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Fairy Tales Colouring Book is illustrated by Tomoko Tashiro, originally published in Japanese and is now published in English and kindly sent to me to review by Pavilion Books. This book is 25cm square, paperback, with flexible card covers with an illustration from within the book partially coloured on the front and the title written in gold foiling, the spine has pink and purple stripes which makes it quite striking on the shelf. The spine is glue and string-bound and is fairly tight on arrival but it does loosen up with use. The images are a mixture of single and double-page spreads and a little of each image is lost into the spine gutter though as the spine becomes more pliable this will lessen. The paper is bright white, smooth and medium thickness, I found that water-based pens shadowed throughout and bled through at points too, pencils don’t blend or layer particularly well due to lack of tooth in the paper so block-colourers will love it but those who like to blend and shade may struggle a little.
The content of the book consists of various styles of image and various numbers of these for each fairy tale with some being depicted in far more pages than others. The illustrated fairy tales include: Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Swan lake, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Cinderella, The Story of the Magic Horse, The Little Mermaid, The Snow Queen, and The Nutcracker. The illustrations range from a large number of wallpaper-style images and repeating patterns; to a couple of mandalas; images of collections of objects including jewellery, shells, and snowflakes; double-page spreads depicting famous fairytale scenes, and small motifs in the centre of the page with lots of space around them to add your own imagery or backgrounds if you wish (there are no written hints or prompts so the space can be left if you prefer). The images are very floral and busy and contain heaps to look at. The layout of the book isn’t very cohesive and it doesn’t flow well, the images are very lovely but rather than being properly split into each story, it seems quite randomly laid out. Each fairy tale is pictured in turn with a double-page spread depicting the main characters in a famous scene with text stating the fairy tale it’s from, following this though are seemingly random collections of images including wallpapers, objects, patterns etc; some of these are related e.g. snowflakes near the Snow Queen section and Christmas imagery near The Nutcracker section, but many seem quite random and a little like filler images. To be clear, the majority of these images are really beautifully drawn and absolutely deserve to be there but it would have been nice for the order to be more carefully considered and for more of the pages to actually directly tie back in with each fairy tale.
In terms of mental health, if you want a book that will provide hours of distraction, heaps to look at and colour, and lovely nostalgic imagery, then this is your book! If you’re not a fan of wallpapers or collection images then you might want to give it a miss as there are a lot of these throughout. The lack of cohesion bothered me a surprising amount and I’ve struggled to feel enthusiastic about this book because of this, however, as stand-alone images, they really are gorgeous and will look so lovely when finished so if cohesion doesn’t bother you then you’ll love it! The line thickness is pretty consistent throughout and remains thin and spindly thin so you’ll need pretty good vision and fine motor control to stay within the lines. The intricacy and detail levels vary throughout from quite large open spaces to teeny tiny sections that would be best suited to fineliners or sharp pencils so again, you’ll need pretty good vision and co-ordination in order to get the most out of this book. Some of these fairy tales are well-known and others aren’t ones I’d heard of so this book offers a real opportunity to get researching and discovering some fairy tales you didn’t know existed. The illustrations are so busy that they offer a great level of distraction and escapism but this does mean that you’ll need to have fairly good concentration so I’d keep this book for your good days so that you can give it the attention it deserves. The book is pretty, cheerful, and good for keeping your spirits up, there are lots of repeated sections or lots of the same flower which is good for helping you zone out and calm down without having to keep choosing different colours or techniques.
Overall, I’ve been a little disappointed by this book, it’s quite haphazard and difficult to follow, however, the artwork is beautiful and offers so many hours of colouring. The paper is quite poor quality which is a real shame because it isn’t well suited to pens or pencils. I would recommend this book to those of you who’ve not been put off by these negative points, the illustrations are delicate and will look stunning when finished by those of you brave enough to persevere.
You can purchase a copy of the book here:
Amazon UK – Fairy Tales Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Fairy-Tales-Colouring-Book-Tomoko-Tashiro/9781843653165/?a_aid=colouringitmom
Can’t get enough of this art? Or fancy a bit more cohesion? Check out my review of the second book in this series – Princesses and Fairies.
The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Stabilo 68 Fibre-tips.