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Relaxing Art Therapy (Art Therapy Colouring Books) is the fifth in the Art Therapy series, and is published and was kindly sent to me to review by Michael O’Mara publishing. There are 4 other titles in the series, all of which I’ve reviewed – Art Therapy, Creative Therapy, Colour Therapy and Calming Art Therapy.
These books truly have worked as therapy for me and I fell in love with this one as soon as I opened its pages. I was sent the paperback copy of this book but if you want to know about the hardback versions then the information is in all of my reviews of the previous 4 titles. This is an A4 paperback book which is glue and string bound so it’s sturdy, but this binding does mean that it’s pretty difficult to get the book to lie flat without a bit of a workout (if this is an issue for you then I’d recommend the hardback version which starts off a little too tight but quickly loosens up and lies flat for colouring). The images cover the full page and are borderless so a little of each image is lost into the spine of the paperback copies. The images are printed double-sided but as with all of the Michael O’Mara books I’ve encountered, the paper quality is fantastic and I’ve never experienced any bleeding despite using a multitude of different felt-tips and fineliners though do be a little careful about over-colouring as it can start to show through after a few strokes or holding in the same spot. The 100+ images are drawn by a number of very talented illustrators so there is a huge variety but in this book it’s not instantly obvious that it’s not been created by one person and the drawings flow really well giving a very cohesive feel to the book. There are lots of swirling lines, geometric patterns and abstract shapes but in equal measure there are captivating animals, flowers and scenes all stylised and just begging to be coloured.
So, what makes this series so special? For me, as an anxious colourer, this series is different from any other I’d seen before because many of the images have some colour already added to them. This book is a little different from the first 4 titles which all had lots of splashes of colour added to the drawings themselves, in this book the majority of the backgrounds are coloured but very few of the images have coloured sections added and where they do, they’re often in less conspicuous places like down the centre of the spine rather than all over. I personally think this is a little bit of a shame because I really loved that feature in the previous titles but for those of you who really weren’t keen this title might be a happy medium. When I first flicked through the books I felt that the added colour limited me because it forced me to use a colour that I would never have chosen, however, this feature actually changed the way I colour forever because until I had these books I had always felt forced by the perfectionist in me to colour everything in realistic, natural colours. This series stopped me being able to do that and really freed up my imagination so that I felt able to add outlandish colours instead of just realistic ones. This has been very therapeutic for me and has really expanded my creativity and I’m sure it would expand yours too. Another thing that makes this, and the others in the Art Therapy series, unique is the Doodling section at the back. There are a number of pages with huge sections left blank for you to doodle in however you wish. They are all started for you so again, there is no issue with staring at a blank page and not being able to narrow down a colour scheme. You can choose the same colours, contrasting colours, colours that clash, all of the colours even. This book has been wonderful for me as someone that’s never doodled in their life because it shows so many examples of adding colour to a page without simply colouring in a block and then colouring the next block in a different colour. These techniques don’t just have to be used in the doodling section, they can be added to any of the other images in the book and you’ll find that they free up your creative juices when colouring in other books too as the number of possibilities for your colouring just expands.
The images have varying line thicknesses, different coloured backgrounds and some lines are printed in colour rather than black. A huge range of themes is contained within this book and while it’s not the most delicate, it really is an essential book to add to your collection. I find these books particularly calming and often colour them in bed when my insomnia kicks in and I find they really help to settle my mind so that I can finally get to sleep. Some images are more intricate than others but actually this book is very well suited to the majority of you because of the wide-ranging content. It really is fantastic for all of you anxious colourers out there who agonise about colours and often feel increased tension at the sight of a blank white page with black lines on. This book is already started for you so you’re just continuing the process and somehow, that makes it so much easier to just pick up a pen or pencil and start. Of all of the colouring books I now own, this series is the one that has helped my mental health the most. It’s not so intricate that it’s frustrating but is definitely for adults, not children and when I’m feeling really anxious the lines are just thick enough that I can colour without having to concentrate on every single pen stroke for fear of going over the lines. This book is beautiful, bold and full of colour and it really is a joy to colour and doodle in. I really can’t recommend this book highly enough and strongly urge you to purchase a copy just as soon as you can because it does exactly what it says it’ll do on the cover – Doodle and Colour Your Stress Away and provides Relaxing Art Therapy – What more could you want?!
This book is available to purchase in hardback here (paperback copies should be available later in the year):
Amazon UK – Relaxing Art Therapy (Art Therapy Colouring Books)
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Relaxing-Art-Therapy-Richard-Merritt-Lizzie-Preston-Sam-Loman-Laur-Kate-Chapman-Hannah-Davies-Cindy-Wilde/9781782434993/?a_aid=colouringitmom
The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-tip pens.