Caran d’Ache

Lost Ocean Artist’s Edition: 24 Illustrations to Colour and Frame – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Lost Ocean Artist’s Edition is illustrated by Johanna Basford and published and kindly sent to me to review by Virgin Books. This book contains 24 of the original images from the Lost Ocean colouring book all printed single-sided. The book is 25x33cm, paperback with thick card covers with beautiful gold foiling accents on the cover and blue text on the spine. The book has a lay-flat binding meaning there is no spine to contend with and that you can reach the whole image to colour it. The pages are all removable, they’re not perforated so there’s no risk of them not being fully perforated and you ripping a page when trying to remove it, they’re all glued onto the spine in the same way as postcard books so they’re easy to remove if you wish but they’re not stuck very strongly and in the process of colouring my page I’ve managed to detach nearly half of the pages so this book won’t stay together unless you’re extremely careful with it. The removable nature of the pages is ideal for two reasons, firstly, its main purpose, which is so that they can be displayed, framed, or gifted to friends or family so your colouring is no longer destined to stay hidden away in a book; secondly, it makes it much easier to colour if you remove the page first – the book is very large when fully open which makes it difficult to colour on your lap or even on a clipboard because it’s over A3 size when opened, but when you remove the page you can turn it to any angle you please so that you can colour each section easily without having to have your hand hanging off one corner or be rubbing over previously coloured areas and accidentally smudging bits. The pages are made of thick card which will hold up to just about any colouring medium (this is the same card as used in the Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest Artist’s Editions). I tested my Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and they didn’t even shadow onto the back and they also didn’t bleed sideways or into the card, they seemed to glide on top instead of saturating the paper like so often happens with thick pages. The card is cream which I know isn’t everyone’s favourite, however, I love it because it makes it feel like a classic book with age and luxury. It also means there’s a less harsh contrast between the colouring and the background if you leave the background uncoloured and also allows you to easily add white as highlights or as a colour where white paper simply doesn’t.

The images included are from the original Lost Ocean book and I think they’re a really good selection. There aren’t any pattern or filler images this time and they’re all definitely frame-worthy. Of the 24 illustrations, 5 are landscape and the others are portrait orientation, 3 are printed smaller than the original illustrations but the others are all printed larger to varying degrees from 4mm to the largest being the skull at an extra 7cm larger, 5 of the images are taken from double-page spreads where a section has generally been enlarged (a couple have been shrunk but not drastically so) and the rest are from single page spreads. Because the majority of the images have been enlarged, at least a little bit, they mostly have larger spaces to colour which allows you to really go to town and the possibilities for blending and shading are increased. If you’re new to using pencils and want to learn about blending and shading then the slightly larger print would be ideal for practising these techniques.

As with all of the Artist’s Editions, this book doesn’t have a treasure hunt aspect. The Secret Garden Artist’s Edition arrived wrapped in thin plastic film, but this one didn’t, however that may be because it’s a review copy so do be aware that it may have plastic film on it in the shop and you may not be able to look through it in stores, this means that the cover is well protected and won’t be at risk of staining or marking which I personally think is pretty sensible, though it’s a shame they didn’t do a preview on the back of what images are included. Because of this, I have included pictures of all of the images from inside the book below so that you can “see inside” before you buy it, as well as comparing the size to the original images.

In terms of mental health, this book is wonderful. Colouring this book ready to review it has provided countless hours of calming distraction and the card is such a joy to colour that I’ve enjoyed every moment of colouring it and was almost disappointed when I finally finished my picture and had to move onto another review. This is a book where you really don’t notice the hours passing because you’re so engrossed and focused on colouring each section. Johanna’s books are not for the faint-hearted and are quite an undertaking and they’re not for those of you with poor eyesight or challenged fine motor control. However, for anyone who is mentally ill and doesn’t have poor eyesight, this book is ideal because not only are the images stunning but they’re also completely grounded in nature which is perfect for calming you down and relaxing you. When colouring these images, it feels like you’re going on a wonderful adventure into Johanna’s Lost Ocean, the journey is less obvious but the images are printed in the same order as they appear in the book so it does have a feeling of flow. It’s sure to lift your mood and focus your thoughts so that even the most racing of minds will be quietened, at least for a short while. The details and intricacies force you to concentrate and become immersed in a watery world filled with brightly coloured fish and enchanting sea creatures and you’re sure to feel your anxiety lessen and your dark thoughts soften a little. It’s by no means a cure, but this is a fabulous book for distraction and the fact that you can remove the pages and display them means that all of your hard work and creativity can be prominently displayed and used to brighten up your darker days and remind you that you can create beautiful things which I often find gives me a huge self-esteem boost.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. If you liked Johanna’s original books or want to delve into her inky world for the first time then I’d strongly recommend purchasing it. With the best paper quality that I’ve come across in a colouring book, it contains the most stunning images and the feature of removable pages is one that I personally love because it means you can decorate your walls with your work or give wonderful, thoughtful presents to family and friends. This book exudes quality and luxuriousness from its thick card pages, to the signature gold foil accents on the front cover and the small selection of shells printed on the reverse of each picture, it is a work of art in itself and will be transformed into a masterpiece once you unleash your creativity upon it. I truly can’t enthuse enough about this book, it is a must-have and one that if you have been umming and ahhing about whether you should purchase it should be bought at once because I can just about guarantee that you won’t regret it. This book is ideal for anyone who is struggling with their mental health and anyone who just wants something truly beautiful to colour. Do check the images below to ensure the selection is one that you’re happy with and then get ordering because this is a book you definitely need in your collection, it’s gorgeous and one I can’t wait to get working on again!

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Lost Ocean Artist’s Edition
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Lost-Ocean-Artists-Edition-Johann-Basford/9780753548134?ref=grid-view&qid=1491572389812&sr=1-1/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Prismacolor Premier Coloured Pencils and blended with a Caran d’Ache blender pencil.

The Foodie’s Coloring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Foodie’s Colouring Book is published by Wilkinson Publishing and was kindly sent to me to review by Alicia Freile one of the book contributors. This book is really unusual because not only does it contain loads of pictures of food, meals, and ingredients, it also contains a quiz and a recipe book in the centre including 9 recipes for sweet treats you can make at home. This is a really novel colouring book, unlike anything I’ve seen before and it’s a must-have for any foodies in your life. The book is A4, paperback with a flexible card cover, and the spine is glue-bound meaning the book doesn’t lie very flat to begin with, however, almost all of the images have a border around them so very few enter the spine meaning you lose almost no colouring space. The images are printed single-sided onto bright white, medium thickness, moderately toothy paper so it’s ideal for pens or pencils and you don’t have to worry about bleeding because there’s nothing to ruin on the reverse of the page. The book contains over 50 images which are roughly organised alphabetically with a lettered page depicting something food-related that begins with that letter (A for Agar, H for Harissa, N for Nachos etc), interspersed with food-related quotes with food picture borders and other styles of images such as finish the drawing pages where you can add your own vegetable plants or pizza toppings (there are only two of these so if you can’t draw don’t worry). Everything you can think of is covered in the imagery of this book from chicken to doughnuts, kale to octopus, cake to oven gloves, pasta to sandwiches, figs to sushi and so much more! It really is a food-lovers dream! You could leave the pages in the book and create your own coloured catalogue of food-related pictures or a lot of these images would look fabulous framed so you could carefully remove them from the book and frame them for some great homemade kitchen artwork to stylise your home. On the reverse of each image is a humorous tale, comment, or description of what the opposite image is depicting. There is quite a lot of wit and humour throughout the book which is a lovely touch and this is sure to brighten your day and lift your mood.

In terms of mental health, I think this book would be great for anyone who has a keen interest in food and might want to combine their love of food with their love of colouring. Due to the nature of the images this content is unlikely to be suitable for sufferers of eating disorders so do be mindful of this. The images are quirky and well-drawn so it’s very clear what they’re meant to be and most are drawn in a very realistic style meaning they are well-suited to pens to make them pop, or pencils to colour them accurately and true to life. This is a fantastic book for learning to blend and shade and to teach yourself how to colour things accurately because food can be quite tricky to colour-match and colour realistically so this would definitely be a great challenge. The line thickness is consistent throughout at medium and thin with most of the images being outlined in a medium thickness line with thin-lined details within them. The images do contain a variety of intricacy and detail levels but mostly they stay within the high range so you will need pretty good, but not perfect, fine motor control and vision to get the most out of this book. There are only two pages where there are gaps to finish the drawing so don’t be put off by that feature if you can’t draw. There are so many features in this colouring book but it covers them all well and doesn’t fall short anywhere which isn’t what I expected. The quiz is a particularly fun aspect but I’m a little ashamed to admit I only scored 22 meaning I’m a “Foodie in Training” so it looks like I’ll have to swot up before I can be classed as an “Uber Foodie”. The images are very distracting and do require a fair bit of concentration to complete a whole page though you can of course colour just one vegetable or cupcake, it may not be the best book for those of you who are on diets or colouring for weight loss, who needs a reminder of delicious cakes, cheese and wine right?! But for everyone else, this is a great book to dive into and become absorbed in, none of my recommendations are criticisms, this is a great book, it’s just that food can be a slightly tricky issue within the mental health world which I felt needed highlighting. One last point about the benefits is that because it’s food and real, it means that you can colour it natural, expected colours which means for those of you who are anxious colourers like me, you don’t have to stress about choosing colour schemes and can just go with yellow cheese, orange carrots and red tomatoes without having to pick out colours that go together. Of course, you could always really spice things up and have purple pasta, pink grapes and multi-coloured figs, it’s entirely up to you!

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves food and colouring in equal measure. It’s a great book with lovely illustrations that range from poster-style to quotes, meal pictures to ingredient lists and with a heap of added features including a quiz and a mini recipe book, it’s sure to keep you entertained for hours.

This book can be purchased here:
Amazon UK – The Foodie’s Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Foodies-Colouring-Book-Jess-Lomas/9781925265514/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor pencils and partially blended using a Caran d’Ache full colour blender pencil.