Good Wives and Warriors

The longest colouring book in the world, packed with content ranging from realistic to mythological, click through to see photos, video and written review!

To the Ends of the Earth and Back Again: The Longest Colouring Book in the World – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
To the Ends of the Earth and Back Again is illustrated by Good Wives and Warriors of the Escape To… series and published and kindly sent to me to review by Laurence King Publishing. This book is a really unusual format with only two others that I’m aware of on the market like this, both of which are smaller. This book is paperback with flexible card covers, the covers are portrait but the pages are landscape, they are all attached together and folded in a concertina so that they make one continuous strip of images stretching out for a full 17ft, I’ve never seen anything like it (you can view my silent video flick-through of the whole book here)! The pages fold into A4 size and the book consists of 15 pages in total, all joined together, they’re easy enough to colour because you can keep them folded and therefore just have two pages ‘showing’ at once which makes it a much more manageable size to contend with though it is still a little tricky and may require a table or a large lap tray. The images are printed single-sided and make up one continuous scenescape. The paper is white apart from the sky in the images which gradually changes colour through the pages from white to a dark teal-blue, this transition is seamless and I didn’t actually notice it until the second time I looked through, the backs of all of the pages also fade through from white to the same dark teal-blue colour which is a nice touch. There is no spine to contend with, just folds and these are very easy to colour over so you don’t lose any of the image and can colour its entirety. The paper is white, thick and smooth, it doesn’t have any visible texture but seems to take pencils well and you can happily blend, shade and layer them, water-based pens don’t bleed or shadow and you can use alcohol markers if you wish as the pages are single-sided and therefore bleeding won’t matter, just pop some protective sheets behind so that it doesn’t bleed through to any other pages. The image is a continuous scenescape journey that takes you from a house with a pretty garden around various landmarks from around the world and delves into folklore and mythology and pictures of all sorts of weird and wonderful things. There is such a wealth of imagery that it’s hard to even know where to start when describing it all, there are llamas, dragons, jackalope, wolves, deer, mountains, the pyramids, a sphynx, totem poles, an Aztec calendar, peacocks, rivers, Chinese dragons, sea serpents, lizards, turtles, otters, walruses, Easter Island statues, cacti, snakes, the Arctic, elk, polar bears, geese, igloos, penguins, and finally ends back at the house which is filled with animals and souvenirs from the trip and a space to write your name in a This Adventure Belongs To box.

In terms of mental health, this book isn’t for the faint-hearted, it really is one hell of a project and will be better suited to those of you without concentration problems and those who don’t mind spending time on a project for a really long time as there’s no quick way of getting this book coloured. That being said, it offers a great level of distraction, there is so much to look at within each section and I know I’ve not yet seen even half of what’s pictured despite looking through it heaps of times, there’s just such a lot of content packed in that you always notice new things. The line thickness is consistent throughout and remains thin. The intricacy and detail levels vary a little within the scenescape but mostly remain at a very high level with some really small sections and lots and lots of components making up each section, you will therefore need very good vision and fine motor control to get the most out of this book. The content is a great mixture of realistic animals and scenery and mythological creatures and surreal settings, this combination lends itself well to realistic or outlandish colour schemes and you could even mix media and colour each page differently or even each type of imagery, the sky is the limit! The images are so wide-ranging that it’s almost like loads of different colouring books in one and you’ll always be able to find something you fancy colouring in here if you have a look through. There are lots of natural stopping points because the whole scenescape is made up of lots of component parts so you can easily colour just one creature or type of flower or work through it systematically from beginning to end, it really is up to you.

Overall, this book is amazing, it’s unlike any others and it’s just packed with content and different things to colour. It offers an amazing project which isn’t for the faint-hearted but it’ll look amazing when it’s finished and be so worth all of the time and effort you’ll need to put in.

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – To the Ends of the Earth and Back Again
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/the-Ends-of-the-Earth-and-Back-Again-Good-Wives-And-Warriors/9781786270351/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you’d like to see the full book then you can find my silent video flick-through here.

The image below was coloured using Staedtler Ergosoft Coloured Pencils.

Escape to Oz: A Colouring-book Adventure – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Escape to Oz is published by Puffin Books and is from my personal collection. This book is illustrated by Good Wives and Warriors who are a creative partnership of two Glasgow School of Art graduates – their Facebook page can be found here. This book is the fourth in the Escape to… series, first was Escape to Wonderland, second was Escape to Christmas Past and third was Escape to Shakespeare’s World, they’ve also illustrated a beautiful book with a German Publisher called Exotischer Urwald which is in a different format. Escape to Oz is based on The Wizard of Oz story documenting Dorothy’s trip from Kansas to Oz, her quest to find the wizard, and the characters she meets on the way. This is a wonderful book, essential for fans of the original story, but also for those who love GWAW’s work and who love imaginative and beautiful illustrations. It is the same size and shape as the others in the series at just over 18cms square, it’s a little smaller than other bestsellers but I think this adds to the charm and it means the images are a manageable size and the book is a perfect size for travelling and colouring on the go. The book has a softback cover which is almost all double thicknesses of cardboard as it folds in on itself and when opened up it reveals a beautiful green background with white line-drawn images of flowers and gems. The cover has silvery-gold foiling accents which really add to the luxury of the book and are a lovely bit of extra detailing. The book contains 96 pages of double-sided, borderless images and is glue and string-bound meaning a little of each image is lost into the spine. I found the spine pretty tight when it arrived but with some work it has now loosened up a lot and lies flatter than it did. The images are a mixture of single and double-page spreads and a few of them have black backgrounds which is a really nice feature. The paper quality is very good and hasn’t bled or shadowed at all when I’ve been using water-based fineliners or fibre-tips. The paper is a creamy off-white which adds to the vintage feel of the book and is very lightly textured which I thought would be ideal for pencils but I did find it a little hard to get many layers as the tooth seemed to disappear quicker than I’d have liked or expected. However, it’s not impossible to layer and I did manage to get some nice blending. Do be sure to test the pens you’re using beforehand to avoid any disasters. Alcohol markers are a definite no because they will bleed terribly and ruin the reverse images.

The images themselves are drawn in a thin line that is pretty consistent throughout so the difficulty level doesn’t change, meaning this is not a book that will adapt to differing levels of concentration but this does lead to a really cohesive feel to the book. The images are arranged into chronological order to tell the story and a few pages contain quotes from the book to help guide you through. These quotes are helpful for letting you know where in the story you’re at, as well as hinting at what’s in the picture if you’re not quite sure. The illustrations include everything you’d expect from Dorothy and Toto, to the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion, to the Wicked Witch of the West and East, the Wizard of Oz himself, and even the munchkins and flying monkeys. Iconic scenes are pictured including the tornado that transports Dorothy and Toto from Kansas to Oz, the squashing of the Wicked Witch of the East, starting off on the yellow brick road, meeting the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion, arriving at the Emerald City, meeting the Wizard of Oz, arriving back in Kansas, and so much more.

In terms of mental health, I found this book great because it’s just so beautiful, charming, and instantly transported me back to my childhood and happy memories of watching the film countless times. The illustrations are very pretty and most are of real things, that have colour schemes that you could copy realistically if you wish, or in any colours you choose. Good Wives and Warriors have done a wonderful job of bringing huge amounts of charm to their illustrations of even the darkest scenes and they’re all dispersed with flowers and other pretty things meaning the book doesn’t feel negative or sad at all and just lifts your spirits, even when the witch is trying to kill Dorothy and her friends! I really enjoyed just looking through the book and reliving the story of my childhood and poring over each image, all exquisitely drawn and waiting to be coloured. The images are quite detailed and intricate but they’re not overwhelming so you don’t need perfect vision or fine motor control, though it will need to be fairly good, and the size of the book means you don’t need really good concentration levels either. If you love The Wizard of Oz, or GWAW’s work then this book is sure to be beneficial to your mental health with its positive content and detailed images filled with hundreds of things to look at and colour. I adore the work of these talented illustrators and squealed with excitement when looking through this beautiful new instalment that they’ve created!

I would highly recommend this book, especially to those who are fans of The Wizard of Oz story, or Good Wives and Warriors’ work because this book really doesn’t disappoint, not only is this a beautiful colouring book, it’s also a wonderful pictorial retelling of a classic story that so many of us love. The book is really cohesive and I found it great for my own mental health so hopefully it’ll be just as good for yours too as it transports you back to your childhood and off to the land of Oz.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Escape to Oz
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Escape-Oz-Colouring-Book-Adventure-Good-Wives-Warriors/9780141375489/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The picture below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils.

Escape to Shakespeare’s World: A Colouring-book Adventure – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Escape to Shakespeare’s World: A Colouring Book Adventure is published and was kindly sent to me to review by Puffin Books. This book is illustrated by Good Wives and Warriors (GWAW) who are a creative partnership of two Glasgow School of Art graduates – their Facebook page can be found here. This book is the third in the Escape to… series, first was Escape to Wonderland, and second was Escape to Christmas Past and they’ve also illustrated a beautiful book with a German Publisher called Exotischer Urwald which is in a different format. Escape to Shakespeare’s World is based on various plays and sonnets written by William Shakespeare to commemorate 400 years since his death. This is a wonderful book, one that is essential for Shakespeare admirers, but also for those who love GWAW’s work and who love imaginative and beautiful illustrations. It is the same size and shape as the others in the series at just over 18cms square, it’s a little smaller than the bestsellers but I think this adds to the charm and it means the images are a manageable size and the book is a perfect size for travelling and colouring on the go. The book has a softback cover which is almost all double thicknesses of cardboard as it folds in on itself and when opened up it reveals a beautiful purple background with white line-drawn images of flowers. The cover has silvery-gold foiling accents which really add to the luxury of the book and are a lovely bit of extra detailing. The book contains 96 pages of double-sided, borderless images and is glue-bound meaning a little of each image is lost into the spine. I found the spine pretty tight when it arrived but with some work it has now loosened up a lot and lies flatter than it did. The images are a mixture of single and double-page spreads and a number of them have black backgrounds which is a really nice feature. The paper quality is very good and hasn’t bled or shadowed at all when I’ve been using water-based fineliners or fibre-tips. The paper is a creamy off-white which adds to the vintage feel of the book and is very lightly textured which I thought would be ideal for pencils but I did find it a little hard to get many layers as the tooth seemed to disappear quicker than I’d have liked or expected. However, it’s not impossible to layer and I did manage to get some nice blending. Do be sure to test the pens you’re using beforehand to avoid any disasters. Alcohol markers are a definite no because they will bleed terribly and ruin the reverse images.

The images themselves are drawn in a thin line that is pretty consistent throughout so the difficulty level doesn’t change, meaning this is not a book that will adapt to differing levels of concentration but this does lead to a really cohesive feel to the book. The images are arranged into collections from different plays and scattered throughout are a large number of quotes as well as the play they come from so it’s very easy to identify what scenes you’re colouring, even from plays you’re unfamiliar with or haven’t heard of. The majority of the images are scenes or representations of aspects of plays from a circular image of Romeo’s name filled with flowers to Venetian mask shaped scenes, Bottom the donkey, filled with flowers, to scenes from The Tempest, Egyptian landscapes from Anthony and Cleopatra to stage scenes of various plays. This book has beautiful, often very floral representations, that are sometimes realistic and sometimes symbolic, and these fit well with the quotes written on almost every double-page spread. The plays and sonnets depicted are: As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, Anthony and Cleopatra, Sonnet 18, Richard III, King Lear, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, and Cymbeline. Some of these plays and sonnets are only depicted on one double-page and others have multiple pages dedicated to them including Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s hard to describe the sheer volume of images and the beauty of them so I’ve included lots of photos from inside the book below and tried to photograph a good cross-section. The images are truly stunning and even if you’re not a mega Shakespeare fan, you’re almost certain to really like this book because there aren’t very many literal representations, it’s more filled with beautiful scenes of ships, flowers, animals and landscapes.

In terms of mental health, I found this book great because it’s just so beautiful and charming. The illustrations are very pretty and most are of real things, that have colour schemes that you could copy realistically if you wish, or in any colours you choose. I’m not a Shakespeare mega fan so I was a little worried that I’d find this book boring but that’s so far from the case, this book is captivating from the very first images of The Globe Theatre, Shakespeare’s birthplace and Shakespeare himself, all the way through the play depictions to the end page where a beautiful closed theatre curtain is pictured with the famous phrase All’s Well That Ends Well emblazoned across it with the comedy and tragedy masks. Good Wives and Warriors have done a wonderful job of bringing huge amounts of charm to their illustrations of even the darkest scenes and they’re all dispersed with flowers and other pretty things meaning the book doesn’t feel negative or sad at all and just lifts your spirits, even when murder is mentioned! I really enjoyed just looking through the book and reliving the stories that I studied at school and poring over each image, all exquisitely drawn and waiting to be coloured. The images are quite detailed and intricate but they’re not overwhelming so you don’t need perfect vision or fine motor control though it will need to be fairly good, and the size of the book means you don’t need really good concentration levels either. If you enjoy Shakespeare’s plays, or GWAW’s work then this book is sure to be beneficial to your mental health with its positive content and detailed images filled with hundreds of things to look at and colour. I adore the work of these talented illustrators and squealed with excitement when looking through this beautiful new instalment that they’ve created, it’s a true sign of talent when artists can inspire you to love content based on a subject you’re not especially interested in and this book does just that for me!

I would highly recommend this book, especially to those who are fans of Shakespeare and his plays, or Good Wives and Warriors’ work because this book really doesn’t disappoint. The artwork is really cohesive and I found it great for my own mental health so hopefully it’ll be just as good for yours too as it transports you back over 400 years and reminds you of key moments from his most famous plays.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Escape to Shakespeare’s World: A Colouring Book Adventure
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Escape-to-Shakespeare-s-World–A-Colouring-Book-Adventure/9780141371214/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The picture below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils. The partially completed picture was coloured with Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.

Exotischer Urwald (Exotic Jungle) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Exotischer Urwald: Ausmalen und entspannen is illustrated by the highly talented duo Good Wives and Warriors who brought us Escape to Wonderland and Escape to Christmas Past and this new book is published and was very kindly sent to me by Gräfe Und Unzer Verlag (Recht herzlichen Dank für deine Großzügikeit Andrea). Exotischer Urwald roughly translates to Exotic Jungle and this book gives you just that, images of jungles and rainforests from all over the world. This book is an absolute work of art and has definitely made it onto my ever-growing list of favourite books. It is significantly larger than their first two books at just over 23cms square and the quality of the book is second to none, it’s just beautiful! The book is paperback with a thick card cover that is double thickness and opens out front and back to reveal a beautiful jungle foliage scene at the front, and two beautiful colourable postcards at the back that can be carefully cut out with scissors. This book also has the unusual and amazing feature of 4 perforated card pages at the back which are printed single-sided with 3 additional designs and 2 giant bookmark-style images that are half a page each. The book is printed double-sided and contains a mixture of single and double-page designs, the images are borderless and the spine is glue-bound meaning a little of each image is lost into it which is a shame but this will ease up a little with use. The paper is thick and bright white and is lightly textured so it’s perfect for water-based pens which didn’t bleed or shadow at all (they only started to shadow when I accidentally coloured a section in the wrong colour and had to colour over it again and it didn’t even vaguely bleed through), and it’ll be perfect for blending and layering with pencils. The images are wonderfully cohesive and are absolutely stunning! The illustrations are organised into different jungles and rainforests of the world with a cleverly titled page for each one where the lettering is worked into the design as clouds, twigs, star constellations and signposts. The images following each are then different scenes, animals, plants and so on from that specific place making for a beautiful collection of images. So many different things are included from passion flowers to quetzal birds, lizards to duck-billed platypuses, vines to monkeys, the Northern Lights to the life cycle of a butterfly, this book just contains so so much and it’s all absolutely beautiful! There are no filler images, each page deserves to be there just as much as the last and they’re so beautifully drawn. I love the previous two books created by Good Wives and Warriors but this is definitely my favourite, even with being a huge Alice fan and falling in love with their take on the story. This book transports you all over the world from the Amazon river to the Alaskan Black Rainforest, and beautiful areas of Australia, Borneo, Liberia, and Ecuador and so much further, it’s a true worldwide tour of jungles and rainforests.

In terms of mental health, this book is fantastic, it is the absolute definition of nature-filled and you all know that I think that’s the best thing for calming an anxious mind, improving low mood and making you feel more in tune with nature and the outside world. The images are drawn very realistically which is ideal for those of you who like to colour in realistic colours, but will equally suit those of you who want to spice things up with purple leaves, orange clouds and burgundy beetles. Everything is obvious and easy to identify so you’ll easily be able to find pictures online of the things you’re colouring if you want to match your colour palette to those found in the wild. The line thickness is consistently thin throughout but it’s not particularly difficult to stay within the lines as long as you have moderate to good vision and fine motor control. The intricacy levels do vary throughout but mostly stay around the moderate to high range with lots of small spaces and details which you can really get your teeth into. There are a number of larger spaces in some of the images though that will be really well suited to using your pencils for blending and shading to really bring the animals and plants to life. There aren’t any designs for you to finish drawing but there are natural spaces left in a few of the designs where you could add your own creatures, foliage, scenery and backgrounds, this is a happy compromise for those who can and can’t draw because there is space to draw if you want it, without any written hints.  You will need a fair amount of concentration to really get the most out of this book as each image will take a good long while to colour but because of the subject matter you can always colour a few leaves or a flower to get your quick colouring fix on a bad day and tackle a whole image on days when you can cope with colouring for longer. I really can’t express how beautiful this book is or how amazing the production is. The paper will bleed with alcohol markers but it stands up brilliantly to water-based pens and it’s just a dream to colour no matter what mediums you choose. The pictures are exquisite and absolutely stunning and this is right up there with Millie Marotta and Johanna Basford’s books for beauty and cohesive nature imagery. You’ll get absolutely lost in these beautiful jungles of the world and it’s sure to join your list of favourite books, it’s stunning!

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves colouring natural images of plants, animals and scenery, this book is beautiful and the added features of removable card pages, bookmarks and postcards is such a wonderful touch. The paper is truly fantastic and a dream to colour. What are you waiting for? Grab your binoculars, insect repellent, and camera, and head into the jungle!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Exotischer Urwald: Ausmalen und entspannen
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Exotischer-Urwald-Good-Wives-Warriors/9783833852619/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Staedtler Triplus Fineliners.