing Location – The UK edition is printed in China, the US edition is printed in the USA.
    24. Printing Location How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 24. Printing Location How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2)
  25. Grammar – There are several grammatical differences between the two editions. Different punctuation for quotes, the UK edition has apostrophes, the US edition uses standard speech marks (quotation marks). Due to different text justification, the US edition has a number of hyphenated words that cross two lines, there are none in the UK edition. In various places dots have been used and between the editions these are spaced very differently and a different number of dots are used. Oxford commas are used in both editions but fewer are found in the UK edition. A few words are written differently across the editions with some being two separate words, some one word and some hyphenated e.g. Facedown (US) vs Face Down (UK), Claw Like (US) vs Claw-like (UK), Mega Doodle (US) vs Mega-doodle (UK), straightaway (US) vs straight away (UK).
    25. Grammar How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 25. Grammar How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2) 25. Grammar How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (3) 25. Grammar How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (4) 25. Grammar How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (5) 25. Grammar How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (6) 25. Grammar How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (7) 25. Grammar How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (8) 25. Grammar How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (9)
  26. Tip Layout – In the UK edition, the tip is spaced much closer to the main body of text and the title is written in the same size font. In the US edition there is a larger space between the tip and the main body of text and the title is written in a larger font and the text justified differently. This is the same throughout the editions.
    26. The Tip is Laid Out Differently How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 26. The Tip is Laid Out Differently How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2)
  27. Web Address – This is printed in normal text in the UK edition and in bold in the US edition.
    27. Web Address How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 27. Web Address How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2)
  28. Missing Intro Text – On the Blooms and Ship Ahoy! pages, the introduction text is missing and there is just an empty space. This information isn’t important and therefore it’s not a big deal that it’s missing, it’s just something I noticed as a difference and it’s not clear why this is the case on just these 2 pages.
    28. Missing Intro Text How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 28. Missing Intro Text How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2)
  29. Grey Numbered Circles – In the US edition there is much more contrast in the colour of the grey compared to the black whereas the contrast varies in the UK edition and changes from lighter grey to darker grey and back again.
    29. Grey Numbered Circles How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
  30. Posies – There is an extra sentence in the last UK instruction, it’s not hugely important but a little strange.
    30. Posies How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
  31. Image Size – Some of the images are printed larger in the US edition than the UK edition but the amount of variance isn’t consistent throughout and only ranges up to a maximum of 1.5cm in each direction. Many are just a few millimetres.
    31. Image Size How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 31. Image Size How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2)
  32. Image Layout/Orientation – On all pages where the design reaches the edge of the page, the layout and orientation of the design differs between the editions.
    32. Image Layout and Orientation How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
  33. Seaweed Tangle Fish Image – In the US edition the fish image next to the instructions is placed much higher on the page than in the UK edition.
    33. Seaweed Tangle Fish Image How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
  34. Mention of Page numbers – On the Seashells and Woodland Garland pages in the UK edition, it mentions using the technique on page 26, there are no printed page numbers in either edition and no mention of this in the US edition.
    34. Mention of Page Numbers How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 34. Mention of Page Numbers How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2)
  35. Layout of Text on Last Page –The text on the last page is laid out differently with the UK edition having more paragraphs than the US and the information being identical but differently ordered.
    35. Layout of Text on Last Page How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
  36. Page Ink Permanency  – The ink is pretty permanent on both books. I tested both with a Derwent Blender pencil and a Derwent Burnisher pencil, there was no movement of pigment on the UK edition and very little movement on the US edition. Due to this not being a colouring book this is likely to have little to no effect on your enjoyment of the book, it’s just something I always test.
    36. Page Ink Permanency How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (1) 36. Page Ink Permanency How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (2)
  37. Publication Dates – The US edition published on Tuesday the 15th of October, the UK edition published on Thursday the 17th of October.
  38. Availability – Normally it’s very easy to get hold of whichever of these editions you wish to purchase and I’m hoping that will return to being the case. However, currently, at least in the UK and on Book Depository, it’s only possible to get the UK edition because the US edition isn’t listed on Amazon UK and is out of stock on Book Depository. I’m hoping that this will change soon and if it does, I’ll be sure to update this post but currently the US edition is proving difficult to get hold of outside America and Canada.
  39. Treasure Hunt – This isn’t a difference between the books but it is different from Johanna’s other titles. There is no treasure hunt contained within this book. Though of course you could create your own with the drawing skills that you’ll have learnt!

Although there are a lot of differences, the ones that will affect your enjoyment and therefore impact your decision are the paper, the binding and having a matching set. This book matches the previous titles less than usual and so it will stick out a little on the shelf anyway as it’ll only directly match Ivy and the Inky Butterfly. I think both papers are equally lovely but because of my issues with slight spreading of ink on the US edition, I would recommend the UK edition. I would also highly recommend the UK edition for the binding after numerous reports of US editions of previous titles falling apart. Mostly though, I’d advise getting whichever copy is easiest to get hold of because very few of these differences will hinder enjoyment or use enough that you wouldn’t want a copy.

Please do let me know in the comments section below which edition you’ll be purchasing and why!

UK Edition
Amazon UK – How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/How-Draw-Inky-Wonderlands-Johanna-Basford/9780753553190/?a_aid=colouringitmom

US Edition
Amazon UK –
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/How-Draw-Inky-Wonderlands-Johanna-Basford/9780143133940/?a_aid=colouringitmom

Video Comparison

How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (UK Edition) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
How to Draw Inky Wonderlands is by Johanna Basford who very kindly sent me a UK and US edition to review. This review is of the UK edition, (my US review can be found here) which is published by Virgin Books. I have also written a comparison post which can be found here, or the video comparison post can be found here.

This book is completely different from anything previously produced by Johanna and in fact, anything else I’ve seen on the market. Rather than being a colouring book, Johanna has welcomed us into her world to teach us her secrets in order to allow us all to be more creative and draw our own colouring pages and additions. As soon as I heard about the premise of the book I was very excited but also really nervous; I’ve always wanted to learn to draw but struggle to be patient or practice enough to actually improve. However, if anyone can teach me to draw, it’s colouring book queen, Johanna Basford, and spoiler alert, it’s actually working! Loads of people state that they can’t draw and are lying through their teeth, they normally mean that they can’t create a hyper-realistic portrait of someone that looks identical to a photograph. I, however, am serious about my lack of talent for drawing, I genuinely struggle to draw straight lines, circles or evenly-spaced stars and my sheep, age 28, are still drawn as clouds with stick legs and smiley faces. They’re adorable but no one believes anyone over the age of 8 drew them.

The book itself is paperback and unlike the majority of Johanna’s colouring books, it’s rectangular, not square and measures 21 by 25cm, making it the same size as Ivy and the Inky Butterfly and the same height as all of the UK editions of Johanna’s colouring books. There is no removable dust cover this time, instead having flexible card covers with ½ French flaps which open out front and back to reveal a beautiful flower, leaf and butterfly design that is fully colourable, it isn’t waxy and is very smooth meaning most mediums will be suitable for colouring it, just be careful with alcohol markers in case they bleed through to the external covers. The spine and covers are white with black text, the cover has gold foiling accents and the title is backed with a beautiful pink background. The spine is glue and string-bound which makes it very durable but a little tricky to get it to lie flat for drawing in however little to none of the content enters the spine and therefore you don’t lose much in the gutter. The paper is the same as that used in previous UK editions of Johanna’s titles from Magical Jungle onwards, this paper was found through a global hunt and it’s beautiful, it’s not the same paper as used in the US editions. The paper is a very pale ivory colour, it’s a medium thickness and lightly textured and it’s perfect for pens and pencils. It has a good level of tooth so it can cope with pencil lines being drawn and erased and the Staedtler Pigment Liners that Johanna uses herself and recommends drawing with work beautifully and seamlessly on the paper with no feathering, spreading, shadowing or bleeding and they blend in beautifully with the printed artwork so your drawings won’t stand out as “different” from the content that’s already on the page. The paper is ideal for pencils and water-based pens and you only need to avoid alcohol makers or particularly wet media. As ever, there’s a test page at the back of the book where you can check out how each of your tools and mediums behaves.

This is very much a drawing book, it’s not a colouring book with a few drawing tips included. Upon opening the book, you find a beautiful title page, name page and introduction including tips and a materials list. The book is then split into 3 themed sections: Garden, Ocean, and Forest. There are no page numbers in the book and no contents page. The book is printed double-sided with each double page depicting at least one drawing technique, often many more. The drawings are all split up into really clear sections most of which are visually displayed in steps along with accompanying written instructions. There is a real range of different size projects included from small and simple requiring just a few very easy steps, to much more time-consuming and complicated and requiring more focus and ability to replicate well.

For the vast majority of the tutorials, each step is numbered and the step you’re currently drawing is printed in black, with the previously drawn sections in paler grey so that you can easily identify what elements you’re adding each time. Once you’ve drawn the whole image you then go over it all with pen and once dry, erase the pencil lines and voila, you’ve got your own illustration which is highly likely to surprise you, mine certainly did! There is a huge range of content for the tutorials including loads of different types of flowers and leaves, fish and other sea creatures including crabs and lobsters, ships, objects, borders, and different types of motifs including crests, symmetrical, repeating and circular. The possibilities are endless once you’ve learnt the basics and Johanna has a real knack for making it all seem very simple and easy rather than difficult and daunting so before you know it, you’re drawing things you never expected to be able to. It can be really anxiety-inducing starting something new, especially when it’s something you’ve struggled with before and find frustrating but this book is so different from any others I’ve seen and doesn’t make things just sound simpler, it actually breaks each drawing down into simpler steps so that you’re drawing very basic shapes and creating amazing things with them. There is real talent in being able to teach a skill in that way and make it so inclusive and accessible.

The tutorials are ideal for starting to learn to draw but they’re also fantastic to help you continue because once you’ve started you’ll start noticing how other images are created and what shapes they’re made up of. I often find inspiration very lacking when I try to draw and if you’re like me then I highly recommend going through Johanna’s colouring books and you’ll be absolutely inundated with ideas to the point where the only difficulty you’ll have will be choosing what to draw first! Learning to draw is apparently like exercising, it won’t come naturally or easily at first and it may feel like it’s not worth it but the more you practice, the more you’ll improve and the easier it will become and eventually you’ll be creating your own things rather than copying the original tutorials.

In terms of mental health, I’ll be completely honest and say that before receiving the book, I was dreading writing this section because I thought I was going to have to say it was bad because I’ve always found drawing stressful. However, I’m pleased to say that this isn’t the case and actually, I think this book is great for mental health as long as you have a little patience because it makes it surprisingly simple and learning to draw the few things I have with this book has been by far the least frustrating drawing experience I’ve ever had! I’m not just saying that because I’m a huge fan of Johanna, I honestly was so nervous about reviewing this book because I didn’t want to have to write a negative review or say that although it was lovely, I was still unteachable. How wrong I was! Just as Johanna has been telling us, anyone can learn to draw. I’m certainly not an artist, I’m not ever going to get paid for anything my pen puts on paper (apart from my signature on a job contract) but I can safely say that with practice, my drawings will no longer look like a child’s and people won’t laugh when I tell them I drew it rather than a small kid. For me, that’s more progress than I ever thought I’d make and it’s a huge confidence boost too. That’s one reason why this book is ideal for those of us with mental health problems because it gives you the tools you need to actually succeed at learning a new skill and that’s sure to improve your self-esteem and confidence.

I would highly recommend the Johanna Basford journals for practising your drawing in, it’s what I’m currently using and I’ve had no issues at all so far. The features I’m particularly liking about using them are the ribbon bookmark which I can use to mark my place, the paper which is lovely and thick and a great surface to draw on and takes erasing well, and the motifs already printed on each double-page spread which offer great inspiration and make the whole process much less daunting, at least for me, because I’m not starting on a completely blank page, each one has already been started for me! I intend to work through in order, dating my drawings as I go so that I can hopefully see my progress over time.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book, even to those of you who absolutely cannot draw because Johanna really will teach you! I already miss getting my yearly fix of colouring pages from her but the fact that she’s teaching us how to draw our own comes a very close second for me and seeing everyone’s versions cropping up online is definitely spurring me on to practice and learn and be more creative. This book is spreading joy, even more so than Johanna’s colouring books do, and it’s boosting confidence and self-esteem all over the world. If you weren’t sure about getting a copy then I really would suggest getting one and seeing what you think and if you need further persuading then have a go at following Johanna’s video tutorials on her Facebook page and see what you can create!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/How-Draw-Inky-Wonderlands-Johanna-Basford/9780753553190/?a_aid=colouringitmom

Video Review

 

How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (US Edition) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
How to Draw Inky Wonderlands is by Johanna Basford who very kindly sent me a UK and US edition to review. This review is of the US edition, (my UK review can be found here) which is published by Penguin. I have also written a comparison post which can be found here, or the video comparison post can be found here.

This book is completely different from anything previously produced by Johanna and in fact, anything else I’ve seen on the market. Rather than being a colouring book, Johanna has welcomed us into her world to teach us her secrets in order to allow us all to be more creative and draw our own colouring pages and additions. As soon as I heard about the premise of the book I was very excited but also really nervous; I’ve always wanted to learn to draw but struggle to be patient or practice enough to actually improve. However, if anyone can teach me to draw, it’s colouring book queen, Johanna Basford, and spoiler alert, it’s actually working! Loads of people state that they can’t draw and are lying through their teeth, they normally mean that they can’t create a hyper-realistic portrait of someone that looks identical to a photograph. I, however, am serious about my lack of talent for drawing, I genuinely struggle to draw straight lines, circles or evenly-spaced stars and my sheep, age 28, are still drawn as clouds with stick legs and smiley faces. They’re adorable but no one believes anyone over the age of 8 drew them.

The book itself is paperback and unlike the majority of Johanna’s colouring books, it’s rectangular, not square and measures 21.5 by 25.5cm, making it the same size as Ivy and the Inky Butterfly and the same height as all of the US editions of Johanna’s colouring books. There is no removable dust cover this time, instead having flexible card covers with ½ French flaps which open out front and back to reveal a beautiful flower, leaf and butterfly design that is fully colourable, it isn’t waxy and is very smooth meaning most mediums will be suitable for colouring it, just be careful with alcohol markers in case they bleed through to the external covers. The spine and covers are white with black text, the cover has gold foiling accents and the title is backed with a beautiful duck egg blue background. The spine is glue-bound which you’ll need to be careful with, a number of people have reported previous titles published in the US falling apart so you will need to be gentle with this edition when trying to open it flat for drawing in. The paper is the same as that used in previous US editions of Johanna’s titles from Magical Jungle onwards, this paper was created and named after Johanna it’s beautiful, it’s not the same paper as used in the UK editions. The paper is a pale ivory colour, it’s a medium thickness and lightly textured and it’s perfect for pens and pencils. It has a good level of tooth so it can cope with pencil lines being drawn and erased and the Staedtler Pigment Liners that Johanna uses herself and recommends drawing with work beautifully on the paper. The only issue I had was that my 0.2 nib pen slightly feathered and spread on the page, however, none of my other pens really did this so it may just be a dodgy pen but just bear it in mind and do check out the photos below to see what I mean. Using the Staedtler Pigment Liners means that your drawings will match Johanna’s and blend in really well with the printed artwork so your drawings won’t stand out as “different” from the content that’s already on the page. The paper is ideal for pencils and water-based pens and you only need to avoid alcohol makers or particularly wet media. As ever, there’s a test page at the back of the book where you can check out how each of your tools and mediums behaves.

This is very much a drawing book, it’s not a colouring book with a few drawing tips included. Upon opening the book, you find a beautiful title page, name page and introduction including tips and a materials list. The book is then split into 3 themed sections: Garden, Ocean, and Forest. There are no page numbers in the book and no contents page. The book is printed double-sided with each double page depicting at least one drawing technique, often many more. The drawings are all split up into really clear sections most of which are visually displayed in steps along with accompanying written instructions. There is a real range of different size projects included from small and simple requiring just a few very easy steps, to much more time-consuming and complicated and requiring more focus and ability to replicate well.

For the vast majority of the tutorials, each step is numbered and the step you’re currently drawing is printed in black, with the previously drawn sections in paler grey so that you can easily identify what elements you’re adding each time. Once you’ve drawn the whole image you then go over it all with pen and once dry, erase the pencil lines and voila, you’ve got your own illustration which is highly likely to surprise you, mine certainly did! There is a huge range of content for the tutorials including loads of different types of flowers and leaves, fish and other sea creatures including crabs and lobsters, ships, objects, borders, and different types of motifs including crests, symmetrical, repeating and circular. The possibilities are endless once you’ve learnt the basics and Johanna has a real knack for making it all seem very simple and easy rather than difficult and daunting so before you know it, you’re drawing things you never expected to be able to. It can be really anxiety-inducing starting something new, especially when it’s something you’ve struggled with before and find frustrating but this book is so different from any others I’ve seen and doesn’t make things just sound simpler, it actually breaks each drawing down into simpler steps so that you’re drawing very basic shapes and creating amazing things with them. There is real talent in being able to teach a skill in that way and make it so inclusive and accessible.

The tutorials are ideal for starting to learn to draw but they’re also fantastic to help you continue because once you’ve started you’ll start noticing how other images are created and what shapes they’re made up of. I often find inspiration very lacking when I try to draw and if you’re like me then I highly recommend going through Johanna’s colouring books and you’ll be absolutely inundated with ideas to the point where the only difficulty you’ll have will be choosing what to draw first! Learning to draw is apparently like exercising, it won’t come naturally or easily at first and it’ll often feel like it’s not worth it but the more you practice, the more you’ll improve and the easier it will become and eventually you’ll be creating your own things rather than copying the original tutorials.

In terms of mental health, I’ll be completely honest and say that before receiving the book, I was dreading writing this section because I thought I was going to have to say it was bad because I’ve always found drawing stressful. However, I’m pleased to say that this isn’t the case and actually, I think this book is great for mental health as long as you have a little patience because it makes it surprisingly simple and learning to draw the few things I have with this book has been by far the least frustrating drawing experience I’ve ever had! I’m not just saying that because I’m a huge fan of Johanna, I honestly was so nervous about reviewing this book because I didn’t want to have to write a negative review or say that although it was lovely, I was still unteachable. How wrong I was! Just as Johanna has been telling us, anyone can learn to draw. I’m certainly not an artist, I’m not ever going to get paid for anything my pen puts on paper (apart from my signature on a job contract) but I can safely say that with practice, my drawings will no longer look like a child’s and people won’t laugh when I tell them I drew it rather than a small kid. For me, that’s more progress than I ever thought I’d make and it’s a huge confidence boost too. That’s one reason why this book is ideal for those of us with mental health problems because it gives you the tools you need to actually succeed at learning a new skill and that’s sure to improve your self-esteem and confidence.

I would highly recommend the Johanna Basford journals for practising your drawing in, it’s what I’m currently using and I’ve had no issues at all with it so far. The features I’m particularly liking about using them are the ribbon bookmark which I can use to mark my place, the paper which is lovely and thick and a great surface to draw on and takes erasing well, and the motifs already printed on each double-page spread which offer great inspiration and make the whole process much less daunting, at least for me, because I’m not starting on a completely blank page, each one has already been started for me! I intend to work through in order, dating my drawings as I go so that I can hopefully see my progress over time.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book, even to those of you who absolutely cannot draw because Johanna really will teach you! I already miss getting my yearly fix of colouring pages from her but the fact that she’s teaching us how to draw our own comes a very close second for me and seeing everyone’s versions cropping up online is definitely spurring me on to practice and learn and be more creative. This book is spreading joy, even more so than Johanna’s colouring books do, and it’s boosting confidence and self-esteem all over the world. If you weren’t sure about getting a copy then I really would suggest getting one and seeing what you think and if you need further persuading then have a go at following Johanna’s video tutorials on her Facebook page and see what you can create!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/How-Draw-Inky-Wonderlands-Johanna-Basford/9780143133940/?a_aid=colouringitmom

Video Review

Video Post – Unboxing How to Draw Inky Wonderlands (UK and US Editions) by Johanna Basford

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post. 
Today I received the most exciting parcel of goodies from Johanna Basford. Check out my video to see what was inside, see the UK and US edition of her new book, How to Draw Inky Wonderlands, due out in October, and to hear me get so excited that I stop being able to make sense. Reviews, flip throughs and comparison videos and written posts will be coming soon!

If you’d like to pre-order a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/How-Draw-Inky-Wonderlands-Johanna-Basford/9780753553190/?a_aid=colouringitmom

World of Flowers Postcards (Ein Paradies Voller Blumen 24 Postkarten) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
World of Flowers Postcards (Ein Paradies Voller Blumen 24 Postkarten) is published by MVGVerlag and is from my personal collection. This book of postcards is published in German and appears to be the only edition of postcard images from World of Flowers; it contains 24 postcard images from the original book. Each postcard is printed single-sided and the back of each is printed with the same very faint grey floral design from the book with a dotted outline for a stamp containing a dragonfly image and 4 dotted address lines so that you can send them to friends, family and loved ones. The postcards are not perforated but are easily removable, almost too easily as the binding is very fragile so the book may well not stay together long-term but this does mean that you’ll be able to easily detach the postcards with no damage. The postcards are made of medium-thick, bright white card, they’re a little smaller than the Magical Jungle and Lost Ocean postcards but are produced to a much higher standard and there are no issues at all with these. The card doesn’t bleed or shadow at all with water-based pens and has a lovely tooth for pencils so you can really layer and blend and shade with ease. Alcohol markers are highly likely to bleed-through so pop a protective sheet behind your work to avoid any accidents. The postcards are a mixture of landscape (18) and portrait (6) orientated images. The vast majority of the postcards are zoomed in sections of the images rather than scaled down versions of the whole page which is a huge improvement on the previous titles’ postcards and makes for a really enjoyable colouring experience. A great selection of images has been chosen and although they’re obviously all flower-themed they’re surprisingly different and varied and don’t feel at all samey. There’s everything from centralised images to wallpaper spreads, scenes of jars and bottles to potted succulents, vases of flowers to floral patterns and even a beautiful bumblebee.

In terms of mental health, these postcards are great! As many of you know, my absolute favourite thing to colour is postcards because they’re a manageable size and give you much quicker results than regular colouring book pages. They’re also single-sided meaning that you can use almost any medium you like and they’re easily removable so that you can share your coloured images with others as gifts or to display or use for your own projects to brighten up a room or anywhere else you put them! The line thickness is thin and occasionally spindly thin throughout, you’ll need pretty good vision and fine motor control but it doesn’t need to be perfect for the majority of these images. You can block-colour the sections if you wish or spend time blending and shading or even colouring over some of the internal lines as texture so there are lots of options for different skill levels and different physical abilities. Postcards are a great project for when your symptoms are problematic or your concentration is poor because they don’t take so long and give you a good sense of achievement. The postcards are absolutely beautiful and would look lovely as they are or with heaps of colour added, the choice is yours.

I would highly recommend these postcards, they’re beautiful, a great choice of images and they’re all colourable. The card is ideal for any medium and they’re produced to a really high standard! I can’t rave about them enough, I absolutely love them and they’re one of my very favourite colouring products!

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Ein Paradies Voller Blumen 24 Postkarten (World of Flowers Postcards)
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Ein-Paradies-voller-Blumen-Johanna-Basford/9783747400487/?a_aid=colouringitmom

Review and full flick through

The images below were coloured with Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Caran d’Ache Luminance Pencils. 

Johanna Basford 2020 Weekly Colouring Planner – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Johanna Basford 2020 Weekly Colouring Planner is published and was very kindly sent to me to review by Andrews McMeel Publishing. This planner is the perfect combination of organisation and colouring with space to write plans, appointments and notes, whilst also having weeks and weeks of colouring for you to do too. This planner is paperback with flexible pale cream card covers which have a beautiful black line-drawn flower and leaf design from World of Flowers on the front and back with a white floral design drawn on black on the insides of the covers, the front cover has rose gold foiling accents and the front and back cover have removable pale pink card strips with the information about the planner and the barcode etc printed on them. The planner is spiral-bound and measures 21.6 x 19.6cm, the covers aren’t especially sturdy so I’d be careful about travelling with it much and you’ll want to keep it safe somewhere rather than stuffing it in a bag or it’ll get damaged very quickly. This isn’t the best planner I’ve seen in terms of features and organisation, but for the combination of colouring and organising, it’s perfect and strikes a really good balance.

Unlike the previous editions of this planner, this one now only runs for 12 months, not 16 which I personally think is a very sensible change, it therefore runs from Monday the 30th of December 2019 to Sunday the 3rd of January 2021. The planner is printed double-sided and starts with a one-page overview of the year 2020 and then the planner itself starts with an image on the left of each double-page spread from one of Johanna’s seven colouring books, images from all seven (Secret Garden, Enchanted Forest, Lost Ocean, Magical Jungle, Johanna’s Christmas, Ivy and the Inky Butterfly, and World of Flowers) are included, and the week’s days and dates with writing space for each on the right (this is in the same style as normal planners with added leafy accents and leafy lettering for the month title at the top). Each week runs from Monday to Sunday with equal space to write for each day, the dates are on the right and important festivals and bank holidays etc are written in small text on the left of the page, as well as the country it’s celebrated in. After the planner pages, which make up the vast majority of the book, there is a double-page spread with sections for each month of 2021 for you to add your advance plans to. Following this is a full page of 2019 dates and a full page of 2021 dates, followed by 5 lined pages where you can write notes (all with added leaf accents) and the final page is a colouring test page where you can test out your mediums to check for bleed through.

The paper this time is pale cream rather than bright white (it is the same paper as last time and it’s less yellow than the Secret Garden book paper and more cream than the ivory paper in World of Flowers; see photo below of the different paper colours), lightly textured and medium thickness, sadly it does shadow a fair bit with water-based pens but it doesn’t bleed through; I’d strongly advise writing in pencil throughout or you’ll ruin the image on the reverse either with shadowing or indentation from ballpoint pens. Pencils work well on this paper so I’d suggest mostly colouring with pencils and using water-based pens if you don’t mind the shadowing showing through on the planner pages. A great selection of images from Johanna’s books are included with some being sections of original images at the original size and others being the whole page shrunk down to fit on the planner page so some of the illustrations are quite tricky to colour neatly but almost none look impossible as long as you use a good set of fineliners or sharp pencils. Because this is the fourth planner and the publisher has tried not to duplicate images it means that a number of my favourite images from her first few colouring books haven’t been included as they were in the first two planners, however, we’ve got new images from those as well as from the newest book, World of Flowers, and there are some lovely inclusions so there’s no disappointment to be had with this planner and it really is a great mix between organisation and colouring (two of my favourite things)!

In terms of mental health, this colouring planner is ideal. It gives you a manageable goal of colouring one page per week which could either be next week’s page so that it’s coloured ready for that week or this week’s page so you can colour as you plan. You could even colour it ahead for the whole year. The pages are a great size to practice colour schemes for your copy of the actual books, or even to try out colouring mediums on a smaller page. The spiral-binding makes it easy to access the whole page and none of the images go into the spine, it’s also ideal because once you’ve finished using the planner at the end of 2020, the pages are easy to remove for framing or gifting if you want to get more use out of your works of art. There isn’t a treasure hunt element in this planner and there are no written hints for drawing though there are plenty of spaces on a number of images to be able to add your own details or backgrounds to really make the pages your own but this of course isn’t necessary and it’ll look finished without the need to draw at all. This planner is perfect for fans of Johanna’s work and it is a beautiful way of using her illustrations. The line thickness varies a little throughout from thin to spindly thin and the intricacy and detail levels are higher than in the books because many of the images are shrunk down to fit the pages so you will most definitely need very good vision and fine motor control to get the most out of this planner if you’re wanting to colour it; you could of course leave it blank and just admire the illustrations because they really are beautiful to just look at with no need to add colour if that’s too challenging. The images aren’t arranged into any order but a few have been cleverly chosen to fit celebrations like a heart for the week of Valentine’s Day, a skull for Halloween and images from Johanna’s Christmas through December. The page size is much more manageable and less daunting to colour and this is ideal for those of you with fluctuating conditions or concentration levels because these pages are quicker to finish and likely to cause less frustration.

I would highly recommend this colouring planner to fans of Johanna’s work and to those who love to be organised. It’s a great combination of planner and colouring pages and the size and format is ideal for those who find the full-size book pages too daunting. It’s great for practising colour schemes or using new colouring mediums and it’ll be a lovely keepsake to work through from beginning to end and see how you’ve progressed over the year it runs for; you can even remove the images afterwards and frame or gift them.

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available below:
Amazon UK – Johanna Basford 2020 Weekly Colouring Planner
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Johanna-Basford-2020-Weekly-Colouring-Planner-Activity-Diary-Johanna-Basford/9781449497613/?a_aid=colouringitmom
Andrews McMeel – http://publishing.andrewsmcmeel.com/basford-2020-calendars

Video Flick-Through and Review

The image below was coloured with Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.

Johanna Basford 2020 Colouring Day-to-Day Calendar in a Keepsake Box – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Johanna Basford 2020 Colouring Day-to-Day Calendar is published and was very kindly sent to me to review by Andrews McMeel Publishing. This page-a-day calendar arrives in shrink-wrapped plastic which keeps the keepsake box clean and free from damage. The keepsake box is made of thick ivory card which is covered all over (including the bottom) with a black line-drawn flower and leaf design from World of Flowers and the top and all four sides of the box have rose gold foiling accents. The box opens with a hinge-style (the lid remains attached at the top) with two pieces of black ribbon holding it open at a >90degree angle; the inside of the lid and the box are lined with black paper with white flower and foliage designs; the box is fully colourable if you wish. A black ribbon allows easy access to lift out all of the loose calendar pages which aren’t bound in any way so it’s easy to pick out which ones to colour, move them around, leave them out to dry if using wet media and so on.

The pages are the same size and format as any other page-a-day calendar, the illustration is on the left and takes up two thirds of the page and on the right at the top is a leafy-lettered title of the month and at the bottom is the date and day, above this in small text are written the important festivals and celebrations and the country they’re celebrated in; as with all others, Saturday and Sunday share a page so there are approximately 314 pages of colouring for you to complete over the year. The pages are pale cream (just like the 2019 edition) rather than bright white (they are less yellow than the Secret Garden book paper and more cream than the ivory paper in Magical Jungle and World of Flowers; see photo below of the different paper colours), thin (slightly thicker than copier paper), and lightly textured, pencils don’t build up many layers on this paper but I’m sure those of you who are more talented than me will have more luck with this and create wonderful masterpieces; water-based pens do heavily shadow and may bleed through if you’re particularly heavy-handed but the images are printed single-sided so really you can use whatever mediums you like, these pages would be ideal for testing out new mediums or trialling colour schemes.

The illustrations themselves are all taken from Johanna Basford’s seven currently published colouring books, Secret Garden, Enchanted Forest, Lost Ocean, Magical Jungle, Johanna’s Christmas, Ivy and the Inky Butterfly, and World of Flowers. I have carefully looked through all of the images and there are no new images, all are directly from the original books. Some of them are the whole page scaled down, others are sections of the page printed at the original size, others are zoomed in sections which are printed larger than the original so there is a really good mix of detailed sections, larger spaced illustrations to practice blending and shading on, and whole pages which you’ll need your finest of fineliners and sharpest of pencils to colour accurately. The lid is designed to display the current day’s page in but it will hold plenty more pages than this so you could easily place a month’s worth in there before having to move them under the proceeding days’ pages.

In terms of mental health, this page-a-day calendar is fantastic because it provides you with a manageable size of project to attempt each day, you could colour the page in a few minutes or really take your time to try out new techniques and spend much longer, it’s entirely up to you. You could colour the day’s page ahead of time or on the day itself, you could even spend the next few months colouring the whole thing ready to look at your beautiful work throughout the coming year, or even to gift to someone else (what a labour of love that would be and it would make an incredible present if you could bear to part with your work, perhaps you could start if off for them to finish?). The pages are a great size to practice colour schemes for your copies of the actual books, or even to try out colouring mediums on a smaller page. The loose pages make it easy to access the page you need without having to move the whole block around all the time and it means you don’t have to worry at all about bleed through. At the end of the year you could even cut out all of the images and create collages, small framed pictures or gifts or even add them to cards or craft projects so this is a really versatile product that goes way beyond just being a calendar! There isn’t a treasure hunt element in this calendar and there are no written hints for drawing though there are plenty of spaces on a number of images to be able to add your own details or backgrounds to really make the pages your own but this of course isn’t necessary and it’ll look finished without the need to draw at all. This page-a-day calendar is perfect for fans of Johanna’s work and it is a beautiful new way of using her illustrations. The line thickness varies a little throughout from medium to spindly thin and the intricacy and detail levels are often much higher than in the books because many of the images are shrunk down to fit the pages so you will most definitely need very good vision and fine motor control to get the most out of this calendar if you’re wanting to colour it; you could of course leave it blank and just admire the illustrations because they really are beautiful to just look at with no need to add colour if that’s too challenging. The images aren’t arranged into any order and there are no duplicates, a number of the calendar pages show parts of the same original image but these are all of different aspects of it, with varying size or depicting different areas (see images below) and this is by no means the majority of the pages, most are of entirely separate illustrations or aspects within them, they also mostly don’t appear to duplicate the images used in the 2017, 2018, or 2019 editions of this calendar so those of you who already have those won’t be disappointed by lots of duplicates. The page size is much more manageable and less daunting to colour and this is ideal for those of you with fluctuating conditions or concentration levels because these pages are much quicker to finish and likely to cause less frustration, they’re also fantastic for trying out new things without worrying about ruining a whole page in your books.

I would highly recommend this page-a-day calendar to fans of Johanna’s work and to those who love to be organised. It’s a great size and format, ideal for those who find the full-size book pages too daunting. It’s also great for practising colour schemes or using new colouring mediums and it’ll be a lovely keepsake to work through from beginning to end and see how you’ve progressed over the year it runs for; you can even remove the images afterwards and frame or gift them or even use them in craft projects and the box will make a wonderful keepsake.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this page-a-day colouring calendar, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Johanna Basford 2020 Colouring Day-to-Day Calendar
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Johanna-Basford-2020-Colouring-Day-Day-Calendar-Johanna-Basford/9781449497590/?a_aid=colouringitmom
Andrews McMeel – http://publishing.andrewsmcmeel.com/basford-2020-calendars

Full video flick-through and review

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.

World of Flowers 2020 Colouring Wall Calendar – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
World of Flowers 2020 Colouring Wall Calendar is published and was very kindly sent to me to review by Andrews McMeel Publishing. This calendar is beautiful and is the same format as the previous JB wall calendars. The calendar itself is the same size as most others at 12 inches square, making it significantly larger than Johanna’s books. It includes 13 of Johanna’s signature and most well-known designs from her seventh colouring book, World of Flowers (this calendar doesn’t include any new images), an illustration for each month of the year and one at the beginning for a 4-month overview of September to December 2019. 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 whole calendar, including the covers, is made of thick pale cream paper which is good quality (it is less yellow than the Secret Garden book paper and more cream than the new ivory paper in World of Flowers; see photo below of the different paper colours) – I thought it was going to bleed with water-based pens and watercolours but there was no bleed-through at all and only some shadowing when using my darker fineliners (in last year’s calendar) and no bleed-through or shadowing with Derwent Inktense pencils activated with water. 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 much larger in the calendar than in the book so this is a great purchase for those of you who found Johanna’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 Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils in a previous edition. The waterlily image below was coloured with Derwent Inktense pencils, activated with water and I experienced no bleed-through and only minimal buckling when I used a bit too much water. The calendar is spiral-bound so you can easily 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, this is smaller than on normal calendars and doesn’t fit a nail through it so you’ll have to very carefully hang it up with string (be careful so you don’t rip the pages). The cover has signature rose gold foil accents and is fully colourable, as always, and each calendar page has lots of tiny leaf accents and each month has a leafy lettering title. My only issue with the whole calendar is the foiling from the front cover, it’s embossed which therefore leaves debossed sections on the first image (the one I coloured) which is printed on the inside cover above the 4-month 2019 overview, it worked surprisingly well colouring with the Derwent Inktense pencils because once activated with water, I was able to smooth out the colour which I also think would be the case with paints or water-based pens, however, you’re likely to struggle with normal pencils because the colour doesn’t apply evenly over these sections (see before and after photos below) and looks like you’ve coloured over something, a similar effect to when you do brass or bark rubbing so just be mindful of this when colouring the first image.

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 larger image size means it’s more suitable for 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. This time, there isn’t an inky treasure hunt. World of Flowers returned to Johanna’s usual high levels of intricacy and so the slightly larger size printing is a huge bonus to give you a little extra wiggle-room and ability to add blending and shading. There is a really good variety of images, needing varying levels of concentration which can be used to keep you occupied and distracted when you’re feeling anxious or low, or requiring less focus if you need a more relaxing colouring experience. Johanna’s images are really good for practising mindfulness techniques because many 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 medium/thin throughout so there is some leeway when colouring.

I would highly recommend this for any colouring fan who needs a calendar in their life. Johanna 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 – World of Flowers 2020 Wall Calendar
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Johanna-Basford-World-Flowers-2020-Colouring-Square-Wall-Calendar-Johanna-Basford/9781449497606/?a_aid=colouringitmom
Andrews McMeel – http://publishing.andrewsmcmeel.com/basford-2020-calendars

Full video flick-through and review

The image below was coloured with Derwent Inktense Pencils activated with water. 

Colourmorphia – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Colourmorphia is illustrated by Kerby Rosanes and published and kindly sent to me to review by Michael O’Mara. This book is the sixth and final title in the Morphia series and this time it’s a compilation of all of the best pages from the previous five titles with no new artwork contained. The five titles that the images are from are Animorphia, Imagimorphia, Mythomorphia, Fantomorphia, and Geomorphia. I haven’t yet reviewed the last two titles but I have copies and will be reviewing them soon.

The book is 25cm square, the same size as Kerby’s previous titles and most other bestsellers. It’s paperback with white covers and white lettering with a blue background down the left side of the front cover. The images on the front and back covers are partially coloured and are both contained within the book. The spine is glue and string-bound and very tight on arrival, it takes a lot of work and manipulation to get it to start lying flat so you’re likely to need to crack the spine if you want to colour the entirety of each image however very few images enter the gutter so it’s not a huge issue and it will ease up with use. The paper is bright white and medium thickness, it has a light tooth and allows for blending and shading. I used Caran d’Ache Luminance Pencils and a black Faber Castell Pitt Pen to colour my image and despite doing two layers of the pen for my background, I experienced absolutely no bleed-through or shadowing and almost no ink transfer even though I used heavy pressure when colouring some sections. The book begins with a 16-page introduction including coloured pages from some of the colouring community which provide great inspiration and Kerby has written a short commentary on each piece explaining how it was created and why he likes it and chose it for the book. Each of these coloured pages are contained as line drawings in the book so that you can use those as inspiration or interpret them in your own way. The book then contains 78 pages of illustrations printed double-sided which are a mixture of single and double-page spreads. The image content is the most wide-ranging of all of Kerby’s titles because there is no theme and so it ranges from landscapes to mythical creatures, animals to buildings, objects to the surreal and everything in between. Many of the colouring community’s favourite images are included and so this is a great title to purchase to get a second chance to colour those special images that you’ve previously finished in the original books. Alternatively, if you didn’t like one or two of the themed books quite so much, this might have just the right amount of each theme to satisfy your tastes and as a starter book to Kerby’s work, it’s absolutely perfect! It’s also a brilliant way to round off the Morphia series as this book really feels like a celebration of his work.

The images themselves are so varied and include his doodles and cloudy swirls as well as all sorts of hidden objects though this time there is no search and find feature at the back of the book. Some of the vast quantity of things pictured include: gem beetles, an anchor, a kraken, a rhinoceros, stags, castles, multiple dragons, a crow, jellyfish, swans, a dinosaur skull, owls, and so much more. Best of all, at least in my opinion, although there are no new images, the back halves of the cover designs of Fantomorphia and Geomorphia are contained which is a lovely addition because those were sorely missed in the original titles as they were printed single-sided and as single-page designs with the back halves missing within the books, it’s lovely to be given the opportunity to colour those images in full, as they were originally drawn and designed by Kerby. There is a huge range of morphing sections within the book from Kerby’s signature doodles and swirls to steampunk influences, plant life, mechanical elements and bizarre collections of objects as well as scenes morphing from one thing into another as seen in the elephant page where his trunk and tusks morph into the trunk of a tree and the back half of a polar bear becomes an iceberg. Kerby’s artwork is full of the weird and wonderful and although it can often be very tricky to know where to start, no matter what colour palette you choose, you’re sure to create a masterpiece, it’s almost impossible not to with line drawings like this!

In terms of mental health, this book is fantastic. Not only does it offer more choice in image theme than any of his other titles, it also offers colour inspiration at the front and a second-chance to colour images from the previous titles. The images contain a wide range of intricacy and detail levels and although none could ever be described as simple, there is a good variety ranging from pages absolutely packed with content and hundreds of individual component parts all morphing into each other which can be quite difficult to visually distinguish, to much larger, less complicated images where a centralised creature takes centre-stage and there are a few surrounding details. On flicking through the book, these differences are apparent and it means that you can use this book during lots of different symptom levels and pick simpler images to colour on days where your concentration isn’t up to scratch and attack a much more complicated design on days where you’re really able to focus and not inadvertently identify things as background that shouldn’t be (like I did on my skull page). This book is hugely distracting, even just to look through and it’s certainly helped me over the last week when I’ve struggled to focus on much at all and really needed a distraction, colouring my page took far longer than I expected but I’ve really enjoyed it and it’s certainly kept me busy and kept my mind occupied which I’ve been very grateful for. It’s a great book to get you out of your comfort zone because nothing is as it seems and you absolutely don’t need to stick to conventional or realistic colour schemes; the inspiration pages at the start prove that point brilliantly. I’ve never liked skulls and never wished to colour one at all but the coloured page at the beginning was so beautiful that I felt inspired to go against my norms and have a go at creating something similar and I’m so pleased that I did!

I would highly recommend this book. It’s a great title to begin with to delve into the world of Kerby’s artwork and for those of us who’ve been fans for years, it’s a wonderful celebration of all of his best work and a great opportunity to re-colour some previously finished illustrations. The content is wide-ranging and exciting and the paper is great to work on. It’s a really lovely book!

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Colourmorphia
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Colourmorphia-Kerby-Rosanes/9781912785056/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Caran d’Ache Luminance Pencils and the background was coloured with two layers of black Faber Castell Pitt Pen.

My video review and flick through can be found here.

World of Flowers: A Colouring Book & Floral Adventure (UK Edition) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
World of Flowers is the 7th book brought to us by colouring queen, Johanna Basford. She very kindly sent me the most wonderful box of goodies including the UK and US edition of World of Flowers so that I could review and compare the two, you can see my unboxing video and flip-through of the US edition here. This review is of the UK edition. You can find the US edition review here. I have compared the two in detail both via video and in a written post including photos, there are a lot of differences, most of which don’t affect enjoyment of the book but a few of which do including the cover/dust jacket, paper, image size, and whether they match your previous editions so do check out that post so that you purchase the right edition for you. The UK edition publishes on the 25th of October.

World of Flowers is a paperback, square book (25cm x 25cm) which is exactly the same size as the UK editions of Johanna’s previous square titles, Secret Garden, Enchanted Forest, Lost Ocean, Magical Jungle and Johanna’s Christmas. It has a black spine with white text, the same as the UK editions of previous titles and it looks beautiful with the other books on the shelf (see photo below). The UK edition has a removable dust jacket which has rose-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 array of flowers and plants 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). Previous dust jackets have been a little loose but this one fits perfectly and looks really smart. It’s an off-white colour but much closer to white than cream, it’s the same colour as the Magical Jungle UK cover. Under the dust jacket, the book is paperback with pale pink card covers which have an inky black flower design on the outside and inside covers that can also be found inside the book. The spine is glue and string-bound which makes it very durable and easier to open out flat so you can reach the majority of the gutter and colour it. The paper is the same as that used in UK editions of Magical Jungle, Johanna’s Christmas, and Ivy and the Inky Butterfly, this paper was found through a global hunt and it’s beautiful, it is not the same paper as used in the US editions of these books which was created specifically for Johanna’s books and named after her. The paper is a very pale ivory colour, it’s a medium thickness and lightly textured and it’s perfect for pens and pencils; pencils are a dream to blend and shade with and pens go on really smoothly, they don’t bleed through unless you use alcohol markers and water-based pens only shadow if you colour too much in one spot, as always, do check all of your mediums on the colour palette test page to check how they behave.

Upon opening the book, you find the beautiful title page and then a “This book belongs to …” page where you can add your name, there is then an introduction and colouring tips from Johanna and then 80 pages of beautiful flower illustrations. There is no treasure hunt in this book and so there is also no key of images at the back either. The images are printed double-sided with no border, 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 and Magical Jungle, 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. This book is every flower-lover’s dream. If you don’t like flowers or aren’t that keen on them or leaves then this book is absolutely not for you because it really does what the title suggests and is jam-packed with large blooms, tiny blossoms, seedlings, potted plants, cut flowers, perfumeries, ponds, gardens, potting sheds, and visitors to flowers including bees, butterflies, beetles, snails and more. The designs range from patterns and mandalas to circular and wreath designs, ribbons and banners to single and double-page scenes, centred images with large open backgrounds and pages crammed with content where you couldn’t squeeze any more on if you tried. There isn’t a story feel to this book, it doesn’t create such a vivid sense of place like so many of Johanna’s previous books have done but it does very much take you to a garden and so although it doesn’t feel to me like a journey, it is much like visiting a garden, it’s filled with variety and will look truly incredible filled with colour. The detail and intricacy that we’re so familiar with is well and truly back. I was slightly disappointed with the lack of detail in Magical Jungle and a few of the images in Ivy and so I’m really glad to see it back because that’s what I’ve always loved so much about Johanna’s work. At the very end of the book is a double-sided fold-out poster with two different floral garden scenes to colour. This can be detached from the book as it is perforated but it seems quite well attached and therefore won’t accidentally fall out from the book as long as you’re careful with it. 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 this garden of delights.

In terms of mental health, this book is brilliant because of its content and how beautifully the images are drawn. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is very thin so you will need very good vision and fine motor control to get the most out of this book. The images are drawn with a range of intricacy and detail levels but mostly this remains high so again, you need good vision and dexterity. 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. It’s great for keeping you occupied and distracted and because of the variety of image styles, it 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 perfumeries and potting shed shelves which will take days or even weeks depending on what mediums and techniques you use to colour them.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book. A few comments I’ve seen online have criticised this book for being samey and unoriginal but I can’t agree. I’ve gone back through Secret Garden and although World of Flowers does remind me of it, the imagery really isn’t similar other than being drawn by the same person. Johanna has really developed her style since the first book, all of the spaces and designs are colourable for the majority of us whereas the intricacy level in Secret Garden is exceptionally high for most images and therefore quite a challenge to colour. There are many more types of designs in this new title and therefore much more variety even though the theme is more limited than any previous book has been. This book is certainly geared up for those who love colouring flowers and leaves and if that isn’t your thing then it absolutely isn’t for you but for those of us who do, it’s just perfect and stunningly beautiful!

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available below. Do bear in mind that there are some significant publishing differences between this and the US edition and therefore you may want to read or view my comparison post/video before ordering if you haven’t already.
Amazon UK – World of Flowers
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/World-Flowers-Johanna-Basford/9780753553183

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

Video Review

Video Flick Through

World of Flowers: A Coloring Book & Floral Adventure (US Edition) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
World of Flowers is the 7th book brought to us by colouring queen, Johanna Basford. She very kindly sent me the most wonderful box of goodies including the UK and US edition of World of Flowers so that I could review and compare the two, you can see my unboxing video and flip-through of the US edition here. This review is of the US edition. You can find the UK edition review here. I have compared the two in detail both via video and in a written post including photos, there are a lot of differences, most of which don’t affect enjoyment of the book but a few of which do including the cover/dust jacket, paper, image size, and whether they match your previous editions so do check out that post so that you purchase the right edition for you. The US edition publishes on the 23rd of October.

World of Flowers is a paperback, square book (25.5cm x 25.5cm) which is exactly the same size as the US editions of Johanna’s previous square titles, Lost Ocean, Magical Jungle and Johanna’s Christmas. It has a white spine with black text, the same as the US editions of previous titles and it looks beautiful with the other books on the shelf (see photo below). The US edition doesn’t have a removable dust jacket and instead has card covers with rose-gold foiling accents on the front, really adding to the luxurious feel of this book. The card covers open out to reveal French flaps with a fully colourable floral design spanning the interior, this card is matte and therefore colourable with almost any medium you choose. The spine is glue-bound which isn’t ideal as these aren’t overly durable and often cause the pages to fall out as the spine breaks quite easily; it takes a bit of work to get the spine to lie flat but you can reach the majority of the gutter and colour it. The paper is a pale ivory colour (it’s Johanna’s new signature paper), and is exactly the same as that found in the US edition of Magical Jungle, Johanna’s Christmas, and Ivy and the Inky Butterfly, it’s a medium thickness and lightly textured and it’s perfect for pens and pencils; pencils are a dream to blend and shade with and pens go on really smoothly though they do spread sideways ever so slightly as the paper is a little absorbent so just mind that, they don’t bleed through unless you use alcohol markers and they only shadow if you colour too much in one spot. It is not the same paper as used in the UK editions of these books.

Upon opening the book, you find the beautiful title page and then a “This book belongs to …” page where you can add your name, there is then an introduction and colouring tips from Johanna and then 80 pages of beautiful flower illustrations. There is no treasure hunt in this book and so there is also no key of images at the back either. The images are printed double-sided with no border, 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 and Magical Jungle, 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. This book is every flower-lover’s dream. If you don’t like flowers or aren’t that keen on them or leaves then this book is absolutely not for you because it really does what the title suggests and is jam-packed with large blooms, tiny blossoms, seedlings, potted plants, cut flowers, perfumeries, ponds, gardens, potting sheds, and visitors to flowers including bees, butterflies, beetles, snails and more. The designs range from patterns and mandalas to circular and wreath designs, ribbons and banners to single and double-page scenes, centred images with large open backgrounds and pages crammed with content where you couldn’t squeeze any more on if you tried. There isn’t a story feel to this book, it doesn’t create such a vivid sense of place like so many of Johanna’s previous books have done but it does very much take you to a garden and so although it doesn’t feel to me like a journey, it is much like visiting a garden, it’s filled with variety and will look truly incredible filled with colour. The detail and intricacy that we’re so familiar with is well and truly back. I was slightly disappointed with the lack of detail in Magical Jungle and a few of the images in Ivy and so I’m really glad to see it back because that’s what I’ve always loved so much about Johanna’s work. At the very end of the book is a double-sided fold-out poster with two different floral garden scenes to colour. This can be detached from the book as it is perforated but it seems quite well attached and therefore won’t accidentally fall out from the book as long as you’re careful with it. 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 this garden of delights.

In terms of mental health, this book is brilliant because of its content and how beautifully the images are drawn. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is very thin so you will need very good vision and fine motor control to get the most out of this book. The images are drawn with a range of intricacy and detail levels but mostly this remains high so again, you need good vision and dexterity. 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. It’s great for keeping you occupied and distracted and because of the variety of image styles, it 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 perfumeries and potting shed shelves which will take days or even weeks depending on what mediums and techniques you use to colour them.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book. A few comments I’ve seen online have criticised this book for being samey and unoriginal but I can’t agree. I’ve gone back through Secret Garden and although World of Flowers does remind me of it, the imagery really isn’t similar other than being drawn by the same person. Johanna has really developed her style since the first book, all of the spaces and designs are colourable for the majority of us whereas the intricacy level in Secret Garden is exceptionally high for most images and therefore quite a challenge to colour. There are many more types of designs in this new title and therefore much more variety even though the theme is more limited than any previous book has been. This book is certainly geared up for those who love colouring flowers and leaves and if that isn’t your thing then it absolutely isn’t for you but for those of us who do, it’s just perfect and stunningly beautiful!

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available below. Do bear in mind that there are some significant publishing differences between this and the UK edition and therefore you may want to read or view my comparison post/video before ordering if you haven’t already.
Amazon UK – World of Flowers
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/World-of-Flowers/9780143133827/?a_aid=colouringitmom

Video Review

Unboxing and Flip Through

World of Flowers – 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.
World of Flowers will be released worldwide in just one week and I have been lucky enough to be sent a copy of the UK and US editions by Johanna Basford in order to write this comparison post for you all. Every time Johanna releases a new book there are huge online debates about which edition is “best” to buy, what the similarities will be and what will be different so I’m here to hopefully clear up any questions and queries you may have after the success of my comparison posts of the last 4 titles – Ivy and the Inky Butterfly, Johanna’s Christmas, Magical Jungle, and Lost Ocean. I have reviewed the UK edition here and the US edition 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 the cover format, size and paper type so here goes with the most comprehensive list of similarities and differences that you’re likely to find online! If you’d rather watch a video of this then click here.

If you just want to skip ahead to the most crucial differences then look at points 1, 12, 15, 17, 26, 28, and 37, and the summary section at the bottom.

  1. Book Size – Each edition is the same size as the previous titles from the same country but they are not the same size as each other. The UK edition is 25cm square, the US edition is 25.5cm square making it half a centimetre taller and wider.
      
  2. Cover Design – The cover design is very slightly zoomed in on the UK edition so the US edition has a little extra detail around the very edges that isn’t included on the UK copies.
     
  3. Penguin Logo – On the cover of the US edition, the Penguin publishing logo has been subtly placed in a tulip at the top right. There is no publishing logo on the UK edition cover.
  4. Cover Colour – Both editions have off-white covers, the UK edition has a whiter cover than the US edition.
     
  5. Foiling Colour – Both editions have a different colour foil on the cover and these are both different from any foils seen before on Johanna’s books. The UK edition has a very coppery colour rose-gold foil. The US edition has a pinker but still quite bronze rose-gold foil. Both are really pretty! The US foil is significantly shinier than the UK foil.
      
  6. Foiling Aspects/Amount – There is much more foiling on the US edition, both larger numbers of parts and larger areas are covered in foil. The UK edition has lots of teeny tiny sections foiled. The US title is entirely foiled, the UK title is partially foiled and also has some shiny but not foiled black accents too.
        
  7. Colour Splashes – The US edition has a pale pink splash of colour behind the title. The UK edition doesn’t have this but does have subtle pale pink accents added to the cover image in random places.
  8. Title Size – The title text is printed larger on the US edition than the UK edition, the Of is floral and the same size text as the rest of the title in the US edition, but not the UK edition.
      
  9. Spelling – As you’d expect, the UK edition has British spellings throughout and the US edition has American English spellings. The easiest way to tell which edition you’re looking at is to check the spelling of “Colouring Book” on the cover, if the ‘U’ is missing then it’s the US edition.
     
  10. Butterfly Placement – There is a little butterfly on both covers but it’s in a different place on each, it’s to the right of World on the UK edition and next to Of on the US edition.
     
  11. Blurb – The UK and US editions have completely different blurbs. There is far more text and information on the reverse of the US book than the UK. The barcode is contained within this section on the US edition but is covering part of the floral cover design on the UK edition.
      
  12. Spine – The UK edition has a black spine with white writing (the same as almost all of the previous UK edition titles) and the US edition has a white spine with black writing. The UK edition has the Virgin Books symbol and the US has the Penguin Publishing logo. The text is written in a different order on each but this matches the previous editions from each country. The UK spine has a flower added one third up from the bottom and the US has an orchid one third down from the top.
          
  13. Thickness – Due to the paper in the US edition being thicker (see point number 26), the book is thicker overall too.
     
  14. Weight – The UK edition weighs less than the US edition at 518g vs 542g. A 24g difference.
     
  15. Binding – The UK edition is stitched and glue-bound whereas the US edition is only glue-bound which will make it less durable and can lead to pages falling out. 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.
  16. Cover Attachment to Front and Back Pages – The US cover is attached to a thicker strip of the front and back pages than the UK cover so it doesn’t open as easily or as widely as the UK edition which opens much flatter.
       
  17. 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 four books by Johanna Basford. It is a very pale ivory colour. The book itself has pale pink card covers with a black floral design (contained within the book) on the outside and inside covers. The US edition has a fully attached cover made of card with French flaps. 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 and some pencils don’t ‘stick’ to the surface either.
        
  18. French Flaps – The US edition has a card cover with two third French flaps. The UK edition’s removable dust jacket also has two third French flaps and both editions have the same design on these flaps but this is printed a bit differently on each with more or less showing when comparing the editions.
  19. Inside Cover Design – Again, the design is printed differently in both editions with a larger amount of the image showing on the UK dust jacket than the US inside cover.
      
  20. Title Page Size – The title page in the US edition is printed larger than the UK edition, it measures 23cm square instead of 22.5cm square in the UK.
       
  21. Butterfly and Of on Title Page – As with the covers, on the title page there is a butterfly that is differently positioned on the page, in the UK edition it’s next to World and in the US edition it’s next to Of. Also, as with the covers, the Of is floral and the same size as the rest of the text on the US edition title page but small and simple in the UK edition.
     
  22. Copyright Page Information – On the Copyright page there is far more information in the US edition than the UK edition, it is also laid out differently and takes up far more space on the page in the US edition.
  23. Copyright Page Design – The copyright page layout is also different with much more of the imagery showing in the US edition and a larger printed smaller section of flowers printed in the UK edition. The UK edition also has 4 butterflies added that don’t appear on the US copyright page.
  24. Printing Location – The UK edition is printed in China, the US edition is printed in the USA.
  25. Introduction and Tips for Colouring Pages – The text on the Introduction and Tips for Colouring pages is justified differently in each edition so the lines begin and end on different words. Apart from spelling, the text is exactly the same.
  26. Paper – This is one of the biggest differences between the two editions. The paper is not identical and is unique to each country. Johanna changed papers when Magical Jungle was published and her specially created ivory paper that was named after her is in all US copies of Magical Jungle, Johanna’s Christmas, Ivy and the Inky Butterfly and now World of Flowers. In the UK we have a whiter ivory paper which Johanna and her team scoured the globe for and this is in all UK editions of Magical Jungle, Johanna’s Christmas, Ivy and the Inky Butterfly and World of Flowers. The UK paper is equal in thickness to Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest and significantly thicker than Lost Ocean, it has a little tooth but does burnish after a few layers of Polychromos and Prismacolor Premiers. 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 takes far more layers for blending. 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. I personally prefer the colour of the UK paper but the US paper is much easier to use pencils on and is less likely to bleed with water-based pens so I have to recommend that one.
     
  27. Image Quality – Previously, there have sometimes been slight issues with UK editions having pixelation of images. There are no such issues in either edition of this book. Hoorah!
  28. Image Size – Some, but by no means all, of the images in the US edition are up to 1cm larger than in the UK edition. Examples of these include the Succulent Page, Perfume Bottle, and Bell Jar. Not all of the images are larger and it appears to be quite random as to which images are larger and which are the same size but if you have any vision or fine motor control impairments then I’d suggest purchasing the US edition. Some of the pages in the UK edition have larger borders around the image due to them bring printed slightly smaller.
  29. Image Orientation – On some of the full double-page scenes, the image is shifted slightly showing a sliver more or less in one of the editions. This can be on any external edge of the image. In some UK pages the image is slightly zoomed in so a little is lost off all edges (a millimetre or two usually). Examples of this are the beetles being more centralised in the UK edition and the Flower Pattern as pictured below.
  30. Colour Palette Test Page Title – The title is centralised and placed at the very top of the page in the US edition and lower down the page in the UK edition.
  31. Page Ink Permanency – This is fairly similar in both, I tested the ink on the colour palette page with a Derwent Blender, a Derwent Burnisher and a Caran d’Ache Blender Pencil, the Derwent Blender did drag some ink pigment in both editions, more so on the US edition, the other two types of pencil didn’t move much pigment at all. You will need to be a little careful if using a hard blender pencil like the Derwent one and also, when pressing hard with any pencils you may experience image transfer on subsequent pages (this is erasable) so pop a sheet or two of paper behind your work to avoid this.
  32. Poster Page Size – The page size for the poster differs between the editions with the US edition being larger at 23.5cm x 25.3cm and the UK being 22.9cm x 25cm.
  33. Poster Image Size – The image on the reverse of the poster pull-out with the border is smaller in the UK edition measuring 20.7cm tall and 22cm tall in the US edition. The image on the inside of the poster is printed pretty much the same size in both editions.
  34. Poster Image Orientation – The image orientation is different in both editions but in slightly strange ways. The bottom of both pages is exactly the same. The left side where the perforations are has much more image showing on the poster in the US edition, the image is shifted right by just over half a cm. Because of this, the right side is cut off earlier in the image on the US edition than the UK edition. At the top, the image is fully shown in the UK edition but the lines run out on the US edition and there is a small gap at the top of some sections between them and the edge of the page.
  35. Poster Perforations – The perforations are cut completely differently on the two editions, they’re much larger and closer together in the US edition and much smaller and further apart in the UK edition. I’ve not tried to remove either of them but it looks like it’ll be easier to remove the US poster however, with both of them I’d exercise caution and possibly have a pair of scissors to hand to avoid any mishaps.
  36. Treasure Hunt – Unlike most of Johanna’s previous book, there is no treasure hunt this time.
  37. Publication Dates – The UK edition is due out on the 25th of October, the US edition is due out on the 23rd of October.

In Summary, the only differences between the two that will affect enjoyment are the dust jacket (or lack of in the US edition), binding, paper, image size and spine/book size matching your previous editions on the shelf. If you’re a fan of the dust jackets of previous editions, then you’ll be wanting the UK edition. A number of my followers have reported issues with the purely glue-bound US edition spines of previous titles so if you’ve previously had issues with pages loosening or falling out and you want to ensure that your book remains intact then I would definitely recommend the UK edition. The paper is lovely in both but if you’re wanting to really go to town with blending and shading pencils or using wet media then I’d suggest the US copy as the paper is thicker and holds up better to these types of colouring. The image size in some images is larger in the US edition and therefore anyone with any visual or fine motor control issues will be best purchasing the US edition so you’ve got that bit more wiggle-room. Finally, the spines and book size match the previous editions from each country so if them matching on the shelf matters to you then go with the same country’s edition that you’ve previously purchased.

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 slightly superior colouring experience to the UK edition and if you’re going to purchase just one copy then I’d possibly suggest it be that one though the UK edition really is lovely and I’m ever so glad to have both, I would also really miss the dust jacket if I didn’t have the UK edition, I’ve always had a soft spot for those. 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!

Please do let me know in the comments section below which edition you’ll be purchasing and why!

UK Edition
Amazon UK – World of Flowers
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/World-Flowers-Johanna-Basford/9780753553183?/?a_aid=colouringitmom

US Edition
Amazon UK – World of Flowers
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/World-of-Flowers/9780143133827/?a_aid=colouringitmom

Video Comparison

Sprookjesbos - written review, video review, and photos of the Dutch edition of Croatian book, Vilin San by Tomislav Tomic

Sprookjesbos (Dutch Edition of Vilin San) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Sprookjesbos is published and very kindly sent to me to review by BBNC Uitgevers. Sprookjesbos is the Dutch edition of the Croatian book, Vilin San, a comparison post and video of the two can be found here. It is the second book by Tomislav Tomic, illustrator of Zemlja Snova. The title translates to Fairytale Forest. This book sadly only has half the number of images although they are equally, if not even more beautiful than Zemlja Snova. The book itself is 25cm square, paperback with flexible card covers, the cover shows a partially coloured image from inside the book and the inside covers are plain white. The spine is glue and string-bound and seems quite sturdy and durable and with a bit of work it’ll open up pretty flat, especially over time. The book has 68 pages (37 pages of images). The paper is cream, thick and lightly textured, it’s the same paper as this publisher always uses, it’s great for pencils though it can be a bit tricky with oil-based pencils like Faber-Castell Polychromos and Holbeins but Prismacolor Premiers work brilliantly. Water-based pens don’t shadow or bleed though do test in an inconspicuous area because we all colour differently and you don’t want to ruin a picture if there’s one on the reverse. The majority of the pages in this edition are printed single-sided; the double-page spreads are kept that way and therefore 12 of the pages (6 pairs) are printed double-sided but the rest are all printed single-sided meaning that you can use heavier mediums without worrying about bleed through, just pop a protective sheet behind your work to prevent any damage to the proceeding pages. Vilin San had a loose fold-out poster included but sadly, Sprookjesbos doesn’t include the poster or the imagery from it and so you’re only able to get that by purchasing Vilin San. The images themselves are very similar to those found in Zemlja Snova/Dromenvanger so if you liked that book then you’ll love this one too, all of the artwork is original and new to this book (its identical to Vilin San) though it feels familiar because of the content being similar. The illustrations contain fairies, dragons, mushrooms, butterflies, gnomes, birds, sea creatures, mice, palaces and more. The pages are all drawn as scenes and range from underwater scenes to dragons flying, fairies sleeping to hedgehogs being led through a mushroom-lined path, palace scenescapes to fantastical flying birds and so much more. Tomislav has created the drawings very considerately by leaving borders around many and those spanning a double-page having little content near the spine making it much easier to fully colour the page without any frustration of trying to access imagery in the book gutter. The illustrations are all very ornate and really beautiful to look at, this illustrator’s work really is some of the best in the world! As with Vilin San, there are no issues with images being incorrectly paired up, one of the double-page spreads is placed in a different place in the book compared to Vilin San but this has absolutely no impact on the enjoyment of the book.

In terms of mental health, this book is great for those with a good attention span. If you get overwhelmed by busy or intricate images then this won’t be for you but if you love immersive imagery that truly transports you to another place then look no further, this book is absolutely perfect. It offers so much to look at that it’s the perfect distraction for even the most persistent symptoms and it just draws you in to a magical fantastical world filled with mythical creatures, princes and princesses, castles, fairies and more. This book will be ideal for those of you who love fantasy colouring and also nature because so much of it is animal and scene-based so it’s combined two of our favourite things into one incredible book! The smaller number of pages means that it’s less daunting for those wanting to complete a whole book. The line thickness is consistent throughout and remains thin with some spindly thin details. The intricacy and detail levels remain very high throughout so you will certainly need very good vision and fine motor control to enjoy this book if you’re wanting to colour within each outlined section though it won’t need to be quite so good if you’re wanting to colour over some areas and leave the lines underneath as texture. I would highly recommend investing in a T’Gaal sharpener so that you can keep your pencils as sharp as possible! The illustrations are absolutely packed with detail and things to look at and notice, despite having Zemlja Snova for almost two years now, I’m still noticing new things and spot things I’ve never seen before when looking at other people’s finished pages and I’m absolutely certain this will be the case with Sprookjesbos too. The imagery is honestly spectacular, there aren’t many books I’m blown away by now but this one really is incredible, each image is a work of art, there are no filler pages, no random half-finished art, each page has clearly been painstakingly created and each will take hours, if not days to complete. The pages in this book aren’t quick to finish but there are lots of natural stopping points within each image so that you still get a sense of accomplishment without managing to finish a page in one sitting and these all range in size from a tiny bird or gnome all the way up to a forest of trees or giant dragon so you can pick a project of the right size for each colouring session! I adore this book, even just flicking through the pages gets me out of my head and calms my anxiety down and colouring it is just so much fun because you can use any colours you fancy from more natural colours to fantastical colours like blue for tree trunks and oranges or purples for leaves, in a fantasy world the only limit is your imagination and these images will look amazing no matter what colours you choose!

Overall, I can’t recommend this book highly enough, it’s a shame that it’s half the number of pages and even more of a shame that the poster imagery isn’t included this time and that the price doesn’t reflect this and is the same as Dromenvanger but those criticisms aside, the book and the artwork itself is truly perfect and gorgeous in every way. Tomislav’s artwork is some of the best I’ve ever seen and I really hope he’ll continue to make many more books because no matter how many times I flip through the same pages, I’m still as drawn in and transported as I was the first time I saw each illustration and that’s a really impressive feat!

If you’d like to purchase a copy then you can order it from the publisher’s site here or from any of the other Dutch sites below, not all of them ship everywhere so you might have to do a bit research. The easiest way to access these sites if you don’t read Dutch is to access them though Google Chrome and then hit the translate button on each page, it makes it really quick and easy to understand. It’s not currently available to purchase on Amazon UK but the listing can be found here and you can sign up for email alerts to be the first to know if it becomes available – Sprookjesbos
https://www.bbnc.nl/sprookjesbos?search=sprookjesbos
https://www.bol.com/nl/p/sprookjesbos/9200000095550239/?suggestionType=browse&bltgh=imC0m1ReS55T4YWuif5OWg.1.2.ProductTitle
https://www.bookspot.nl/boeken/sprookjesbos-tomislav-tomic-9789045323527
https://www.boekhandelsmit.nl/9789045323527/tomic-tomislav/sprookjesbos/
https://www.libris.nl/boek/?authortitle=tomislav-tomic/sprookjesbos–9789045323527/
http://www.dinternet.nl/Boek/Tomislav–Tomic/Sprookjesbos/9789045323527.html

Video Review and Flip Through

Sprookjesbos vs Vilin San – A Comparison of the Dutch and Croatian Editions

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Vilin San was published in January 2018 and illustrated by Tomislav Tomic, it’s the second book he’s illustrated and one of the most beautiful colouring books I’ve ever seen. It was published in Croatia by Fokus and has been notoriously difficult to get hold of, it has almost exclusively been acquired through the publisher’s website which my Facebook fan group runs international group orders from. This is no longer necessary for this book because Sprookjesbos will be available worldwide at a really reasonable price and with much cheaper Worldwide shipping and hopefully it’ll eventually be available on Amazon UK (and possibly other places) like Dromenvanger (the Dutch edition of Zemlja Snova) is now. The artwork is the same in both books but there are a number of subtle publication differences between the two editions which I’ve listed and detailed below, there are three very large differences too which definitely affect enjoyment of the book. If you’d rather watch a video version then scroll all the way to the bottom where the video is embedded at the end of this post.

    1. Covers – Sprookjesbos also has a soft-feel cover with glossy accents on the title, artist name and publishing logo. Vilin San has a soft-feel cover with glossy accents on the title, subtext, and artist name. 
    2. Cover Image – The cover images are the same but Vilin San is printed smaller and has a little colour added to the top and bottom. Sprookjesbos has a larger, more zoomed in version of the image with a lot more colour added to it.
    3. Publishing Logo – The publishing logo is bottom centre on the cover of Sprookjesbos and at the top right on Vilin San.
    4. Cover Card – Both books are paperback and both have equally thick card covers.
    5. Back Cover – The back cover of Sprookjesbos consists of the same image as the front cover, again, partially coloured and with the blurb in a ribbon across the centre. The back cover of Vilin San is completely black and white and the blurb is bordered by a frame from the introduction page inside the book.
    6. Inside Covers – Sprookjesbos doesn’t have French Flaps, and the inside covers are blank white. Vilin San has French flaps with black and white artwork and these open out to reveal a bluey-purple and white line drawn illustration front and back.
    7. Spine – The illustrator name and book title are differently ordered on the spines of the different editions, the subtitle is added on Vilin San. They both use completely different fonts. The Publisher logos at the bottom of the spine differ too.
    8. Book Size – Vilin San is slightly wider than Sprookjesbos because of its cover but the pages themselves are exactly the same size.
    9. Thickness – Sprookjesbos is significantly thicker than Vilin San, this is partially due to having thicker paper (more on this later) but also due to much of it being printed single-sided rather than double-sided. Sprookjesbos contains 68 pages whereas Vilin San contains 40 (plus poster).
    10. Binding – Both editions are glue and string-bound.
    11. Language – Vilin san is written in Croatian and Sprookjesbos in Dutch. I don’t read either of these languages so I’m therefore unable to comment on whether the text in each book translates the same, or whether it differs in meaning.
    12. Title – Obviously the titles differ due to language but they also slightly differ in meaning. Sprookjesbos translates as Fairytale Forest and Vilin San translates as Fairy’s Dream.
    13. Publisher – Both editions have been published by different publishing companies (hence all of these subtle differences), Vilin San is published by Fokus Na Hit and Sprookjesbos is published by BBNC Uitgevers.
    14. Paper Colour – The paper in Vilin San is bright white, the paper in Sprookjesbos is cream.
    15. Paper Thickness – The paper in both is quite thick but it’s definitely thicker in Sprookjesbos. Water-based pens heavily shadow in Vilin San but don’t shadow at all in Sprookjesbos. The paper used in Sprookjesbos is, as far as I’m aware, the same paper that BBNC Uitgevers use in all of their colouring books, it’s a little temperamental with oil-based pencils (though others have had great results with these so it may well be my technique or lack of patience) and beautiful for pens and soft pencils like Prismacolor Premiers.
    16. Copyright Page – The information is much more spread out on the page in Vilin San and is contained to the bottom half of the page in Sprookjesbos. The page is at the front, as usual, in Vilin San, but it’s the last page at the back of the book in Sprookjesbos.
    17. Image Order – The images in Sprookjesbos are printed in exactly the same order as Vilin San apart from one double-page spread containing a flying bird which has been moved from very near the end to the centre of the book, all other pages are in the same order. This doesn’t remotely affect the enjoyment or cohesion of the book.
    18. Image Size – The images in both books are exactly the same size throughout.
    19. Image Orientation – The images are spaced slightly differently between the books with a little more or less of the image shown at some edges on some pages when compared to each other, see photos for clarification.
    20. Weight – Vilin San weighs less than Sprookjesbos, it weighs 317g compared to 463g.
    21. Availability – Vilin San is extremely difficult to get hold of outside Croatia and is one of the hardest colouring books on the market to obtain. We have run international group orders through the publisher’s site for the last 9 months but this isn’t easy and has all but dried up recently. Sprookjesbos is easier to get hold of with cheaper shipping from the sites below and hopefully it’ll become easier still if it makes its way to Amazon UK like Dromenvanger has. It’s likely to take weeks or even months to get there but hopefully, eventually, it’ll be easier to purchase.
    22. Poster – Vilin San contains a beautiful 4-page poster that opens out into a huge scene. Sprookjesbos doesn’t include this or the imagery so sadly, you can only get that with Vilin San.