Author: Lucy

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.