This review is a little different from usual because it’s not a book, it’s a disc of digital images. There are numerous benefits to digital images over books and these are described subsequently. You are able to print multiple copies on any paper type you like, meaning you can use medium-specific paper in order to get the most out of each image, you can even print the images onto fabric and canvas (dependant on your printer specifications). You can re-size and edit the images to suit your needs meaning you can use the whole image, different sections, or just re-size them. You can even colour the images digitally in paint or another editing programme and you can print multiple copies and cut out different sections to use for decoupage in craft projects. It’s a cost effective way of colouring because you only need to print out the images you like and want to use and don’t have to waste money on pages in a book that you’re not keen on. You can also print as many copies as you like and use them over and over again rather than having to re-buy the book if you want to colour a page differently.
So, onto the disc itself. When the disc launches you need to read the terms and conditions on the first screen, these are very clear and explain exactly how you can and can’t use the images – it’s really important to adhere to these or you’ll be breaking the law and upsetting an artist in the process. Next, you’re taken to the introductory page, with sections including: Meet the Artist, How This Book Came to Life, and a list of advantages of digital images (mentioned above). This page has 4 clear buttons which are all self-explanatory: Menu, Help, Exit CD, and Website. The Menu contains 10 sets of images, an additional Alphabets section and Inspiration and Ideas which gives you examples of coloured images as well as the mediums used and the size they were printed. One thing to note is that the disc can be a little slow to respond so don’t impatiently double-click or things will happen twice etc, it also doesn’t respond to keyboard commands which isn’t a criticism, just worth knowing that you’ll need to navigate using the mouse.
Once on the menu screen, there are 10 sets of images, each a titled collection of 7 similar illustrations mainly consisting of a main image followed by 6 related images, some are zoomed in sections, others are re-formed images of sections that have been edited together (e.g. parts of a pattern edited to form a mandala), others are zoomed in sections that have had details added or removed to make the picture more complete. The product description on the polkadoodles website describes the disc as containing 70 unique images which is a little bit of a stretch as some of the images are really very similar to each other, they are unique but not as unique as I would assume from that description. The set titles are as follows: Pretty Petals; Spring Gardens; Plan Your Dreams; Paisley Party; Family Fun; Country Life; Coming Up Roses; Mandala Magic; Floral Wings; Home From Home. Each title alludes to the content of the images and they are fairly varied from paisleys to village scenes, patterns to framed words, mandalas to garden scenes, and roses to daisies. In addition to this, are 3 sets of characters including the letters of the alphabet and numbers. The 3 styles include: an upper case and lower case set of rounded colourable letters and numbers, and a third set of capitals which have added floral designs (see photo below). The images are mostly cartoon-y in style and are hand drawn which gives them a lovely quality.
In terms of mental health, this disc is great because if you make any mistakes you can just re-print the image and start again. If your vision and fine motor control aren’t ideal then you can print the images in a larger size so that it’s easier for you to colour without going over the lines. The line thickness is fairly consistent throughout and ranges from thin to medium but this will obviously increase or decrease depending on how you re-size the image and also whether you’re using the original main image or a smaller zoomed in section which will already have thicker lines and larger spaces. The majority of the images are grounded in nature which I always find the most calming to colour and the pictures are a manageable size to provide a good project but not one that will take days on end to complete. Some images are quite quick to colour which is great for your bad days and others will take more concentration and focus which will be better suited to your good days. These images are very versatile and can be used for adult colouring or they can be incorporated into a multitude of craft projects, the sky is the limit and if you need inspiration it can be found on the disc itself and the website.
I would recommend this disc to those of you who like to colour images multiple times, and those of you who like to use mediums that aren’t well-suited to conventional colouring books. Crafters would also be well-placed to get a copy because the images can be used in such a variety of ways. The disc is incredibly easy to use and well made so you’re unlikely to get stuck, even if you’re not a computer whizz.
If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here: http://www.polkadoodles.co.uk/adult-colouring-book-colour-therapy-1-florabunda-printable-pages-cd-rom/