Travel-sized

Escape to Oz: 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 Oz is published by Puffin Books and is from 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 book is the fourth in the Escape to… series, first was Escape to Wonderland, second was Escape to Christmas Past and third was Escape to Shakespeare’s World, they’ve also illustrated a beautiful book with a German Publisher called Exotischer Urwald which is in a different format. Escape to Oz is based on The Wizard of Oz story documenting Dorothy’s trip from Kansas to Oz, her quest to find the wizard, and the characters she meets on the way. This is a wonderful book, essential for fans of the original story, but also for those who love GWAW’s work and who love imaginative and beautiful illustrations. It is the same size and shape as the others in the series at just over 18cms square, it’s a little smaller than other bestsellers but I think this adds to the charm and it means the images are a manageable size and the book is a perfect size for travelling and 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 green background with white line-drawn images of flowers and gems. The cover has silvery-gold foiling accents which really add to the luxury of the book and are a lovely bit of extra detailing. The book contains 96 pages of double-sided, borderless images and is glue and string-bound meaning a little of each image is lost into the spine. I found the spine pretty tight when it arrived but with some work it has now loosened up a lot and lies flatter than it did. The images are a mixture of single and double-page spreads and a few of them have black backgrounds which is a really nice feature. The paper quality is very good and hasn’t bled or shadowed at all when I’ve been using water-based fineliners or fibre-tips. The paper is a creamy off-white which adds to the vintage feel of the book and is very 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 blending. 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 arranged into chronological order to tell the story and a few pages contain quotes from the book to help guide you through. These quotes are helpful for letting you know where in the story you’re at, as well as hinting at what’s in the picture if you’re not quite sure. The illustrations include everything you’d expect from Dorothy and Toto, to the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion, to the Wicked Witch of the West and East, the Wizard of Oz himself, and even the munchkins and flying monkeys. Iconic scenes are pictured including the tornado that transports Dorothy and Toto from Kansas to Oz, the squashing of the Wicked Witch of the East, starting off on the yellow brick road, meeting the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion, arriving at the Emerald City, meeting the Wizard of Oz, arriving back in Kansas, and so much more.

In terms of mental health, I found this book great because it’s just so beautiful, charming, and instantly transported me back to my childhood and happy memories of watching the film countless times. The illustrations are very pretty and most are of real things, that have colour schemes that you could copy realistically if you wish, or in any colours you choose. Good Wives and Warriors have done a wonderful job of bringing huge amounts of charm to their illustrations of even the darkest scenes and they’re all dispersed with flowers and other pretty things meaning the book doesn’t feel negative or sad at all and just lifts your spirits, even when the witch is trying to kill Dorothy and her friends! I really enjoyed just looking through the book and reliving the story of my childhood and poring over each image, all exquisitely drawn and waiting to be coloured. The images are quite detailed and intricate but they’re not overwhelming so you don’t need perfect vision or fine motor control, though it will need to be fairly good, and the size of the book means you don’t need really good concentration levels either. If you love The Wizard of Oz, or GWAW’s work then this book is sure to be beneficial to your mental health with its positive content and detailed images filled with hundreds of things to look at and colour. I adore the work of these talented illustrators and squealed with excitement when looking through this beautiful new instalment that they’ve created!

I would highly recommend this book, especially to those who are fans of The Wizard of Oz story, or Good Wives and Warriors’ work because this book really doesn’t disappoint, 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 your childhood and off to the land of Oz.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Escape to Oz
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Escape-Oz-Colouring-Book-Adventure-Good-Wives-Warriors/9780141375489/?a_aid=colouringitmom

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

The Second One and Only Colouring Book For Travelling Adults – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Second One and Only Colouring Book for Travelling Adults was published and kindly sent to me to review by Phoenix Yard Books. It is the sequel to The One and Only Colouring Book for Travelling Adults which I have previously reviewed. This book is the same format and it paperback with card covers, and comes in a cardboard sheath which admittedly isn’t the strongest and will probably get pretty battered if shoved in and out of a bag but it’ll certainly serve the purpose of protecting the book from receiving the same injuries. This book is smaller than most at approximately A5 size, making it the perfect size to fit in your handbag for your commute or a suitcase or rucksack for travelling further afield. The book is spiral-bound meaning none of the images are lost into the spine and you don’t have to colour with the book lying open, you can fold it in half so it takes up less space – particularly useful if you’ll be colouring on the move on a train or plane with limited space. The paper quality is fantastic! It’s bright white, lightly textured and so thick that I’d be tempted to describe it as card and there was absolutely no bleeding or shadows with any of my water-based pens. The images are printed double-sided but as long as you’re careful there is no worry about ruining any of them with your water-based pens, alcohol markers will definitely bleed through so I’d avoid those! The book contains 60 single page images of both abstract and more realistic designs and the sheer amount of variety within them is astounding from swirling patterns to abstract creations, pictures of food, objects and flowers, to patterned cats and woolly jumpers, this is a great book for those who love variety!

In terms of mental health, this book is truly fantastic! The images are really varied so you won’t get bored and no matter what mood you’re in you’ll be able to find a page that calls to you and just asks to have colour added. The images are drawn with varying line thicknesses to adapt to your better and worse days of vision and concentration. The pictures vary in intricacy and detail and will keep you occupied for hours as you colour in each detailed section. I would strongly recommend investing in a good set of fineliners (I recommend Stabilo Point 88), so that you can really get the details without the frustration of accidently going over the lines. You will need fairly good vision and fine motor control in order to get the most out of this book but if you have those then this book is ideal for anoyone who want to colour on the move!

I found this book very calming and soothing. The intricacy of the designs meant I had to focus, meaning I had less capacity to be anxious and listen to the worries that so often plague me and the smaller size meant that the pages weren’t too overwhelming when trying to choose a design to start, as sometimes happens in A4 books. The nature of the spiral-binding and cardboard sheath mean it’s perfect for taking with you wherever you go and those of you who, like me, use colouring as therapy or as part of mindfulness, should definitely be investing in this book so that you can have art therapy on the go to whip out when you feel your anxiety increasing or stress levels rising. I highly recommend this book for those of you who love to use fineliners and felt-tips that often bleed in other books and for any of you who want to travel and colour or who use colouring as therapy so that you have it with you whenever you may need it without fear of ruining the book in your bag. This is one of my firm favourites.

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – The Second One and Only Colouring Book for Travelling Adults
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/The-One-Second-One-and-Only-Coloring-Book-for-Travelling-Adults-Part-2-null/9781907912986/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Stabilo 68 Fibre-tips.

The One and Only Mini Mandala Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The One and Only Mandala Postcard Colouring Book (One and Only Colouring / One and Only Coloring) is published and very kindly sent to me to review by Phoenix Yard Books. This book is part of their One and Only series and I’ve reviewed 6 of their titles already which can be found HERE. This book is the only mini mandala book I’ve seen and while it’s small, it packs a mighty punch and is an absolute must-have for mandala fans. Many of my seasoned readers will know that I’m mandala’d out after colouring too many during a hospital stay, but I loved colouring this ready for my review so much that I coloured a second one, just because I could!

This book is small at just 15cm square so it’s perfect for colouring on the go and popping in your bag or colouring in small spaces while travelling or even at work. It’s paperback with flexible card covers with a full colour leafy mandala design on the front and back which oddly isn’t included within the book. The book contains 30 mandalas which are printed single-sided onto thick, bright white card which is fairly smooth and doesn’t bleed or shadow with water-based pens, does bleed through a bit with alcohol markers and is great for use with coloured pencils. On the reverse of each image is space for a postage stamp, address lines and blank space for your message. This is quite an odd shape and size for a postcard so you may not want to actually post them and if you do make sure you pop them in an envelope so they don’t get damaged in the post, but they’d also look brilliant framed. The spine is glue and stitch-bound and the postcards are perforated so they’re easy to remove but will also stay securely in the book if you wish. One small gripe I have is that the mandalas aren’t accurately centred on the page and are slightly shifted towards the right which is a shame but not overly noticeable unless you’re a perfectionist like I am, some are also shifted upwards a little too. The mandalas themselves are quite varied within the typical circular pattern from pointy to rounded, perfectly circular to flower-shaped and detailed to more open, the designs are very cohesive and sure to satisfy all mandala fans!

In terms of mental health, this book is great for a number of reasons. Firstly, the size is ideal for colouring on the go and for giving a small project for days when you want a quick colouring fix, or when you’re not feeling so well and don’t have the focus to be colouring for hours. Secondly, the designs are ideal because they are fairly small and so require a fair amount of concentration to colour them which will distract well. Thirdly, mandalas are ideal for anxious colourers and those with other mental health problems because there is no correct colour scheme and they’re almost impossible to mess up so you really can just pick up a pen or pencil and get colouring. The line thickness varies between designs from spindly thin to medium thickness lines so these images are fairly good for those of you with fluctuating conditions and you can use the thinner lined images on your good days and the thicker lined images on your bad days when you’re more likely to colour over the lines. The intricacy and detail levels also vary throughout the designs from very detailed to a little less intricate but none are particularly sparse so you will definitely need fairly good vision and fine motor control to get the most out of this book.

I would highly recommend this book to people who love colouring mandalas, those looking for a small and manageably sized colouring project, and those who like to colour on the move. You will need fairly good vision and fine motor control to fully utilise this book but the mandalas are really lovely and will suit any colour scheme you throw at them, as you can see, rainbows are my personal favourite and always look great!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – The One and Only Mandala Postcard Colouring Book (One and Only Colouring / One and Only Coloring)
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/One-Only-Mini-Mandala-Colouring-Book/9781907912962/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The images below were coloured using: 1. Stabilo 68 Fibre-tip pens; 2. Sharpie Fine Point alcohol markers.

Escape to Shakespeare’s World: 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 Shakespeare’s World: A Colouring Book Adventure is published and was kindly sent to me to review by Puffin Books. This book is illustrated by Good Wives and Warriors (GWAW) who are a creative partnership of two Glasgow School of Art graduates – their Facebook page can be found here. This book is the third in the Escape to… series, first was Escape to Wonderland, and second was Escape to Christmas Past and they’ve also illustrated a beautiful book with a German Publisher called Exotischer Urwald which is in a different format. Escape to Shakespeare’s World is based on various plays and sonnets written by William Shakespeare to commemorate 400 years since his death. This is a wonderful book, one that is essential for Shakespeare admirers, but also for those who love GWAW’s work and who love imaginative and beautiful illustrations. It is the same size and shape as the others in the series at just over 18cms square, it’s a little smaller than the bestsellers but I think this adds to the charm and it means the images are a manageable size and the book is a perfect size for travelling and 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 purple background with white line-drawn images of flowers. The cover has silvery-gold foiling accents which really add to the luxury of the book and are a lovely bit of extra detailing. The book contains 96 pages of double-sided, borderless images and is glue-bound meaning a little of each image is lost into the spine. I found the spine pretty tight when it arrived but with some work it has now loosened up a lot and lies flatter than it did. The images are a mixture of single and double-page spreads and a number of them have black backgrounds which is a really nice feature. The paper quality is very good and hasn’t bled or shadowed at all when I’ve been using water-based fineliners or fibre-tips. The paper is a creamy off-white which adds to the vintage feel of the book and is very 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 blending. 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 arranged into collections from different plays and scattered throughout are a large number of quotes as well as the play they come from so it’s very easy to identify what scenes you’re colouring, even from plays you’re unfamiliar with or haven’t heard of. The majority of the images are scenes or representations of aspects of plays from a circular image of Romeo’s name filled with flowers to Venetian mask shaped scenes, Bottom the donkey, filled with flowers, to scenes from The Tempest, Egyptian landscapes from Anthony and Cleopatra to stage scenes of various plays. This book has beautiful, often very floral representations, that are sometimes realistic and sometimes symbolic, and these fit well with the quotes written on almost every double-page spread. The plays and sonnets depicted are: As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, Anthony and Cleopatra, Sonnet 18, Richard III, King Lear, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, and Cymbeline. Some of these plays and sonnets are only depicted on one double-page and others have multiple pages dedicated to them including Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s hard to describe the sheer volume of images and the beauty of them so I’ve included lots of photos from inside the book below and tried to photograph a good cross-section. The images are truly stunning and even if you’re not a mega Shakespeare fan, you’re almost certain to really like this book because there aren’t very many literal representations, it’s more filled with beautiful scenes of ships, flowers, animals and landscapes.

In terms of mental health, I found this book great because it’s just so beautiful and charming. The illustrations are very pretty and most are of real things, that have colour schemes that you could copy realistically if you wish, or in any colours you choose. I’m not a Shakespeare mega fan so I was a little worried that I’d find this book boring but that’s so far from the case, this book is captivating from the very first images of The Globe Theatre, Shakespeare’s birthplace and Shakespeare himself, all the way through the play depictions to the end page where a beautiful closed theatre curtain is pictured with the famous phrase All’s Well That Ends Well emblazoned across it with the comedy and tragedy masks. Good Wives and Warriors have done a wonderful job of bringing huge amounts of charm to their illustrations of even the darkest scenes and they’re all dispersed with flowers and other pretty things meaning the book doesn’t feel negative or sad at all and just lifts your spirits, even when murder is mentioned! I really enjoyed just looking through the book and reliving the stories that I studied at school and poring over each image, all exquisitely drawn and waiting to be coloured. The images are quite detailed and intricate but they’re not overwhelming so you don’t need perfect vision or fine motor control though it will need to be fairly good, and the size of the book means you don’t need really good concentration levels either. If you enjoy Shakespeare’s plays, or GWAW’s work then this book is sure to be beneficial to your mental health with its positive content and detailed images filled with hundreds of things to look at and colour. I adore the work of these talented illustrators and squealed with excitement when looking through this beautiful new instalment that they’ve created, it’s a true sign of talent when artists can inspire you to love content based on a subject you’re not especially interested in and this book does just that for me!

I would highly recommend this book, especially to those who are fans of Shakespeare and his plays, or Good Wives and Warriors’ work because this book really doesn’t disappoint. The artwork 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 over 400 years and reminds you of key moments from his most famous plays.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Escape to Shakespeare’s World: A Colouring Book Adventure
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Escape-to-Shakespeare-s-World–A-Colouring-Book-Adventure/9780141371214/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The picture below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils. The partially completed picture was coloured with Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.

Enchanted Forest: 12 Colour-in Notecards – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Enchanted Forest: 12 Colour-in Notecards (Colouring Notecards) is published and kindly sent to me to review by Laurence King Publishing. This beautiful set of notecards is housed in a sturdy, thick card box which is cream with gold foil accents. It’s fully colourable and shows on the back what images are on the 12 cards (all are pictured below). The box has a little cardboard platform inside with a beautiful black and white leaf print which the cards and envelopes are sat on top of so that they don’t move around in the box. The 12 cards each contain a different scaled down image from Johanna Basford’s original Enchanted Forest colouring book and this means that the images are very intricate and detailed. The cards themselves are made from cream card which is a similar colour to the paper in her first two books, and the postcards so they match well as a set for those of you who like to collect things. The card is a medium weight, very similar to other colouring cards that are currently on the market, and it doesn’t bleed through or shadow at all with water-based pens however, I did have a very small issue with the ink occasionally spreading slightly sideways and going over the lines, this was a very minor issue but one that’s worth mentioning. The card is very lightly textured so would work fine with pencils though you won’t be able to build up lots of layers so you’ll have to blend carefully. The cards are 12.5 x 16.5cm so they’re between A6 and A5 size, and 9 of the cards have centralised circular or individual images and 3 have full page images which reach the edges of the cards, obviously there is no spine so there’s no issue in reaching all of these parts. The images are of course beautifully cohesive and are exact scaled down copies of the images in the books and a fairly good selection is included from the compass to the leaf boat, the dragonfly to the castle, the gate to the circular framed owl and squirrel. Almost all of the images on these cards were featured in the set of 20 postcards which you can read my review of here. The illustrations are all printed in a portrait orientation which is ideal because it means the cards will stay standing when displayed, landscape cards often slip and won’t stand after a few days. The cards are left blank inside for you to write your own messages and the back has a small dandelion motif and publishing information at the bottom. The set comes with 12 identical cream envelopes which have a small leafy design indicating where to put the postage stamp, and a little acorn drawing on the flap on the back.

In terms of mental health, these cards are lovely because not only do they give a wonderful small colouring project, you can also share the colouring love, either by colouring them and sending them to friends and family, or by sending the uncoloured cards so the recipient can colour it themselves (this would be a great way to convert newbies to colouring)! As with all of Johanna’s artwork, the illustrations are beautiful and have all been scaled down from the original images in order to make them fit on the cards, this means that they are much smaller than the original versions and are therefore only suitable for those of you with good vision and fine motor control. I was very disappointed with the Enchanted Forest Postcards because the designs were so small that they’re almost impossible to colour however, these cards are, luckily, a little larger (see comparison photos below). They’re still quite tricky to colour and do have a lot of very small and intricate details so fineliners and very sharp pencils are an absolute must! Although the images are small, they do require a lot of concentration so these cards are a project for your better days when you can focus well. The images are ideal for all sorts of mental and physical illnesses because they’re all grounded in nature which is great for calming you down, helping you zone out and lifting your mood. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is spindly thin so it’s pretty difficult to stay within the lines and you really will need very good vision for these. Unlike the Secret Garden notecards which I’ve not reviewed, but have seen online, these notecards don’t have any foiling added to them and are fully colourable which I personally think is much nicer. There is a fair amount of space on the majority of the cards to be able to add your own backgrounds or doodles if you wish, but they don’t look unfinished at all as they are because each image is a finished page, rather than an add your own drawing page from the book, but you have the option to add your own personal touches if you wish.

I would highly recommend these notecards to collectors of Johanna’s work, those of you with very good vision and fine motor control who would like beautiful, delicate cards to colour and send, and those who want an easy way of spreading the colouring love in order to convert non-colourers!

If you’d like to purchase a set they’re available here:
Amazon UK – Enchanted Forest: 12 Colour-in Notecards (Colouring Notecards)

If you can’t get enough of Enchanted Forest then check out my reviews below:
Enchanted Forest Postcards
Enchanted Forest Artist’s Edition

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and the unicorns were coloured over with Clear Glitter Stardust Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pens.

Draw Your Way To A Younger Brain: Safari – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Draw Your Way to a Younger Brain: Safari: An Art Therapy Book (Drawing) is illustrated by Anastasia Catris, and published and kindly sent to me to review by Orion Books. This book is part of a new series called Draw Your Way To a Younger Brain and you can read my review of the other two titles here: Dogs and Cats. Anastasia has been very busy in the colouring book world and has also created 6 beautiful colouring books which are the same size and shape with her signature drawings and my reviews of these can be found here. This book is small at 17cms square which makes it perfect for drawing on the go and taking travelling in your bag. It’s paperback with a beautiful lilac cover which matches the others in the sets beautifully meaning they look really gorgeous together on a shelf. The images are printed double-sided onto bright white medium thickness paper which doesn’t bleed or shadow with water-based pens and has a little tooth perfect for blending and shading with pencils. The spine is glue-bound and the images are borderless so a little of each is lost into the spine though this will ease up a bit over time. The illustrations are, unusually, all double-page spreads and as this book is primarily a drawing book and secondarily a colouring book, there are lots of spaces for you to add your own drawings and patterns to. If you don’t like drawing then this is not the book for you. The illustrations take various different forms from a patterned animal on the left with a blank outline of it mirrored on the right to fill with patterns, to drawings that you can draw the other half of with a line of symmetry drawn down the middle, to scenes you can complete. There are written hints on every page to give you a suggested direction but you can complete the pages however you wish and there’s plenty of scope in many of them to go in whatever direction you choose. Some of the pages include: drawing what’s chasing the gazelles; drawing a scene in binoculars; adding patterns to zebras, elephants, rhinos and giraffes; and adding objects and animals to scenes. The images are very cohesive and similar in style to Anastasia’s colouring books and they’re beautifully drawn.

In terms of mental health, this book is great, as long as you like drawing! I personally really struggle with drawing and therefore don’t find it to be a remotely relaxing activity, however, this book isn’t too taxing and it gives a lot of hints to get you started with drawing. These aren’t techniques or things that will teach you how to draw but they are suggestions of what to draw and sometimes that’s all the inspiration you need. There are lots of patterns added to the completed drawings which you can use as inspiration for adding patterns to the unfinished sections. You could also use search engines to look up pictures of things you want to draw in the larger spaces so that you can try to learn to draw new creatures and objects. This book probably wouldn’t suit an advanced artist because the amount of finished work in it will probably be quite restrictive but it would definitely suit a beginner or intermediate artist, especially those who prefer to have suggestions made of what to create. Adding patterns and zentangling has been found to be relaxing and very good for practising mindfulness and the more patterns I’ve discovered and added to my repertoire, the easier it has become to add patterns to things without going blank or getting stressed about it. These books are ideal for learning new patterns but if you need more inspiration and doodling and drawing are your thing then I’d highly recommend the Art Therapy series of books which I’ve reviewed here. The images are varied in content and require various different types of drawing and doodling to be added, the line thickness is consistent throughout and is very thin so this is definitely a book for those of you with good vision and fine motor control. There is a lot of intricacy and detail added to the completed images and you can add however much intricacy and detail as you want in your own drawings. The whole book is fully colourable but this isn’t a colouring book specifically and won’t suit those of you who can’t draw because there are just too many open spaces that will look very odd without anything added to them and will leave your images looking unfinished.

I would highly recommend this book, and the others in the series, for anyone who likes to draw and needs a little inspiration in order to get going. The images are lovely and the nature theme is very calming and the portable size means they’re great for colouring and drawing on the go.

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Draw Your Way to a Younger Brain: Safari: An Art Therapy Book (Drawing)
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Draw-Your-Way-Younger-Brain-Safari-Anastasia-Catris/9781409165484/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was added to with Staedtler Pigment Liners and coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils.

Draw Your Way To A Younger Brain: Dogs – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Draw Your Way to a Younger Brain: Dogs: An Art Therapy Book (Drawing) is illustrated by Anastasia Catris, and published and kindly sent to me to review by Orion Books. This book is part of a new series called Draw Your Way To a Younger Brain and you can read my review of the other two titles here: Safari and Cats. Anastasia has been very busy in the colouring book world and has also created 6 beautiful colouring books which are the same size and shape with her signature drawings and my reviews of these can be found here. This book is small at 17cms square which makes it perfect for drawing on the go and taking travelling in your bag. It’s paperback with a beautiful pink cover which matches the others in the sets beautifully meaning they look really gorgeous together on a shelf. The images are printed double-sided onto bright white medium thickness paper which doesn’t bleed or shadow with water-based pens and has a little tooth perfect for blending and shading with pencils. The spine is glue-bound and the images are borderless so a little of each is lost into the spine though this will ease up a bit over time. The illustrations are, unusually, all double-page spreads and as this book is primarily a drawing book and secondarily a colouring book, there are lots of spaces for you to add your own drawings and patterns to. If you don’t like drawing then this is not the book for you. The illustrations take various different forms from a patterned animal on the left with a blank outline of it mirrored on the right to fill with patterns, to drawings that you can draw the other half of with a line of symmetry drawn down the middle, to scenes you can complete. There are written hints on every page to give you a suggested direction but you can complete the pages however you wish and there’s plenty of scope in many of them to go in whatever direction you choose. Some of the pages include: drawing dogs at a dog show; drawing the rest of a sled dog team; adding patterns to various breeds of dogs; and adding objects and animals to scenes. The images are very cohesive and similar in style to Anastasia’s colouring books and they’re beautifully drawn.

In terms of mental health, this book is great, as long as you like drawing! I personally really struggle with drawing and therefore don’t find it to be a remotely relaxing activity, however, this book isn’t too taxing and it gives a lot of hints to get you started with drawing. These aren’t techniques or things that will teach you how to draw but they are suggestions of what to draw and sometimes that’s all the inspiration you need. There are lots of patterns added to the completed drawings which you can use as inspiration for adding patterns to the unfinished sections. You could also use search engines to look up pictures of things you want to draw in the larger spaces so that you can try to learn to draw new creatures and objects. This book probably wouldn’t suit an advanced artist because the amount of finished work in it will probably be quite restrictive but it would definitely suit a beginner or intermediate artist, especially those who prefer to have suggestions made of what to create. Adding patterns and zentangling has been found to be relaxing and very good for practising mindfulness and the more patterns I’ve discovered and added to my repertoire, the easier it has become to add patterns to things without going blank or getting stressed about it. These books are ideal for learning new patterns but if you need more inspiration and doodling and drawing are your thing then I’d highly recommend the Art Therapy series of books which I’ve reviewed here. The images are varied in content and require various different types of drawing and doodling to be added, the line thickness is consistent throughout and is very thin so this is definitely a book for those of you with good vision and fine motor control. There is a lot of intricacy and detail added to the completed images and you can add however much intricacy and detail as you want in your own drawings. The whole book is fully colourable but this isn’t a colouring book specifically and won’t suit those of you who can’t draw because there are just too many open spaces that will look very odd without anything added to them and will leave your images looking unfinished.

I would highly recommend this book, and the others in the series, for anyone who likes to draw and needs a little inspiration in order to get going. The images are lovely and the nature theme is very calming and the portable size means they’re great for colouring and drawing on the go.

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Draw Your Way to a Younger Brain: Dogs: An Art Therapy Book (Drawing)
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Draw-Your-Way-Younger-Brain-Dogs-Anastasia-Catris/9781409165477/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was added to with a Stabilo Point 88 Fineliner and coloured using Staedtler Triplus Fibre-Tips.