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How to Draw Inky Wonderlands is now released worldwide and I have been lucky enough to be sent a copy of the UK and US edition by Johanna Basford in order to write this comparison post for you all. Every time Johanna releases a new book there are huge online debates about which edition is ‘best’ to buy, what the similarities will be and what will be different and so I’m here to tell you about each and every difference so that you can make an informed choice. I have reviewed the UK edition here and the US edition here.
This is a long post because there are so many pictures included to illustrate each point but please bear with me because a lot of time and effort has gone into being as thorough as possible. If you’d prefer to watch a video where I talk through and show all of the differences then scroll all the way to the bottom of the post where it’s embedded. Most of the things I’ve noticed don’t affect the enjoyment or use of the book, they’re just differences but there are a few items that are fundamentally different and do affect use so keep an eye out for those, they’re summarised at the bottom. Some of the very noticeable differences include the cover colour, book size and paper type, so here goes with the most comprehensive list of similarities and differences that you’re likely to find online!
If you want to just skip ahead to the most crucial differences then look at points 1, 9, 14, 17, 20, 31, and 38, and the summary section at the bottom.
- Book Size – Each edition is the same height as the previous titles from the same country but they are not the same size as each other. This time they’re rectangular (like Ivy and the Inky Butterfly) and the US edition is 25.5cm by 21.5cm and the UK edition is half a centimetre smaller in each direction.
- Cover Design – The cover design is very slightly zoomed in on the UK edition so the US edition has a little extra detail on 3 out of the 4 sides, at the bottom it appears to have been shifted slightly up on the UK edition and so it has a little extra image there.
- Penguin Logo – The US edition has the Penguin Publishing logo subtly placed in the top right corner inside the seahorse image. The UK edition has a swirl design in its place. The US edition is published by Penguin, the UK edition is published by Virgin Books an imprint of Ebury.
- Foiling Colour – The foil colour is gold on both but it’s ever so slightly yellower on the US copy and it’s shinier and smoother on the US copy too, it feels a little rougher on the UK edition.
- Foiling Aspects/Amount – Both editions have completely different aspects of the cover foiled, with the UK edition having significantly more foiling than the US edition.
- Coloured Background – The UK edition has a beautiful pink background behind the title, the US edition has a lovely duck egg blue background behind the title.
- Coloured Accents – Both editions have different aspects coloured and both have different colours, the UK edition only has pastel shades ranging from green to pink and the US edition has a much wider range of colours including pastels and more vibrant shades. There is much more colour added to the US edition though this is limited to the bottom right corner of the cover whereas the UK edition has small coloured accents scattered all over.
- Pencil on Cover – The pencil lines on the UK edition are printed much darker than on the US edition.
- Spelling – As ever, this is one of the most noticeable differences and it’s a really easy way to identify which edition you’re looking at because of the spelling of the word “colour” in the subtitle. Throughout the book there are various different spellings and sometimes completely different words are used due to the language differences between UK and US English. Examples of this include: Autumn/Fall, Sweets/Candy, Greaseproof Paper/Baking Parchment.
- Blurb – The UK and US editions have completely different blurbs. There is far more text and information on the US edition than the UK edition.
- Cover Colour – The UK cover is whiter than the US cover, neither is cream but the UK edition is very white.
- Back Cover Images – The illustrations and tutorials on the back cover are printed much larger on the UK edition than the US edition, probably because there’s more space due to less text. There is also an illustrated tutorial at the bottom of the US back cover that isn’t shown on the UK edition however it is included in both books, just not on both covers.
- Spine – Usually the book spines are black in the UK and white in the US. This time (as with Ivy and the Inky Butterfly), both are white with black text, it’s printed a little blacker on the US edition. The UK spine has two foiled drawings on it, the US spine has no foiling. The motifs differ too with the UK edition having a seahorse and a key and the US edition having a pen. The text is much larger on the US edition than the UK and the font remains consistent throughout the spine on the US edition whereas half of the title is written in italics on the UK edition spine. Neither edition has the subtitle printed on the spine this time. Finally, the UK edition has the Virgin Books logo and the US edition has the Penguin Books logo.
- Binding – The UK edition is stitched and glue-bound whereas the US edition is only glue-bound. This makes the US edition less durable and can lead to pages falling out. The spine of both editions has to be worked in order to get the book to lie flat and if you work the spine too much, the US edition may fall apart whereas the UK edition will be much more durable.
- Thickness – Due to the paper in the US edition being thicker (see point number 20), the book is thicker overall too.
- Weight – The UK edition weighs less than the US edition at 474g vs 511g. A 37g difference.
- Dust Jacket – This is usually one of the biggest differences between the editions, with the UK edition usually having a removable dust jacket and the US edition having it attached. This time (as with Johanna’s Christmas and Ivy and the Inky Butterfly), neither of them have removable dust jackets. This is probably a very sensible choice as they’re prone to getting damaged and with this being a drawing book that’s meant to be worked in, you need to be able to work in it unhindered, however, I’m personally a little sad because I do really love the removable dust jackets but at least it’s one fewer thing to have to choose between when deciding which edition you want to purchase. The covers are made of thick card folded into ½ French Flaps inside. The card used for the UK cover is significantly thicker and less bendy than the card used for the US cover.
- French Flaps (Images and Layout) – Both editions have ½ size French Flaps, they have the same illustrations but a very different layout with the UK edition having an image on each flap and the information from the US blurb about Johanna’s social media accounts on the back flap, and the US edition having both illustrations on the front flap and images of most of Johanna’s previously published titles on the back flap.
- Inside Cover Design – The illustration on the inside covers is differently orientated with more of the image being printed in the US edition than the UK edition.
- Paper – This is one of the biggest differences between the two editions. The paper is not identical and is unique to each country. Johanna changed papers when Magical Jungle was published and her specially created ivory paper that was named after her is in all US copies of Magical Jungle, Johanna’s Christmas, Ivy and the Inky Butterfly, World of Flowers and now How to Draw Inky Wonderlands. In the UK we have a whiter ivory paper which Johanna and her team scoured the globe for and this is in all UK editions of Magical Jungle, Johanna’s Christmas, Ivy and the Inky Butterfly, World of Flowers, and How to Draw Inky Wonderlands. The UK paper is equal in thickness to Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest and significantly thicker than Lost Ocean, it has a little tooth but does burnish after a few layers of Polychromos and Prismacolor Premiers. The US paper is ivory but a more cream colour though it’s still paler than the cream colour of Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest. The paper is the thickest yet and has a more visible tooth, it takes far more layers for blending. In both editions water-based pens behave the same way and the paper in both is beautiful to colour on with pens as they glide really well with no feathering or spreading at all. The UK paper seems like it will shadow faster and more easily than the US edition and while I didn’t experience any shadowing in either, the UK paper did seem like it might with very dark colours if not using a light touch. I personally prefer the colour of the UK paper but the US paper is much easier to use pencils on and is less likely to bleed with water-based pens so I have to recommend that one.
For drawing, I tested out the Staedtler Pigment Liners that Johanna recommends and uses herself. They worked well on both papers however the 0.2 size pen seemed to spread a little on the US paper. My partner and I tried it in case it was user error on my part and we both experienced the same thing however it was mostly just with that pen and not the other two sizes I tried so it’s possible it was just a dodgy pen but I don’t have a spare to test. Pencil erased well in both books but was significantly easier to erase in the US edition.
- Title Page Image Size – The title page image is printed 1.5cm larger in the US edition than the UK edition.
- Copyright Page Information – There is much more information on the copyright page in the UK edition than the US edition.
- Copyright Page Design – The design on the copyright page is printed much larger in the US edition and therefore a little less of the design is shown, despite the larger page size.
- Printing Location – The UK edition is printed in China, the US edition is printed in the USA.
- Grammar – There are several grammatical differences between the two editions. Different punctuation for quotes, the UK edition has apostrophes, the US edition uses standard speech marks (quotation marks). Due to different text justification, the US edition has a number of hyphenated words that cross two lines, there are none in the UK edition. In various places dots have been used and between the editions these are spaced very differently and a different number of dots are used. Oxford commas are used in both editions but fewer are found in the UK edition. A few words are written differently across the editions with some being two separate words, some one word and some hyphenated e.g. Facedown (US) vs Face Down (UK), Claw Like (US) vs Claw-like (UK), Mega Doodle (US) vs Mega-doodle (UK), straightaway (US) vs straight away (UK).
- Tip Layout – In the UK edition, the tip is spaced much closer to the main body of text and the title is written in the same size font. In the US edition there is a larger space between the tip and the main body of text and the title is written in a larger font and the text justified differently. This is the same throughout the editions.
- Web Address – This is printed in normal text in the UK edition and in bold in the US edition.
- Missing Intro Text – On the Blooms and Ship Ahoy! pages, the introduction text is missing and there is just an empty space. This information isn’t important and therefore it’s not a big deal that it’s missing, it’s just something I noticed as a difference and it’s not clear why this is the case on just these 2 pages.
- Grey Numbered Circles – In the US edition there is much more contrast in the colour of the grey compared to the black whereas the contrast varies in the UK edition and changes from lighter grey to darker grey and back again.
- Posies – There is an extra sentence in the last UK instruction, it’s not hugely important but a little strange.
- Image Size – Some of the images are printed larger in the US edition than the UK edition but the amount of variance isn’t consistent throughout and only ranges up to a maximum of 1.5cm in each direction. Many are just a few millimetres.
- Image Layout/Orientation – On all pages where the design reaches the edge of the page, the layout and orientation of the design differs between the editions.
- Seaweed Tangle Fish Image – In the US edition the fish image next to the instructions is placed much higher on the page than in the UK edition.
- Mention of Page numbers – On the Seashells and Woodland Garland pages in the UK edition, it mentions using the technique on page 26, there are no printed page numbers in either edition and no mention of this in the US edition.
- Layout of Text on Last Page –The text on the last page is laid out differently with the UK edition having more paragraphs than the US and the information being identical but differently ordered.
- Page Ink Permanency – The ink is pretty permanent on both books. I tested both with a Derwent Blender pencil and a Derwent Burnisher pencil, there was no movement of pigment on the UK edition and very little movement on the US edition. Due to this not being a colouring book this is likely to have little to no effect on your enjoyment of the book, it’s just something I always test.
- Publication Dates – The US edition published on Tuesday the 15th of October, the UK edition published on Thursday the 17th of October.
- Availability – Normally it’s very easy to get hold of whichever of these editions you wish to purchase and I’m hoping that will return to being the case. However, currently, at least in the UK and on Book Depository, it’s only possible to get the UK edition because the US edition isn’t listed on Amazon UK and is out of stock on Book Depository. I’m hoping that this will change soon and if it does, I’ll be sure to update this post but currently the US edition is proving difficult to get hold of outside America and Canada.
- Treasure Hunt – This isn’t a difference between the books but it is different from Johanna’s other titles. There is no treasure hunt contained within this book. Though of course you could create your own with the drawing skills that you’ll have learnt!
Although there are a lot of differences, the ones that will affect your enjoyment and therefore impact your decision are the paper, the binding and having a matching set. This book matches the previous titles less than usual and so it will stick out a little on the shelf anyway as it’ll only directly match Ivy and the Inky Butterfly. I think both papers are equally lovely but because of my issues with slight spreading of ink on the US edition, I would recommend the UK edition. I would also highly recommend the UK edition for the binding after numerous reports of US editions of previous titles falling apart. Mostly though, I’d advise getting whichever copy is easiest to get hold of because very few of these differences will hinder enjoyment or use enough that you wouldn’t want a copy.
Please do let me know in the comments section below which edition you’ll be purchasing and why!
Amazon UK – How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/How-Draw-Inky-Wonderlands-Johanna-Basford/9780753553190/?a_aid=colouringitmom
Amazon UK –
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/How-Draw-Inky-Wonderlands-Johanna-Basford/9780143133940/?a_aid=colouringitmom