Faber-Castell

The Great British Bake Off Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Great British Bake Off Colouring Book is published by Hodder and Stoughton and is from my personal collection. It’s been a sad couple of weeks in the baking world after discovering that not only is our favourite baking show moving from the safety of the BBC to the big wide world of Channel 4 but that also 3 of our 4 presenters and judges won’t be relocating with it. I can’t be the only one who feels as if their world has been turned upside down and isn’t sure if they should be whisking or kneading the mess of dough before them. It’s therefore the perfect time for Tom Hovey, resident artist (at least for now) on the Great British Bake Off, to publish his wonderful colouring book filled with familiarity and nostalgia from the series we know and love! I was so worried that after the devastation of the past few days’ news, this book might disappoint, that it might not be a recipe for success and might have the dreaded soggy bottom! I can safely say it hasn’t, at least for me, it’s beautiful, filled with recognisable bakes and just begging to be coloured! So grab your aprons, preheat your ovens and “On Your Marks, Get Set, BAAAAKE!”!

This book is 25cm square, the same size as the bestsellers, paperback with flexible card covers which have partially coloured designs from inside the book on the outside and on the inside covers are colourable pages of cream horns which are also pictured in the book. The spine is glue and string-bound and isn’t especially tight on arrival meaning it’s quite easy to get most of the way into the gutter so very little of the image edge is lost. The pages consist of a mixture of single and double-page spreads, the book contains 90 pages of designs and 12 (24 sides) of these are double-page spreads. Many of the images are centralised cakes which don’t have any aspects reaching the edges of the pages, for those that are full page spreads of double-page designs, a very thin border has been left down the centre of the spine so once you’ve worked the spine and can open the book completely flat you’ll be able to reach all aspects of the image to colour which is fantastic and very rare! The paper is bright white, medium thickness and lightly textured, my water-based pens barely even shadowed though they did bleed through when I added water to them but that’s to be expected, the paper didn’t hold up brilliantly to water and did buckle a bit but I’m new to using water with pens so I wasn’t sparing enough with it. Pencils work really well on the paper, you can build up plenty of layers for blending and shading and this will be ideal for getting your chocolate looking perfectly tempered, icing superbly swirled, and fruit looking well glazed.

The contents of the book includes loads of Tom’s original illustrations from the series and they are instantly recognisable. There is no text through the book and on my first look through I was really worried about how I’d know what each bake was and who’d made it, I was very relieved and excited when I got to the final three pages of the book and saw that thumbnails of each image have been included and titled with what the bake is, who baked it and which series it’s from. This means a quick google search with those details, or a re-run of that episode if you’re a die-hard fan and have them all, will allow you to find the original bake and Tom’s original coloured illustration so that you can copy it if you wish or you can go to town and colour a unique baked creation. The bakes pictured include trifle, tiered pies, decorative loaves, 3D biscuit scenes, opera cakes, Swiss rolls, Charlotte Russe, eclairs, vol-au-vents, canapes, and even a povitica. All of the images are from Series 4-6 and there is a great cross-section with creations from all of your favourite bakers included, even Mary and Paul’s! Settle yourself down with a cup of tea and a slice of cake (purely for research purposes of course), get your pens and pencils out and colour the perfect crumb, shiniest icing, and sauciest self-saucing pudding! None of the people are pictured in this book, no bakers, presenters or judges, but the tent and the beautiful Welford Park House are pictured and even the famous Bake Off squirrel!

In terms of mental health, I have personally found this book fantastic! If you like cakes then this book has to be on your must-have list, it’s sure to cheer you up and improve your mood because the cakes are so beautiful and it might even inspire your baking (if you like to bake). I found the book really calming and very distracting, there are so many little details that you notice new ones each time you flick through the pages allowing you to become totally absorbed and I really noticed my worries melting away as I coloured Tamal’s Charlotte Russe. The images are all drawn in a consistently medium/thick line so this book would be ideal for almost anyone to enjoy regardless of vision impairment or issues with fine motor control. The detail level varies throughout from large pastry slices and meringue peaks on baked Alaska, to much smaller details in the garden scenes, and Chetna’s caramel covered Dobos Torte. This book will be ideal for those of you with varying concentration levels and symptoms because the illustrations are really varied in size and also have very natural stopping points so you could colour one chocolate covered strawberry or cream horn, a pastry or even a whole gateau, the choice is yours! The lines are quite black and heavy and at first I found this a little off-putting because I normally like to colour thin-lined images with delicate linework but I love how my page turned out and instead of just creating sections to colour within, the lines in this book are truly part of the artwork of the finished piece, the boldness of them means that your colours really pop so whether you use pens or pencils you’re liked to want to use some really bold colours so they stand out well and don’t disappear. These illustrations are almost identical to Tom’s originals from the show so if you’re not quite sure which section is nut, which is fruit or what colour dipping sauce has been used then just google the original and you can copy his colour scheme if you wish, this is ideal for anxious colourers like me because it’s like paint-by-numbers without the numbers and it takes all of the stress out of choosing colours and you can just pick the matching shade and get going, your symptoms can take a back seat and you can just enjoy colouring some deliciousness.

This book certainly contains some technical challenges and some pages that you can truly colour into your own signature bake and more still that will hopefully become showstoppers! It’s sure to make you hungry and get you hunting through your recipe books for inspiration and to make tasty treats to snack on when you need a break from colouring. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves cake, baking, or the Great British Bake Off because this really is the ultimate book for cake-lovers, it completely transports you back to the Bake Off tent!

If you get a copy of this book then be sure to avoid Mel wearing your tuille as bracelets and Sue accidentally elbowing your English muffins. Keep your colouring area a disaster-free zone and for goodness’ sake, colour slowly so that nothing needs to be discarded and we can all avoid another episode of “bin-gate”, I’m still not sure I’m over the trauma of the Baked Alaska challenge! You can take your finished pages and offer them up on the Gingham Altar for Mary and Paul to poke, prod, and almost certainly tell you it’s under-blended or over-shaded, but perhaps, if you’re lucky enough, you might just get crowned Star Colourer for the week and receive the coveted handshake from Paul – we can all dream can’t we?! This book truly offers you a way to have your cake, and eat it!

If you’d like to purchase a copy of the book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – The Great British Bake Off Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Great-British-Bake-off-Colouring-Book-Tom-Hovey/9781473615625/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-tip pens and a Derwent waterbrush to create the macaron colour, bavarois colour and drips on the berries to create a mottled appearance.

If you’d like to see a silent video flick-through of the entire book then click here.

The Great British Cake Off: The 100% Unofficial Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Great British Cake Off is illustrated by Harriet Popham, published by Harper Collins and is from my personal collection. I was extremely excited about the prospect of this book as soon as I found out about its publication and had to wait weeks until its publishing date to see what it was going to be like. I saw a few photos of inside and was really disappointed but after managing to find it reduced a few days after launch, I decided to give it a go and I’m SO glad I did as the images I saw weren’t representative of the contents at all! Get your apron on, oven pre-heating and let’s head into the Great British Bake Off tent and see if this book is a recipe for success. Without further ado – on your marks, get set, colour! Get yourself ready for a truly cake-tastic review!

This book is paperback, 25cm square (the same size as JB and MM’s books) and contains 96 pages of beautiful cake-y illustrations. The best thing about these cakes? They’re calorie free so you can colour to your heart’s content and not worry about gaining those extra pounds, you might even lose a few as you become so engrossed in colouring that you forget to have your teatime snack. The pages are printed double-sided and the spine is glue-bound meaning a little of each image is lost into the spine but this does improve as the spine loosens up with use. The images are mostly single pages but a few double-page spreads are included too. The majority of the images are baked goods including cakes, cupcakes, tiered cakes, macarons, and page upon page of novelty cakes. Interspersed with these, are images of oven gloves, baking equipment, kitchen scenes and tea party spreads, many of which are very Cath Kidston-esque. The images also include many of the bakes featured through the series of the much-loved tv show The Great British Bake Off, including tarte tatin, croquembouche, gingerbread sculptures, Charlotte Royale, Kransekake, Schittorte, Swedish Princess cake, Povitica, battenberg and many more (if you remember all of those and already know what they all look like then you’re a true die-hard Bake Off fan, congratulations, you get a Special Commendation – Just like Paul in series 6 got for his Lion bread)! The paper is bright white, fairly thick and very lightly textured, I checked my water-based fineliners and fibre-tips and they rarely bled through but did heavily shadow so this book is definitely one to be kept for pencils (also, the black ink transfers under pressure so pop a protective sheet behind your work or pressing too hard will leave you with design transfer on the pages behind). However, don’t despair, the image content is so well-suited to pencils that you won’t mind not being able to use your pens because it really calls for pastel shades and you can get practising your blending, shading and highlighting skills to make your tempered chocolate have the perfect shine and your pieces of fruit looking really juicy. Settle yourself down with a cup of tea and a slice of cake (purely for research purposes of course), get your icing-coloured pencils out and start decorating those cupcakes and macarons.

In terms of mental health, I personally found this book fantastic! If you like cakes then this book has to be on your must-have list. It’s sure to cheer you up and improve your mood because the cakes are so beautiful and it might even inspire your baking (if you like to bake). I found the book really calming and very distracting, there are so many little details that you notice each time you flick through the pages allowing you to become totally absorbed and I really noticed my worries melting away as I coloured my lovely three-tiered cake. The images are fairly detailed and intricate and are all drawn in a thin or medium thickness line so you need fairly good, but not perfect, vision and fine motor control. You need a fairly good level of concentration in order to stay within the lines, focus on the recipe fully, get your measurements right and be able to colour the images to the best of your ability, but this is great because it means your symptoms can take a back seat and you can just enjoy colouring some deliciousness. Twelve of the images have small written hints telling you what some of the more obscure bakes are and suggesting you pipe the frosting in your favourite colours or asking what flavour sponges you might concoct. I’m not a fan of written hints in books because I don’t like having text on the page as I find it detracts a little from the finished look of the page, however, I do make an exception for this book because the cake-naming is actually really useful for those cakes that you’d have no idea what they were without the text.

There are certainly some technical challenges and some that you can truly colour into your own signature bake and more still that will hopefully become showstoppers! This book is sure to make you hungry and get you hunting through your recipe books for inspiration and to make tasty treats to snack on when you need a break from colouring. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves cake, baking, or the Great British Bake Off because this really is the ultimate book for cake-lovers, it completely transports you back to the Bake Off tent!

If you get a copy of this book then be sure to avoid Mel wearing your tuille as bracelets and Sue accidentally elbowing your English muffins. Keep your colouring area a disaster-free zone and for goodness’ sake, colour slowly so that nothing needs to be discarded and we can all avoid another episode of “bin-gate”, I’m still not sure I’m over the trauma of the Baked Alaska challenge! You can take your finished pages and offer them up on the Gingham Altar for Mary and Paul to poke, prod, and almost certainly tell you it’s under-blended or over-shaded, but perhaps, if you’re lucky enough, you might just get crowned Star Colourer for the week and receive the coveted handshake from Paul – we can all dream can’t we?! This book truly offers you a way to have your cake, and eat it! Happy Colouring and Happy Baking – I’d love to see your attempts at either activity over on my Facebook page which can be found here.

If you’d like to purchase a copy then head below:
Amazon UK – The Great British Cake Off
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/The-Great-British-Cake-off-Harriet-Popham/9780008159535/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils which are the crème de la crème of the pencil world and I would highly recommend them for this book. If you’re on a tighter budget then I would also highly recommend the Marco Raffine coloured pencils which you can read my review of here.

The Flower Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Flower Colouring Book: Large and Small Projects to Enjoy (Search Press Colouring Books) is published and was kindly sent to me by Search Press Publishing. The book itself is paperback and A4 in size with a glue-bound spine. The images are printed single-sided and do not enter the spine. The paper is a good thickness and bright white with a little tooth meaning you can use just about any colouring medium you fancy. My water-based pens shadowed and bled a little but this isn’t an issue because there is no image on the reverse. I found it very easy to blend and shade with my Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils. This book is part of a series and each book starts with 7 double-sided pages of coloured images that are contained within the book and then changes to single-sided black line images. This book contains lots of realistic images of flowers, some of which are full page spreads and others are a collection of small images usually of the same type of flower on one page. The flowers include daffodils, orchids, lilies, roses, daisies, clematis and so many more. The book contains over 120 designs so it really is packed with floral images. The flowers are not arranged into scenes so it does feel a little disjointed and doesn’t tell a story through the pages and at first I was quite put off by this because I personally like cohesive books that take you on a journey. However, this book is fantastic for practising blending and shading and colouring realistically because the images are drawn in a very true to life style so you can really go to town with your coloured pencils and practice using light sources and making the images look real. It would be a great companion to other colouring books that contain images of flora and fauna so that you can practice on these larger images before starting on the smaller, more intricate pictures that are found in many other colouring books.

In terms of mental health, this book doesn’t have an awful lot of impact on it, though if you love flowers, it’s sure to keep you focused and calm you down. The natural style of the images and the realism of them lends well to feelings of relaxation and I find images of nature the most calming to colour. Because of the variety of image sizes, it’s a good book for those of you with fluctuating conditions because if you can’t focus much you can just spend a few minutes colouring one of the smaller images and then complete the larger images on days where you’re able to concentrate a bit more. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is medium/thin so you don’t need perfect vision or fine motor control to be able to stay within the lines. The images vary in intricacy and detail levels with some having lots of small spaces and others being much larger, open designs. This is a really great book for practising your colouring techniques and learning how to make images look realistic.

If you’d like to purchase a copy then it’s available here:
Amazon UK – The Flower Colouring Book: Large and Small Projects to Enjoy (Search Press Colouring Books)
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/The-Flower-Colouring-Book/9781782212133/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-tip pens.

The Second One and Only Colouring Book for Adults: A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.

This book is published and was very kindly sent to me to review by Phoenix Yard Books. It is smaller than A4 but larger than A5, paperback and pretty thick as it contains a whopping 144 images! The paper-quality is pretty good, bright white, non-textured and fairly thick and I found that as long as I didn’t over colour with my felt-tips it didn’t bleed but did a little with my fineliners so be aware of this before getting stuck into an image with a reverse that you’re also very keen to colour. As with the other books in the One and Only series, this book contains a truly huge variety of images which are mostly patterns, shapes and line designs but with a fair helping of floral, animal, natural and realistic images thrown in. The line thicknesses vary enormously from fineliner thickness to much thicker, marker-style lines and everything in between. A few of the images have black backgrounds with small white spaces to colour and a couple of these also have white outlines (see skull picture below). Sadly, this book is heavily glue-bound meaning the spine is very tight and stiff making it difficult to lie it down flat for colouring and also meaning a fair strip of each image is lost into the spine and unable to be coloured. The book is printed double-sided; most of the designs are single pages but some are double-page spreads and obviously the middle of these can’t be reached.

From a mental health perspective this is a fabulous starter book because it contains such a huge variety of images, line thicknesses, intricacies and design styles. If you’re new to colouring and not yet sure what sorts of images you want to get into, or indeed if you even want to pick a specific area then this book is ideal for helping you choose as most aspects are covered with the most notable exceptions being people and mandalas. There is one image with people (shown below) but it’s not a realistic image and certainly not one that would inspire you if you’re interested in colouring people. This book will keep you occupied for a very long time and every time I flick through it I discover a new image that I’ve not noticed before. The sheer number of images makes this book great value and it would certainly be one I’d be adding to my list if I’d not already been sent a copy. The variety means the images are great for lots of different moods, some are calming and soothing with flowing lines, others are more distracting (great if you’re anxious) with intricate details and beautiful petals to really take your time over colouring in, others still are vibrant and energetic and feel like they’d perk you up on a low day and increase your feeling of energy. This book is great for anyone, whether you have 20:20 vision and love to colour tiny details, or have visual problems that mean you need chunkier pictures to colour, fine motor control is not a requirement for this book because there are so many images that have thicker lines that you’ll easily be able to colour within or thinner lines that you can colour over if you so choose.

I would highly recommend this book for those of you on a tight budget who want a lot of images for your money, those of you who have a lot of variance in symptoms and want one book to cover all of your different levels of severity, and those of you who are just dipping your toe into the colouring world and want to try lots of different styles. Of course, seasoned colourers like myself should also seriously consider purchasing a copy as this book is very different from most on the market and is a lovely size being not too small but not overwhelmingly large so that it takes weeks to complete an image. The paper quality is suited to most colouring mediums so those of you who like to use mixed media would really enjoy this book. I coloured the butterflies using Faber-Castell Aquarelle pencils and Stabilo Point 88 fineliners, the flowers were coloured using Faber-Castell Aquarelles and the rainbows were coloured using Staedtler fibre-tip pens. This book really is one that can be described as the only one you’ll ever need, though be warned, colouring is highly addictive and I don’t know anybody who manages to stick at buying just one book! If you’d like to purchase a copy then it can be found on Amazon for £6.29 The Second One and Only Colouring Book for Adults

Art Therapy: Stained Glass – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.

This is a lovely book filled with a huge range of different stained glass windows. Some are religious, some contain scenes and others include views of nature. One of my favourite aspects of the book is the fact that all of the images are of real stained glass windows and the book contains a key at the back stating where each window can be found. I discovered that if you google the information you can then find images of the original window and use that colour scheme to add colour to your image without having to stress over colour choices. I know many of us, me included, can spend hours agonising over which colour to use for an image and this often stops us from starting colouring because we’re so worried about making a mistake or it not looking like we’d imagined. Having a ready-existing colour scheme takes away all of that stress and worry because you already know what it’ll look like and it almost turns it into a colour by numbers. You can see my take on this below with an image of the original window and my take on it. This book is perfect for those of you who are anxious colourers and those who simply want to zone out and colour and not have to think about picking out colour schemes and making them work. The image outline thickness ranges from thin and delicate to very bold and black (see photos below) meaning there are loads of different levels of difficulty and that it adapts to your level of concentration – if your vision or hand control are affected you’ll still be able to find an image to colour that you won’t accidentally colour over the lines of. This book is well suited to felt-tips to give a really vibrant effect, coloured pencils to give a softer more translucent effect as if light is shining through the window, and watercolours to give it a realistic glassy effect. The image I coloured below was coloured using the Faber-Castell Aquarelle watercolour pencils which I then painted lightly over with a wet brush. Be careful when using watercolours as this isn’t watercolour paper so it does crinkle a bit if you get it too wet and I’d advise placing some spare paper or card underneath to avoid ruining subsequent pages. I love the effect it gave and this was only my second attempt at watercolour so give it a go!

You can get your copy at this link-Art Therapy: Stained Glass: 100 Designs for Colouring in and Relaxation.– Amazon UK

https://www.bookdepository.com/Art-Therapy-Stained-Glass/9781909342750/?a_aid=colouringitmom – Book Depository Worldwide

For more information about the Art Therapy series including other books and paper quality etc visit this post.

Faber-Castell 24 Art Grip Aquarelle Pencils: A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.

Earlier this week I was sent the loveliest email from a lady at Faber-Castell, I had contacted them asking to review their products and was expecting to hear a no back from most places as my blog is pretty small in comparison to many others. Despite not having anything like the 10,000 followers usually needed to be considered, they sent me a beautiful set of 24 watercolour pencils as my blog is unique in reviewing adult colouring books and mediums from a mental health perspective. I was so incredibly touched and was moved to tears by their lovely email and kind gift and I hope that I will be able to review more of their products in the future.

So, without further ado, here’s the review of their set of 24 Art Grip Aquarelle (watercolour coloured pencils). In short, these pencils are truly fabulous! I’m not saying this lightly and I can assure you that my review would be equally emphatic if I’d bought these pencils because they really are wonderful. Anyone who knows me will know that I cannot draw or paint which is a huge reason why I’m so into adult colouring. I love being creative but can’t create my own drawings without them resembling a young child’s. I’ve not touched a coloured pencil since I left school and when I picked some up for the first time last week I really struggled. I found them hard, difficult to shade with, impossible to blend and I wasn’t far off throwing them across the room because I kept messing up the pictures. I was therefore very wary about my ability to do these new pencils justice in a review. However, when I picked them up yesterday and had a tentative play with them I was shocked at just how easy they were to use. I watched two basic video tutorials on YouTube about shading techniques and away I went.

These pencils are wonderful as they are easy to use, comfortable to hold thanks to the triangular shape and rows of little bumps down the sides, and you can get great coverage of the palest colour by pressing as lightly as possible onto the page. They don’t streak or create huge direction lines as long as you’re a little careful with your technique and they build up colour well. This may sound like I know what I’m talking about but this is me faking being an expert after watching 20 minutes of artists telling me how to colour like a pro, I truly am a beginner. The colours are similar enough to each other that you can blend them nicely and I’m sure with a blending pencil this would work even better (I don’t own one so can’t test this yet). They give a beautifully professional look to your work after just a couple of minutes of practice and my confidence has really built over the hours I’ve spent using them. Each time I’ve finished colouring a bunny or a flower I’ve been utterly shocked that I’ve created the effects I have on the paper when a week ago I was all for giving up on pencils for good. The amount of different colour you can get from one pencil was astounding to me and I’ve been shocked at the versatility and range of just 24 colours. I haven’t thought even once that I wished there had been another colour that wasn’t in my tin, though if you do feel like that then they do larger tins containing 36 or a whopping 60 pencils.

The second way of using these pencils is as watercolours. The tin encloses a small instruction booklet detailing the 3 ways you can get the watercolour effect: using a wet paintbrush after you’ve coloured, using damp watercolour paper to draw directly onto, and using a spray bottle to give a very light watercolour effect. I tried the first method after colouring in the yellow daisy-style flower in the photo below. This is the first time I’ve used watercolours since I was about 14 so I have no skill at this yet and found that the shading I had coloured wasn’t contrasting enough once wet and therefore merged into one colour more than I’d have liked. However, I’d like to make it very clear that this was not the pencils but merely my lack of ability to use them properly. With some more practice I can tell that I’d be able to get some really beautiful effects that would open up more possibilities in my colouring and I look forward to experimenting further with them. Those of you who like to paint would love using these I’m sure as you get a preciseness that you won’t be able to get as easily, if at all, with paints.

Faber-castell 011 Faber-castell 012

In summary, these pencils are pretty much worth their weight in gold. I was a true beginner when I started using them and while I’ve got a long way to go, I already feel like an artist thanks to the ease of use and professional looking results from these pencils. If you need all the help you can get, like I do, then I’d highly recommend these pencils because I’m sure you won’t be disappointed with the results and the fact that they’re two mediums in one is a huge bonus, particularly for those of you more adept at watercolour than me. These pencils are great for stress-free colouring thanks to their usability and beautiful vibrant and calming colours (depending on pressure) and they will give you the desired effects very quickly without hours of frustrating practice. Despite having a severe anxiety disorder and often this leading me to have confidence crises as I’m not able to colour on paper the same way it looks in my head, I never experienced this when using these pencils and was pleasantly surprised (as were my family) at what I’d managed to colour that was often better than I’d even imagined (see photos below). In my opinion, Faber-Castell have created the perfect pencil for beginners to get a wonderful effect from the very first use and this will help any budding artist’s confidence grow and grow (often much needed in those of us with mental health problems) and any of you who are not artistically challenged will just have your work improved by using these beautiful pencils. Go and buy them, you know you want to! Art Grip Aquarelle Pencils Tin 24 Pencils