Pavilion Books

Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom Book of Prints – A Review and Comparison of UK and US Editions

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom Book of Prints is published in the UK by Batsford Books who kindly sent me a copy to review, and is published by Lark crafts in the US and I purchased a copy of this edition myself.

Comparison

  • The US edition contains 18 prints and the UK edition contains 20, the additional images are the octopus and the lobster.
  • The card in the US edition is MUCH thinner than the UK edition, it feels like school card and is very flexible whereas the card in the UK edition is thick and much less bendy, similar in thickness to the card used in Johanna Basford’s Artist’s Editions.
  • The spine on my US edition broke really quickly because it’s only very lightly glued and the pages are already completely loose from the book covers despite very careful handling, the pages in the UK edition are glued more strongly.

The book itself is 25 x 33cm, paperback with flexible card covers that have a re-jigged version of the Animal Kingdom book cover on the front. The book has a lay-flat binding which is quite stiff to begin with but loosens up over time, each card page is glued onto the spine and it’s therefore easy to remove them for framing or gifting so do be careful not to twist the spine if you wish for your pages to remain in the book. The images are each printed single-sided and are mostly portrait with 4 landscape images (2 in the US edition). The card is thick, white, lightly textured and lovely to use with any medium, my pencils were a dream to blend and shade with, water-based pens don’t bleed, shadow or spread and alcohol markers will work well too, just make sure you pop a protective sheet behind to ensure no bleed-through. The images are all taken from Millie Marotta’s debut colouring book, Animal Kingdom, and all are printed the same size as the originals. No text is added to any of the pages and the majority of them contain large open spaces around them so you’re free to add your own imagery or backgrounds if you wish but this certainly isn’t a requirement and with or without, the pages will look incredible. I’ve included photos below of all of the illustrations including the two additional images in the UK edition of the octopus and lobster. The images contain a good range of animals from the book and a really good range of Millie’s different illustration styles including full page designs, floral component parts, and centralised single animals.

In terms of mental health, this book is great because it offers a manageable project which you can frame or gift once finished, this is ideal for cheering up dark days or for boosting your confidence and self-esteem because you’ll have evidence and proof on your walls of just what you can create and achieve; the colouring projects I have displayed in my flat never fail to make me smile, even on really bad days. The line thickness, as with all of Millie’s work, is spindly thin and the images all contain really high levels of intricacy and detail so it’s really geared up for those of us with very good vision and fine motor control. The pages contain a range of amounts of content from a centralised animal to a page filled with leaves and a bird so there are some pages that will take much less time than others. Millie’s work has very natural stopping points but does require a lot of concentration so this is a book to either colour in small chunks or to save for your good days when you can focus well. While the images are all filled with huge amounts of detail, these sections don’t all have to be coloured individually and can easily be coloured over so that they show up as texture underneath (see my lobster below). The nature-themed imagery is very calming and distracting because there’s so much to look at on each page and Millie’s work is some of the best I’ve found to work on when I’m feeling anxious and need to really focus on something other than the thoughts swirling round my head.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to fans of Millie’s work and those who want to be able to frame or gift their finished pages. I would recommend the UK edition over the US edition as the card is much thicker, the binding is more sturdy and you get 2 extra images to colour. This is a lovely new format for Millie’s images and one that I hope will be reproduced for all of her other titles.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of either edition of the book, they’re available here:
UK Edition
Amazon UK – Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom Book of Prints
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Millie-Marotts-Animal-Kingdom-Book-of-Prints-Millie-Marott/9781849944014/?a_aid=colouringitmom
US Edition
Amazon UK – Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom Book of Prints to Color
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Millie-Marotts-Animal-Kingdom-Millie-Marott/9781454710318/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you’d like to frame your work, you can find frames of the correct size here on Amazon.

The images below are coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners (Giraffes), and Prismacolor Premier Pencils (Lobster).

Princesses and Fairies Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Princesses and Fairies 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 green 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 princess and fairy with some being depicted in far more pages than others. The illustrated princesses and fairies include those from: Thumbelina, The Frog Prince, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Real Princess (The Princess and the Pea), Cinderella, Princess Minon-minette, The Little Mermaid, The Flying Trunk, The Moon Princess, and Tanabata (The Star Festival Story). The illustrations range widely and include wallpaper-style images and repeating patterns; images of collections of objects including jewellery, flowers, and birds; double-page spreads depicting famous fairytale scenes, oval-shaped portrait-style images, and double-page spreads of flowers. The images are very floral and busy and contain heaps to look at. The layout of the book is a little chaotic but is much more cohesive than the other book in the series (The Fairy Tales Colouring Book). Each story 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 are slightly random collections of somewhat related images in a range of styles including wallpapers, objects, and patterns. These feel less like filler images and more like stand-alone images than those found in the other book which means this one flows much better though it is a shame that a large number of them don’t 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 fair few of these throughout. This book is a little less cohesive than others but the images are really beautiful and extremely pretty. 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 princesses and fairies 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, this is a beautiful book, it’s a little chaotic and difficult to follow, however, the artwork is stunning 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 love intricate and detailed illustrations who don’t mind persevering with the paper because it’ll look stunning when finished!

You can purchase a copy of the book here:
Amazon UK – Princesses and Fairies Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Princesses-Colouring-Book-Tomoko-Tashiro/9781843653172/?a_aid=colouringitmom

Can’t get enough of this art? Check out my review of the second book in this series – Fairy Tales Colouring Book.

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Stabilo 68 Fibre-tips.

Fairy Tales Colouring Book – A Review

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

The Country House Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Country House Colouring Book is illustrated by Amy Jane Adams, and published and kindly sent to me to review by Pavilion Books. This book is landscape (21.6 x 27.9cm), paperback with flexible card covers and ½ flaps, the cover has a partially coloured image which is contained within the book and has bronze foil accents adding a touch of luxury. The spine is glue and stitch-bound so it’s sturdy and a little tricky to get to lie flat and to reach the centre of the pages however, there is a border around most images so only a few enter the spine and this will loosen up with use. The paper is bright white, lightly textured and heavily shadows with water-based pens and these will bleed through if you’re not careful; pencils work well on this paper and you can build up a few layers for blending and shading. The book contains 96 pages of double-sided illustrations, most are contained to a single page but a few are double-page spreads.

The images are all of National Trust country houses from all over the UK, the images are each titled with the name of the country house and which county it’s in and these are arranged into alphabetical order which makes finding specific places very easy to do. At the back of the book is a 5-page alphabetised list of all of the country houses that are included, as well as a short paragraph explaining what each image specifically depicts which is very helpful as a number of the illustrations are fairly abstract or are compilation pictures which can be difficult to decipher if you’re not familiar with the specific content. The images range from showing the front of the property in a relatively realistic drawing style to items found within the country house including paintings, dresses or furniture pieces, surreal representations of the buildings to compilations of buildings, items, and even associated historical people. The illustrations are very stylised and most aren’t drawn very realistically or especially neatly. The style is quite random and chaotic with line thickness haphazardly changing and lines joined up unnecessarily or not joined where they should be. It’s very difficult to describe the style so I’ve included lots of photos below but to me it looks almost like they’ve been drawn on an etch-a-sketch which isn’t a criticism, they’re just not drawn in the style I expected and this may prove surprising or disappointing to people who aren’t pre-warned. The illustrations depict a huge number of country houses from Anglesey Abbey to Corfe Castle, Hardwick Hall to Packwood House, Speke Hall to Wightwick Manor and heaps more, it includes castles, houses, manors, objects, and even historical figures.

In terms of mental health, I personally found the illustration style quite challenging and chaotic and therefore didn’t find it relaxing at all because it’s difficult to identify different parts of the drawing and work out how to colour each section. The line thickness varies throughout the book and within some of the images and ranges from spindly thin to medium thickness so there’s a real range and the random variations mean some of the images look a little untidy or not quite finished. The intricacy levels vary hugely throughout from extremely intricate to much larger open spaces so in order to fully enjoy this book you’re likely to need very good vision and fine motor control. A fair few of the images have very large open spaces where you could add your own details or backgrounds, there are no written hints though so you don’t have to do this at all but a few of the pages look a little sparse with one object in the centre and nothing else. The illustrations vary in size so this is an ideal book for those of you with fluctuating conditions or concentration levels because you can focus on a page of an object on your bad days or a full page of a building front on your good days. I think it would suit people who are more artistic than myself who can appreciate the surreal nature of the images and who don’t mind such varying line thicknesses.

I would recommend this book to the very artistic, who feel able to decipher the imagery and get colouring. The paper isn’t suited to pens so I’d strongly advise using pencils to get the most out of the artwork. Please do check out the photos below to decide if the art style suits you or if it’s a little too abstract. I’m sure people could create wonderful finished pages with this book, sadly I’m not able to really do it justice as it’s so far out of my comfort zone.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – The Country House Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Country-House-Colouring-Book-Amy-Jane-Adams/9781909881778/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.

Colour Your Own Dutch Masters – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Colour Your Own Dutch Masters (Colouring Books) is published and was kindly sent to me to review by Pavilion Books. This book does exactly what it says on the tin, it allows you to colour your own paintings originally created by Dutch Masters! I’m no art expert and I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t recognise most of the images in here, not because they’re odd choices, but because I really don’t know much about art so it’s been a steep learning curve getting this review ready. This book measures 20.6×29.1cm, is landscape, paperback, with a thin card front and back cover but containing a very thick card board at the back which provides a great surface to colour on but does mean the depth of the book is deceptive as almost a third of it is this card board (see image below). The book has a lay-flat binding which is ideal because there is no spine to contend with and your images will be easy to remove and display if you wish. The images are printed single-sided onto bright white, medium thickness card (approx. 160-200gsm) which is lightly textured so it allows a few layers of pencil to be built up and copes ok with watercolours though my background, even only very lightly painted with water did buckle and curl a little so be very sparing with water. The card doesn’t bleed or shadow with water-based pens but may bleed a little with alcohol markers though this doesn’t matter because the images are single-sided so you’re free to use whatever medium you like. The book contains a mixture of portrait and landscape images and at the bottom of each page is the name of the painting and the date (but not artist) so you’ll easily be able to Google the painting if you’re wanting to copy the colour scheme of the original. The book contains 22 line drawings of famous paintings by Dutch Masters and includes paintings such as Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer, The Threatened Swan by Asselijn, The Goldfinch by Fabritius, The Laughing Cavalier by Hals, and Self-Portrait with a Sunflower by Van Dyck. Each full colour image is shown on the inside covers at the front and back of the book along with more information about painting type and size, artist name and dates and the name of the painting which makes each one very easy to identify. The line drawings are heavily contoured and detailed and light and shade are outlined in either dotted or complete lines to make it easier to colour sections as if it’s a paint by numbers without the numbers. This is quite a distinctive way of illustrating and it’s certainly not for everyone and my one criticism of this book is that it would have been better to print these lines in a more subtle grey than black so that the lines could no longer be seen once the image was coloured. However, this is still a great book that enables you to colour your own famous paintings and stamp your own individual style onto them.

In terms of mental health, this book is pretty good for those of you who aren’t severely ill. This book requires a lot of concentration and has a lot of small details and intricate parts and the line thickness is spindly thin throughout so you will need very good vision and fine motor control to enjoy this book. Some of the images are simpler than others, a good example of this is the Girl with a Pearl Earring, but most are extremely detailed and will take a long time to complete. These images will certainly keep you focused and help you stay distracted but I would stick to doing them on your good days or they may provide more frustration than relaxation. The image content is varied from portraits to group scenes to animals but all are somewhat old fashioned due to the time in which the originals were created.

I would recommend this book for art-lovers and those who wish to paint without having to freehand it. There are lots of details and intricacies so it’s only suitable for those with very good vision and fine motor control. The binding is ideal for use with wet mediums as you don’t have to hold the book open and can easily remove your masterpieces once they’re done so that you can frame or gift them.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Colour Your Own Dutch Masters (Colouring Books)
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Colour-Your-Own-Dutch-Masters/9781910904398/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and the background was coloured using Derwernt Inktense Pencils activated with water.