Sakura Gelly Roll

Kiss and Tell – A Review

Kiss and Tell is illustrated by Kristina Hultkrantz and published and very kindly sent to me by Swedish publisher Pagina Forlag. Swedish colouring books have taken the world by storm and there’s no sign of them going anywhere, in fact, many of the favourites are finally starting to be picked up by US publishers and brought to the international community so that we can all enjoy these books. As yet, this book hasn’t been picked up by a UK or US publisher but I’m hoping it’s only a matter of time because this is one not to be missed!

The book is 25cm square, paperback with flexible card covers that are a delicate peachy pink colour with rose-gold coloured foiling accents on the front making it a really pretty and luxurious looking book. The spine is glue and string-bound so it’s fairly durable but this does mean a little of each image is lost into it. The paper is cream, thick and lightly textured, it doesn’t bleed or shadow with water-based pens unless you press too hard in one spot, it works well with pencils and you can build up a good number of layers for blending and shading. The book contains 96 pages of double-sided images with a mixture of single and double-page spreads. The image content is very pretty and girly and has a strong jewellery theme as well as including flowers, makeup, lingerie, clothing, women and an assortment of pretty objects. The images are very well drawn and realistic with a very slight cartoon style with highlights pre-drawn on some. The illustrations look like still-life or staged scenes for magazine photo shoots of jewellery scattered on a table or the contents of a makeup bag or handbag. They’re really pretty and this book is absolutely ideal for anyone who likes fashion, glitz, glamour, and prettiness, all with a hint of luxury. The images are also really cohesive and I didn’t feel that any of the pages contained filler images, each has definitely earnt its place and they look beautiful together.

In terms of mental health, this book is lovely because the images are all of real things so you can use your own imagination, experience, or even images online to inspire your colour choices if you wish. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is medium/thin so it’s perfectly colourable for almost anyone and there is a little leeway to prevent you accidentally going over the lines. The intricacy and detail levels vary hugely throughout from teeny tiny pearls and jewels to large expanses of women’s legs and handbags and everything in between so this book will suit most people apart from those with particularly poor vision or fine motor control. The variance in difficulty level means that there is something suitable for your good days, bad days, and everything in between so this is an ideal book for those or you with fluctuating conditions or changeable concentration levels. It’s also fantastic for mindfulness because a lot of the images have repeating items, like hundreds of pearls, which can all be coloured in the same way if you wish and you can therefore really focus on the here and now and stay in the moment with your breathing. This book is a great one for distraction and zoning out, though it might inspire you to go shopping for that next statement necklace or latest shade of nail polish, but you can justify those as ‘inspiration’ for your colouring! There is plenty of space to add your own background or details if you wish but all of these pages look finished and there are no hints or written suggestions so there’s absolutely no need to be able to draw if you don’t want to.

I would highly recommend this book to the girly and fashion-conscious among you, to those who love painting their nails, meticulously applying their makeup, and who have more jewellery in their possession than they could ever possibly need, or to those of you who just want to colour those things. This is a really pretty book with plenty of detail and interesting imagery, the paper is ideal for pen and pencil lovers and it really has a good feel about it. As I mentioned before, it’s unfortunately not currently available in English but it can be ordered worldwide from the Pen Store here – http://www.penstore.com/books-coloring-books/kiss-tell

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-tips and the white highlights were drawn using a white Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen. The Gold and Silver jewellery were coloured using metallic gel pens from my local supermarket.

Fairies in Wonderland: 20 Postcards – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Fairies in Wonderland 20 Postcards: An Interactive Coloring Adventure for All Ages is published by Harper Design and illustrated and kindly sent to me for review by Marco Chin. This set of 20 postcards contains scaled down artwork from Marcos’s original Fairies in Wonderland book which you can read my review of here. Each postcard is printed single-sided with a beautiful pair of butterflies, a patterned stamp area 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 lies nice and flat for colouring. The postcards are made of thick, white card which didn’t bleed at all with my water-based pens or alcohol markers! There does appear to be a strange coating over my postcards which repels the water-based ink I tested as you can see from the patchiness shown in the photo below. I have contacted a fellow reviewer who hasn’t experienced this in her set so it appears there is an issue with my set rather than all of those produced. The line thickness remains spindly thin throughout which is somewhat problematic. I have very good vision for small, close things, and also have very good fine motor control but a few of the images on these postcards are so tiny that they’re almost impossible to colour and you’re certain to go over the edges. This is a shame because I’m a huge fan of the imagery and I just love the illustrations but scaling down the images to postcard size wasn’t the most sensible choice because it’s quite limiting. The postcards are beautiful to look at and would be gorgeous to send or display as they are but given that they’re sold as colouring postcards, I expect to be able to colour all of them and I will struggle to do that neatly with a few of them. That being said, the images are very beautiful and are definitely worth putting the time and effort into to get them perfect.

In terms of mental health, I would recommend the majority of these postcards but you will need very good vision and fine motor control to enjoy them because they are extremely intricate and detailed. You will also need pretty good concentration and focus because these postcards take a surprisingly long time to colour given the size of them. They take less time to colour than the images in the books do but they’re still very time-consuming and the image below took me a good couple of hours to colour. The images chosen for these postcards are a good selection from the book and contain a number of beautiful fairy images, the venus fly trap and the ladybird, and unusually, 11 of the images have black backgrounds and 9 have white backgrounds. There is a very good mixture of fairies and creatures, though I would have liked to see a few more fairies pictured, given the title, 14 of the images contain fairies, though the fairy in the moth picture is ‘very’ well hidden. The riddles from the book aren’t added to this postcard book but a few of the images do contain letter keys which are fairly subtle and certainly don’t detract from the beauty of the images.

All in all, I would recommend this postcard book to those of you with very good vision and fine motor control. The pictures are a challenge to colour because of the intricacy but they will look beautiful coloured and would be lovely to send to people, or frame and you could frame the uncoloured ones very nicely too. The card is lovely and thick and great for pens and pencils and it’s a nice format for these delicate images.

If you’d like to purchase a set they’re available here:
Amazon UK – Fairies in Wonderland 20 Postcards: An Interactive Coloring Adventure for All Ages
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Fairies-in-Wonderland-20-Postcards-Marcos-Chin/9780062466235/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you love the imagery but these are just too intricate why not take a peek at the original book:
Review – Fairies in Wonderland Coloring Book
Amazon UK – Fairies in Wonderland: An Interactive Coloring Adventure for All Ages
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Fairies-in-Wonderland-Marcos-Chin/9780062419989/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and accented with a gold gel pen (from a UK supermarket) and a Clear Glitter Stardust Gelly Roll Gel Pen.

Fairies in Wonderland: An Interactive Coloring Adventure for All Ages – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Fairies in Wonderland: An Interactive Coloring Adventure for All Ages is published by Harper Design and illustrated and kindly sent to me for review by Marcos Chin. I’ve been a lover of all things fairy related since I was tiny and my childhood bedroom was covered from top to bottom in fairies from lamp shades to ornaments, calendars to pictures, I was obsessed. I’ve been on the hunt for a decent fairy colouring book for the last year and all those I’ve seen have fallen a little short because they were either very dark and fantasy-based (rather than pretty and delicate) or they had strange faces, hands or feet. This book however, ticks all of the boxes of what I wanted in a fairy colouring book so read on to find out all about it!

This book is square, the same size as the bestsellers and paperback with a card cover that is partially double thickness as there is a 3 inch flap which opens out to reveal a white background fairy design inside the front cover, and a black background fairy design inside the back cover. The paper is bright white and feels like medium thickness but don’t be fooled, water-based pens shadow and occasionally bleed through so this is definitely a book to stick to pencils on unless you intend to get two copies or not colour all of the images. The paper is smooth with no visible tooth at all and I’ll note here that I appear to have a strange copy as I have really struggled to use pencils on this paper (even my artist’s grade polychromos pencils) which seemed to clump, and blending and shading has been problematic, as has block colouring which I’ve had to press harder than usual for. I’ve contacted a friend of mine who is a reviewer and her copy hasn’t presented any issues with coloured pencils so it appears that my copy is somehow defective as it feels almost as if there’s a coating over the paper because it’s so shiny. The spine is glue-bound and the images are borderless so a little of each image is lost into it, while most spines ease up with use, and so does this one, I also found that my pages are starting to fall out just from trying to flatten the book enough to photograph it so you will need to be careful with this book in order to prevent loosening of pages. The images are printed double-sided and a large number of them are double-page spreads but there are a large number of single pages too.

The book contains 96 pages and the images contain a number of written riddles with keys hidden throughout the illustrations which spell out the next clue when unscrambled correctly so this is kind of a treasure hunt, set of riddles and colouring book in one. The riddles cleverly arrange each section of images into a ‘chapter’ because they’re each set in a different place and also run from day to night, with a whopping 36 pages having black backgrounds to indicate night time. The images are beautifully drawn and pretty but not girly, they’re very delicate and contain lots of natural elements like insects, plants and flowers. The images are set in a variety of places including a wondrous woodland, under the sea, a beautiful garden and a night time party. Lots of creatures and insects are pictured from ladybirds to caterpillars, owls to moths, butterflies to a frog and even some sea creatures. The fairies also vary throughout from beautiful fairy ladies in outfits made from flowers to aqua fairies who have flippers and head fins and others in more patterned clothing, there is a good mix of male and female fairies and children and adults too. The images are beautifully cohesive and stunningly drawn with a great deal of detail and thought. One slight criticism is that on a number of images, the draft pencil lines are still visible in a number of places (see close-up photos below), this is disappointing and it’s a shame that this wasn’t picked up on in the editing process because they’re visible in a number of images, however, they are easily disguised once colour is added to the page so they don’t detract from the finished image. The illustrations picture fairies riding insects, a fairy tea party, aqua fairies swimming underwater, fairy houses, fairies dancing and parading and so much more!

In terms of mental health, this book is really calming and beautiful because it’s so grounded in nature whilst also being wonderfully fantastical. There is a huge amount of intricacy and detail so this is definitely a book for those of you with good vision and fine motor control as the line thickness is also thin, verging on spindly thin at points. There are some large spaces in the images including the sections of the fairy wings and a few flowers and beetles but mostly the images consist of lots of teeny tiny bits and most aspects are surrounded by a thin border so you will certainly need some well-sharpened pencils for this book. Most of the images are of scenes and these don’t have a lot of space for you to add your own drawings or backgrounds, but a few of the images are of centralised illustrations with large spaces left around them where you could create your own backgrounds and scenes if you wished. There are no written hints so this is by no means obligatory and the artwork looks finished as it is but there is space to add your own bits if you wish. I found this book particularly calming and absorbing and the fairy world really does draw you in and offers wonderful escapism. The illustrations are beautiful and you’re sure to spend hours lost in a faraway miniature land where symptoms of mental illness melt away and dark or anxious thoughts are left at the door.

I would highly recommend this book to all fairy-lovers and those who like intricate and detailed pages to colour. You will need good vision and fine motor control and pencils are a must for this book to be able to complete the stunning images. Get lost in Marcos’s Fairy Wonderland, you may never want to leave!

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Fairies in Wonderland: An Interactive Coloring Adventure for All Ages
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Fairies-in-Wonderland-Marcos-Chin/9780062419989/?a_aid=colouringitmom

There is also a set of 20 accompanying postcards which are also currently available:
Review – Fairies in Wonderland Postcards
Amazon UK – Fairies in Wonderland 20 Postcards: An Interactive Coloring Adventure for All Ages
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Fairies-in-Wonderland-20-Postcards-Marcos-Chin/9780062466235/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and accented with a gold gel pen (from a UK supermarket) and a Clear Glitter Stardust Gelly Roll Gel Pen.

Sakura Clear Stardust Gelly Roll Gel Pen – A Brief Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Gelly Roll Stardust Pens 6/Pkg-Clear is made by Sakura and is from my personal collection. I’ve heard amazing things for months about the Sakura Gelly Roll gel pens and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about but sadly they’re not easily available in the UK and when they are found, they’re very expensive. However, when I discovered that they produce my dream for a gel pen of a clear glitter pen, I had to hunt some down. Normally, they are very expensive but they are available on Amazon UK for just over £1 a pen in a set of 6 which in my opinion is fantastic value for money.

I only have a set of opaque white and set of clear glitter gel pens from Sakura so I can’t comment on colours but they are super smooth to use and they don’t clog, block, stop, blob, or go streaky. I have used my white one for stars on galaxy backgrounds which they work brilliantly on and the clear one I’ve used over all sorts of pens and pencils to make everything imaginable glittery. I’ve used them over wax-based and oil-based pencils with no issues, and over water and alcohol-based pens/markers. The glitter is incredibly fine and reflects a huge amount of light and is arguably the sparkliest thing known to man, or at least known to me! It’s like liquid diamonds, it’s astonishingly glittery and seeing is believing. You can see my video of it in sunlight here.

I would highly recommend these gel pens, get them for the right price and they’re incredibly good value for money and will bring a whole new level and dimension to your colouring. These would be ideal for wings, butterflies, gems, water, fairies, anything magical, and anything that could do with a little magic being added. They’re stunning. What are you waiting for? Head over to Amazon and get ordering, you’ll wonder how you’ve managed without them all this time.

One slight heads up, they’re shipped from America so they’re fairly slow to arrive but mine came within a couple of weeks and I absolutely promise they’re worth the wait! You can purchase my set here – Gelly Roll Stardust Pens 6/Pkg-Clear