Fairies

The Flower Fairies Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Flower Fairies Colouring Book is published by Warne and was bought by me for my personal collection. This listing appears to have been merged with other books with similar titles and thus not all of the reviews are of the same item, I am reviewing The Flower Fairies Colouring Book. When one thinks of fairy art, one can’t help but think of the stunning work of Cicely Mary Barker, my childhood bedroom was filled with her artwork and I grew up looking through and reading all of her flower fairy books so I was very excited when I saw that a colouring book of her work was to be published.

The book itself is 25cm square, the same size as the bestsellers, it’s paperback with a cream card cover with black line drawings of fairies and flowers with luxurious dusky pink foiling accents, a pink foiled spine, and one-third French flaps with a pink and white berry and foliage design. The spine is glue and string-bound so it’s durable and strong and it’ll ease up over time so that you can reach the centre of the images and colour them fully. The paper is a creamy off-white but not yellowy, it’s medium thickness and lightly textured and I found it worked well with pencils and I was able to build up layers, water-based pens do shadow and may bleed but this isn’t an issue because the 45 images in the book are printed single-sided. There is a small treasure hunt at the front of the book with 12 items and creatures for you to find within the pages, there are no answers printed in the book so if you’re unable to find one it may elude you forever! The book starts with a beautiful This Book Belongs To page and then continues with a lovely written introduction, followed by 45 single-sided images. On the back of all the pages is a thumbnail of the image and a brief description or title of the image content which is really helpful for identification. The images contain some of the most well-known and best-loved fairies though there are a number of repetitions of some which is a shame given just how many stunning fairies Cicely illustrated, they include the lily-of-the-valley fairy, the apple blossom fairies, the tulip fairy, the pansy fairy, the holly fairy, the nasturtium fairy and so on. The images range from original scenes to merged scenes from two original book pages, centralised fairies with associated flowers and leaves surrounding them, floral arrangements and it includes a few wallpaper style images too including lily-of-the-valley, tulips, lavender, fuchsias, berries and miniature images of some fairies. The illustrations mostly aren’t direct copies of Cicely Mary Barker’s originals, however, I can’t tell if they’re just rearranged and the colour has been digitally removed, or if the illustrations have been re-drawn by someone in an identical style.

In terms of mental health, this book is just wonderful! It’s incredibly nostalgic and transports you right back to childhood and happy memories of being read the poems by parents or grandparents, and poring over the beautiful images, in my case plastered all over my walls, calendars and lampshades as well as in the books. Now, you get the chance to colour the images yourself and either replicate Cicely’s colours and style, or bring a whole new lease of life to them by spicing up the colours you choose, it’s entirely up to you! The line thickness does vary throughout from thin to medium thickness and this is directly related to the intricacy and detail level of each image with the thin-lined pages having lots of intricate details to colour and the medium-lined pages having much larger open spaces where you can really go to town with your blending and shading if you wish. You certainly don’t need perfect vision or fine motor control in order to enjoy the majority of the pages in this book; the exceptions are a handful of the most detailed wallpaper-style images which you may prefer to just leave. This book is very natural and calming and the illustrations are utterly charming and filled with character so they’re wonderful for your mood and for brightening the darkest of days or settling the most anxious mind. Many of the images consist of collections of images and are therefore well suited to good or bad days with natural stopping points after just one berry or fairy portrait, or on better days you can colour a full page. There are hours and hours of colouring fun held within these pages and before you know it you’ll be transported into Cicely’s magical world where fairies frolic, flowers become outfits and mushrooms and trees become home.

I would highly recommend this book to children, and nostalgic adults, whose childhoods were filled with the poems and artwork of Cicely Mary Barker. This book is beautiful and familiar and while it mostly doesn’t contain the original compositions, these are not far off and offer a great starting point to create your own masterpiece. This is a colouring book that truly transports you back in time and into another world and once you’re there, I’m not sure you’ll want to stop colouring it!

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – The Flower Fairies Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Flower-Fairies-Colouring-Book-Cicely-Mary-Barker/9780241279045/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Sudee Stile Coloured Pencils, the background snowflakes were coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.

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Zemlja Snova (Land of Dreams) – A Review

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

Zemlja Snova roughly translates as Land of Dreams or Dreamland, it’s a Croatian book which is notoriously difficult to get hold of and the methods keep changing. Detailed information can be found below the review, above the photos and I’ll keep this updated as best I can, for the most up to date information, please join my dedicated fan group on Facebook where we run international group orders.

This book is one of the best I’ve ever seen. After reviewing over 200 books, there aren’t that many that manage to take my breath away, but this one does, it’s stunning and the illustrations are just incredible! Before requesting it I saw a flick-through of it and was absolutely hooked but once it arrived I was completely blown away so before I combust with compliments for this book, let me tell you about it. The book is just over 25cm square, the same size as the UK bestsellers, paperback, with flexible card covers and two-third French flaps which open out to reveal a white line drawing on a purple background, colourable black line drawings on the flaps themselves, and a partially coloured image from inside the book on the front cover. The spine is glue and string-bound and the binding is fairly tight on arrival meaning that it’s durable and hard-wearing but also a bit tricky to get to the very centre of some of the images. The images are a mixture of single and double-page spreads and are printed double-sided. The paper is bright white and thick with a light texture, it’s perfect for pencils and my Prismacolor Premier pencils went on like a dream but sadly water-based pens do heavily shadow so this is definitely a book best kept for pencils and the illustrations certainly lend themselves well to beautiful blending and shading. The book contains 81 pages of illustrations and they are genuinely incredible! The images are all fantasy-based and include lots of dragons, mermaids, unicorns, fairies, tree-men, and so much more. Over half of the spreads are double-page designs which are either scenes, depicting all manner of things from castles to sea voyages, gnome villages to woodland, dragons to underwater scenes, or paired images that can be coloured separately but are strongly linked with the opposite page (see photos below). I could go on for days describing the imagery, there is just so much to look at, when you first look at each image you start to get a feel for the general theme of the spread whether it be a castle, village or underwater scene, but as you look closer you discover lots of hidden things from gnomes to mermaid tails, working animals or birds’ nests, flowers growing off dragons and even hidden villages. The illustrations are just packed full with details and stories and they will take you ages to colour so this book is certainly good value for money! The ink is very permanent and doesn’t transfer even with very hard pressure from pencils and the paper doesn’t dent or curl either so it’s very good quality. The line print quality is good too with smooth lines throughout and no pixelation to be found! While a few of the spreads do enter the spine, care has been taken in the majority for them to not enter it, or for there to not be much detail there which is ideal for people who can’t bear to break the spine in order to colour the entire page.

In terms of mental health, wowee, I found this book exceptional! It offers so much to look at that it’s the perfect distraction for even the most persistent symptoms and it just draws you in to a magical fantastical world filled with mythical creatures, princes and princesses, castles, fairies and more. The more you look at the images, the more you see and the more you get drawn in and it’s done wonders for my anxiety during what has been a very challenging and anxiety-filled week. This book will be ideal for those of you who love fantasy colouring and also nature because so much of it is animal and scene-based so it’s combined 2 of our favourite things into one incredible book! The line thickness is consistent throughout and is thin with spindly thin details (it’s pretty similar to the linework in Johanna Basford’s books), the illustrations are very detailed and intricate so there are lots of tiny spaces which you can colour within or colour over if you prefer to use them as texture underneath your colour. You will need pretty good vision and fine motor control in order to enjoy this book and you’ll need some good sharp pencils so that you don’t go over the lines too much. I would highly recommend investing in a T’Gaal sharpener so that you can keep your pencils as sharp as possible! There are plenty of natural stopping points so this book is ideal for those with fluctuating conditions or concentration levels as you can colour one flower, all of the bricks or an entire dragon, you can also focus on a single page or go all out on a double-page spread. The pages for the most part are pretty busy and there’s loads to see so it can be a little tricky at times to identify all of the parts and sections so you will need good concentration for that part to ensure that you’re colouring a petal and not a foot accidentally! The content of the illustrations is totally absorbing and this book will look just incredible when it’s finished cover to cover. I adore this book, even just flicking through the pages gets me out of my head and calms my anxiety down and colouring it is just so much fun because you can use any colours you fancy from more natural colours to fantastical colours like blue for tree trunks and oranges or purples for leaves, in a fantasy world the only limit is your imagination and these images will look amazing no matter what colours you choose!

Overall, I can’t recommend this book highly enough, it’s a genuine work of art and while it’s a shame that pens can’t be used without shadowing, these illustrations lend themselves brilliantly to beautifully blended pencils. The artwork would appeal to male and female colourists and is highly fantasy-based with a strong storybook theme and lots of natural imagery. The drawings are incredible and you’ll be hooked once you’ve seen inside! I’ve included lots of images from inside below as usual but this book really has to be seen to be believed so I’ve also recorded a silent video flick-through which can be found HERE.

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s currently available to be purchased from the Croatian publisher, Fokus. Shipping from Croatia is very expensive and therefore it’s best to place orders as a group with one person ordering a number of books to their address and then separately shipping them out to others in their country. My Facebook group is the best place to do this as we have the largest community of Zemlja Snova fans in one place and we regularly run group orders to various countries around the world. A Dutch publisher has also acquired the rights and will be publishing copies later in the year (around mid October 2017) with the title Dromenvanger and this is available to pre-order on Book Depository where you can benefit from free worldwide shipping; this appears to be the cheapest option if you can bear to wait that long!
Dutch edition on Book Depository with free worldwide delivery – https://www.bookdepository.com/book/9789045321868/?a_aid=colouringitmom

Fans of Zemlja Snova Facebook Group

The image below was coloured using Prismacolor Premier Coloured Pencils. I tested Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners which heavily shadowed.

Fairies in Wonderland: 20 Postcards – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Fairies in Wonderland 20 Postcards: An Interactive Coloring Adventure for All Ages is published by Harper Design and illustrated and kindly sent to me for review by Marco Chin. This set of 20 postcards contains scaled down artwork from Marcos’s original Fairies in Wonderland book which you can read my review of here. Each postcard is printed single-sided with a beautiful pair of butterflies, a patterned 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 or alcohol markers! There does appear to be a strange coating over my postcards which repels the water-based ink I tested as you can see from the patchiness shown in the photo below. I have contacted a fellow reviewer who hasn’t experienced this in her set so it appears there is an issue with my set rather than all of those produced. 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.

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 books do but they’re still very time-consuming and the image below took me a good couple of hours to colour. The images chosen for these postcards are a good selection from the book and contain a number of beautiful fairy images, the venus fly trap and the ladybird, and unusually, 11 of the images have black backgrounds and 9 have white backgrounds. There is a very good mixture of fairies and creatures, though I would have liked to see a few more fairies pictured, given the title, 14 of the images contain fairies, though the fairy in the moth picture is ‘very’ well hidden. 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.

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 – Fairies in Wonderland 20 Postcards: An Interactive Coloring Adventure for All Ages
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Fairies-in-Wonderland-20-Postcards-Marcos-Chin/9780062466235/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you love the imagery but these are just too intricate why not take a peek at the original book:
Review – Fairies in Wonderland Coloring Book
Amazon UK – Fairies in Wonderland: An Interactive Coloring Adventure for All Ages
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Fairies-in-Wonderland-Marcos-Chin/9780062419989/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and accented with a gold gel pen (from a UK supermarket) and a Clear Glitter Stardust Gelly Roll Gel Pen.

Fairies in Wonderland: An Interactive Coloring Adventure for All Ages – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Fairies in Wonderland: An Interactive Coloring Adventure for All Ages is published by Harper Design and illustrated and kindly sent to me for review by Marcos Chin. I’ve been a lover of all things fairy related since I was tiny and my childhood bedroom was covered from top to bottom in fairies from lamp shades to ornaments, calendars to pictures, I was obsessed. I’ve been on the hunt for a decent fairy colouring book for the last year and all those I’ve seen have fallen a little short because they were either very dark and fantasy-based (rather than pretty and delicate) or they had strange faces, hands or feet. This book however, ticks all of the boxes of what I wanted in a fairy colouring book so read on to find out all about it!

This book is square, the same size as the bestsellers and paperback with a card cover that is partially double thickness as there is a 3 inch flap which opens out to reveal a white background fairy design inside the front cover, and a black background fairy design inside the back cover. The paper is bright white and feels like medium thickness but don’t be fooled, water-based pens shadow and occasionally bleed through so this is definitely a book to stick to pencils on unless you intend to get two copies or not colour all of the images. The paper is smooth with no visible tooth at all and I’ll note here that I appear to have a strange copy as I have really struggled to use pencils on this paper (even my artist’s grade polychromos pencils) which seemed to clump, and blending and shading has been problematic, as has block colouring which I’ve had to press harder than usual for. I’ve contacted a friend of mine who is a reviewer and her copy hasn’t presented any issues with coloured pencils so it appears that my copy is somehow defective as it feels almost as if there’s a coating over the paper because it’s so shiny. The spine is glue-bound and the images are borderless so a little of each image is lost into it, while most spines ease up with use, and so does this one, I also found that my pages are starting to fall out just from trying to flatten the book enough to photograph it so you will need to be careful with this book in order to prevent loosening of pages. 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 36 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 insects, plants and flowers. The images are set in a variety of places including a wondrous woodland, under the sea, a beautiful garden and a night time party. Lots of creatures and insects are pictured from ladybirds to caterpillars, owls to moths, butterflies to a frog and even some sea creatures. The fairies also vary throughout from beautiful fairy ladies in outfits made from flowers to aqua fairies who have flippers and head fins and others in more patterned clothing, there is a good mix of male and female fairies and children and adults too. The images are beautifully cohesive and stunningly drawn with a great deal of detail and thought. One slight criticism is that on a number of images, the draft pencil lines are still visible in a number of places (see close-up photos below), this is disappointing and it’s a shame that this wasn’t picked up on in the editing process because they’re visible in a number of images, however, they are easily disguised once colour is added to the page so they don’t detract from the finished image. The illustrations picture fairies riding insects, a fairy tea party, aqua fairies swimming underwater, fairy houses, fairies dancing and parading and so much more!

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 sections of the fairy wings and a few flowers and beetles 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 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 fairy 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 fairy-lovers and those who like intricate and detailed pages to colour. You will need good vision and fine motor control and pencils are a must for this book to be able to complete the stunning images. Get lost in Marcos’s Fairy Wonderland, you may never want to leave!

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Fairies in Wonderland: An Interactive Coloring Adventure for All Ages
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Fairies-in-Wonderland-Marcos-Chin/9780062419989/?a_aid=colouringitmom

There is also a set of 20 accompanying postcards which are also currently available:
Review – Fairies in Wonderland Postcards
Amazon UK – Fairies in Wonderland 20 Postcards: An Interactive Coloring Adventure for All Ages
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Fairies-in-Wonderland-20-Postcards-Marcos-Chin/9780062466235/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and accented with a gold gel pen (from a UK supermarket) and a Clear Glitter Stardust Gelly Roll Gel Pen.