The History Press

Hot Air Balloons Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Hot Air Balloons Colouring Book (Colouring Books) is published and was kindly sent to me to review by The History Press. This book is 22cm square, paperback with flexible card covers with uncoloured black line drawn hot air balloons on the cover. The spine is glue and string bound making it fairly durable but a little tricky to get to the very edges of some of the full-page designs. The paper is bright white and thick, it does shadow a little with water-based pens but the majority of the images are printed single-sided so this isn’t much of an issue (more on this later). The paper is lightly textured and therefore pretty good for layering pencils for blending and shading. The pages consist of 40 single page designs, 3 partial double-page spreads where there is one hot air balloon in the bottom right corner of the left page as well as a full page spread on the right, and 1 complete double-page spread at the back. The images are very cohesive and range from realistic scenes of hot air balloons flying over landscapes to less realistic images of a generic hot air balloon outline that has had different patterns added to it (10 of the images are like this) with no landscape added, and illustrations of part of hot air balloons as well as different angles of them. The images are fairly varied from single, central hot air balloon images to groups, scenes and landscape views to illustrations of the burners, drawings of airship-style hot air balloons and even the Montgolfier balloon.

In terms of mental health, this book is ideal if you love hot air balloons and it offers great escapism as you imagine the far off places the balloons you’re colouring might take you to. The line thickness is mostly thin throughout, occasionally spindly thin, so this is a book for those of you with at least moderate to good vision and fine motor control. The intricacy and detail level significantly varies from large open spaces to small details and patterns that you’ll need fineliners or sharpened pencils for so there is plenty of variety that will suit your good days and bad days. There is also a variance in the amount of imagery on each page so there are pages for your good and bad days of concentration too. There are no written hints or instructions in the book but there are plenty of pages with a centralised hot air balloon with plenty of space around them where you could easily add your own backgrounds to really spice up the images and make them your own, this is of course entirely up to you and the pages will look lovely just coloured as they are with no additions. The images are fairly natural and relaxing and this is great for calming you down and focusing you in on the here and now.

I would highly recommend this book to people who love hot air balloons and want some colouring escapism. This is a lovely book with a variety of images and varying levels of complexity. This is a must-have book for all flying enthusiasts.

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – The Hot Air Balloons Colouring Book (Colouring Books)
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/The-Hot-Air-Balloons-Colouring-Book-The-History-Press/9780750968003/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-tip pens.

The Isle of Wight Colouring Book: Past and Present – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Isle of Wight Colouring Book: Past & Present is published and very kindly sent to me to review by The History Press. This book is one in a huge series of what looks set to be a colouring book for every county in England as well as separate books for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. I have been sent two titles of the counties I’m most familiar with, Sussex, where I’m from and live currently, and the Isle of Wight where I took holidays as a child and my mum now lives. This book is 16.5 x 24cm, landscape, paperback, with a flexible card cover with a partially coloured image which oddly isn’t found inside the book. It has a durable glue-bound spine which a little of each borderless image is lost into, the spine does ease up a little with use. The paper is bright white, thick and lightly textured making it ideal for pencils and water-based pens which only lightly shadowed, alcohol markers will bleed through. The 45 images are printed single-sided and on the opposite side is the title/description of what each picture is showing which makes identification a lot easier! Each book is illustrated by a different artist and their styles can vary quite a lot judging by the differences between the two counties I have so do use the Look Inside feature on Amazon to check the books you’re looking at purchasing.

The images in this book are mostly of well-known places and buildings from the Isle of Wight, as well as a few random choices of images such as a butterfly from Butterfly World, Wootton Bridge, and a tractor on Yaverland Beach, neither of these images have any specific landscape in them and are therefore pictures of things that could be found anywhere in the country rather than specifically the Isle of Wight. However, the vast majority of the images are exactly what you’d expect, line drawings of well-known Isle of Wight places and landmarks such as Osborne House; St Catherine’s Lighthouse; The Hovercraft; Godshill Model Village; Blackgang Chine; The Needles;  Cowes Week; Shanklin; St Thomas Square, Newport; Ventnor and Ryde beaches; Carisbrooke and Yarmouth Castles; and even a red squirrel. This book is a whistle-stop tour of the Isle of Wight through the countryside, across the coast, and around its historic buildings and landmarks. All of the books in the series contain images from the present and the past, and this specific title has a lot of images from the 1900’s which are great for history-lovers! The illustrations are not drawn in a typical line drawing style, they have heavy contouring added which I’m personally not a fan of because I find that it breaks up the images quite a lot and can make it difficult to distinguish exactly what each section it. Quite a lot of the images have ever so slightly hazy linework, it’s not crisp and distinct, it almost has a halo effect around it and there are also grubby marks on a few pages as if a dirty eraser has been rubbed over sections whilst trying to remove pencil lines. This is a real contrast to The Sussex Colouring Book which was printed to a very high standard so if this puts you off, please do check out the other titles as they’re all very different and issues in this book may well not affect others and could also be an issue with my copy rather than all of them.

In terms of mental health, this book is great for nostalgia and if you love the past, or the familiar and the Isle of Wight is a place that’s close to your heart, then you’re sure to love this book. The illustrations are a manageable size and don’t take days and days to complete unless you wish for them to. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is medium/thin with a few thin-lined details. The intricacy and detail levels vary throughout depending on the image content from extremely detailed and intricate in the botanic gardens and Ventnor beach, to much larger open spaces of Appuldurcombe House and The Needles. This means this book would be suited to anyone with fairly good vision and fine motor control but it doesn’t need to be perfect at all. The nostalgia and familiarity of these images means this book would be ideal for the elderly, to remind them of places from their lives, and key events, and happy days out. The images do require a fair amount of concentration but this provides great distraction and the landscape nature of the images means they’re great for escapism as you’re reminded of day trips to the beach, visits to Osborne House and your first glimpse of a red squirrel (I’m still yet to spy one). I really enjoyed just looking through the images of places I’d been on school trips to, gone fossil hunting, and walked through with my mum, it really took me on a trip down memory lane.

I would highly recommend this book to Isle of Wight lovers, the elderly, and anyone who would like to colour images of quintessentially English architecture and landscapes. This book is a manageable size and great for those with moderate vision and fine motor control.

If you’d like to colour your way through the Isle of Wight, the book is available here:
Amazon UK – The Isle of Wight Colouring Book: Past & Present
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Isle-Wight-Colouring-Book-Past-Present-History-Press/9780750967969/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you’d like to colour other counties from the UK, then head to Amazon where all of the different titles are listed – County Colouring Books

The image below was coloured using Marco Renoir Pencils.

The Sussex Colouring Book: Past and Present – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Sussex Colouring Book: Past & Present is published and very kindly sent to me to review by The History Press. This book is one in a huge series of what looks set to be a colouring book for every county in England as well as separate books for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. I have been sent two titles of the counties I’m most familiar with, Sussex, where I’m from and live currently, and the Isle of Wight where I took holidays as a child and my mum now lives. This book is 16.5 x 24cm, landscape, paperback, with a flexible card cover with a partially coloured image from inside the book and the book has a durable glue-bound spine which a little of each borderless image is lost into, the spine does ease up a little with use. The paper is bright white, thick and lightly textured making it ideal for pencils and water-based pens which only lightly shadowed, alcohol markers will bleed through. The 45 images are printed single-sided and on the opposite side is the title/description of what each picture is showing which makes identification a lot easier! Each book is illustrated by a different artist and their styles can vary quite a lot judging by the differences between the two counties I have so do use the Look Inside feature on Amazon to check the books you’re looking at purchasing.

The images in this book are mostly of well-known places and buildings from Sussex as well as a few random choices of images such as the meerkats at Drussillas Zoo and a Barn Owl at East Sussex Falconry, neither of these images have any landscape in them and are therefore just pictures of animals that could be found anywhere in the country rather than specifically Sussex. However, the vast majority of the images are exactly what you’d expect, line drawings of landmarks such as Brighton and Worthing piers; the South Downs; Wakehurst Place; Brighton Pavilion; Anne of Cleves House, Lewes; the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum; Chichester Cathedral; Bodiam, Amberley and Hastings Castles, and even beach huts and deck chairs on Brighton beach. This book is a whistle-stop tour of Sussex through the countryside, across the coast, and around its historic buildings and landmarks. The illustrations are drawn in a typical line drawing style with no added contour lines making it easy to distinguish what’s what and allowing for realistic blending and shading if you so wish.

In terms of mental health, this book is great for nostalgia and if you love the past, or the familiar and Sussex is a place that’s close to your heart, then you’re sure to love this book. The illustrations are a manageable size and don’t take days and days to complete unless you wish for them to. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is medium/thin with a few thin-lined details. The intricacy and detail levels vary throughout depending on the image content from extremely detailed and intricate brick buildings or pebbled beaches, to much larger open spaces of the Seven Sisters cliffs and Hove cricket ground. This means this book would be suited to anyone with fairly good vision and fine motor control but it doesn’t need to be perfect at all. The nostalgia and familiarity of these images means this book would be ideal for the elderly, to remind them of places from their lives, and key events, and happy days out. The images do require a fair amount of concentration but this provides great distraction and the landscape nature of the images means they’re great for escapism as you’re reminded of having long walks on The Downs, ice cream on the beach and using the 2p machines at the amusement arcades on the piers. I really enjoyed just looking through the images of places I’d been on school trips to, gone on family days out, and even performed ballet at, it really took me on a trip down memory lane.

I would highly recommend this book to Sussex lovers, the elderly, and anyone who would like to colour images of quintessentially English architecture and landscapes. This book is a manageable size and great for those with moderate vision and fine motor control.

If you’d like to colour your way through Sussex, the book is available here:
Amazon UK – The Sussex Colouring Book: Past & Present
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/The-Sussex-Colouring-Book-Past–Present-The-History-Press/9780750968096/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you’d like to colour other counties from the UK, then head to Amazon where all of the different titles are listed – County Colouring Books

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-tips and Marco Raffine pencils.