Lyra

The Foodie’s Coloring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Foodie’s Colouring Book is published by Wilkinson Publishing and was kindly sent to me to review by Alicia Freile one of the book contributors. This book is really unusual because not only does it contain loads of pictures of food, meals, and ingredients, it also contains a quiz and a recipe book in the centre including 9 recipes for sweet treats you can make at home. This is a really novel colouring book, unlike anything I’ve seen before and it’s a must-have for any foodies in your life. The book is A4, paperback with a flexible card cover, and the spine is glue-bound meaning the book doesn’t lie very flat to begin with, however, almost all of the images have a border around them so very few enter the spine meaning you lose almost no colouring space. The images are printed single-sided onto bright white, medium thickness, moderately toothy paper so it’s ideal for pens or pencils and you don’t have to worry about bleeding because there’s nothing to ruin on the reverse of the page. The book contains over 50 images which are roughly organised alphabetically with a lettered page depicting something food-related that begins with that letter (A for Agar, H for Harissa, N for Nachos etc), interspersed with food-related quotes with food picture borders and other styles of images such as finish the drawing pages where you can add your own vegetable plants or pizza toppings (there are only two of these so if you can’t draw don’t worry). Everything you can think of is covered in the imagery of this book from chicken to doughnuts, kale to octopus, cake to oven gloves, pasta to sandwiches, figs to sushi and so much more! It really is a food-lovers dream! You could leave the pages in the book and create your own coloured catalogue of food-related pictures or a lot of these images would look fabulous framed so you could carefully remove them from the book and frame them for some great homemade kitchen artwork to stylise your home. On the reverse of each image is a humorous tale, comment, or description of what the opposite image is depicting. There is quite a lot of wit and humour throughout the book which is a lovely touch and this is sure to brighten your day and lift your mood.

In terms of mental health, I think this book would be great for anyone who has a keen interest in food and might want to combine their love of food with their love of colouring. Due to the nature of the images this content is unlikely to be suitable for sufferers of eating disorders so do be mindful of this. The images are quirky and well-drawn so it’s very clear what they’re meant to be and most are drawn in a very realistic style meaning they are well-suited to pens to make them pop, or pencils to colour them accurately and true to life. This is a fantastic book for learning to blend and shade and to teach yourself how to colour things accurately because food can be quite tricky to colour-match and colour realistically so this would definitely be a great challenge. The line thickness is consistent throughout at medium and thin with most of the images being outlined in a medium thickness line with thin-lined details within them. The images do contain a variety of intricacy and detail levels but mostly they stay within the high range so you will need pretty good, but not perfect, fine motor control and vision to get the most out of this book. There are only two pages where there are gaps to finish the drawing so don’t be put off by that feature if you can’t draw. There are so many features in this colouring book but it covers them all well and doesn’t fall short anywhere which isn’t what I expected. The quiz is a particularly fun aspect but I’m a little ashamed to admit I only scored 22 meaning I’m a “Foodie in Training” so it looks like I’ll have to swot up before I can be classed as an “Uber Foodie”. The images are very distracting and do require a fair bit of concentration to complete a whole page though you can of course colour just one vegetable or cupcake, it may not be the best book for those of you who are on diets or colouring for weight loss, who needs a reminder of delicious cakes, cheese and wine right?! But for everyone else, this is a great book to dive into and become absorbed in, none of my recommendations are criticisms, this is a great book, it’s just that food can be a slightly tricky issue within the mental health world which I felt needed highlighting. One last point about the benefits is that because it’s food and real, it means that you can colour it natural, expected colours which means for those of you who are anxious colourers like me, you don’t have to stress about choosing colour schemes and can just go with yellow cheese, orange carrots and red tomatoes without having to pick out colours that go together. Of course, you could always really spice things up and have purple pasta, pink grapes and multi-coloured figs, it’s entirely up to you!

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves food and colouring in equal measure. It’s a great book with lovely illustrations that range from poster-style to quotes, meal pictures to ingredient lists and with a heap of added features including a quiz and a mini recipe book, it’s sure to keep you entertained for hours.

This book can be purchased here:
Amazon UK – The Foodie’s Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Foodies-Colouring-Book-Jess-Lomas/9781925265514/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor pencils and partially blended using a Caran d’Ache full colour blender pencil.

Animorphia Postcards: 20 Cards to Colour – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Animorphia Postcards are illustrated by Kerby Rosanes and published and kindly sent to me to review by Michael O’Mara Publishing. This book of postcards contains 20 images that are from the original book of the same name, found reviewed by me here. Each postcard is printed single-sided with one of three small quirky scenes on the reverse, and outlined stamp space 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 lays flat for colouring so there is no tricky spine to contend with. The postcards are made of thick, bright white card which didn’t bleed or shadow at all with my water-based pens and will only potentially bleed if you use alcohol markers. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is thin but not very thin, so it’s perfectly colourable for those of you with fairly good vision and fine motor control. The images are a mixture of portrait and landscape styles.

The images contained are all smaller sections of original images from the Animorphia colouring book and these are mostly zoomed in so they are printed in a smaller size than the book but they’re not miniscule or impossible to colour. Some of the images contain one of the morphing animals that Kerby Rosanes is so well-known for, and others are quirky scenes including his alien-like creatures. These postcards are ideal to use fineliners with or fairly sharp pencils so that you can get into all of the corners. The cover is presented in a similar way to the original book with the morphing tiger on the front and an additional bright orange strip down the left-hand side, the tiger takes centre stage and a lovely addition to the postcard cover is some gorgeous silver foiling which adds to the luxurious feel of them. Unlike the book, none of the images included have large spaces for you to doodle in and all of them are “finished” drawings just waiting to be coloured which is a welcome relief to those of us with zero drawing talent! The image content is so striking and unusual and really welcomes whatever colour schemes you fancy trying out, it would look fabulous in monochrome, complimentary colours, neons, brights, there are no limits on what colours you can use and these postcards are sure to stretch you and increase your adventurousness.

In terms of mental health, I would highly recommend these postcards. Postcards make a great, small colouring project for days when your concentration isn’t at its best and they’re also lovely because you can display them or gift them to people. If you’re going to post them, pop them in an envelope to avoid them getting ruined on their journey after your hard work colouring them. The images are intricate and detailed but not stupidly so, they’re all doable and the image content is very quirky, unusual and energising so they’re sure to perk you up on a low-energy day or put a smile on your face when you’re struggling which is perfect for those of us who are mentally ill. There is a really good mix of original images included from the fox to the flamingo, the cockerel to the chameleon, the toucan to the swordfish and plenty of random alien scenes, I think this postcard book contains most of the favourite single-page images from the original book.  They’re mostly nature-based so they’re very soothing and they’re not overwhelming in size for your bad days when a whole page in a book just seems too much. They would be a really good project to practice mindfulness with because of the size of them they’d be manageable to colour whilst trying to just focus on your breathing and the present moment. They’re also great for testing out colour schemes before letting loose on the book, or just colouring with no rules and plenty of wacky colour choices! The postcards are beautiful and if you loved Animorphia, you’ll love this scaled down version that you can share with your family and friends.

I would highly recommend these postcards to anyone who liked the Animorphia book and anyone who is looking for postcards to colour. The images are manageable in complexity for many levels of colourers and they’re sure to energise and brighten up your day. They’re really quirky and wonderful to just sit and look at, and they truly come alive when coloured.

If you’d like to purchase a set then they’re published in the UK on the 3rd of March and can be pre-ordered here:
Amazon UK – Animorphia Postcards
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Animorphia-Postcards-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552247/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you can’t get enough of the Animorphia images then you can purchase a copy of the Animorphia Colouring Notebook which I’ll be reviewing very soon here:
My Animorphia Notebook Review
Amazon UK – Animorphia Notebook
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Animorphia-Notebook-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552230/?a_aid=colouringitmom

And if you’re late to the Animorphia party and haven’t got yourself a copy of the book yet head here:
My Animorphia Review
Amazon UK – Animorphia: An Extreme Colouring and Search Challenge
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Animorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552070/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you can’t get enough of Kerby’s work then you can pre-order his next title Imagimorphia in both the US and UK versions which have different covers and publishing dates:
UK Edition
Amazon UK – Imagimorphia
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Imagimorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552148/?a_aid=colouringitmom
US Edition
Amazon UK – Imagimorphia: An Extreme Coloring and Search Challenge
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Imagimorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9780399574122/?a_aid=colouringitmom

Silent video flick-through

The image below was coloured using Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor pencils.

Zoombook Colouring Notebook – A Review

 

The Zoombook Colouring Notebook is published and was kindly sent to me for review by Zoombook. Colouring notebooks and journals are becoming increasingly popular as people are wanting to combine their love of colouring with their desire to write, many people associate journaling or writing a diary with adding doodles but for those of us with no drawing or doodling talent, the colouring notebook solves the problem of wanting to be creative but not being able to draw. The Zoombook is 20cms square with an artificial leather hard cover and glue and stitch-bound pages, the spine is fairly tight so a little of some of the images is lost into it though most of the images are of objects in the centre of the page so these don’t enter the spine. The book contains 108 pages including 54 images, most of which are single-page designs and a few of which are double-page spreads and on the pages without images the paper is lined with a 1cm blank border all the way around. The book starts with a floral page where you can write your name, address, or purpose of the book on the few lines provided and then each subsequent double-page spread contains an image. The paper is bright white and medium thickness and I found that water-based fineliners shadowed heavily and did bleed through a little so I would stick to pencils both for colouring and for writing and avoid ballpoint pens or you’ll get lots of indentations marking your colouring surface. The paper is lightly textured making it perfect for blending and shading with pencils. The pages all have a coloured edging so that when the book is closed it has a beautiful colour all the way around it. These notebooks are available in a range of colours, currently 6 combinations, though 8 are pictured on the website, each one has a different coloured cover and paper edging and a beautiful dandelion style image is hand-pressed into the front cover with foiling that matches the page edging colour. My colour combination is dark teal with turquoise paper edging. The images themselves are really floral and girly and the images are the same in all of the different colour combinations so you are free to pick your favourite colour, rather than your favourite images. The illustrations have varied content all filled with floral patterns and leaves and mostly contain an object of some kind including various musical instruments, a wheelbarrow, a telephone, food, cutlery and cooking utensils, feminine objects like perfume bottles and fans, gloves, hats and dresses, it’s full to the brim with flowers and prettiness.

In terms of mental health, this colouring notebook would be ideal for those who journal and like to write down their thoughts, feelings, memories and ideas and who also love to colour because you can seamlessly combine the two without the need for two separate notebooks. The images are really pretty and nature-inspired making them perfect for calming you down and settling you and they feel very positive so they won’t have any adverse effects on your mental health. There are spaces around some of the designs where you could add your own doodles and creations but these are by no means necessary and the pages all look finished without the need for doodles. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is thin, verging on spindly thin so you definitely need good (but not perfect) vision and fine motor control to get the most out of this book. Of course, you could just leave the images blank and use it as a pretty notebook though that would be a little bit heart-breaking for me, this is a colouring blog afterall! The images are intricate and detailed and pretty consistent throughout, there aren’t many large open spaces so any blending and shading you might want to do will probably be over the lines using them as texture underneath, rather than within the lines. You will need a fair amount of concentration but the images aren’t huge so they don’t take days and days to complete and you could easily complete them alongside your journaling so that once you get to the end of the notebook the whole thing is completed and you have a beautiful keepsake.

I would highly recommend the Zoombook colouring notebook for anyone who is a stationery addict, anyone who loves to journal and anyone who really wants a pretty colouring notebook to write in for whatever reason. The images are beautiful, floral and natural and will bring a lovely splash of colour to your writing and the binding feels luxurious and hard-wearing so it’ll cope with weeks of journaling. The Zoombook is available from their website and if you’re a first time buyer you even get a discount currently! Postage is fairly high but all in for one notebook it’s under $17 plus a discount takes it down even further and if you buy more than one at once it’ll obviously work out cheaper so head there now and get a copy for yourself! https://www.zoombook.com/colouring-notebook/

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and the cherries were coloured using Lyra Remrandt Polycolors.

Adult Colouring: Where to Start

So you want to start colouring? Don’t know where to start? Then this is the post for you!

Adult colouring has well and truly taken off since the craze was kick-started in April 2015 and it’s currently showing no signs of stopping. New books are arriving on Amazon every day and artists and illustrators all over the world are jumping on the band wagon and offering up their drawings ready for you to add your personal touch of colour to. There are some stunning books on the market and some that really aren’t so great. The market is becoming very saturated and I can imagine that for those of you who are just entering the world of adult colouring, this must be very daunting and impossible to know where to even begin! So here is where you need to start, what you need to know and where to get your colouring goodies from so that you can get started as quickly as possible. For those of you that are new to my blog, you can read more about me and my colouring journey here.

Pens or Pencils

So, let’s get you started on your adult colouring journey. The first thing you need to think about is whether you want to colour with pens or pencils. There are a number of different types of each to help you narrow down further but firstly you need to decide whether you want pens, pencils or both. The pros of pencils are that mostly they’re erasable or at least partially erasable so if you make a mistake it’s not the end of the world. They can be used to shade and blend and give more depth to pictures. They don’t bleed so you can use them on single-sided and double-sided books without any issues. The cons are that they’re fairly tough on your joints so you’re better sticking to pens if you have joint problems or pain, they’re also very time-consuming to use if you’re wanting to create impressive effects. The pros of pens are that they’re really vibrant, quicker to use, easier on your hands, come in a range of nib sizes for different sized areas on the page, and you don’t have to blend or shade, you can just colour in blocks. The major con with pens is that they bleed, some bleed sideways over the lines, some bleed through the paper (or shadow, where you can clearly see the coloured sections on the reverse of the page without it fully bleeding through), and this is often a big problem in double-sided books, they’re also much harder to blend and shade with and they’re more expensive and run out faster. Once you’ve decided on pens or pencils (or both), you’re ready to decide which type you want.

Pencils

Pencils are usually made of wax (like Crayola, and any pencils your kids or you will have used at school and growing up) or oil. Everyone has their own preference, some like wax, I’m a huge fan of oil, and others seem to get on well with both. If you can get to an art shop then I’d suggest trying out some of each to decide which you prefer, if you’re unable to attend a shop then the following info will hopefully help. Within the wax and oil-based pencil brands are harder and softer pencils. If you have any joint problems or issues with grip etc then you need a soft pencil (look out for this description in reviews). I have poor grip and achy joints in my hands and I tried various brands of wax-based pencils and just couldn’t get on with them, I found them hard, sticky and very difficult to get vibrant colour without having to press really hard. Others have had much better experiences with wax-based pencils than me and as I said before, it’s unfortunately entirely down to personal preference. Oil-based pencils are generally a bit pricier but in my opinon they’re well worth the money because they’re so much easier to use and much softer and more vibrant with less pressure needed.

Wax-based Pencils

If you’re wanting wax-based pencils then the budget option is often Crayola coloured pencils, the mid to high range that I’d recommend would be Derwent Coloursoft which I’ll review at a later date and these are highly blendable, vibrant and come in up to 72 beautiful colours. I would also recommend the Staedtler Ergosoft Coloured Pencils which come in 24 colours and are very easy to use and vibrant. The artist’s grade, high-end price option is Prismacolor Premiers which are the Marmite of the pencil world, people either love them and create stunning pieces of art with them or hate them because of the wax bloom that builds up and the lead breaking which these pencils are notorious for, I’ve never used these so I can’t vouch for them, they are often used beautifully, but there are major issues with people sharpening inches off them trying to just get a point to colour with!

Oil-based Pencils

If you’re after oil-based pencils then there isn’t really a budget option but the most cost-effective and cheapest are the Marco Raffine pencils which I’ve reviewed here. There are plenty of mid to high range pencils and my recommendation would be the Lyra Rembrandt Polycolors which I received just yesterday which are available in 70 colours and seem to work beautifully. The artist’s grade high-end pencils with a price tag to match are the Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils which are pricey but as the proud owner of the full set, they’re worth every penny and truly are the crème de la crème of the pencil world. When choosing pencils, have a think about whether you’re wanting to just colour in blocks or whether you’re wanting to blend and shade and create artist’s style work, if you’re wanting the former then definitely stick to the low-end pencils because they’re ideal for that, whereas if you’re wanting to blend and shade then I’d opt for the mid or high-end pencils. The majority of colouring and the effects you can create are based on talent and practice rather than tools. I’ve seen amazing work coloured with Crayolas and some fairly dodgy work created with Polychromos pencils so if you can’t afford a pricey set, don’t despair, just get practising! It’s easier to create good effects with pricier pencils because they’re better made and easier to use but it really is mostly about talent and the best way to learn is to practice and to look on YouTube for tutorials, that’s where I’ve learnt all of my techniques from!

Pens

If pencils aren’t for you and you want to venture into the inky world of pens instead then this is the section for you. Broadly speaking, pens are broken down into water-based ink and alcohol based ink.

Alcohol Pens

Alcohol pens ALWAYS bleed. Unless you’re using super thick card they will bleed through the paper so you will be limited to books that only have images printed on one side or you’ll have to sacrifice half of the pictures to bleed-through. That being said, alcohol pens are very popular within the adult colouring world but a word of warning, they smell very strongly of solvent and if you have issues with headaches or migraines you might want to avoid them or colour in short bursts, near a window! Alcohol-based pens are more versatile than water-based pens because they can be layered and blended, either with each other on the page using similar shades, or using a clear blending pen (most brands sell these separately). Alcohol markers come with a significant price tag and the cheapest are usually unbranded permanent markers which can be found in the UK in stores like Poundland and The Works. The low to mid range are Sharpies and these come in a multitude of set sizes and colours and are world-renowned for their quality. Most others are mid to high or high-end prices and these include Spectrum Noir, Promarker and Copic. I don’t use alcohol markers because I suffer from migraines, often induced by environmental stimuli, so if you’re interested in using them I’d suggest searching for other reviews online, there are plenty of great ones to be found so that you can invest in the right set for you.

Water-based pens

Water-based pens are my personal favourites. I love colouring in pencil but when I’m colouring because I’m anxious or colouring just for me, I love nothing more than to get out my water-based fineliners and just get colouring! Water-based pens come in a huge variety of nib thicknesses and you need to bear in mind the size of the spaces you’ll be colouring when purchasing pens – there’s no point getting chunky felt-tips (markers) if you’re planning on using really intricate books because you’ll ruin them.

Water-based Fineliners

Fineliners are usually 0.3 or 0.4 mm’s and they’re ideal for small spaces and intricate parts. They are available all over the place and the cheapest are usually own-brand sets from UK shops like Poundland, The Works, WHSmiths and most major supermarkets, the mid-high range sets that I’ve found to be best are the Stabilo Point 88 fineliners which I’ve reviewed here and the Staedtler Triplus fineliners which I’ve reviewed here.

Water-based Fibre-tips/Felt Pens

Alongside these are water-based markers/ felt/fibre-tip pens which have a huge variety of shape and size nibs and are used for colouring larger areas. They are often a bit streaky, especially if you colour over the same spot twice and the cheaper they are, the streakier they usually are. There are hundreds of brands that do low-range sets for kids and adults but there aren’t any I’d recommend because they’re so streaky. My advice would be to invest in a mid-range set of Staedtler Triplus Fibre-tips (reviewed by me here), or Stabilo 68 Fibre-tips (review coming soon) because they’re much less streaky, last for ages and they are colour-matched with the fineliner sets so you can seamlessly colour small and large areas of the same picture with different pens. For high-end water-based markers I’ve heard great things about the Tombow Dual Brush Pens and the Faber-Castell Pitt Pens but I’ve not had the budget to try these out yet so be sure to test them in an art shop or buy a single pen first to test out and see what you want to invest in.

Books

Now you’ve decided what you’re going to colour with, you need to decide what you’re going to colour! The first thing to decide is whether it has to be single-sided or whether the colouring medium you’ve chosen will allow you to use double-sided books. If you’ve opted for alcohol markers then it must be single-sided, water-based pens you’ll want single-sided or thick paged double-sided and for pencils you can use any book you like. Paper quality is only an issue for water-based pens where it needs to be thick if it’s double-sided and pencils where you want a bit of texture (known as tooth – the grooves and textures in the paper that stop it being smooth and flat) if you’re wanting to blend and shade because you need to build up layers and the tooth allows you to do that. Shiny or incredibly smooth paper makes using pencils very difficult and if it’s waxy then steer clear of using anything other than alcohol markers because nothing else will stick, it’ll simply wipe off. After narrowing down the printing and paper quality, you then want to decide on what content you’re interested in – fantasy, people, animals, nature, patterns, abstract, scenes, mandalas, etc. There are so many books on the market now that you won’t find it difficult to find a book that fits all of these criteria, even if you want really niche content like rats, dragons or shoes.

Health Impacts

Finally, you want to think about your health which is a huge part of why I review colouring books and if you’re a reader of my blog already you’ll know, a huge part of each review I write. Whether you’re physically or mentally ill, your condition may affect your ability to colour and therefore your ability to enjoy a particular book. Things to bear in mind are whether your condition fluctuates, whether you have good vision, whether you have good fine motor control, whether the content of the book’s images may affect your mood in any way, whether your concentration levels alter, and what level of intricacy and detail you can handle. This might sound like a lot but in every review I write I describe all of these aspects so you can find books that will suit your level of functioning and ability so that you don’t get a book that’s so basic you get bored, or so intricate that it increases your levels of panic. You can find all of the reviews I’ve written in alphabetical order here and product reviews are at the bottom of that list, and I’ve grouped them into intricacy levels here.

One last thing I feel I really ought to make you aware of is that adult colouring is highly addictive. You may go into it thinking that you’ll buy just one book and one pack of pens, that’s how we all started, but trust me, it’ll never be enough and you’ll end up always chasing the next release and that next colouring fix. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fabulous addiction and one that I’m personally quite proud of as I survey my ever-growing collection of pens and pencils and bookshelf that is full to bursting, but nonetheless, it is addictive and you quickly feel that you have to collect books and seek out the perfect colouring pencil. Check out my pre-order list here for all of the books I’m pining for that are being released over the next few months!

I really hope this post will have helped explain the basics to all of the new people joining the adult colouring world who were unsure where to start. If you can’t find what you’re looking for or would like specific help finding books or colouring mediums to suit you then please don’t hesitate to contact me by clicking here and filling out the contact form and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. I like nothing more than matching people up to their ideal colouring books and mediums and the more specific you are, the easier it is. I’ve reviewed over 90 books and products so far and the number is rising weekly and on top of all of those, I’m aware of a great deal more books and products and have read countless reviews from others so I can hopefully point you in the right direction even if I’ve not reviewed the item myself. Last but not least, please do follow me in some way so that you can be kept updated with new blog posts, reviews, and colouring news etc. Links to everything are down the right-hand side of this page or you can click here to find me on Twitter, or click here for Facebook, or you can follow my blog via email at the top right of this page.

Where to Buy

Adult colouring books and colouring mediums can be found in most book, art and craft shops and can also be found in a host of places online. My favourite places to order books from are Amazon UK and Book Depository who do free shipping worldwide and links to both of these can be found on every review I post. To get you started here are the links to their adult colouring book sections.

Amazon UK – Amazon Adult Colouring Books

Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/adult-colouring-books/?a_aid=colouringitmom