Masja van den Berg

From Holland with Love - Click through to read my review, see photos of inside and watch a video flick through

From Holland With Love – A Review

From Holland With Love is illustrated and kindly sent to me to review by Masja van den Berg and is published by Pepper Books. This book is the sixth book published by Masja and her five previous titles were all variations of paisley-filled designs under the title of Mijn Wonderlijke Wereld (My Wondrous World). This sixth book is a little different and is more like a love letter, or love drawing if you will, from Masja to and about Holland. The book itself is 25.5cm square, it’s hardback this time with a beautiful glowing orange cover and a compilation image of various illustrations contained within the book in blue and white. The spine is glue and string bound and relatively difficult to get it to lie flat due to it being hardback. The pages are printed single-sided and are perforated meaning you don’t have to contend with the page gutter and try to colour into it and that you can remove the pages before or after colouring in order to frame or gift them. The paper is bright white, thick and lightly textured, pencils blend and layer beautifully and water-based pens shadow but don’t bleed through, alcohol markers will bleed through so do put a protective sheet behind your work to protect the next page. The illustrations contain lots of typically Dutch objects and scenery from clogs to windmills, tulips to traditional dress and a bicycle amongst other beautiful floral patterns, drawings of women and some lovely birds. The imagery is really varied and far less paisley-filled than the previous titles but don’t despair if you love those, they don’t feel like they’re missing from this work and the illustrations are really lovely and very pretty. At the back of the book are three pages of images that can be cut out for projects, a page of card toppers, a page of social media tags where you can add your name instead of having to watermark your photos and a page including 2 small postcard style designs all of which are illustrated and colourable.

In terms of mental health, this book is great, it’s not overwhelming to colour and has enough detail to be interesting and absorbing, without being overly complex or over-stimulating. The content is familiar, fun and cute and much of it could be coloured in any palette you choose and look equally fabulous. The line thickness is mostly consistent and remains thin with a few images drawn in a spindly thin line. The intricacy and detail levels vary and range from very intricate on some of the postcard size images and social media tags to larger, more open spaces in some of the colouring pages and everything in between, you’ll need moderately good vision and fine motor control for the majority of the images and better levels for a few of the most intricate pages. A few of the pages will require a high level of concentration but many won’t need you to be at your best and require less focus so this is a good book for those of you with varying concentration levels. The pages also consist of varying amounts of content which means they take differing lengths of time to complete and there are natural stopping points if you just want to colour one section. These images would look really beautiful framed and this book would be an ideal gift for those who live in Holland, are from there, or who just love all things Dutch, it’s so representative and beautiful, I’m sure it would be a very well-received gift!

Overall, I would highly recommend this book, it’s beautiful for those who love all things Dutch and those just wanting to colour more of Masja’s gorgeous illustrations. The production quality is very high and the images are really lovely to colour.

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available to buy here:
Amazon UK – From Holland with Love
Masja’s Website – https://www.masjaswebshop.nl/

The image below was coloured with a single Prismacolor Premier Pencil and a Caran d’Ache Blender Pencil.

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Mijn Wonderlijke Wereld Part 5 - Click through to read my review, watch my flick through and see internal photos

Worldwide Giveaway and Review – Mijn Wonderlijke Wereld (My Wondrous World) Part 5

Mijn Wonderlijke Wereld Part 5 was illustrated and kindly sent to me to review by Masja van den Berg. Masja has very kindly sent me an extra copy of this title and part 4 and I’m currently running a Worldwide giveaway for them both over on my FB page, click here to enter by midnight GMT on the 11th of November. This book is the fifth in her series of books and my reviews of her other titles can be found HERE and she’s already created 2 more books with different titles since these. Part 5 ventures further afield than the first three books and takes us on an exotic journey through the Orient with Chinese and Japanese art and animals featured. The book itself is paperback, nearly 24.5cm square, with a gorgeous turquoise cover with beautiful gold foiled accents on a Chinese dragon image found inside the book. The spine of the book is glue-bound and therefore a little tricky to get it to lie flat unless you break the spine which could eventually lead to pages loosening, however the pages this time are perforated which is ideal if you want to remove them for colouring or framing. The images are printed single-sided this time and all of the images are therefore single page designs. The paper is white, thick (thicker than all of her previous books) and lightly textured, it provides a good surface for blending and shading pencils, it doesn’t bleed or shadow with water-based pens and alcohol markers will be fine to use as long as you pop some protective sheets behind your work. The content is all drawn in Masja’s signature paisley style so while the images are Oriental themed, they’re very similar to the previous books and existing fans of her work won’t be disappointed. The images contain all manner of things from Chinese dragons, koi carp, ornaments, mandalas, patterns, cranes, cherry blossom, ponds, and more. The illustrations are very floral and delicate and contain a mixture of scenes and patterns, full page designs and centralised images.

In terms of mental health, this book is lovely, it’s very calming and absorbing without requiring too much concentration so it’s a great book for good and bad days. There’s a real variety in the amount of content on each page so you can easily choose a smaller, simpler design to focus on when you’re having a bad day, or a much more complex spread when you’re feeling well, none of the images are overwhelming as they’re all contained to one side so the book feels very accessible. The line thickness is pretty consistent throughout and is thin but not spindly thin so you’ll need fairly good vision and fine motor control but certainly not perfect. The intricacy and detail level varies a lot from larger open spaces to much smaller spaces where Masja has filled the creatures and designs with patterns though of course you can always colour over these small sections rather than within each one if you prefer to colour larger areas. There are plenty of spaces where you can create your own backgrounds or add your own imagery if you wish but this is by no means a requirement and the pages will look lovely regardless. Masja’s work is very soft and flowing, there aren’t any straight lines and this really helps to create a natural, calming world that you can escape into whilst colouring. The images have a great mixture of realism and imagination added to them so they look equally good coloured realistically or outlandishly and you could even mix the two throughout the book.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who’s already a fan of the series, and those who are intrigued and new to it, the images are lovely, very cohesive, and really natural and calming and they look beautiful once splashed with realistic or imaginative colour schemes.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book, it’s available here: https://www.masjaswebshop.nl/

I’m also currently running a giveaway for a UK resident to win a copy of this, and book 5 in the series. The competition runs until midnight GMT on the 11th of November and can be entered here.

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-Tips.

Mijn Wonderlijke Wereld Part 4 - Click through to read my review, see photos and watch my video flick through

Worldwide Giveaway and Review – Mijn Wonderlijke Wereld (My Wondrous World) Part 4

Mijn Wonderlijke Wereld Part 4 was illustrated and kindly sent to me to review by Masja van den Berg. Masja has very kindly sent me an extra copy of this title and part 5 and I’m currently running a Worldwide giveaway for them both over on my FB page, click here to enter by midnight GMT on the 11th of November. This book is the fourth in her series of books and my reviews of her other titles can be found HERE as well as my review of Part 5 HERE and she’s already created 2 more books with different titles since these. Part 4 ventures further afield than the first three books and takes us on an exotic journey through India and its animals. The book itself is paperback, nearly 24.5cm square, with a bright yellow cover with beautiful blue foiled accents on a peacock image found inside the book. The spine of the book is glue-bound and therefore a little tricky to get it to lie flat unless you break the spine which could eventually lead to pages loosening. The images are printed double-sided and are a mixture of single and double-page spreads. The paper is white, thick and lightly textured, it doesn’t bleed and only very minimally shadows with the darkest water-based pens and provides a good surface for blending and shading with pencils; alcohol markers should be avoided as they’ll ruin the reverse image and bleed through. The content is all drawn in Masja’s signature paisley style so while the images are Indian themed, they’re very similar to the previous books and existing fans of her work won’t be disappointed. The images contain all manner of things from giraffes and peacocks, to scarabs and elephants, scorpions and florals to parakeets and ponds. The illustrations are very floral and delicate and contain a mixture of scenes and patterns, full page designs and centralised images.

In terms of mental health, this book is lovely, it’s very calming and absorbing without requiring too much concentration so it’s a great book for good and bad days. There’s a real variety in the amount of content on each page so you can easily choose a smaller, simpler design to focus on when you’re having a bad day, or a much more complex double-page spread when you’re feeling well. The line thickness is pretty consistent throughout and is thin but not spindly thin so you’ll need fairly good vision and fine motor control but certainly not perfect. The intricacy and detail level varies a lot from larger open spaces to much smaller spaces where Masja has filled the creatures and designs with patterns though of course you can always colour over these small sections rather than within each one if you prefer to colour larger areas. There are plenty of spaces where you can create your own backgrounds or add your own imagery if you wish but this is by no means a requirement and the pages will look lovely regardless. Masja’s work is very soft and flowing, there aren’t any straight lines and this really helps to create a natural, calming world that you can escape into whilst colouring. The images have a great mixture of realism and imagination added to them so they look equally good coloured realistically or outlandishly and you could even mix the two throughout the book.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who’s already a fan of the series, and those who are intrigued and new to it, the images are lovely, very cohesive, and really natural and calming and they look beautiful once splashed with realistic or imaginative colour schemes.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book, it’s available here: https://www.masjaswebshop.nl/

I’m also currently running a giveaway for a UK resident to win a copy of this, and book 5 in the series. The competition runs until midnight GMT on the 11th of November and can be entered here.

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-Tips.

Mijn Wonderlijke Wereld (My Wondrous World) Part 3 – A UK Giveaway and Review

Masja has very kindly sent me a copy to review and a copy for one lucky UK resident to win. To enter the giveaway head over to my Facebook page here and enter via the pinned post by 8pm GMT on Tuesday the 9th of February.

Masja has created a gorgeous third book, a sequel to her first and second book of the same name which can be found reviewed here(Part 1) and here (Part 2), and it really does contain a wondrous world of creatures, flowers and patterns. Her illustration style is floral, delicate and detailed without being overly intricate. Those of you who like Millie Marotta’s style should really consider Masja’s books because I am now a huge fan of the work of both of these talented illustrators.

This book is square and glue-bound making it a little hard to get completely flat to colour but because it’s paperback it’s easily moved around to get the perfect angle for each section you’re working on. The images are printed double-sided and the paper is thicker than her first two books but still a little too thin so I’d stick to pencils in this book as my fineliners shadowed a little but didn’t bleed onto the back of the page. The paper is bright white and fairly smooth and gives a lovely surface to colour on. The line thickness is thin but not extremely so and it does vary somewhat throughout the book but at no point could it be described as thick so this book is definitely for those of you with good, but not perfect vision and at least moderate fine motor control so that you can really get the most from the images. The book contains 46 images including some that are double-page spreads and others that are single pages. The image content includes animals, flowers, floral patterns, and wallpaper-esque prints. It’s quite a girly book so maybe one to miss for the male colourers unless floral is your thing.

I found the images really calming and soothing and found the process of colouring the images ready for this review very relaxing because of their grounding in nature. Masja’s first book was very much like taking a walk through a beautiful garden, her second book took you on a journey through a more exotic landscape and this book takes you on a journey through a winter wonderland filled with flurries of snowflakes, wolves, bears, reindeer, owls, pine cones and even a Christmas tree. It takes you on a journey and allows for excellent escapism which means it’s ideal for mental health problems. Masja’s drawings are delicate and intricate and need just enough concentration to keep you occupied, focused and distracted from anxious or low thoughts but aren’t so complicated that they will ever lead to frustration or cause you to feel overwhelmed. Some of the images have large open spaces where you could add your own drawings or backgrounds to truly make the book your own but there is no writing on the pages so you’re totally free to add (or not) as you choose, rather than as directed. This book is great for those of you who can’t deal with super intricate and delicate images but who still want to colour really pretty, patterned images.

This book is one not to be missed and for those of you who like to colour natural scenes, especially those including animals or flowers, this is a must-have book that you should be adding to your collection because it’s beautiful and really up there with the bestsellers in that category. Masja’s book is not published in the UK or US yet but is available from her Etsy shop where it is very reasonably priced and you can also check out her other books and colouring pages, all drawn in her unique, delicate style.  You can keep up with Masja’s progress via her Facebook page. Thank you so much Masja for inviting us all on another journey into your Wondrous World and for allowing me to review another of your stunning books!

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

Don’t forget, I’m running a UK giveaway for a copy of this beautiful book which can be entered before 8pm GMT on Tuesday the 9th of February via the pinned post on my Facebook page here.

Mijn Wonderlijke Wereld (My Wondrous World) Part 1 – A Review

Masja has created a truly beautiful book and it really does contain a wondrous world of creatures, flowers and patterns. Her illustration style is floral, delicate and detailed without being overly intricate. Those of you who like Millie Marotta’s style should really consider this book because I am now a huge fan of the work of both of these talented illustrators.

This book is square and glue-bound making it a little hard to get completely flat to colour but because it’s paperback it’s easily moved around to get the perfect angle for each section you’re working on. The images are printed double-sided and the paper is fairly thin so I’d stick to pencils in this book as my fineliners badly bled through to the back of the page I tested. However, the paper is bright white and fairly smooth and gives a lovely surface to colour on. The line thickness is thin but not extremely so and it does vary somewhat throughout the book but at no point could it be described as thick so this book is definitely for those of you with good vision and at least moderate fine motor control so that you can really get the most from the images. The book contains 46 images including some that are double-page spreads and others that are single pages. The image content includes animals, flowers, floral patterns, and wallpaper-esque prints. It’s quite a girly book so maybe one to miss for the male colourers unless floral is your thing.

I found the images really calming and soothing and found the process of colouring the images ready for this review very relaxing because of their grounding in nature. Looking through the pages of the book is like taking a leisurely walk through a beautiful garden, past stunning flowers, inhabited ponds and swooping birds. It takes you on a journey and allows for excellent escapism which means it’s ideal for mental health problems. Masja’s drawings are delicate and intricate and need just enough concentration to keep you occupied, focused and distracted from anxious or low thoughts but aren’t so complicated that they will ever lead to frustration or cause you to feel overwhelmed. Some of the images have large open spaces where you could add your own drawings or backgrounds to truly make the book your own but there is no writing on the pages so you’re totally free to add (or not) as you choose, rather than as directed.

This book is one not to be missed and for those of you who like to colour natural scenes, especially those including animals or flowers, this is a must-have book that you should be adding to your collection because it’s beautiful and really up there with the bestsellers in that category. Masja’s book is not published in the UK or US yet but is available from her Etsy shop where it is very reasonably priced and you can also check out her other books and colouring pages, all drawn in her unique, delicate style. You can read my review of Masja’s second instalment here and you can keep up with her progress via her Facebook page. Thank you so much Masja for inviting us all into your Wondrous World and for allowing me to review your stunning book!

The images below were coloured using Marco Raffine Coloured Pencils and Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.