Lost Ocean: A comparison of the UK and US editions

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Lost Ocean was released worldwide last month and there have been huge online debates about the differences between the UK and US editions and which has the best paper quality, the size of the images, the colour of the paper etc. So, as a reviewer, I thought it best to purchase a copy of each so that I could compare and contrast and give you the ultimate guide to each edition so you can purchase the copy that best suits you. For my review of the content of the book and lots of images from inside please click here. This is a long post because there are so many pictures included to illustrate each point but please bear with me because a lot of time and effort has gone into being as thorough as possible. Most of the things I’ve noticed don’t affect the enjoyment or use of the book, they’re just differences but there are a few items that are fundamentally different and do affect use so keep an eye out for those, they’re summarised at the bottom. When I first flicked through my US edition it looked exactly the same as my UK edition but the closer I looked, the more differences I found (24 in fact) so here goes with the most comprehensive list of similarities and differences that you’re likely to find online!

  1. Dust Jacket – This is by far the biggest difference between the editions. The UK edition has a removable dust jacket just like the first two books by Johanna Basford. It is a little looser fitting than the first two books and is bright white and a little thinner too. The book itself has bright blue card covers with a black coral and seaweed design on the outside and inside covers. The US edition has a fully attached white cover made of card which has half size flaps inside that open out revealing the fish design that is also on the inside of the UK dust jacket. The covers on both editions are fully colourable and matte in texture apart from the inside of the UK dust jacket which is waxy to the touch.
    Lost Ocean 1 dust jacket 1Lost Ocean 1 dust jacket 2Lost Ocean 1 dust jacket 4Lost Ocean 1 dust jacket 4
  2. Spine – The UK edition has a black spine with white writing (the same as Secret Garden) and the Virgin books symbol. The US edition has a white spine with black writing and the Penguin books symbol.
    Lost Ocean 2 Spine 1Lost Ocean 2 Spine 2
  3. Book size – The UK edition is exactly the same size as Johanna Basford’s first two titles and the US edition is slightly larger all the way around by approximately 5mm in each direction.
    Lost Ocean 3 Book size
  4. Foil on cover – Both editions have gold foiling on the front but both have different aspects foiled. The UK edition has the turtle and seahorse foiled and the US edition has more small fish foiled instead. The foiling is also a different colour and texture – the UK edition has gold foiling that is smooth to the touch and very shiny, the US edition has much yellower gold foiling that is rough to the touch and quite dull. (Please ignore the colour difference of the paper, the photos were taken in different weather and edited to sit next to each other, the covers are the same colour, the foil is different).
    Lost Ocean 4 Foil on cover 1Lost Ocean 4 Foil on cover 2
  5. Foiling continued – The UK edition has foiling on the front and back cover, the US edition only has foiling on the front cover, none on the back.
    Lost Ocean 5 Foil continued
  6. Spelling differences – As you’d expect, the UK edition has the British spellings throughout of colour etc, the US edition has the US spelling, color (always check your cover as it’s the easiest way of telling if you have a UK or US edition).
    Lost Ocean 6 Spelling differences
  7. Cover design – Because the UK edition is slightly smaller, some of the edges of the cover image are cut off in comparison to the US edition which shows the whole design.
    Lost Ocean 7 Cover design
  8. Blurb – The UK and US editions have completely different blurbs.
    Lost Ocean 8 Blurb
  9. Paper quality – There has been debate about this but in my copies the paper is ever so slightly different with the UK copy having slightly brighter white paper, however, this varies in different lights and is really marginal! The paper is the same thickness in both editions. The quality is also the same having tested water-based fineliners and pencils on it. I found pencils more difficult to blend on this paper than Johanna’s first two books but it’s the same on both editions of Lost Ocean. The amount of shadowing from water-based fineliners is also exactly the same and neither book had any bleed-through from these. Both also have the same amount of tooth.
    Lost Ocean 9 Paper quality 1Lost Ocean 9 Paper quality 2
  10. Page ink quality – Both books unfortunately do not have permanent ink meaning that when you use a blending pencil, some of the ink is moved with it and smudges. I tested the same section in both books and found that both smudge but there is more smudging in the US edition than the UK edition. Also, when using pencils and pressing hard, ink from the page behind does transfer to the back of the image you’re colouring so make sure you put scrap paper in behind your work when using pencils. I found transfer levels to be equal between the copies.
    Lost Ocean 10 Page ink quality 1Lost Ocean 10 Page ink quality 2Lost Ocean 10 Page ink quality 3
  11. Image size – The images in the UK edition are printed a little smaller than the US edition (up to 1cm overall and yes I measured a number of them with a ruler to check) meaning there is a larger white border around the images in the UK book compared to the US book. This difference isn’t especially noticeable but in the most intricate of images an extra millimetre or two does make a difference so if your vision is poor you may want a US copy rather than a UK copy.
    Lost Ocean 11 Image size
  12. Publishing page – There are more drawings of fish on the US publishing page than on the UK edition.
    Lost Ocean 12 Publishing page
  13. Printing – The UK edition is printed in Italy and the US edition is printed in the US (this can be seen in the photo above).
  14. Name page – The whole design of the name page is over 1cm larger in the US edition than the UK edition and is also differently centred on the page.
    Lost Ocean 14 Name page
  15. Introduction page – The UK edition’s introduction page is not titled and the text is not justified, in the US edition the introduction is titled and the text justified.
    Lost Ocean 15 Introduction page
  16. Binding – The UK edition is stitched and lightly glue-bound whereas the US edition is only glue-bound and because of the fixed cover the binding is much tighter in the US edition. This will ease up with use, especially if you crack or break the spine (I always find this heartbreaking to do), but initially the US edition is much tighter and opens less flat than the UK edition.
    Lost Ocean 16 Binding
  17. Boat and lighthouse double-page spread – The design on this double-page spread is orientated completely differently in the two editions with it being much higher up on the page in the UK edition than the US edition.
    Lost Ocean 17 Boat and lighthouse double-page spread 1Lost Ocean 17 Boat and lighthouse double-page spread 2
  18. Fish, seahorse and jellyfish pattern double-page spread – This image is centred differently in both editions and enters the spine in the UK edition and doesn’t in the US edition (Please excuse the terrible lighting and shadow in the picture).
    Lost Ocean 18 Fish, seahorse, jellyfish spread
  19. Starfish and anchor motif – The design on this page is printed significantly larger in the US edition than the UK edition.
    Lost Ocean 19 Starfish and sword motif
  20. Whale – The whale in the UK edition faces left and in the US edition faces right. It’s almost as if they’re looking at each other across the ocean between the countries they’re published in.
    Lost Ocean 20 Whale
  21. Images in key – The images in the key of the UK edition all have black lines down the middle indicating the spine of the book, in the US edition there is no black line indicating the spine on the images of the double-page spreads.
    Lost Ocean 21 Images in key

SPOILER ALERT: If you don’t want to see images or descriptions of the large 4-page pull out spread then stop reading now. For those of you that do, continue on!

  1. Pull-out spread – The pull-out spread is folded differently in each edition, the UK edition is folded in half and then half again whereas the US edition is folded so that it continually opens outwards to the right.
    Lost Ocean 22 Pull-out spread 1Lost Ocean 22 Pull-out spread 2
  2. Back image of pull-out spread – This image is centred differently on each edition and is smaller and shorter on the UK edition and larger and taller on the US edition. UK is above in the photo and US is below.
    Lost Ocean 23
  3. Front image of pull-out spread – This image is very different in both editions, despite being the same illustration. The UK edition has a significant strip of the image at each end missing and it is printed all the way up to both end edges. The US edition has the full image printed with a white edge at both ends. UK is above in the photo and US is below.
    Lost Ocean 24

To sum up, if you’ve managed to make it this far, the two biggest factors affecting your decisions are these:

  1. Matching set – If you want your copy of Lost Ocean to match Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest as much as is currently possible (bearing in mind the difference in paper colour, thickness and level of intricacy), then you want the UK edition because it is exactly the same size and also has the distinctive removable dust jacket that we all know and love.
  2. Larger, easier to colour images – If your vision or fine motor control aren’t perfect then I’d definitely advise purchasing the US edition of Lost Ocean because that extra 1cm in most of the images could make the difference to you going over the lines or not.

Everything else I’ve listed is not a criticism and I have no view on which is better or worse, I’ve just listed all of the differences to make people aware of what they are and to make it easy to identify which copy is which when looking at pictures of it online and elsewhere. If you notice any other differences then please do get in touch and I’ll add them to the list! Happy Colouring – You’ve definitely earnt it!

You can read my review of the contents of Lost Ocean, including my mental health recommendations here.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of Lost Ocean it can be found here:
Amazon UK – Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure & Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Lost-Ocean-Johann-Basford/9780753557150/?a_aid=colouringitmom

Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Lost-Ocean-Johann-Basford/9780143108993/?a_aid=colouringitmom


Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure and Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure & Colouring Bookis published by Virgin Books and illustrated by the very talented Johanna Basford. It has been released early in some UK stores (including WHSmiths, Waterstones and Sainsbury’s but do phone ahead as not all of them have stock yet) and is set for general release in the UK on the 22nd of October and worldwide on the 27th of October. This book is the most hotly anticipated colouring book of the year and is from my personal collection.

So, without further ado, here’s my review of it. In short, Johanna’s done it again – it’s fabulous and everything you’d want from a watery-themed colouring book. It is worth noting here that the UK and US editions are different and I’m reviewing a UK edition. I have written a comparison of the UK and US versions because there are a number of obvious and subtle differences and this can be found here. The biggest difference is that the dust jacket in the UK version is removable, like the previous two books by Johanna, but it is not removable on the US edition. Both versions are sold on Book Depository and the links to each are at the bottom of this review.

Lost Ocean is a paperback, square book (25cm x 25cm) which is exactly the same size as Johanna’s previous two titles, Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest. It has a black spine with white text, the same as Secret Garden and it looks beautiful with the other titles on the shelf (see photo below). The UK edition has a removable dust jacket which has gold foiling accents on the front and back, really adding to the luxurious feel of this book. The jacket is made of thick paper which you can colour and the inside of it is covered with a beautiful fish pattern which has a waxy finish and can be coloured but only with certain mediums because most pens and pencils are repelled by the shine. This dust jacket is a little looser than the previous two and feels a little thinner, it is also bright white and not cream (see the photo below to see the difference) so it does look a little different from the other two. Under the dust jacket, the book is paperback with bright blue card covers which have an inky black seaweed and coral design on the outside and inside covers. The paper is NOT the same as in any of the Secret Garden or Enchanted Forest editions. They had thick (almost card-like), cream, lightly textured paper; Lost Ocean has bright white medium thickness paper which cannot be mistaken for card and is smooth. I found blending and shading with coloured pencils quite a bit more challenging in Lost Ocean than in Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest, it’s not impossible but the tooth dies pretty quickly so you can’t create as many layers as you might like to. Water-based pens don’t bleed but they do shadow so be very careful when using them and always test each brand in an inconspicuous place to make sure you don’t ruin any pictures. The images are printed double-sided with no border and the spine is glue-bound meaning a little of each image is lost into it which is a real shame because the images are so beautiful that you want to be able to colour all parts of them. However, this is a minor niggle in an otherwise near perfect colouring book. The book contains 80 pages of stunning images, fewer than Johanna’s first two books (96 Secret Garden, 84 Enchanted Forest) but I have to say, I didn’t notice this at all until I looked at the specs on Amazon.

The book starts with a “This book belongs to …” page where you can add your name and then goes on to show all of the items of treasure that are hidden within the pages for you to find (at the back of the book all of the items are listed under a miniature image of each page they are contained within). You are then transported into Johanna’s Lost Ocean where you will encounter jellyfish, octopuses, mermaids, shipwrecks, seaweed, coral and fishes galore. The images range from double page sea life scenes, to mandala style images of sea creatures, fishy repeating patterns, to single creatures taking centre stage in bordered images, and so much more. Your journey into the ocean starts with patterns of octopuses and turtles before you happen upon the fishy seabed where crabs and lobsters lurk. You board a ship before encountering pirates and becoming shipwrecked amongst the jellyfish, seahorses and sharks and get your first glimpse of what lies ahead. Travelling past starfish and eels, you find a beautiful double-page spread of the stunning underwater city. As you leave, you swim through beds of seaweed, coral reefs and even visit a pair of friendly dolphins, a gorgeous patterned whale and shoal upon shoal of fish before being escorted home by some mermaids. Finally, at the very end of the book is a fold-out 4 page spread which is very different in format from the one in Enchanted Forest – no spoilers here but if you’d like to see it then click here where I have taken photos of both sides of it if you’d like to see. A number of the images in the book have large blank spaces where you can add your own inky seaweed and fish or just leave them blank if drawing isn’t your forte and unlike in Secret Garden there are no written hints so you’re free to create whatever your imagination can conjure up. If you need inspiration then head online to google, pinterest and Facebook colouring groups where there will be finished pages cropping up daily from people worldwide who are delving into the deep and colouring their own watery world.

In terms of mental health, this book is brilliant because it is so intricate and detailed and requires a lot of concentration thus distracting you from anxious thoughts and low mood. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is very thin so you will definitely need very good vision and fine motor control to get the most out of this book. Not only is it drawn in a spindly thin line, the images are also created with lots of teeny tiny parts so you’ll definitely need to invest in a decent set of fineliners and/or some easily sharpened coloured pencils to really get into all of those detailed nooks, crannies and crevices. The detail and intricacy in Lost Ocean has definitely increased in comparison to Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest – not all of the images are more intricate but those that are will be a real challenge to colour because they are just so tiny. I personally think you’d struggle to use even the sharpest pencil to colour a few of these images successfully so I’d strongly recommend investing in a good set of fineliners – you can read my reviews of the two bestselling brands here Stabilo and Staedtler. The nature of the imagery in this book is superb for calming you down and helping you to zone out. I find nature scenes the best thing for calming down my anxious racing mind and this book really does that. Do be aware though that if you don’t like intricate books then this won’t be for you and may actually increase your stress and anxiety levels so don’t push it if it’s not for you! Generally though, this book is wonderful for keeping you occupied and distracted but you will need a pretty good attention span and ability to concentrate.

If you like Johanna’s previous two books then you’re sure to like this one. It took a little bit of getting used to because instead of leaves and flowers, this is filled with seaweed, coral and fish and contains quite a number of patterned images at the beginning however, the further through the book you get, the more traditional it becomes and very inkeeping with Johanna’s previous titles. If you like underwater themed books then this is perfect for you and I’d highly recommend it to anyone with good vision and fine motor control who wants the next instalment from the worldwide bestselling illustrator. This book is truly beautiful and I congratulate you if you’ve managed to make it all the way through this epic review – as you can tell, I’m hugely enthusiastic about it and I have loved looking through it and reviewing it. If you’d like to pre-order a copy then head over to Amazon here Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure & Colouring Book

UK Edition Book Depository – http://www.bookdepository.com/Lost-Ocean-Johanna-Basford/9780753557150/?a_aid=colouringitmom

US Edition Book Depository – http://www.bookdepository.com/Lost-Ocean-Johanna-Basford/9780143108993/?a_aid=colouringitmom

SPOILER ALERT: 4 Page Spread from Lost Ocean WITH photos – Do Not Open if you don’t want Spoilers!

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.


Following on from my review of the newly published Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford. I’m showing those of you that want to see it, the 4 page spread at the end of the book. This tradition was started in Enchanted Forest with a pair of double-page spreads at the back with a wonderful mirror image picture of a mythical creature on each. This feature was hotly anticipated in the newly published Lost Ocean and many of us die-hard Johanna Basford fans were trying to guess what it might be. I found the reveal a little disappointing. It’s not a pair of double-page spreads, it’s one 4 page length spread which unfolds to the right of the book and can be carefully removed if desired. On the back of it is a fishy, seaweedy pattern which would look beautiful coloured and you could easily add your own details and background as it only goes across the middle of the pages. On the front is a scene depicting fish, seahorses, turtles, jellyfish and even a ray. It is sure to look stunning once coloured but it is very different in style from the end pages in Enchanted Forest as you’ll see in the photos below.

You can read my Lost Ocean review here. Or purchase a copy of it here Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure & Colouring Book

Review of Colour Me Mindful: Birds, Butterflies, Enchanted Creatures, Seasons, Tropical, Underwater

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Colour Me Mindful books – illustrated by Anastasia Catris and kindly sent to me for review by Orion Books,  are beautiful, small, square books that measure 17x17cms. They are much smaller than the current bestselling square books which makes them perfect for colouring on the move because they’ll slip easily inside a handbag or suitcase for that convenient colouring fix. The books are paperback and glue-bound, the images are printed double-sided and cover the whole page meaning a little is lost into the spine. Some of the images are double-page spreads and others are single images. The paper is bright white and only lightly textured and while it looks fairly thin, I experienced no bleeding when using my Stabilo .88 fineliners which can often cause problems in double-sided colouring books. I saw very faint shadowing when using the darkest colours but as soon as you colour the image on the reverse this is unlikely to be noticeable. Each book contains a hefty 50 images that are all intricately and beautifully drawn within the confines of the titled theme and there aren’t any random “filler” images – each one has definitely earnt its right to be there. Every time I’ve looked through each of these books I’ve noticed a new image that I hadn’t spotted before. Despite being small, these images take hours to colour and will keep you occupied for a really long time while you carefully colour each detailed section. The line thickness is very thin, thinner than the average fineliner, so you will definitely need good vision and fine motor control to be able to get the most out of these books. I went over the lines a few times because they are super thin but as long as you’re careful and have very good lighting, you’ll get a huge amount of enjoyment out of these books because the images are just lovely! There are currently six titles out – Birds; Butterflies; Enchanted Creatures; Seasons; Underwater and Tropical, which I have reviewed in more detail and photographed below.

Colour Me Mindful: Birds – Review
Colour Me Mindful: Birds (Colour Me Mindful Colouring Bk) – Buy it here

Colour Me Mindful: Butterflies – Review
Colour Me Mindful: Butterflies (Colour Me Mindful Colouring Bk)– Buy it here

Colour Me Mindful: Enchanted Creatures – Review
Colour Me Mindful: Enchanted Creatures (Colour Me Mindful Colouring Bk) – Buy it here

Colour Me Mindful: Seasons – Review
Colour Me Mindful: Seasons (Colour Me Mindful Colouring Bk) – Buy it here

Colour Me Mindful: Tropical – Review
Colour Me Mindful: Tropical (Colour Me Mindful Colouring Bk) – Buy it here

Colour Me Mindful: Underwater – Review
Colour Me Mindful: Underwater (Colour Me Mindful Colouring Bk) – Buy it here