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Colour Your Own Dutch Masters (Colouring Books) is published and was kindly sent to me to review by Pavilion Books. This book does exactly what it says on the tin, it allows you to colour your own paintings originally created by Dutch Masters! I’m no art expert and I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t recognise most of the images in here, not because they’re odd choices, but because I really don’t know much about art so it’s been a steep learning curve getting this review ready. This book measures 20.6×29.1cm, is landscape, paperback, with a thin card front and back cover but containing a very thick card board at the back which provides a great surface to colour on but does mean the depth of the book is deceptive as almost a third of it is this card board (see image below). The book has a lay-flat binding which is ideal because there is no spine to contend with and your images will be easy to remove and display if you wish. The images are printed single-sided onto bright white, medium thickness card (approx. 160-200gsm) which is lightly textured so it allows a few layers of pencil to be built up and copes ok with watercolours though my background, even only very lightly painted with water did buckle and curl a little so be very sparing with water. The card doesn’t bleed or shadow with water-based pens but may bleed a little with alcohol markers though this doesn’t matter because the images are single-sided so you’re free to use whatever medium you like. The book contains a mixture of portrait and landscape images and at the bottom of each page is the name of the painting and the date (but not artist) so you’ll easily be able to Google the painting if you’re wanting to copy the colour scheme of the original. The book contains 22 line drawings of famous paintings by Dutch Masters and includes paintings such as Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer, The Threatened Swan by Asselijn, The Goldfinch by Fabritius, The Laughing Cavalier by Hals, and Self-Portrait with a Sunflower by Van Dyck. Each full colour image is shown on the inside covers at the front and back of the book along with more information about painting type and size, artist name and dates and the name of the painting which makes each one very easy to identify. The line drawings are heavily contoured and detailed and light and shade are outlined in either dotted or complete lines to make it easier to colour sections as if it’s a paint by numbers without the numbers. This is quite a distinctive way of illustrating and it’s certainly not for everyone and my one criticism of this book is that it would have been better to print these lines in a more subtle grey than black so that the lines could no longer be seen once the image was coloured. However, this is still a great book that enables you to colour your own famous paintings and stamp your own individual style onto them.
In terms of mental health, this book is pretty good for those of you who aren’t severely ill. This book requires a lot of concentration and has a lot of small details and intricate parts and the line thickness is spindly thin throughout so you will need very good vision and fine motor control to enjoy this book. Some of the images are simpler than others, a good example of this is the Girl with a Pearl Earring, but most are extremely detailed and will take a long time to complete. These images will certainly keep you focused and help you stay distracted but I would stick to doing them on your good days or they may provide more frustration than relaxation. The image content is varied from portraits to group scenes to animals but all are somewhat old fashioned due to the time in which the originals were created.
I would recommend this book for art-lovers and those who wish to paint without having to freehand it. There are lots of details and intricacies so it’s only suitable for those with very good vision and fine motor control. The binding is ideal for use with wet mediums as you don’t have to hold the book open and can easily remove your masterpieces once they’re done so that you can frame or gift them.
If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Colour Your Own Dutch Masters (Colouring Books)
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Colour-Your-Own-Dutch-Masters/9781910904398/?a_aid=colouringitmom
The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and the background was coloured using Derwernt Inktense Pencils activated with water.