Colour

WORLDWIDE GIVEAWAY and Review – Winterkleurkaarten: 20 Ansichtkaarten & Enveloppen (Winter Colour Cards: 20 Postcards and Envelopes)

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Winterkleurkaarten: 20 Ansichtkaarten & Enveloppen (Winter Colour Cards: 20 Postcards and Envelopes) are published and very kindly sent to me to review by BBNC Utigevers. They have also very kindly provided me with an extra set and an extra copy of Schemertijd Kleurboek by Maria Trolle which I’m currently running a Worldwide giveaway for on my blog until 23.59 GMT on the 10th of October, to enter please click hereThis set of cards is illustrated by Jessica Palmer, the hugely talented illustrator of Tangle Wood, Tangle Bay, and Tangle Magic. These cards arrive in a gold card box with an image of one of the cards on the front, this box is a little bit flimsy and did get a bit squished on its travels to me, however, none of the cards or envelopes were damaged. The box contains 20 cards, these are not greetings cards, they are square postcards that are single-sided with a design illustrated on the front, and text at the top on the back saying Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in Dutch, along with the copyright information at the bottom. The 20 plain white envelopes fit the cards perfectly and will be ideal for giving or sending the cards to others. The cards are made of bright white, lightly textured, medium thickness card, it doesn’t bleed or shadow with water-based pens but will with alcohol markers so do be aware of this, pencils, especially oil-based ones or those with harder leads, are very difficult to colour with on this card and require a lot of patience as the lack of tooth makes it difficult to layer or blend, my Prismacolor Premiers worked pretty well but I really struggled with Holbeins which seemed to clump and not colour evenly. The images themselves are all drawn in Jessica’s beautiful signature style and are really varied in content, some are winter-themed and the majority are Christmas themed. As always, none of them include people but rather beautifully anthropomorphised animals in humanesque scenes from ice-skating foxes to a mummy rabbit bearing cake and presents, badgers sharing a candlelit dessert to dancing herons, dogs decorating a Christmas tree to daddy bear reading a bedtime story to mummy and baby bear, each card is different from the last, they all feel similar because of Jessica’s drawing style but the content really does vary between each one. These cards are different from any imagery you’ll see on normal Christmas cards, or any colouring Christmas cards and they really are something special!

In terms of mental health, these cards offer a great, manageable project, they’re small enough not to be overwhelming, but large enough that they’re not coloured in seconds and you can take your time colouring each section without needing days to do so. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is thin and spindly thin. The intricacy and detail levels do vary a little across the images as well as within them but mostly they’re very intricate with lots of small details so you will need very good vision and fine motor control to enjoy these cards. You will need pretty good concentration to get the most out of them, some of the cards consist of lots of fine details that can be a little tricky to decipher if your focus is elsewhere so I’d suggest leaving those cards to colour on your better days. Colouring cards are a great project because not only do you get to enjoy colouring them, you can then send them to others and share the joy or even send them uncoloured to a friend who might need a little push to start colouring, they’re great for spreading some happiness and colouring love! The shape of them would make them ideal to frame if you wish, they could be a lovely added extra to your Christmas decorations or a really personal touch for your loved ones.

Overall, I would highly recommend these colouring cards, they’re beautifully drawn and really varied in content and they’re a lot of fun to colour, you will need good vision and hand control but these are really worth taking time over to make them perfect and they’re ideal for pen colourists! If you liked Jessica’s Tangle series of colouring books then you’re sure to love these cards!

If you’d like to purchase a set, they’re currently unavailable on the usual sites though they are listed there so do sign up for email alerts and they’ll tell you when they have them in stock, hopefully it’ll be soon! If you just can’t wait then you can order from Bol.com, below.
Amazon UK – Winterkleurkaarten: 20 Ansichtkaarten & Enveloppen
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Winterkleurkaarten/9789045322070/?a_aid=colouringitmom
Bol.com – Winterkleurkaarten

Don’t forget, I’m running a Worldwide giveaway to win a set of these cards and a copy of Schemertijd by Maria Trolle, to enter click here by 23.59 GMT on October the 10th.

The image below was coloured using Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils  and Holbein Artist’s Colored Pencils.

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WORLDWIDE GIVEAWAY and Review of Schemertijd Kleurboek (Skymningstimman Målarbok)

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Schemertijd Kleurboek is published and kindly sent to me to review by BBNC Utigevers. They have also very kindly provided me with an extra copy of this book and an extra set of Winterkleurkaarten by Jessica Palmer which I’m currently running a Worldwide giveaway for on my blog until 23.59 GMT on the 10th of October, to enter please click here. This book is illustrated by Maria Trolle and was originally published in Sweden by Printworks with the title Skymningstimman which roughly translates as Twilight/Dusk Hour, the book reviewed here, Schemertijd, is the Dutch edition. This book is most similar to Maria’s first title, Blomstermandala (Published in English as Twilight Garden) and has the same format as that, therefore much of my review is the same, skip to paragraph two for information about the content of this title. I don’t have the Swedish edition of this book and am therefore unable to comment on any differences between the two though I would assume these are minimal based on what I’ve seen of the Swedish edition online from others.

The book itself is just a little smaller than A4, measuring 21.8 x 25.7cm, it’s hardback with very sturdy thick covers with a black background and partially coloured image from inside the book with gold foil accents on the front and back and the blurb also written in gold foiling. The spine is covered in black tape with beautiful debossed gold writing, it is glue and string-bound and attached to tape within the hardback binding so it’s very durable but a little tricky to get the book to lie flat and reach the very edge of the image in the gutter. The images are printed double-sided throughout and are mostly single page designs with some double-page spreads, a whopping 32 pages have black backgrounds, this is roughly every third double-page spread so those who like colouring ‘midnight’ pages will adore this book! The paper is cream, thick and very lightly textured, water-based pens don’t bleed or shadow but do always test in an inconspicuous area because we all colour differently. Pencils go on smoothly but oil-based pencils can be a little tricky to blend and layer due to lack of tooth, experienced colourists will manage to get stunning results though I’m sure and my Prismacolor Premiers worked very well.

This illustrations are all based in nature and consist of various different styles from wreaths to scenes, centralised images and portrait style pictures, the imagery is absolutely stunning and this book feels just a little more polished than Blomstermandala, it really is lovely! There is so much pictured within the pages that it’s hard to even begin to make a list but some of the things illustrated include: tree houses, nests, squirrels, butterflies, peonies, deer, fairies, frogs, rabbits, birds, mushrooms, owls, bees, ferns, foxes, pussy willow, snowdrops, waterlilies, spider webs, and even dragons. There are countless flowers and plants included and at the back of the book is a double-page spread with all of the pages numbered and a list of all of the flowers pictured in each so that you can easily identify them and colour them accurately if you wish which is a major plus point of this already fabulous book! The images are drawn in a mostly realistic style but some are slightly surreal in context with women pictured with nests in their hair, a girl sat in the centre of a sunflower, owls nestling in a peony’s leaves and lots more; these quirky scenes are lovely to look through and give a really whimsical feel to the book, some of the images have a beautiful childlike charm and this is aided by some of the cute and quirky characters included which we first saw in Maria’s book about Vivi finding a friend (Vivi Soker en Van and Dutch edition, Droomreis), but all are adult level colouring rather than basic or boring. Much of the imagery consists of anthropomorphised animals in humanesque scenes and situations. The sheer amount of different content means that you’re offered a huge variety of things to colour from practising skin tones and fur to feathers and water, if you want a book to challenge you out of your comfort zone then this is ideal. Equally though, this would look gorgeous block coloured or with minimal blending and shading, or with a touch of added sparkle from some glitter gel pens so don’t be put off if you’ve not mastered fur, I haven’t yet but I’ll be giving it a go in this book. A few of the images have dots on to indicate shading and these are very useful, especially for beginner colourists to learn where light and shade can be placed in an image.

In terms of mental health, this book is just fantastic because it’s so centred around nature and is inherently very calming and relaxing. Even just looking through the book soothes my mind and noticeably slows it down and it really helps distract you from any negative thoughts or difficult symptoms. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is thin but not spindly thin so there is a little leeway for slight issues with vision and fine motor control though you will need a fairly high level of both of these but not perfect! The intricacy and detail levels vary throughout from large open spaces all the way down to small spaces but nothing is teeny tiny and none of the sections would be impossible to colour separately if you wish. The imagery is just beautiful and I absolutely love it, there’s a lot of variety but all centred around the same floral garden theme which makes it feel really cohesive and it’ll look incredible coloured cover to cover! The images are often made up of lots of component parts which is ideal for those of you with poor concentration or symptoms that make completing a whole page too daunting or difficult and you can easily colour one mouse, hedgehog or daffodil and still get a sense of achievement. On better days you can tackle a whole page or even a double-page spread so this book is filled with lots of different size projects. A number of the images are centralised images with space around them where you could add your own backgrounds, there are no written hints so this is by no means obligatory but the option is there if you wish, the images do of course look finished without any additions though.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to people who love Maria’s colouring books and who love nature. The illustrations are beautiful and they’re drawn in a mostly realistic style which makes them ideal for realistic or surreal colour schemes. If you like pretty images of flowers, animals and plants then you’re sure to love this book, it’s gorgeous and utterly charming from beginning to end!

If you’d like to purchase a copy of the book, it’s listed below, it seems to be taking a while for Amazon and Book Depository to be getting stock (this also happened with Droomreis which is now available on Amazon UK) but it is available currently at bol.com (direct link below).
Amazon UK – Schemertijd Kleurboek
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Schemertijd-Mari-Trolle/9789045322674/?a_aid=colouringitmom
Bol.com – Schemertijd

Don’t forget, I’m running a Worldwide giveaway to win a copy of this book and a set of Winterkleurkaarten by Jessica Palmer, to enter click here by 23.59 GMT on October the 10th.

The image below was coloured using Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils  and Pan Pastels for the background.

The Wellbeing Journal - Created with the mental health charity, Mind, it's filled with self-care tips, space to write, and activities. Click through to read and see more.

The Wellbeing Journal: Creative Activities to Inspire – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Wellbeing Journal: Creative Activities to Inspire is published and kindly sent to me to review by Michael O’Mara Books. This journal has been created in partnership with the mental health charity, Mind, all royalties from the sale of the book will be donated to them and thus, by purchasing it, you can not only help yourself (more on this later), but also the countless number of us who are mentally ill in the UK and further afield who are supported by Mind and their tireless work to raise awareness and reduce stigma about mental illness. The book itself is 14.7 x 19cm (just smaller than A5), paperback, with flexible card covers with pictures of brightly coloured birds and branches. The journal is printed double-sided and contains a mixture of single and double-page spreads. The paper is bright white, smooth, and medium thickness, it shadows and occasionally bleeds with water-based pens and pencils don’t work brilliantly unless you use graphite or soft leads due to the smoothness. The majority of the pages in the journal have space to write or draw, some are plain with borders or corner imagery and others are lined, scattered throughout are pages filled with colourful patterns or bright drawings of plants and animals. There are also lots of written activities and self-help suggestions including: relaxing your body, drawing how you’re feeling, organising your time, identifying your stress triggers, and lots more, all of these things may seem simple to people who are well, but it’s often the most basic of tasks, especially anything that involves self-care that those of us who are mentally ill struggle with and it’s great to have prompts all written in the same place for us to refer to when needed. A few colouring pages are scattered through the journal and a number of inspiring and uplifting quotes that might help you look at the world a little differently or remind you that it’s not quite as dark or hopeless as you might feel.

In terms of mental health, this journal couldn’t be much better, it’s been designed with mental health in mind and the tips included are genuinely useful for helping yourself to feel just a little bit better. Journaling is often credited as being great for mental health, it’s not something I’ve ever managed to regularly stick at but I certainly find blogging helps me make sense of things and writing things down can be really useful for this so having a dedicated space to do that interspersed with tips, quotes and activities to keep you perked up is ideal. This journal would be a great present for yourself (get started on the self-care journey by investing in this as something that can help you help yourself), or for others around you who might be struggling with self-care or mental health, it’s perfect for letting someone know you’re thinking of them and starting the conversation about mental health and letting them know that it’s ok not to be ok and it’s also ok to talk about it. The journal is not only a fabulous place to write down your thoughts, feelings, and symptom diary, you could also use it as a place to write down additional self-care tips, strategies, and activities, you could even get people around you who care about you to write nice messages in it for you to read when you’re having symptomatic days and need a boost! The journal is a great size for popping in your bag for journaling on the move or having a portable self-help guide. The tips included are sadly not likely to cure you, they may not even make a huge difference to how you’re feeling, but without trying them, you’ll never know, and starting to care about yourself and for yourself is notoriously difficult when you’re very unwell, therefore having written suggestions of basic things you can try can be a really useful tool for helping yourself feel just a little bit better, even just for a moment!

Overall, I would highly recommend this journal, the paper quality is slightly disappointing but other than that I can’t fault it, the content is great, with a good mix of activities and tips, and space for writing or drawing and if nothing else, the bright colours printed throughout might just brighten your day for the briefest of moments. It would make a wonderful present to yourself or others and better still, by purchasing it you’re helping support a wonderful mental health charity, it doesn’t get much better than that!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – The Wellbeing Journal: Creative Activities to Inspire
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Wellbeing-Journal/9781782438007/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured with Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.

Mermaids in Wonderland 20 Postcards - Click through to read my review, see photos and a video flick-through of this gorgeous set!

Mermaids in Wonderland: 20 Postcards – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Mermaids in Wonderland: 20 Postcards is published by Harper Design and illustrated and kindly sent to me for review by Marco Chin. This is the second set of postcards by Marcos who previously illustrated the Fairies in Wonderland Postcards, this set is identical in format and therefore much of my review is the same, skip to the second paragraph for information about the content. This set of 20 postcards contains scaled down artwork from Marcos’s original Mermaids in Wonderland book which you can read my review of HERE. Each postcard is printed single-sided with a beautiful seahorse, a dotted stamp area and address lines on the back so that you can send them to family, friends and loved ones. The postcards are not perforated but are removable with a similar glue to that of note blocks which means they can be removed with a nice clean edge ready for sending or displaying, it also means the book lies nice and flat for colouring. The postcards are made of thick, white card which didn’t bleed at all with my water-based pens and only very lightly shadowed with alcohol markers! The line thickness remains spindly thin throughout which is somewhat problematic. I have very good vision for small, close things, and also have very good fine motor control but a few of the images on these postcards are so tiny that they’re almost impossible to colour and you’re certain to go over the edges. This is a shame because I’m a huge fan of the imagery and I just love the illustrations but scaling down the images to postcard size wasn’t the most sensible choice because it’s quite limiting. The postcards are beautiful to look at and would be gorgeous to send or display as they are but given that they’re sold as colouring postcards, I expect to be able to colour all of them and I will struggle to do that neatly with a few of them. That being said, the images are very beautiful and are definitely worth putting the time and effort into to get them perfect and if you don’t colour each section individually and colour over some off the pattern instead then a lot of the problem is alleviated.

The images chosen for these postcards are a good selection from the book and contain a number of beautiful mermaid images, as well as the crab, starfish, dolphins, shells and more, and unusually, 6 of the images have black backgrounds. There is a very good mixture of mermaids and creatures, though I would have liked to see a few more mermaids pictured, given the title, only 14 of the images actually contain mermaids. The riddles from the book aren’t added to this postcard book but a few of the images do contain letter keys which are fairly subtle and certainly don’t detract from the beauty of the images. The colouring book contains 4 removable postcards and these are identical to 4 within this set so if you have the book already you’ll be getting 16 new cards in this set and 4 that duplicate those in the colouring book.

In terms of mental health, I would recommend the majority of these postcards but you will need very good vision and fine motor control to enjoy them because they are extremely intricate and detailed. You will also need pretty good concentration and focus because these postcards take a surprisingly long time to colour given the size of them. They take less time to colour than the images in the book do but they’re still very time-consuming, however, this is great for distraction, each postcard is like a window into the mermaid world and if you let it, you can be really absorbed into it and away from any difficult symptoms or thoughts. All in all, I would recommend this postcard book to those of you with very good vision and fine motor control. The pictures are a challenge to colour because of the intricacy but they will look beautiful coloured and would be lovely to send to people, or frame and you could frame the uncoloured ones very nicely too. The card is lovely and thick and great for pens and pencils and it’s a nice format for these delicate images.

If you’d like to purchase a set they’re available here:
Amazon UK – Mermaids in Wonderland: 20 Postcards
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Mermaids-in-Wonderland-20-Postcards-Marcos-Chin/9780062565662/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you love the imagery but these are just too intricate why not take a peek at the original book:
Review – Mermaids in Wonderland Colouring Book
Amazon UK – Mermaids in Wonderland
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Mermaids-in-Wonderland-Marcos-Chin/9780062465603/?a_aid=colouringitmom

Silent video flick-through of the whole book below.

The image below was coloured with Bic Marking Alcohol Markers and Promarker Alcohol Markers.

Mermaids in Wonderland: A Coloring and Puzzle-Solving Adventure for All Ages – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Mermaids in Wonderland: A Coloring and Puzzle-Solving Adventure for All Ages is published by Harper Design and illustrated and kindly sent to me for review by Marcos Chin. This is the second book my Marcos who illustrated Fairies in Wonderland last year, this book is identical in format and therefore much of my review is the same, for information on the content in this book, please skip to paragraph two. This book is square, the same size as the bestsellers and paperback with a card cover with 2/3 French flaps which open out to reveal a white background mermaid design inside the front cover, and a black background mermaid design inside the back cover. The paper is bright white and medium thickness, it doesn’t bleed with water-based pens but does shadow sometimes so do be careful. The paper is smooth with no visible tooth at all, it is a bit tricky to blend and layer with pencil but if you work slowly and remain patient then it is possible to get some lovely effects, I have had to press harder for block colouring than I’m used to in most books but overall, it’s not too bad. The spine is glue and string-bound this time and the images are borderless so a little of each image is lost into it, the spine does ease up with use and unlike with purely glue-bound spines, the pages don’t fall out when they’re also stitch-bound which is a welcome change! The images are printed double-sided and a large number of them are double-page spreads but there are a large number of single pages too.

The book contains 96 pages and the images contain a number of written riddles with keys hidden throughout the illustrations which spell out the next clue when unscrambled correctly so this is kind of a treasure hunt, set of riddles and colouring book in one. The riddles cleverly arrange each section of images into a ‘chapter’ because they’re each set in a different place and also run from day to night, with a whopping 37 pages having black backgrounds to indicate night time. The images are beautifully drawn and pretty but not girly, they’re very delicate and contain lots of natural elements like sea creatures, plants and corals. The images are set in a variety of places including the sea bed, an underwater hair salon, a dance performance, a carousel, a Chinese dragon procession, an archery lesson, a cocktail party, and more! There is a whole heap of content with a huge variety of things pictured including winged mermaids, hot air balloons, starfish, lobsters, dolphins, whales, crabs, corals, shoals of fish, swordfish, jellyfish, just to name a few! The mermaids also vary throughout from beautiful mermaid ladies adorned in jewellery to dancing and gymnastic mermaids and those flying hot air balloons, the majority are female but there are a few males pictured too. The images are beautifully cohesive and stunningly drawn with a great deal of detail and thought. At the back of the book are two perforated half pages, each with two postcards on them which can be removed and coloured, these are a great addition to the book but sadly, they are identical to four of the postcards that are printed in the 20 set of colouring postcards that accompany this book, this isn’t a problem, it’s just a shame that they aren’t different.

In terms of mental health, this book is really calming and beautiful because it’s so grounded in nature whilst also being wonderfully fantastical. There is a huge amount of intricacy and detail so this is definitely a book for those of you with good vision and fine motor control as the line thickness is also thin, verging on spindly thin at points. There are some large spaces in the images including the hot air balloons, some fish and the mermaid tails if you colour over the scales rather than colouring each individually but mostly the images consist of lots of teeny tiny bits and most aspects are surrounded by a thin border so you will certainly need some fineliners or well-sharpened pencils for this book. Most of the images are of scenes and these don’t have a lot of space for you to add your own drawings or backgrounds, but a few of the images are of centralised illustrations with large spaces left around them where you could create your own backgrounds and scenes if you wished. There are no written hints so this is by no means obligatory and the artwork looks finished as it is but there is space to add your own bits if you wish. I found this book particularly calming and absorbing and the mermaid world really does draw you in and offers wonderful escapism. The illustrations are beautiful and you’re sure to spend hours lost in a faraway miniature land where symptoms of mental illness melt away and dark or anxious thoughts are left at the door.

I would highly recommend this book to all mermaid-lovers and those who like intricate and detailed pages to colour. You will need good vision and fine motor control and pencils and fineliners are a must for this book to be able to complete the stunning images. Get lost in Marcos’s Mermaid Wonderland, you may never want to leave!

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Mermaids in Wonderland: A Coloring and Puzzle-Solving Adventure for All Ages
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Mermaids-in-Wonderland-Marcos-Chin/9780062465603/?a_aid=colouringitmom

There is also a set of 20 accompanying postcards which are also currently available:
Review –
Amazon UK – Mermaids in Wonderland 20 Colouring Postcards
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Mermaids-in-Wonderland-20-Postcards-Marcos-Chin/9780062565662/?a_aid=colouringitmom

My video flick-through of the book can be found here.

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners, Stabilo 68 Fibre-Tips and Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils.

Exploratorium: A Search and Colour Mission – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Exploratorium: A Search and Colour Mission is illustrated by Lei Melendres and published and kindly sent to me to review by Michael O’Mara Books. This book is 25cm square, the same size as the bestsellers, paperback with black covers and coloured elements from inside the book on the covers. The spine is glue and string-bound and relatively tight but it does become more pliable with use so that you can reach the majority of the image to colour it. The images are printed double-sided and all of them are double-page spreads. The paper is bright white, medium thickness and lightly textured, it takes pencil well and water-based pens don’t bleed but do shadow a little so you may not want to use these but it should get covered when colouring the other side. This book is primarily aimed at children, however, the images are pretty detailed and packed with content and therefore plenty of adults will love it too. The book starts with a short introduction explaining the premise of the book, it’s a search and find colouring mission so there are a list of objects depicted which can be found within the pages. Following this, each double-page spread is dedicated to a different world and these drastically range in theme from space and future-themed to prehistoric and historical, there are heaps and heaps of scenes from a circus to haunted house, alien invasion to science lab, candy land to the North Pole, skate park to volcano and time travel to under the sea and so much more, there is a really wide scope to the content and something to suit everyone. Lei’s art style is most similar to Kerby Rosanes’s and is very much drawn in a doodle style, the images are packed with alien creatures and strange forms and the content is really quirky, whimsical and fun. The search and find aspect is surprisingly difficult for a book that’s aimed at children, my boyfriend spent ages searching for the items in one of the spreads and in the end had to give up on the last one and look at the answers, luckily there are thumbnail pictures of the spreads at the back that identify where the hidden creatures and objects are so there’s no need for frustration if one or two elude you.

In terms of mental health, this book is pretty good, the pages are packed with content and are very distracting, there’s loads to look at, to hunt down, and then to colour and this book really will keep you occupied for hours. It’s certainly not a calming book so those of you with anxiety or a racing mind may want to keep this book for calmer days but the content is quite invigorating so those suffering from low mood may well be perked up by the humour often depicted and added into the scenes. The line thickness is fairly consistent within each page but differs between them as do the intricacy and detail levels, all have a lot of content but some are much more detailed and fine-lined than others so do check out the photos and video flick-through as you’ll need fairly good vision and fine motor control to get the most out of this book, it’s certainly not well-suited to young children, probably advanced 8 year olds and up. While the content isn’t nature-based, the fantasy elements and imagination of it all are great for absorbing you into a far off land in the past or future which is often better than the here and now and is great for keeping your mind busy and focused on the task at hand rather than any troublesome thoughts or symptoms you might be experiencing. A lot of the images are filled with wacky, surreal creatures and therefore don’t have a “real” colour scheme that you need to follow so you can really go to town and use any colour you fancy and it’ll look equally fabulous and even the realistic aspects can be spiced up by unusual colour schemes like trees with blue trunks and orange leaves, purple pumpkins or red rocks, just grab a pen or pencil and get colouring and you’ll soon be fully immersed in this intricate, doodle-filled world.

Overall, I would highly recommend this to older kids and adults, it’s great fun to hunt the hidden items and to colour and the different scenes make for a really varied colouring experience with each scene being different from the last and transporting you to a far off place. This book is surreal, wacky and a joy to colour for the young, the old, and everyone in between!

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Exploratorium: A Search and Colour Mission
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Exploratorium-Lei-Melendres/9781910552759/?a_aid=colouringitmom

You can see my silent video flick-through of the book here.

The page below was coloured using Staedtler Fibre-Tip Pens.

Staedtler Ergosoft Pencils: 36 Set Click through to see the 12 new shades and read my review!

Staedtler Ergosoft Triangular Coloured Pencils: 36 Colours – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Staedtler Ergosoft Triangular Coloured Pencils: 36 Set are made and kindly sent to me to review by Staedtler, a well-known German Stationery brand. These pencils are endorsed by Johanna Basford (colouring queen) so I was very excited to see what all the fuss is about and if they’d live up to expectations. The pencils are wax-based, I usually prefer oil-based but these (and Prismacolor Premiers) are definitely changing my mind. They have triangular barrels which are entirely coated in the exact colour of the pencil lead so they’re very easy to identify with little need for a colour chart. Each side of the pencil carries printed information: Staedtler ergosoft, space to write your name (ideal for kids or those going to art classes who want to identify their own supplies easily), and the colour number. The pencils arrive pre-sharpened and are very easy to sharpen in a normal sharpener, despite the triangular shape and they sharpen to a really nice point. The pencils are now available in 36 different colours and I was sent the 36 set to review which come in a single layer tin (ideal for having out whilst colouring and not losing your pencils). Other sets available are the 12 set in a blue stand-up box, the 12 set in a cardboard box, the 24 set in a Johanna Basford themed cardboard box and 24 set in a blue stand-up box, the pencils are also available as open stock meaning you can order one or two to trial before buying a full set if you’re unsure. The ergosoft pencils are also available in watercolour so do check what you’re ordering, I will be reviewing the watercolour ergosoft pencils at a later date (the major visible difference between the two is that the watercolour pencils have a blue barrel and a coloured tip – see photo below).

The pencils themselves are smooth to touch and the ergonomic triangular design makes them very comfortable to hold which is ideal for those of us with joint problems, issues with grip strength or easily dented fingers, I have lots of problems with the shape of pens and pencils, especially when colouring for long periods of time for reviewing, and these are one of the comfiest sets I’ve come across. The pencil leads have a white coating which adheres the leads to the wooden pencil sheath and this protective coating helps to reinforce the lead core in order to prevent breakage. I have used these pencils for a long time and have had no issues with breakage or problems with sharpening so these are very well-made. The leads are quite hard but they have a good vibrant pigment meaning you get a bright colour without needing a lot of pressure. However, because the leads are quite hard, you do need to use quite a bit of pressure when colouring toothier paper so I’d advise these for smoother paper if you have joint problems or you’re going to have to press quite hard to get a bold, full colour with no white gaps. I also noticed that while the pigment is very vibrant, you do get a wax bloom when using the hardest pressure and this makes blending more difficult than with oil-based pencils because you can’t get many layers before the wax bloom builds up so much that it interferes with colour lay down.

The pencils do blend fairly well together but you will need to be careful with your layering because the wax builds up quickly. Because the pigment is so bright, it’s quite difficult to get a pale even coverage with a thin layer on toothy paper so these pencils are much better for vibrant, burnished colouring, rather than pale, thin layers. They erase very well, even when coloured and burnished, obviously some pigment is left but a surprising amount is removed with very little effort so these pencils would be ideal for those who regularly colour over the lines, or who want to create highlights in their work. These pencils are in the mid-range price category and vary hugely in price. They’re quite expensive when full-price but when on sale they’re much more affordable and better value for money and if you can get a set on sale then I’d highly recommend them. These are definitely a great wax-based pencil.

The pencils used to only be available in 24 colours and there have been lots of questions in the colouring community about what shades are now included in the new 36 set. A really good range of colours have been added across the spectrum and pretty much one of each colour has been added in to help fill in the gaps that were there before so there is now a better range of greens, we have a lilac, a beautiful turquoise and two new browns amongst others. You can see the added colours in the photos below as well as the mandala page which I coloured exclusively with the 12 new colours, they look a little strange on their own because none of them are core colours, they’re all in-between shades to fill in the gaps but in conjunction with the other 24 pencils they look beautiful and the set covers a really good selection of colours with very few shades now missing that you can’t ‘mix’ by combining a couple of the pre-existing colours. For those who already have the 24 set, who are wondering whether it’s worth investing in this new set (sadly the 12 new colours aren’t available as a set on their own though you can buy all of them open stock), I would suggest that yes, it’s definitely worth getting them, the new shades are really useful, the tin is a great way of storing them and having extra colours is always a huge bonus, I think we’re all hoping that Staedtler will add further colours at a later point though this hasn’t been announced but there are 60 colours in their watercolour set so we can dream!

If you’d like to purchase a set, they’re available here:
Amazon UK:
Set of 24 in blue stand up box
Set of 12 in blue stand up box
Set of 36 colours in tin