Flexibound

WORLDWIDE GIVEAWAY and Review – Tangle Magic: A Spellbinding Colouring Book With Hidden Charms

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Tangle Magic is illustrated by Jessica Palmer, published and kindly sent to me to review by Search Press Publishing. Search Press have very kindly offered to sponsor a Worldwide Giveaway for 2 copies of Tangle Magic (entry details at the bottom of this post, just above the photos). I am blown away by this book and have spent more time than I should have just looking through the pages, always noticing something new, there’s just so much detail included and so many aspects that aren’t immediately obvious but that you notice over time. I nearly cried when I saw that I had very kindly been mentioned in the dedication (see photo below) and that so many of my ideas for image content had been used, most notably the wonderful crystal ball, free from tangles so we can all colour it realistically, Jessica, from the bottom of my heart, thank you, for the dedication, for including us colourists in your inspiration process, and for creating such a wonderful third book! Emotional, mushy bit over, let’s get on with the actual review!

This book is 22.2cm square (10 inches), softback with a soft touch flexible card cover with line drawings on the front and back which are contained within the book and the pages are flexibound meaning they’re quite tight to begin with but the spine eases up with use and Search Press have reliably informed me that with sensible amounts of bending (including bending the covers so far back that they touch each other completely) the spine will hold up and you’ll be able to access the entire page. I’m yet to be brave enough to try this but you can certainly get very close to the centre of each image without much difficulty and the pages are stitch-bound which always increases durability. The paper is thick, bright white and lightly textured, (the same as Tangle Bay), water-based pens don’t bleed or shadow as long as you’re careful and there is plenty of tooth to be able to build up layers of pencil for blending and shading. The outlines of the images aren’t 100% permanent so when using pencils or heavy pressure, make sure you pop a spare sheet of paper behind your work to protect the proceeding page, the transfer is fully erasable but the paper will save time so you don’t have to be erasing things.

The book contains 75 pages of double-sided images which consist of a mixture of single and double-page spreads and they are filled with all manner of magical things. The content is a little different from what you might be expecting so I’ll describe it as best I can and have posted lots of photos of inside the book below so you can see inside for yourself. I was expecting to see predominantly magical paraphernalia and while there is plenty of that, the content is far more wide-ranging than I was expecting, I was thinking mostly witches, potions, magic wands and tricks, and there is lots of that, but there are also lots of anthropomorphised animals throughout which are either magical themselves, or in some cases performing magic tricks, or even the subject of spells. There are fairy tales included from the princess and the pea and what looks to be Aladdin in duck form, to a snow queen swan (or goose) and the characters of the nursery rhyme Hey Diddle Diddle and even the owl and the pussycat who appeared in Tangle Bay (they appear to be favourites of Jessica’s). All things weird, wacky, spellbinding, mystical and magical are included and while it’s not especially traditional, the wide-ranging content is fantastically diverse and covers everything from witches and potions to tarot cards and fortune telling, magic spells and rabbits out of hats, enchanted creatures and objects, and heaps of mythical creatures including a phoenix, unicorns, dragons, a lizard king and lots of other anthropomorphised creatures. This book is the perfect third instalment of the Tangle series and is a great combination of the heavily tangled and patterned designs from Tangle Wood, and the more whimsical anthropomorphised animals that we found in Tangle Bay. Tangle Magic is packed with content, all of which is original and fresh whilst still being very much drawn in Jessica’s signature hyper-detailed style. The book doesn’t tell a story or have a particular feeling of continuity but it is extremely cohesive and very much sticks to the magical brief. Unlike the previous two titles, there aren’t any pages with any particularly large open spaces left and there is only one frame rather than several so this book is much more geared towards those who want to just colour instead of adding their own drawings and features, though there is still plenty of space for backgrounds to be added if you wish! At the beginning of the book is a beautiful full-colour gemstone colouring tutorial and there are plenty of gems drawn that you can practice on throughout the book to perfect your skills!

In terms of mental health, this book offers fantastic escapism and will provide wonderful distraction from even the most intrusive of thoughts or symptoms. The line thickness varies a little throughout but mostly it’s thin and spindly then so you’ll definitely need very good vision and fine motor control to enjoy this book. The intricacy and detail levels are extreme and second to none, however don’t be put off, while there is a very high level of detail and intricacy, you can easily colour over this (see my chameleon picture) and use it as texture underneath rather than colouring within each section which makes it far less daunting and overwhelming and also means that your vision and fine motor control don’t need to be so good! There is so much to look at within each page that you really do get transported into Jessica’s wonderful, whimsical world and I have found this book fantastic for my mood because the illustrations are of nature which is inherently calming, but they’re also spiced up with lots of fun, humour and intrigue which piques your interest and keeps you focused on the here and now rather than being lost in your thoughts. This book is absolutely beautiful, hyper-detailed and will look absolutely incredible coloured in because there’s so much variety and because the content is magical you can use whatever colours you like and have purple dogs, red ducks and bright blue owls, the only limit is your imagination!

I would highly recommend this books to fans of Jessica’s previous books Tangle Wood and Tangle Bay, Tangle Magic has returned to the hyper-detailed zentangled patterns, with a wonderful whimsical scattering of anthropomorphised animals to lift your mood and fill the book with fun. All things magical and mystical are pictured and the content is extremely wide-ranging so there’s sure to be something to suit everyone.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of the book it’s available to pre-order here –
Amazon UK – Tangle Magic
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Tangle-Magic-Jessic-Palmer/9781782214632/?a_aid=colouringitmom
Search Press (first stock will arrive there next week so this is the fastest way of ordering a copy) – https://www.searchpress.com/book/9781782214632/tangle-magic

Jessica’s first two books can be found reviewed by me here – Tangle Wood, Tangle Bay.

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and the magic was coloured over using Sakura Gelly Roll Clear Stardust Gel Pen.

WORLDWIDE GIVEAWAY: Search Press have very kindly offered to sponsor a Worldwide Giveaway for one person to win two copies of Tangle Magic, one for them, and one to share with a friend. If you’d like to enter, head over to my Facebook Page and enter here by 8PM GMT on Sunday the 31st of July.

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Tangle Bay: An Enchanting Colouring Book With Hidden Treasure – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Tangle Bay: An Enchanting Colouring Book with Hidden Treasure is illustrated by Jessica Palmer and published and kindly sent to me by Search Press Publishing. This is the sequel to Tangle Wood and you can read my review of that here. Tangle Wood is one of the nicest books I’ve ever seen so when I heard Jessica was creating a second book and that it would be beach-themed, I was very excited. I was a little worried that it wouldn’t live up to the beauty of Tangle Wood, especially for me as my favourite place on earth is the beach so this book had a lot to live up to. So does it hold up? ABSOLUTELY! Jessica has done it again and created another beautiful, unique book which encapsulates everything beachy! Jessica’s signature illustration style has altered a little but it’s just the right mix of empty spaces, zentangle patterns and realism. Jessica seamlessly blends animals, plants, objects and landscapes and adds her own zentangle patterns meaning you can colour lots of tiny little sections or colour whole blocks and leave the patterns as texture. This book is a work of art and the only difficulty I’ve had with it was narrowing down which image to colour first, there are just so many beautiful pages to choose from!

The book itself is square (slightly smaller in size than other square books but the same size as Tangle Wood) and softback (it’s not especially bendy so it’ll keep protected in a bag if you transport your books but also isn’t rigid and hard). The pages are thick, bright white (a deliberate change from Tangle Wood to ensure the blues you’re likely to use will show up well) and lightly textured and the 75 stunning images are printed double-sided. I experienced no bleeding when using my water-based fineliners so these should be fine for you to use (always test on an inconspicuous area to avoid ruining any designs). Pencils add colour smoothly and because the paper is textured you can add plenty of layers so you’ll be able to blend and shade beautifully. Some of the images are single pages and others are double-page spreads and the book is relatively tightly stitched and flexi-bound so some of the image near the middle is lost into the spine and it does take some stretching of the spine to be able to get it to lie flat or stay open without being held. With time though, I’ve found that spines like this do loosen up and with a book like this, it’s so worth the wait so don’t be put off, just be patient and keep working the spine so that you can reach the middle of the images. One small thing to note is that the black ink on the blackest pages does transfer when using pencils so just pop a scrap piece of paper behind your work to avoid this, it’s fully erasable if it does transfer but that saves having to get your rubber out!

This book is truly beautiful and the images are charming. I hope you’ll get some of the atmosphere through the images attached at the bottom but truly you need to see this book to realise just how wonderful it is. If you like colouring nature images that are highly detailed then you’ll just love this book. In Jessica’s first book you were taken on a journey through a wood, Tangle Bay doesn’t take you on a journey but instead Jessica wanted to create a sense of place and she’s done this beautifully and you really are transported to the beach of your childhood, your imagination, and of story books. So many aspects of the beach and the seaside are included from realistic scenes of puffins sitting on rocks and seagulls swooping, to storybook ships, mermaids and anthropomorphised animals like ducks wearing hats and donkeys dressed up having a day out at the beach on deck chairs! This book contains a mixture of styles and the majority of the images are less intricate and detailed than those in Tangle Wood (more info on this further down). This book contains such a wealth of images that it’s hard to describe them all. Jessica described it as being livelier than Tangle Wood and I definitely agree, there’s a lot more movement in the pages and more chaos, whimsy and fun. She’s added sprinkles of humour and you get hit by waves of nostalgia as you come across the image of the owl and the pussycat in their beautiful pea green boat, the Punch and Judy show, melting ice creams, deck chairs, parasols, postcards, sandcastles and flock upon flock of seagulls! This book flits between scenes of mermaids relaxing under the sea, penguins piloting an airship, day and night scenes of lighthouses, treasure troves just waiting to be made shiny and sparkly, and hordes of sea creatures from seahorses to whales, fish to crabs, dolphins to lobsters, jellyfish to seals and so much more! Scenes of typically British days at the beach are pictured including beach huts and even Brighton Pavilion (a huge plus for me as I live under 30 minutes away from it) and also underwater scenes from much further afield including coral reefs and exotic tropical fish. Hidden within the images are bits of treasure for you to hunt down and colour in and this treasure hunt aspect adds a real sense of adventure and fun to the book. Tangle Bay sparks your imagination and creates a wonderful world of escapism. Some of the images are highly detailed and intricate and many encompass typical zentangle patterns. Some of the images have large sections around or within them that have been left blank so that you can add your own details and backgrounds. These are less obvious than in Tangle Wood so the pictures won’t look at all unfinished if you choose not to add anything but the spaces are there if you want them. There are also some beautiful frames of shells, fossils, seaweed, and more, that are circular, square and even heart-shaped that you could either leave as they are or add to if your drawing skills are honed!

Tangle Wood and Tangle Bay are quite different from each other so I got in touch with Jessica to ask her about this so that I could give you all an accurate portrayal of the books. Tangle Wood is very detailed throughout whereas Tangle Bay has a fair number of much more open-spaced images with less detail and without zentangle patterns. Jessica explained that from the feedback she got about Tangle Wood, some people didn’t like the patterning so much and found it too intricate so she varied the detail levels more to appeal to more people and I have to say, this makes it ideal for those of you with fluctuating conditions because on your good days where you can really concentrate and focus, you can colour some of the really detailed zentangled pages, and on days where you’re more symptomatic you can colour the less detailed images and really practice your blending and shading skills and even have a go at adding your own zentangles to the sections. This mixture seems like a great way to reach more people and appeal to beginner and advanced colourist alike, I do personally miss a little of the detail, however, I’ve definitely been won over by the image content and shall have to get zentangling myself!

In terms of mental health, this book has a wide variety of detail and intricacy levels so it’s ideal for those of you with fluctuating conditions to keep you distracted and focused for hours on good and bad days. The line thickness varies from spindly thin to medium thickness but mostly it’s thin throughout so this book is best for those of you with fairly good vision and fine motor control. Unlike in Tangle Wood where the line colour varied, in Tangle Bay the linework is all black and there are no issues with fuzziness either so it’s great to see that’s been rectified. This book is beautiful and completely enchanting and the more I look through it, the more I notice and discover, and the more I fall in love with it, just as I did with Tangle Wood. I think this book is absolutely ideal for anyone with mental health problems because it’s so natural and calming and the subject matter is really relaxing and beautifully drawn and some of the pages are really fun and might even make you laugh (see the donkeys on deck chairs and sharks riding bicycles below). Jessica states that she puts her heart and soul into her work and this is so very clear in every page, her work is beautiful and is meticulously created. This book contains hours and hours of enjoyment and I’m sure it’s set to become a bestseller because it’s just gorgeous so if you’re wanting a copy I’d get your hands on one soon before everyone catches on to how unmissable this book is. I’ve heard that Jessica is currently working on a third title and as soon as I have any news, I will let you all know what we’re getting excited about and when we can get our sticky mitts on a copy. Like my Facebook page to be kept up to date!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Tangle Bay: An Enchanting Colouring Book with Hidden Treasure
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Tangle-Bay-Jessica-Palmer/9781782214137/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils, a Derwent burnishing pencil and PanPastels were used for the background.

Color Me Stress-Free – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Color Me Stress-Free: Nearly 100 Coloring Templates to Unplug and Unwind (Zen Coloring Book) is published by Race Point Publishing and was very kindly sent to me by Quarto Group to review for you all. This is the third instalment in the Color Me series and you can find my review of its predecessors Color Me Calm and Color Me Happy here. This book is the same shape (almost square) and size as the previous two books and matches them perfectly so it looks and feels like a beautiful set on the shelf. The book is flexibound with a stiff cover. The binding in these books is pretty tight so they don’t like lying flat however all of the images are printed with a large border around them so you don’t have to contend with trying to colour into the spine. This book contains almost 100 images, all split between 7 differently named chapters that are areas of our lives that can stress us: Disorganisation, Relationships, Finances, Work, Health, Time, and Travel and Commuting. Unlike the first two books in this series whose images were related to each chapter title (Music, Children, Water etc), the images in this book aren’t obviously related to the chapter titles and there are far more abstract and random patterns than scenes which I personally think is a shame. The images are printed single-sided onto bright white medium thickness paper which does bleed with water-based pens but this isn’t an issue as long as you put a protective sheet behind when you’re colouring. This paper is also fairly well-suited to alcohol markers and when I tested mine the ink obviously bled through but didn’t especially spread as long as I was careful so this is a good book for all of you Copic, Spectrum Noir and Promarker colourers. All of the images are created by one illustrator Angela Porter so this book has a lovely cohesive style and flows really well.

In terms of mental health, this book is great for calming you down in an effort to become stress-free. The pictures are calming and not too intricate meaning they are perfect for using pencils, felt-tips or even paints or watercolours on, just slip a sheet of scrap paper underneath to protect the subsequent pages. This is a great book for those of you who find intricate images fiddly or too difficult and frustrating to colour. It’s also great for inspiration because at the beginning of each chapter a couple of the pictures are shown coloured in so you can follow their colour schemes or brave it and add your own funky colour combinations. This book is a nice size and you get a good sense of satisfaction because each image is small enough that it doesn’t take hours or even days to complete meaning this book is perfect if you don’t have a great attention span or high level of concentration. Don’t worry though, it’s also good for those of you who can sit and colour all day, it just means you’ll get plenty of pictures completed! The images mostly consist of patterns which are known to be very calming because many of them are repetitive and this really keeps you concentrating and distracted from any negative thoughts. There is huge variety within the patterns from swirling and flowing to sharp corners and harsh lines, geometric shapes to abstract designs, symmetrical to random, it’s all in there. There are a few scenic images but they are much fewer in number than the previous two titles in the series which is great for those of you that preferred the patterned designs but not so great for those of you who preferred the scenes. The line thickness is medium throughout and this book is perfect for those of you who don’t have perfect vision or fine motor control but don’t want to colour simple or basic images. This is a really happy medium between intricate and detailed and simple and basic and would be ideal for elderly colourers and those who struggle with small images or thin lines.

I would recommend this book and the others in the series as a great purchase for those of you who like simpler, less intricate images to colour, those of you using pens that bleed easily, and those of you that maybe don’t have the patience or desire to sit colouring one image for days in order to get it finished. They’re great starter books and contain really good images for practising shading with coloured pencils. These books are lovely and work well on their own or as a set and I look forward to seeing Color Me Fearless when it’s released in March 2016 – I hope to be reviewing it!

You can get purchase a copy of Color Me Stress-Free here:
Amazon UK – Color Me Stress-Free: Nearly 100 Coloring Templates to Unplug and Unwind (Zen Coloring Book)
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Color-Me-Stress-Free/9781631061608/?a_aid=colouringitmom

And you can pre-order a copy of Color Me Fearless here:
Amazon UK – Color Me Fearless: Nearly 100 Coloring Templates to Boost Strength and Courage (Zen Coloring Book)
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Color-Me-Fearless-Lacy-Mucklow/9781631061950/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-tip pens.