Secrets Beneath the Leaves – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Secrets Beneath the Leaves is illustrated and was kindly sent to me by Törmänen and Haikonen. This book is really unusual and different from any other adult colouring book I’ve seen so far. Secrets Beneath the Leaves puts the ‘adult’ into adult colouring and this is definitely one for the over 18’s. The title really doesn’t give much away and I thought it was going to be a Johanna Basford style book filled with garden images and boy was I in for a surprise! For those of you of a nervous or sensitive disposition or who are offended by nudity, this book is not for you, please look away now. For those of you who are now even more intrigued, keep on reading!

This book contains 30 images of leaf and tree people getting up to all sorts! The illustrators welcome you to “the enchanting world of lush leaves, exotic flowers, ancient vines, colourful birds and sensual delights” but this really doesn’t describe what’s in store, they state that their images are “inspired by the beauty of nature and the human body” which gives a little more of a clue. So, what does it actually include? Images of males and females, mostly made up of leaves or trees, in various states of undress and in various sensual and erotic poses. The images range from burlesque style poses of a leafy lady in a giant cocktail glass and a foliage fireman, to couples canoodling and engaging in what looks like some passionate foreplay, all the way up to some very adventurous sexual poses that only the most gymnastic among you will be attempting to…. colour (wink wink). The book is almost A4, paperback and glue-bound and the images are printed single-sided with a preview of the next image printed on the back of each page. The paper is white and very thin, the next image can be seen through, the paper also dents quite noticeably when using pencils, however, it’s got a bit of tooth allowing for layers to be built up with pencils for blending and shading. Water-based pens do bleed through and alcohol markers would almost certainly mark the next page so make sure you put a spare sheet of paper behind your work and then you’re good to go! The images are all printed with a border around them so none of the image is lost into the spine. The book starts with a “This book belongs to” page and at the back has a double-page spread to test your pens and pencils on.

In terms of mental health, this book is sure to give you a good giggle which is fabulous for mental illness and helping you forget about the bad things in life. There are lots and lots of leaves and the book is fairly intricate and delicate and all drawn in a thin line so you will need fairly good fine motor control and vision to really ‘study’ the images and colour into all the ‘nooks, crannies and crevices’. The images are all the same complexity level (despite the content of the images being suitable for beginners all the way up to seasoned pro’s) so you will have to focus quite a lot to keep within the lines. This book gives great distraction from symptoms and from negative thoughts and feelings as you’re whisked off to a garden filled with raunchy people getting up to all sorts of erotic things. I personally wouldn’t describe many of the images as sensual and would err more towards kinky as a description but however you want to describe it this book is really unusual, sure to give you a giggle and offers great shading opportunities and might even offer you some inspiration for other colouring or areas of your life. One thing to note is that the images show males and females on separate pages but all pages of couples are of a male and female, unfortunately, there are no same-sex couples included. The images are mostly nature-inspired though some of the positions the tree-people have found themselves in cannot possibly be described as such, and as you know, I find nature images the best for calming down my anxiety. The garden aspect of these images is quite heavily over-shadowed by the hanky-panky the leafy people are getting up to and some of the birds in the pictures look quite alarmed and surprised about what’s happening and if they didn’t already, have certainly now learnt about the birds and the bees!

I would recommend this book for those of you looking for something different and unusual to colour and those of you who fancy colouring something a little more sensual, erotic and sometimes downright kinky. Those of you who like the Slinky Tarts books are likely to be a fan of this book. It provides great distraction from mental illness symptoms and is sure to cheer up even the darkest of days. Grab your pens and pencils and discover the secrets beneath the leaves.

You can purchase a copy here:
Amazon UK – Secrets Beneath the Leaves

The images below were coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils.


Mijn Wonderlijke Wereld (My Wondrous World) Part 2 – 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 Sunday the 29th of November.

Masja has created a truly stunning second book, a sequel to her first book of the same name which can be found reviewed here 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 book but still a little too thin so I’d stick to pencils in this book as my fineliners shadowed but didn’t bleed onto the back of the page I tested. 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 and this book takes you on a journey through a more exotic landscape where you encounter a lion, zebra, beetles, mushrooms, birds and other creatures. 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. She is now working on a third instalment which is about to publish and has the most beautiful midnight blue cover with a reindeer on the front and I cannot wait to see it and hopefully review a copy for you all. 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 my Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and I tested my Stabilo Point 88 fineliners for bleed through.

Don’t forget, I’m running a UK giveaway for a copy of this beautiful book which can be entered before 8pm GMT on Sunday the 29th of November via the pinned post on my Facebook page here.

Doctor Who Colouring book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Doctor Who: The Colouring Bookis a BBC colouring book published by Puffin Books an imprint of Penguin Random House. This book is from my personal collection so get ready for some terrible Doctor Who puns that will have you groaning by the end but a lot more enlightened about what’s included in this book and whether you’ll like it or not. So, without further ado, grab your sonic screwdriver, jump aboard the TARDIS and travel through time and space into my review. Allons-y! *Sorry*

Just like Bad Wolf, messages about this colouring book have been scattered throughout time and space, or at least the last couple of months on the internet since its publication was announced, and all of it was leading up to 3 days ago – publishing day! Rest assured, River Song would be pleased, because there aren’t any ‘spoilers’ within this review. This book is the perfect colouring ‘companion’ to the entire television series of Doctor Who, not just the newer series that got many of us (me included) hooked. This book is paperback with a card cover and has lots of gorgeous blue foiling on the front, it is 25cm square, the same size as other leading colouring books. It contains 45 images, though it feels like many more (one could describe it as almost TARDIS-like), which are all printed single-sided onto off-white medium thickness, fairly smooth paper. Water-based pens do bleed but this doesn’t matter because the only thing on the reverse of each image is a quote, the episode name, doctor number and year, so just put a protective sheet behind in case of bleed through and ‘fantastic’ you’re good to go! The spine of the book is glue-bound and tight, but it will ease up with use and the images are borderless so a little is lost into the spine but this is very small and pales into insignificance when battling aliens and trying to patch up cracks in the space-time continuum.

The Doctor Who Colouring Book starts with a lovely “This book belongs to…” page and then shows a number of items that are hidden within the images for you to hunt down in a time-travelling treasure hunt. This book contains images of everything you’d expect, and more! There are Daleks, Cybermen, Sycorax, Ood, Adipose, alien planet landscapes and images of inside and outside the TARDIS. There are also images of each Doctor in order from the first to the current, twelfth. These images are all of a right-facing portrait outline of each Doctor and contained within are images of that Doctor, their assistant/companion and some of the main features from their episodes, be that accessories, technology or even their nemeses. The final one of these is of Missy, because who could forget her?! The Doctor’s biggest enemies are featured in multiple images each so you’ll certainly get your fill of Daleks, Cybermen and Weeping Angels. Some of the images are scenes as you’d expect but they’re not specific stills from the TV series, more representations. There are mandalas (“The round things, I love the round things, What are the round things?, No idea!”) of various characters including Daleks, Ood and the TARDIS and many more images, a good cross-section of which are photographed below.

In terms of mental health, this book isn’t geared up to be calming or relaxing but if you’re a Whovian then you’re sure to get a huge amount of enjoyment out of it and that can only be good for your mental health. The images are drawn in a variety of line thicknesses which range from thin to medium thickness and are mainly thin, but not spindly so they’re all very colourable as long as you’ve got fairly good vision and fine motor control. None of the lines in the book are wibbly-wobbly, but they’ll all take plenty of timey-wimey (I’m not even sorry about that one). This book would not only be good for adult fans but also older children who can cope with the intricacy and detail which is fairly considerable in a number of images, “Don’t Blink” or you’ll go over the lines. Again, there is variety within this which means this book is ideal for those of you with fluctuating conditions who need simpler and more intricate images for days of different ability when you’re weary from time-travel, or buoyed up by another victorious battle. The image content is ideal for anxious colourers because most of the images are of characters that have specific colour schemes and you could easily either colour them from memory or google them in order to find out what colours they “should” be. Of course, this is just a guide and you could definitely colour your cyber men green and have a neon pink TARDIS if you chose and I’m sure it would look spectacular (if you colour your TARDIS neon pink then please send a photo to my Facebook page, I’m not quite brave enough to mess with the colour of my time machine yet).

As you can tell from my pun-tastic review, I’d highly recommend this book for all Whovians and I’m sure Matt Smith would say that “Colouring Books are cool”, especially this one! Exterminate your boredom and worries and get stuck in to this book which is nowhere near as bad as ‘yoghurt, baked beans, bacon or bread and butter’ and perhaps it’ll become something amazing in your life like ‘fishfingers and custard’. Grab your jelly babies, break out the fez (wrap up in your mega long scarf for good measure) and get out your sonic colouring pencils and ‘Geronimo!’ you’re in for some Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey fun!

No need to ‘run’ to the nearest bookshop, no need to be ‘the girl, or boy, who waited’, just ‘reverse the polarity of the neutron flow’, point your sonic screwdriver in the general direction of the internet and purchase a copy of this book from the comfort of your own TARDIS from one of the links below:
Amazon UK: Doctor Who: The Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide: https://www.bookdepository.com/Doctor-Who-Colouring-Book-Unknown/9780141367385/?a_aid=colouringitmom

A quick thank you to all of my Whovian friends, without whom, you’d have had nothing to groan at throughout this review, if you need someone to blame, blame them!

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils and the background was created using PanPastels. For a perfect TARDIS blue I used the Helioblue-Reddish Polychromos pencil.

Maps: A Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Maps – A Colouring Bookis published by the famous Geographer’s A-Z Map Company Limited who produce A-Z maps of the UK and very kindly sent me a copy to review and even included my name within one of the pages to thank me for helping them during production – I’m honoured to have helped and have my surname included! This book is probably the most unusual colouring book I’ve seen and with a market that is highly saturated now it’s really nice to see something so different. This book is square and a little smaller than the bestsellers by JB and MM. It is paperback, gluebound and printed single-sided with a 1cm border around each image so none of it is lost into the spine. The paper is bright white and medium thickness with a little tooth, enough for shading with coloured pencils, and I experienced bleed through when using water-based fineliners but this doesn’t matter because it’s single-sided. There are 40 images all created with the same, very thin line thickness which is the same as in their normal map books so this isn’t one for those of you with poor eyesight or fine motor control. Because of the nature of the material included, there are lots of detailed and intricate sections so this is definitely a book that requires concentration and focus to be able to colour it well.

In terms of mental health, this book is great for those of you that need to concentrate and focus in order to stave off anxiety or low mood. It is really unusual and ideal for those who like quirky artwork, patterns, mandalas and geometric designs. The images range from maps of cities to symbols found in maps and on road signs, to famous landmarks and object outlines of maps of areas associated with the shape, and mandalas created from sections of maps and so many more. There are also more abstract images of mountain contour lines and even a page at the end with a blank centre for you to add your own map if you want to! This book has a really cohesive image style and the subject matter means that you can colour it in whatever way you fancy. You could colour it in a similar way to printed road maps, do it all in neon, or even create a patchwork like I did in my sample image using rainbow colours to celebrate Gay Pride which is synonymous with Brighton, the City map I coloured. I personally didn’t find this book especially calming but it’s great for distraction and it would be suited to either gender because it’s not pretty or delicate and is very intricate so it will banish those racing thoughts. I would recommend this book for the colourist who has everything and wants to try something really new and different, and for those who want something less pretty or nature-inspired. If you’d like to get a copy then you can find it on Amazon here Maps – A Colouring Book

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

Escape to Wonderland: 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 Wonderland: A Colouring Book Adventure is published by Puffin Books and is part of 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 is a beautiful book that is essential for any Alice in Wonderland fan’s colouring collection. It is smaller than most at 18.4cms square but don’t let that put you off, it’s a gorgeous book and the size means that the images aren’t daunting and it’s also perfect for taking with you for 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 blue background with white line-drawn images of flowers, mushrooms, pocket watches and owls. The cover has silvery-gold foiling accents which really add to the luxury of the book and are a lovely bit of extra detailing. There are 96 pages with double-sided images which are borderless so a little of each image is lost into the glue-bound spine. I found the spine very tight when it arrived but with some work it has now loosened up a lot and lies flatter than it did. The pages are cream and 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 shading. The paper is thick enough to use water-based pens and didn’t bleed or shadow on the sample I did but I’ve not yet coloured a whole image with pens so 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 in the correct order to tell the story and almost every page contains a quote from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland so you always know where you are, though that’s not necessary for die-hard fans who pretty much know it off by heart but it’s good for people who are new to the story and it’s a great reminder of some of the classic quotes which never fail to put a smile on my face.

In terms of mental health, I found this book great because it instantly transported me back to my childhood and brought back happy memories of watching many different film adaptations and staring at the pictures in my illustrated versions of Lewis Caroll’s original books. Many of the images are of plants, animals and scenes or objects which are the things I’m most interested in colouring so I was in my element and really struggled to narrow it down to just one picture to colour in for my review. I really enjoyed just looking through at the images and reliving the story and while the images are fairly stylised, and different from Sir John Tenniel’s originals, it’s very obvious what each scene is depicting and who each character is. I didn’t notice anything missing apart from the Duchess who isn’t featured in any of the images but all of the classic characters and scenes are in there from the pool of tears, to the caucus race, the croquet match to the lobster quadrille and the trial to meeting the giant caterpillar, it’s all in there. Alice is beautifully drawn throughout in a number of different styles and there are individual images of the gryphon, mock turtle, white rabbit, mouse and dodo, all exquisitely drawn and just waiting to be coloured. The only drawing I’m not so keen on is that of the Cheshire cat. He’s been drawn with petals around his eyes and it just looks a little odd and not very true to the original however, this is my only gripe, and the rest of the book is truly beautiful.

I would highly recommend this book, especially to those who are fans of Alice because 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 childhood and into the magical world of Wonderland. If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s already reduced on Amazon here Escape to Wonderland: A Colouring Book Adventure If you’re on the look out for other Alice in Wonderland themed books then head over to my review of another recent release here or go straight to Amazon The Macmillan Alice Colouring Book

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

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: A Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Macmillan Alice Colouring Book is newly published by Macmillan publishing and is part of my personal collection. It was released last week to celebrate 150 years since Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was originally published and includes the original illustrations by Sir John Tenniel. This book is beautiful and every Alice fan’s dream. Lewis Caroll’s two tales of Alice’s adventures have been my favourite stories for as long as I can remember and whenever I watch any of the film adaptations, read the books or quotes or see illustrations of her story, I’m transported back to my childhood and am reminded of the wonder I used to feel. I was very worried that this book might be disappointing because I’m such a huge fan of Alice and her world but as soon as I opened the cover I fell down the rabbit hole and was instantly travelling through Wonderland.

This book is A4, softback and printed double-sided with mostly double-page spreads either consisting of a double-page image or an image alongside a quote from the book and occasionally a spread of patterns or repeated illustrations. The spine is glue-bound and there is no border around the images so a little is lost into the spine on each page. The line thickness varies throughout from very thin to medium thickness depending on how much the original image has been enlarged. You certainly don’t need perfect vision or fine motor control to be able to get huge benefits from this book though. One huge difference between this book and all of the other adult colouring books I own and have seen is that most of the images, certainly all of the original Tenniel ones, are not just outlines, they contain considerable amounts of black cross-hatching because the illustrations were originally printed in black and white and Tenniel needed to be able to indicate light and shade. I know this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but bear in mind that these illustrations were created 150 years ago and were not created for the purpose of colouring but rather to tell the story and the texture that has been added is actually really useful in showing which areas are light and dark and this can really aid colouring especially for newbies. The picture I coloured below was really easy to colour because the cross-hatched parts of the roses were clearly meant to be the parts that had been painted red by the cards and the bits without were still the original white. Some of the images, especially those of the Cheshire Cat are very heavily shaded and I have shown this in the images below so that you can get a proper feel for the book and decide whether you like this effect or not.

This book contains 96 pages and the paper is almost white and smooth with very little tooth but I didn’t find it difficult to build up a few layers when colouring with my polychromos pencils. The paper is medium thickness and doesn’t bleed when using water-based pens but does shadow a little so you would need to be careful when using pens to not hold them in one place for long or over-colour or it will bleed and you could ruin the reverse image. A few of the pictures have black backgrounds which is a nice touch as it really makes your colours stand out and adds to the quirkiness of the book and I found it very in keeping with Alice’s Wonderland tales. One major thing to note that I found very strange and a little disappointing is that the images are presented in a random order and do not tell the story in its original order. I personally think this is a real shame and I’m not sure what the reason behind this was but please don’t let it put you off because the illustrations are really beautiful and the book is certainly worth having! All of the iconic characters are pictured within: the Cheshire Cat and his famous grin; the White Rabbit who is perpetually concerned at being late; the Mad Hatter, March Hare and Dormouse all attending their tea party and the Duchess and Queen and King of Hearts all competing in the bizarre croquet match, and finally Alice herself meeting everyone and everything, questioning reality and indeed her very being and journeying through the curiouser and curiouser world of Wonderland.

This book truly draws you in and allows you to escape from the real world and into Wonderland where nothing is quite as it seems and everything you know to be right and true, isn’t quite that anymore. This book offers true escapism and takes you back to your childhood where it’s likely you first heard Alice’s story and became intrigued by it. These illustrations are wrapped in so much history and are so delicately drawn by the highly talented Sir John Tenniel that all they’re missing is the colour that you can easily add to bring them to life and create a Wonderland of your own.

As you can probably guess, I absolutely love this book and believe that anyone who fell in love with the story as a child will adore it as much as I do. While it’s not to everyone’s taste because the images are shaded and not just outlined, I firmly believe that this should not put you off and I would highly recommend it to anyone that wants to have their own adventures in Wonderland. Head over to Amazon where it’s currently selling for just £3.99 down from £9.99 and allow yourself to fall down the rabbit hole and into Alice’s world.The Macmillan Alice Colouring Book If you’re on the look out for other Alice in Wonderland themed books then head over to my review of another recent release here or go straight to Amazon Escape to Wonderland: A Colouring Book Adventure

The images below were coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils and the text was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 fineliners.

Secret Garden Artist’s Edition – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Secret Garden Artist’s Edition: A Pull-Out and Frame Colouring Book is published by Laurence King Publishing and was very kindly sent to me to review by Midas PR. Secret Garden, illustrated by Johanna Basford is the worldwide bestselling colouring book and with good reason – the images are stunning, beautifully detailed, tantalisingly intricate and beautifully put together. However, many of us colourers found that the spine caused a problem because some of the middle of each image was lost into it and the double-sided printing meant that those of us who wanted to use pens of any kind had to sacrifice a number of images on the reverse or resort to colouring with mediums we weren’t so keen on. These issues were taken on board by the publisher and they have responded with this Artist’s Edition.

This book includes 20 of the most popular original images from Secret Garden. The pages are made of thick card which will hold up to just about any colouring medium. I tested my Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and they didn’t even shadow onto the back and they also didn’t bleed sideways or into the card, they seemed to glide on top instead of saturating the paper like so often happens with thick pages. The card is cream which I know isn’t everyone’s favourite, however, I love it because it makes it feel like a classic book with age and luxury. It also means there’s a less harsh contrast between the colouring and the background if you leave the background uncoloured and also allows you to easily add white as highlights or as a colour where white paper simply doesn’t. The pages are all removable, they’re not perforated so there’s no risk of them not being fully perforated and you ripping a page when trying to remove it, they’re all glued onto the spine in a similar way to memo blocks but these pages don’t end up with a curly corner when you remove them. The removable nature of the pages is ideal for two reasons, firstly, its main purpose, which is so that they can be displayed, framed, or gifted to friends or family so your colouring is no longer destined to stay hidden away in a book; secondly, it makes it much easier to colour if you remove the page first – the book is very large when fully open which makes it difficult to colour on your lap or even on a clipboard because it’s over A3 size when opened, but when you remove the page you can turn it to any angle you please so that you can colour each section easily without having to have your hand hanging off one corner or be rubbing over previously coloured areas and accidentally smudging bits.

The images included are a good selection from the original Secret Garden book and I didn’t notice any of my favourites missing but this will obviously vary for everyone (I’ve included plenty of images from inside below). The circular images are almost exactly the same size as in the original book but the (mostly) portrait and (couple of) landscape images are zoomed in sections of some of the single and double-page spreads from the book – I’ve shown this in the owl comparison photo below. This means that a few of the images have slightly larger spaces meaning the ability to really go to town and blend and shade is increased which I personally really enjoyed when working on my owl picture ready for this review. I’m very new to using pencils and have a lot to learn about blending and shading and the sizes of the leaves was ideal for practising these techniques and I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out. But rest assured, the majority of the images are printed on the same scale as Johanna’s original book meaning it’s packed full with delicate leaves and intricate flowers, all just crying out to have colour added to them.

I’ve already highlighted the majority of the ways in which this book is different from the original but a couple more things to note are that this book doesn’t have a treasure hunt aspect and none of the included images are designed to be added to, though of course you may still wish to add backgrounds or borders, there aren’t any images with large spaces or written suggestions like in the original so just bear that in mind. The book comes wrapped in thin plastic film so you won’t be able to look through it in stores but this means that the cover is well protected and won’t be at risk of staining or marking which I personally think is pretty sensible, though it’s a shame they didn’t do a preview on the back of what images are included. Because of this, I have included a large number of images from inside the book below so that you can “see inside” before you buy it.

In terms of mental health, this book is wonderful. Secret Garden was one of 3 adult colouring books that I purchased when I first developed my anxiety disorder 18 months ago and it’s provided countless hours of calming distractions and this new Artist’s Edition has been just the same. It arrived on Friday and I’ve spent all daylight hours since then (6 days) colouring in it, often forgetting to eat and not noticing the hours passing because I’ve been so engrossed and focused on colouring each section. Johanna’s books are not for the faint-hearted and are quite an undertaking and they’re not for those of you with poor eyesight or challenged fine motor control. However, for anyone who is mentally ill and doesn’t have poor eyesight, this book is ideal because not only are the images stunning but they’re also completely grounded in nature which is perfect for calming you down and relaxing you. When colouring these images, it feels like you’re taking a leisurely walk through a beautiful garden and this is sure to lift your mood and focus your thoughts so that even the most racing of minds will be quietened, at least for a short while. The details and intricacies force you to concentrate and become immersed in a world filled with brightly coloured foliage and enchanting creatures and you’re sure to feel your anxiety lessen and your dark thoughts soften a little. It’s by no means a cure, but this is a fabulous book for distraction and the fact that you can remove the pages and display them means that all of your hard work and creativity can be prominently displayed and used to brighten up your darker days and remind you that you can create beautiful things which I often find gives me a huge self-esteem boost.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. If you liked Johanna’s original books or want to delve into her inky world for the first time then I’d strongly recommend purchasing it. With the best paper quality that I’ve come across in a colouring book, it contains the most stunning images and the feature of removable pages is one that I hope will catch on with future publications because who wants to spend hours colouring a stunning image and then leave it in a book when you could be decorating your walls with your work or giving wonderful, thoughtful presents to family and friends?! This book exudes quality and luxuriousness from its thick card pages, to the signature gold foil accents on the front cover and the tiny flower image printed on the reverse of each picture, it is a work of art in itself and will be transformed into a masterpiece once you unleash your creativity upon it. I truly can’t enthuse enough about this book, it is a must-have and one that if you have been umming and ahhing about whether you should purchase it should be bought at once because I can just about guarantee that you won’t regret it. This book is ideal for anyone who is struggling with their mental health and anyone who just wants something truly beautiful to colour. I really hope that there will be Artist’s Editions created in the near future of Enchanted Forest and the soon-to-be-released Lost Ocean.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this stunning book, then head over to Amazon where it’s already selling for significantly less than the RRP. Secret Garden Artist’s Edition: A Pull-Out and Frame Colouring Book

The images below were coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.

If you have any further questions, comments or would like to show off your colouring then connect with me on Facebook – I love hearing from you all and getting feedback.