Virgin Books

Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.

Ivy and the Inky Butterfly: A Comparison between the UK and US Editions

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Ivy and the Inky Butterfly will be released worldwide in just one week and I have been lucky enough to be sent a copy of the UK and US editions by Johanna Basford in order to write this comparison post for you all. Every time Johanna releases a new book there are huge online debates about which edition is “best” to buy, what the similarities will be and what will be different so I’m here to hopefully clear up any questions and queries you may have after the success of my comparison posts of the last 3 titles – Johanna’s Christmas, Magical Jungle, and Lost Ocean.

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, if you’d prefer to watch a video where I talk through and show all of the differences then scroll all the way down to the bottom of the post. 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. Some of the very noticeable differences include size, image size and paper type so here goes with the most comprehensive list of similarities and differences that you’re likely to find online!

  1. Book Size – Both books are rectangular and not square, they are each the same height as their country’s other Johanna titles but both are 4cms narrower at the side. The UK edition is almost half a centimetre smaller in both directions than the US edition.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  2. Cover Design – The cover design is very slightly zoomed in on the UK edition so the US edition has a little extra detail around the very edges that isn’t included on the UK copies.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  3. Penguin Logo – The US edition has the Penguin Publishing logo subtly placed in the top right corner, the UK edition has a star in this space instead.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  4. Cover Colour – The UK edition has a bright white cover, the US edition is slightly off-white though this is only noticeable when placed next to something truly white or the UK copy of the book.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  5. Foiling Colour – The UK foiling is a subtle coppery/bronze colour, it’s not gold like previous titles or as shiny. The US foiling is in gold and green and is very bright and shiny (try to avoid scratching it as it does come off and it appears that the green is underlain with gold).
     Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  6. Foiling Aspects/Amount – There is much more foiling on the US edition than the UK edition, the foiling on the UK edition is quite subtle due to not being so shiny, bright, or abundant. The US edition has a lot of foiling and many more aspects are foiled including whole sections rather than hints.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  7. Colour Splashes – The title and subtitle on the cover of the US edition have a mint green background. The UK cover has no colour added.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  8. Capitalisation of Text on Cover – The subtitle on the UK cover is capitalised, the US subtitle is all lower case apart from the first A.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  9. Spine – Usually the book spines are black in the UK and white in the US. This time, both are white with black text, it’s printed a little blacker on the US edition. The UK spine has little bronze foil star accents, there is no foiling on the US spine. The motif between Johanna’s name and the book title differs with a butterfly on the UK edition and a side portrait of Ivy on the US edition. The US edition has the subtitle printed, the UK has replaced this with a key motif and foiled stars. Finally, the UK edition has the Virgin Books logo and the US has the Penguin Books logo.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  10. Thickness – The US edition is significantly thicker than the UK edition due to the paper being thicker, more on this later.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  11. Weight – The US edition weighs significantly more than the UK edition at 627g vs 564g.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  12. Blurb – The blurbs on both books are totally different. There is more text in the US edition, less in the UK edition. Info about Johanna and where to find her on social media is written on the US copy. The barcode is included in the space on the US edition but printed over some of the design on the UK edition. The design is printed exactly the same size on both books despite the difference in book size, therefore there is a larger border around the image on the US edition. NB The colour on the back of the US cover has been added by me when I was testing alcohol marker, the back cover of both editions arrives blank.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  13. Spelling – The UK edition uses British spelling throughout, including on the cover in the spelling of colour. The US edition uses American spellings throughout (I didn’t realise how many different spellings there were between the two versions of English until paying close attention to the text in this book!).
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  14. Dust Jacket – This is usually one of the biggest differences between the editions, with the UK version usually having a removable dust jacket and the US edition having it attached. Johanna’s Christmas broke with convention and neither edition had a removable dust jacket and this has remained the case, it’s probably sensible as they’re prone to getting damaged but I’m a little sad inside because I’ve always loved them, but there you go, neither has one this time. The covers are made of thick card folded into 1/2 French Flaps inside, the card used for the UK cover is significantly thicker and less bendy than the card used for the US cover.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  15. Cover Attachment to Front and Back Pages – The US cover is attached to a thicker strip of the front and back pages of the book than the UK cover and it also isn’t pre-folded meaning it doesn’t open as easily or as widely as the UK edition which opens much flatter.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  16. Binding – The UK edition is stitched and glue-bound whereas the US edition is only glue-bound which will make it less durable and can lead to pages falling out. Because of the fixed cover being attached to more of the book, 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.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  17. French Flaps – Both editions have ½ size French Flaps, they have the same design but the US design is printed a little larger and is also taken from a slightly different section of the original illustration from the UK edition. On the back inside flap of both books is information, the US copy has images of 6 of Johanna’s books and on the UK copy is information about Johanna herself.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  18. Title Page Size – The title page in the US edition is much larger than in the UK edition, 24.1 x 19.1cm vs 22.9 x 18.1cm.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  19. Emblem on Title Page – Possibly the most pedantic difference I found; the leaf emblem underneath Johanna’s name on the title page is much bigger in the US edition than the UK edition.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  20. Paper – This is one of the biggest differences between the two editions. The paper is not identical and is unique to each country. Johanna changed papers when Magical Jungle was published and her specially created ivory paper that was named after her is in all US copies of Magical Jungle, Johanna’s Chirstmas, and now Ivy and the Inky Butterfly. In the UK we have a whiter ivory paper which Johanna and her team scoured the globe for and this is in all UK editions of Magical Jungle, Johanna’s Christmas and Ivy and the Inky Butterfly. The UK paper is equal in thickness to Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest and significantly thicker than Lost Ocean, it has a little tooth but does burnish after a few layers of Polychromos and Prismacolor Premiers. The US paper is ivory but a more cream colour though it’s still paler than the cream colour of Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest. The paper is the thickest yet and has a more visible tooth, it takes far more layers for blending. In both editions water-based pens behave the same way and the paper in both is beautiful to colour on with pens as they glide really well with no feathering or spreading at all. The UK paper seems like it will shadow faster and more easily than the US edition and while I didn’t experience any shadowing in either, the UK paper did seem like it might with very dark colours if not using a light touch. I personally prefer the colour of the UK paper but the US paper is much easier to use pencils on and is less likely to bleed with water-based pens so I have to recommend that one.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  21. Introduction – The introduction and Johanna’s signature in the UK edition are aligned centrally, the introduction in the US edition is aligned centrally and justified, Johanna’s signature is off to the right.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  22. Icons for Colouring Tips – The UK edition has leaves as bullet points and the US edition has flowers. The text is also larger on this page in the US edition.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  23. Text Layout – The text in both books appears to be the same font and size. Due to the difference in the size of the overall book and the sizing of some images (see point 25), the gaps for the text in the UK edition are sometimes smaller and therefore, while the text in both editions is always in the same spaces, it’s sometimes laid out a bit differently either starting or ending lines on a different word or sometimes taking up more or less space on the page. Some of the UK text is justified like a newspaper with varying space sizes between the words, this is much less obvious in the US edition, if it has in fact been justified in that edition.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  24. Image Quality – Previously, there have been slight issues with UK editions having pixelation of images (see third photo below of a section in UK Magical Jungle). There are no such issues in either edition of this book. Hoorah!
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  25. Image Size/Spacing – The US images are up to 1cm larger than those in the UK edition. Not all of the images are larger by any means and it appears to be quite random as to which images are larger and which are the same size but if you have any vision or fine motor control impairments then I’d suggest purchasing the US edition.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  26. Image Orientation – On some of the full double-page scenes, the image is shifted slightly showing a sliver more or less in one of the editions. This can be on any external edge of the image. Sometimes the UK page is slightly zoomed in and other times the US page is slightly zoomed in so that a little is lost off all edges, usually only a millimetre or two.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  27. Text Alterations – Very occasionally there are alterations to the text with a word added, removed or altered e.g. spring-clean/spring-cleaning. The most notable example is on the page below with two paragraphs beginning with “then” in the UK edition and not in the US edition.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  28. Typos – Sorry to be pointing these out, I did a lot of searching to find these so they’re not exactly noticeable, I only found them because I was looking for text differences. In the UK edition cloths has been replaced with clothes and in the US edition, cord has been replaced with chord. Apart from that, I’ve not noticed any others which is pretty impressive.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  29. Printing Location – The UK edition is printed in China and the US edition is printed in the USA.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  30. Page Ink Permanency – This is fairly similar in both, I tested the ink on the colour palette page with a Derwent Blender, a Derwent Burnisher and a Caran d’Ache Blender Pencil, the Derwent Blender did drag some ink pigment in both editions, more so on the US edition, the other two types of pencil didn’t move much pigment at all. You will need to be a little careful if using a hard blender pencil like the Derwent one and also, when pressing hard with any pencils you may experience image transfer on subsequent pages (this is erasable) so pop a sheet or two of paper behind your work to avoid this.
    Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford, click through to read my review, see a video flick-through, photos and read my comprehensive comparison post detailing 31 differences between the UK and US editions.
  31. Publication dates – The US edition releases on the 10th of October and the UK edition on the 12th of October.

To sum up, if you’ve managed to make it this far, the biggest factors affecting your decisions are spelling, paper and image size. As a perfectionist, I would always want a copy with the correct spellings for the country I’m from and therefore when reading the book, I’ll be reading my UK copy. The paper is lovely in both but if you’re wanting to really go to town with blending and shading pencils or using wet media then I’d suggest the US copy as the paper is thicker and holds up better to these types of colouring. The image size in some images is larger in the US edition and therefore anyone with any visual or fine motor control issues will be best purchasing the US edition so you’ve got that bit more wiggle-room.

Everything else I’ve listed is not a criticism and doesn’t impact use or enjoyment, 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. In my opinion, the US edition offers a slightly superior colouring experience to the UK edition and if you’re going to purchase just one copy then I’d suggest it be that one though the UK edition really is lovely and I’m ever so glad to have both. 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!

Please do let me know in the comments section below which edition you’ll be purchasing and why!

You can read my review of the contents of Ivy and the Inky Butterfly, including my mental health recommendations here for the UK and here for the US edition. You can find my Unboxing videos for both books and silent video flick-throughs on my YouTube Channel here.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of Ivy and the Inky Butterfly it’s available to pre-order here:
UK Edition
Amazon UK – Ivy and the Inky Butterfly
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Ivy-and-the-Inky-Butterfly-Johann-Basford/9780753545652/?a_aid=colouringitmom
US Edition
Amazon UK – Ivy and the Inky Butterfly
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Ivy-and-the-Inky-Butterfly-Johann-Basford/9780143130925?ref=grid-view&qid=1507078323619&sr=1-2/?a_aid=colouringitmom

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Ivy and the Inky Butterfly: A Magical Tale to Colour (UK Edition) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Ivy and the Inky Butterfly: A Magical Tale to Colour is illustrated and very kindly sent to me to review by Johanna Basford, it is published by Virgin Books. I have also been sent a US edition of the book and have written a comparison post which can be found here. This book is the sixth colouring book illustrated by colouring queen, Johanna Basford and this meant it was time for a bit of a change, this time it’s a different shape, somewhat different style and contains a story that she’s written based on a bedtime story she’s told her daughter Evie but what isn’t different is the charm, beauty and wonderfulness that we’ve come to expect from Johanna’s books, this book has those in spades!

The book itself measures 21.5 x 25cm making it the same height as the UK editions of Magical Jungle and Johanna’s Christmas but almost 4cm narrower as it’s not square. It’s paperback with flexible card covers with ½ French Flaps which open out front and back to reveal a flower, leaf and butterfly design that is fully colourable, this isn’t waxy and is very smooth so it should be fully colourable with most mediums including pencils and water-based pens, be very careful with alcohol markers bleeding through to the external covers. The spine and covers are white with black text, the cover has coppery/bronze foiling accents which is quite subtle and very luxurious and aids the traditional storybook feeling! The spine is glue and string-bound which makes it very durable and easier to open out flat so you can reach the majority of the gutter and colour it. The paper is the same as that used in UK editions of Magical Jungle and Johanna’s Christmas, this paper was found through a global hunt and it’s beautiful, it is not the same paper as used in the US editions of these books which was created specifically for Johanna’s books and named after her. The paper is a very pale ivory colour, it’s a medium thickness and lightly textured and it’s perfect for pens and pencils; pencils are a dream to blend and shade with and pens go on really smoothly, they don’t bleed through unless you use alcohol markers and water-based pens only shadow if you colour too much in one spot, as always, do check all of your mediums on the colour palette test page to check how your mediums behave.

Upon opening the book, you find the beautiful title page, followed by the introduction and name page, the copyright page is at the back at the bottom of the End page. There isn’t an official treasure hunt in this book but Johanna has hidden over 200 butterflies throughout the pages for you to find, some are very obvious and some are much better hidden and there aren’t any answers or clues to where they are so you may be left scratching your head if you can’t find them all. The images are printed double-sided throughout, I know lots of people aren’t a fan of this but it really wouldn’t have worked with single-sided pages as the story wouldn’t have flowed and the book would have weighed a ton, as it is it contains 120 pages so it’s much thicker than all of the previous titles and has so much content packed in that this could be a lifetime project!  The story has been written by Johanna and it’s thoroughly lovely, exciting and far more complex than I expected. I’m not sure what age range it’s aimed at but there is some fairly complex language included so at a guess I’d suggest probably age 6-8 and above, and possibly older if the children are wanting to read it themselves, depending on their reading ability. The text isn’t on every page and those it is on it’s been very cleverly incorporated and illustrated around so that it doesn’t feel like a colouring book with text shoe-horned it, it feels like an illustrated storybook with images on every page and text on the vast majority. The images vary a huge amount, this book has by far the largest range of content of any of Johanna’s books and it’s absolutely packed with different items to really challenge you to learn to colour all sorts of types of things including gems, metal, feathers, fur, skin, water, and so much more. The images are also drawn in a huge range of styles including ribbons, centralised images, full double-page scenes, mandalas, symmetrical sections, portrait-style images, illuminated manuscripts, borders, frames and more. The content of the images matches the story and without giving too much away, this involves Ivy following an Inky Butterfly out of a portrait, through a hidden door and into a magical world where she meets some lovely friends and creatures and encounters a gigantic flower garden, a magpie shop owner, a mouse, elves, dragons and more. The images contain all manner of things including flowers, leaves, mushrooms, food, lanterns, trinkets, bees, tree houses, stilted water houses, jewellery, maps, stars, berries, a griffin, treasure, and owl, I could go on forever! This book does still have a lot of flowers, leaves and trees but there are so many other things interspersed that you can certainly give your green pencils and pens a bit of a rest and start learning all sorts of techniques to really challenge yourself and make things look realistic if you wish. The images are truly beautiful, I’ve spent more hours than I care to admit flicking through this book for the last few days and every single time I find more items I didn’t notice before. One thing I really noticed and which I’m absolutely in love with about this book is the subtle nods to all of Johanna’s previous books, from a picture of flamingos on the wall in the Wonder Room and another of elephants (both from Magical Jungle), to the cuckoo clock on the wall that was pictured in Johanna’s Christmas, a crab postcard, fish and ships in bottles like those found in Lost Ocean, there are dragons, castles and treehouses similar to those in Enchanted Forest and flower upon flower from Secret Garden (as well as heaps of new ones, don’t panic), none of the content feels samey, boring, or repetitive, but it’s so lovely to have little reminders of the previous books which really helps tie them all together and certainly made me wonder if all of those previous books might have been places and lands that Ivy, or her grandfather might have travelled to in the past. Some of the images are really packed with illustrations and others are much more open with space to add your own imagery or backgrounds if you wish. There aren’t a great deal of images of Ivy because Johanna knows that a lot of us struggle with colouring skin tone and she’s not a fan of drawing people though she’s done a fabulous job of all of the images of Ivy that there are but this book certainly isn’t intimidating for those of us whose current level of skin-tone colouring is a block of peachy-pink!

In terms of mental health, I’m not sure this book could be better, it offers a great project in a number of ways and it is so distracting. The story itself is absolutely lovely and very absorbing, the images follow it really well but also leave plenty of room for you to use your own imagination and get lost in Ivy’s journey to Enchantia. The images are all different sizes so this book is really adaptable for those with fluctuating conditions and these range from small motifs of one bee or a couple of fish, all the way up to completely packed double-page spreads that have almost no un-illustrated spaces and everything in between, no matter how you’re feeling you’ll be able to find a section that’s suitable and that will give you a sense of accomplishment. You can really use this book to challenge yourself to learn new techniques if you wish but it’ll look equally beautiful block coloured in your brightest, weirdest colour combinations, the sky really is the limit! For those of us who often struggle to know what to colour or pick a page it could be a great idea to work through this book cover to cover and just colour each page in turn so that you don’t have to keep deciding, or you can just dive in to your favourite page and start there, it really doesn’t matter. I know a lot of people want to fully colour a copy of this book as a gift for children in their life and having now seen the book, this would make the most amazing gift and heirloom that children for years to come would adore and cherish but my goodness is it an undertaking, it’ll take such a long time to complete but it’ll be so worth it and you could even start it off for a child and then get them to carry it on. What a wonderful experience it would be to read the story and colour the book together! The line thickness is the same as always, thin and sometimes spindly thin. The intricacy and detail levels have increased again since Magical Jungle and are much more similar to Secret Garden and the less detailed parts of Lost Ocean so you will need pretty good vision and fine motor control because while the intricacy and detail levels do vary throughout, the majority are quite high because of the sheer amount of content and objects in each image. I have personally found this book really calming, the story is very reminiscent of those from my childhood and nostalgia can be very comforting, it’s just really heart-warming both in the words and the imagery and it really helps your worries melt away, it lifts your mood and the world doesn’t feel like such a dark place for a while, it’s perfect!

Overall, I really can’t recommend this book enough, it’s beautiful and I know some people were a bit upset about it having text added this time but it adds so much to the book and loses none of the illustrative content because of the larger number of pages. You don’t need to have kids or be a child to enjoy this book, I don’t have kids and my goodness have I been enjoying it, especially knowing that no one will be “adding” to my colouring or dog-earing the pages but it’ll make a wonderful project or gift for the children in your life if you choose to share it with them. Johanna really has outdone herself, the new objects and types of imagery are fantastic and really add a lot to the book and I honestly can’t express just how beautiful and perfect this book is when it’s actually in your hands, I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with it!

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available here:
UK Edition
Amazon UK – Ivy and the Inky Butterfly: A Magical Tale to Colour
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Ivy-and-the-Inky-Butterfly-Johann-Basford/9780753545652/?a_aid=colouringitmom
US Edition
Amazon UK – Ivy and the Inky Butterfly: A Magical Tale to Color
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Ivy-and-the-Inky-Butterfly-Johann-Basford/9780143130925/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured with Staedtler Ergosoft Coloured Pencils.

Ivy and the Inky Butterfly: A Magical Tale to Color (US Edition) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Ivy and the Inky Butterfly: A Magical Tale to Color is illustrated and very kindly sent to me to review by Johanna Basford, it is published by Penguin Books. I have also been sent a UK edition of the book and have written a comparison post which can be found here. This book is the sixth colouring book illustrated by colouring queen, Johanna Basford and this meant it was time for a bit of a change, this time it’s a different shape, somewhat different style and contains a story that she’s written based on a bedtime story she’s told her daughter Evie but what isn’t different is the charm, beauty and wonderfulness that we’ve come to expect from Johanna’s books, this book has those in spades!

The book itself measures 21.8 x 25.4cm making it the same height as the US editions of Magical Jungle and Johanna’s Christmas but almost 4cm narrower as it’s not square. It’s paperback with flexible card covers with ½ French Flaps which open out front and back to reveal a flower, leaf and butterfly design that is fully colourable, this isn’t waxy and is very smooth so it should be fully colourable with most mediums including pencils and water-based pens, be very careful with alcohol markers bleeding through to the external covers. The spine and covers are white with black text, the cover has mint green text backgrounds and beautiful gold and green foiling which is really luxurious and aids the traditional storybook feeling! The spine is glue-bound which makes it quite stiff on opening because the covers are glued a little to the front and back pages of the book, you’re likely to need to crack the spine in order to get the book to open fully but do be very careful because pages can fall out of glue-bound spines and that would be a bit of a disaster if you want to keep the story in order! The paper is the same ‘Johanna Basford’ paper as used in the US editions of Magical Jungle and Johanna’s Christmas, this is not the same as the paper used in the UK editions of any of these books which was sourced through a global hunt to find a suitable ivory paper. The paper is a pale ivory colour, it’s a medium thickness and lightly textured and it’s perfect for pens and pencils; pencils are a dream to blend and shade with and pens go on really smoothly, they don’t bleed through unless you use alcohol markers and water-based pens only shadow if you colour too much in one spot, as always, do check all of your mediums on the colour palette test page to check how your they behave.

Upon opening the book, you find the beautiful title page, followed by the introduction and name page, the copyright page is at the back at the bottom of the End page. There isn’t an official treasure hunt in this book but Johanna has hidden over 200 butterflies throughout the pages for you to find, some are very obvious and some are much better hidden and there aren’t any answers or clues to where they are so you may be left scratching your head if you can’t find them all. The images are printed double-sided throughout, I know lots of people aren’t a fan of this but it really wouldn’t have worked with single-sided pages as the story wouldn’t have flowed and the book would have weighed a ton, as it is it contains 120 pages so it’s much thicker than all of the previous titles and has so much content packed in that this could be a lifetime project!  The story has been written by Johanna and it’s thoroughly lovely, exciting and far more complex than I expected. I’m not sure what age range it’s aimed at but there is some fairly complex language included so at a guess I’d suggest probably age 6-8 and above, and possibly older if the children are wanting to read it themselves, depending on their reading ability. The text isn’t on every page and those it is on it’s been very cleverly incorporated and illustrated around so that it doesn’t feel like a colouring book with text shoe-horned in, it feels like an illustrated storybook with images on every page and text on the vast majority. The images vary a huge amount, this book has by far the largest range of content of any of Johanna’s books and it’s absolutely packed with different items to really challenge you to learn to colour all sorts of types of things including gems, metal, feathers, fur, skin, water, wood, and so much more. The images are also drawn in a huge range of styles including ribbons, centralised images, full double-page scenes, mandalas, symmetrical sections, portrait-style images, illuminated manuscripts, borders, frames and more. The content of the images matches the story and without giving too much away, this involves Ivy following an Inky Butterfly out of a portrait, through a hidden door and into a magical world where she meets some lovely friends and creatures and encounters a gigantic flower garden, a magpie shop owner, a mouse, elves, dragons and more. The images contain all manner of things including flowers, leaves, mushrooms, food, lanterns, trinkets, bees, tree houses, stilted water houses, jewellery, maps, stars, berries, a griffin, treasure, and owl, I could go on forever! This book does still have a lot of flowers, leaves and trees but there are so many other things interspersed that you can certainly give your green pencils and pens a bit of a rest and start learning all sorts of techniques to really challenge yourself and make things look realistic if you wish. The images are truly beautiful, I’ve spent more hours than I care to admit flicking through this book for the last few days and every single time I find more items I didn’t notice before. One thing I really noticed and which I’m absolutely in love with about this book is the subtle nods to all of Johanna’s previous books, from a picture of flamingos on the wall in the Wonder Room and another of elephants (both from Magical Jungle), to the cuckoo clock on the wall that was pictured in Johanna’s Christmas, a crab postcard, fish and ships in bottles like those found in Lost Ocean, there are dragons, castles and treehouses similar to those in Enchanted Forest and flower upon flower from Secret Garden (as well as heaps of new ones, don’t panic), none of the content feels samey, boring, or repetitive, but it’s so lovely to have little reminders of the previous books which really helps tie them all together and certainly made me wonder if all of those previous books might have been places and lands that Ivy, or her grandfather might have travelled to in the past. Some of the images are really packed with illustrations and others are much more open with space to add your own imagery or backgrounds if you wish. There aren’t a great deal of images of Ivy because Johanna knows that a lot of us struggle with colouring skin tone and she’s not a fan of drawing people though she’s done a fabulous job of all of the images of Ivy that there are but this book certainly isn’t intimidating for those of us whose current level of skin-tone colouring is a block of peachy-pink!

In terms of mental health, I’m not sure this book could be better, it offers a great project in a number of ways and it is so distracting. The story itself is absolutely lovely and very absorbing, the images follow it really well but also leave plenty of room for you to use your own imagination and get lost in Ivy’s journey to Enchantia. The images are all different sizes so this book is really adaptable for those with fluctuating conditions and these range from small motifs of one bee or a couple of fish, all the way up to completely packed double-page spreads that have almost no un-illustrated spaces and everything in between, no matter how you’re feeling you’ll be able to find a section that’s suitable and that will give you a sense of accomplishment. You can really use this book to challenge yourself to learn new techniques if you wish but it’ll look equally beautiful block coloured in your brightest, weirdest colour combinations, the sky really is the limit! For those of us who often struggle to know what to colour or pick a page it could be a great idea to work through this book cover to cover and just colour each page in turn so that you don’t have to keep deciding, or you can just dive in to your favourite page and start there, it really doesn’t matter. I know a lot of people want to fully colour a copy of this book as a gift for children in their life and having now seen the book, this would make the most amazing gift and heirloom that children for years to come would adore and cherish but my goodness is it an undertaking, it’ll take such a long time to complete but it’ll be so worth it and you could even start it off for a child and then get them to carry it on. What a wonderful experience it would be to read the story and colour the book together! The line thickness is the same as always, thin and sometimes spindly thin. The intricacy and detail levels have increased again since Magical Jungle and are much more similar to Secret Garden and the less detailed parts of Lost Ocean so you will need pretty good vision and fine motor control because while the intricacy and detail levels do vary throughout, the majority are quite high because of the sheer amount of content and objects in each image. I have personally found this book really calming, the story is very reminiscent of those from my childhood and nostalgia can be very comforting, it’s just really heart-warming both in the words and the imagery and it really helps your worries melt away, it lifts your mood and the world doesn’t feel like such a dark place for a while, it’s perfect!

Overall, I really can’t recommend this book enough, it’s beautiful and I know some people were a bit upset about it having text added this time but it adds so much to the book and loses none of the illustrative content because of the larger number of pages. You don’t need to have kids or be a child to enjoy this book, I don’t have kids and my goodness have I been enjoying it, especially knowing that no one will be “adding” to my colouring or dog-earing the pages but it’ll make a wonderful project or gift for the children in your life if you choose to share it with them. Johanna really has outdone herself, the new objects and types of imagery are fantastic and really add a lot to the book and I honestly can’t express just how beautiful and perfect this book is when it’s actually in your hands, I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with it!

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available here:
US Edition
Amazon UK – Ivy and the Inky Butterfly: A Magical Tale to Color
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Ivy-and-the-Inky-Butterfly-Johann-Basford/9780143130925/?a_aid=colouringitmom
UK Edition
Amazon UK – Ivy and the Inky Butterfly: A Magical Tale to Colour
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Ivy-and-the-Inky-Butterfly-Johann-Basford/9780753545652/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured with Holbein Artist’s Colored Pencils.

Ivy and the Inky Butterfly – Unboxing and Flick-Through

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

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available to pre-order here:
UK Edition
Amazon UK – Ivy and the Inky Butterfly
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Ivy-and-the-Inky-Butterfly-Johann-Basford/9780753545652/?a_aid=colouringitmom
US Edition
Amazon UK – Ivy and the Inky Butterfly
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Ivy-and-the-Inky-Butterfly-Johann-Basford/9780143130925/?a_aid=colouringitmom

Magical Jungle: 36 Postcards to Colour and Send – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Magical Jungle: 36 Postcards to Colour and Send is published and was kindly sent to me to review by Virgin Books. It is with a heavy heart that I have to write a less than positive review of these postcards. I had high hopes for them after detailing my criticisms of the Lost Ocean Postcards and raising these issues with the publisher and hoped things would be changed, but when they arrived I’m afraid to say I was very disappointed. This set of postcards contains 36 scaled down images from Johanna Basford’s hugely successful Magical Jungle adult colouring book (reviewed by me here). Each postcard is printed single-sided with a leaf-outlined stamp space and space for an address (left blank with no lines) on the back so that you can send them to family, friends and loved ones. The postcards arrive in a sort of box that doesn’t have a top or bottom and opens out to reveal the postcards inside with three black images drawn in a white line from inside the book, in two designs. The cover is cream with beautiful gold accents and a scaled down version of the book cover. The postcards are attached to the inside back cover of this box and have a glue binding which isn’t attached to anything other than the cards, it’s very sticky on the outside and also not very hard or strong, after the first careful look through the postcards I had already loosened a few and by the fourth time looking through them over half had completely detached. I’ve only had this set for two days and I’ve already had to completely remove the glue binding because so many postcards had fallen out and they’re now all loose in the box-type cover which they fall out the bottom of.

This time there is only one size of set including 36 postcards rather than the 50 we were offered for Lost Ocean. Of my 36 postcards, one was duplicated meaning I got 36 postcards with 35 designs and of the duplicated cards, one had a printing error with a centimetre gap of unprinted design at the top (see photo below), I’ve been in touch with a fellow reviewer whose set also has the duplicate. Four of the postcards didn’t have the design printed centrally and were drastically shifted to one edge of the card (see photo below) and a further one had some text printing at the very top which I assume should have been cut off during manufacturing. The majority of the postcards are landscape and a few are portrait (7 including the duplicate image twice), they measure 16×11.2cm (a little smaller than the SG and EF postcards). Some are of the whole original image scaled down (8) and others are of sections of the original image that have been shrunk so there is a variety of intricacy levels from very intricate to virtually impossible to colour – the majority of the postcards are nowhere near the same size as the original illustrations with some being shrunk from 22.5cm across to just 9.5cm so you can imagine just how small these are. All but one of the designs are unique and they’re a beautiful selection of images from the book.

The postcards are made of thick, cream card which doesn’t bleed with water-based pens. The cards are a much yellower colour than the Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest Postcards and books. There were issues with white circles and patches on the Lost Ocean postcards which haven’t continued with this set, however, the card is identical and as before, water-based pens don’t colour smoothly or evenly and are repelled by the surface causing a much paler colour and a patchy appearance (see photo below – I will definitely be avoiding pens on these cards because of this). The postcards are lightly textured but don’t take pencils well, when covering larger areas the pencils almost clump and won’t apply smoothly, no matter what brand I’ve used, and it’s difficult to get smooth coverage over any size of area. I’ve found my Holbein pencils the best on this card but even they struggle and burnish quickly. There isn’t much space within the designs to blend or shade unless you want to colour over the lines. The line thickness is spindly thin, I have very good vision for small, close things, and also have very good fine motor control but many of the images on these postcards are so tiny that they’re almost impossible to colour and I went over the lines a number of times on my card which was one of the larger designs. Fineliners would be best to colour such intricate images but can’t be used due to being repelled so you’ll need some super sharp pencils and patience to colour slowly and sharpen very regularly. It’s such a shame because I’m a huge fan of Johanna’s images and I just love her books but scaling down the images to postcard size really wasn’t a sensible choice because it’s so 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 them and I just haven’t found that possible to do as neatly as I’d like to. I had assumed that the images would include full-size zoomed in sections of the original images so that you can still blend and shade with pencils but because the images have been shrunk, many of them are just too small to colour (see the photos below where I’ve shown a 0.4mm Stabilo nib for scale).

Unfortunately, from a mental health perspective I really can’t recommend these, I really struggled to colour them and found it quite stressful because I just couldn’t get it to look right. They require a huge amount of concentration and while they’re less intricate than the majority of the Lost Ocean postcards, this is because Magical Jungle was Johanna’s least intricate and detailed book and therefore had larger spaces but when scaled down this doesn’t make a huge difference. Though they’re really interesting to look at, I would have to say that they’re really not well designed for colouring (I coloured one of the largest, least detailed images and still really struggled). All in all, I’m afraid I’m really disappointed. It’s such a shame these postcards didn’t follow the format of the Secret Garden Postcards, or those of Millie Marrotta’s Animal Kingdom and Tropical Wonderland which had very few uncolourable images due to them being zoomed in sections of the illustrations, a much more sensible and usable format. My recommendation would be to get the book of Magical Jungle instead, this is a fairly expensive set of postcards when you factor in that many of them aren’t colourable. These postcards would look beautiful framed as they are but for me, they’re just not suitable for colouring, a real shame!

If you’d still like to purchase them or view them online, they can be found here.
Amazon UK – Magical Jungle: 36 Postcards to Colour and Send
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Magical-Jungle-Johann-Basford/9780753548158/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The book of Magical Jungle can be found here:
Review – Magical Jungle
Amazon UK – Magical Jungle
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Magical-Jungle-Johann-Basford/9780753557167/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Holbein Artist’s Colored Pencils and blended with a Caran d’Ache Blender Pencil.

Lost Ocean Artist’s Edition: 24 Illustrations to Colour and Frame – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Lost Ocean Artist’s Edition is illustrated by Johanna Basford and published and kindly sent to me to review by Virgin Books. This book contains 24 of the original images from the Lost Ocean colouring book all printed single-sided. The book is 25x33cm, paperback with thick card covers with beautiful gold foiling accents on the cover and blue text on the spine. The book has a lay-flat binding meaning there is no spine to contend with and that you can reach the whole image to colour it. The pages are all removable, they’re not perforated so there’s no risk of them not being fully perforated and you ripping a page when trying to remove it, they’re all glued onto the spine in the same way as postcard books so they’re easy to remove if you wish but they’re not stuck very strongly and in the process of colouring my page I’ve managed to detach nearly half of the pages so this book won’t stay together unless you’re extremely careful with it. The removable nature of the pages is ideal for two reasons, firstly, its main purpose, which is so that they can be displayed, framed, or gifted to friends or family so your colouring is no longer destined to stay hidden away in a book; secondly, it makes it much easier to colour if you remove the page first – the book is very large when fully open which makes it difficult to colour on your lap or even on a clipboard because it’s over A3 size when opened, but when you remove the page you can turn it to any angle you please so that you can colour each section easily without having to have your hand hanging off one corner or be rubbing over previously coloured areas and accidentally smudging bits. The pages are made of thick card which will hold up to just about any colouring medium (this is the same card as used in the Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest Artist’s Editions). I tested my Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and they didn’t even shadow onto the back and they also didn’t bleed sideways or into the card, they seemed to glide on top instead of saturating the paper like so often happens with thick pages. The card is cream which I know isn’t everyone’s favourite, however, I love it because it makes it feel like a classic book with age and luxury. It also means there’s a less harsh contrast between the colouring and the background if you leave the background uncoloured and also allows you to easily add white as highlights or as a colour where white paper simply doesn’t.

The images included are from the original Lost Ocean book and I think they’re a really good selection. There aren’t any pattern or filler images this time and they’re all definitely frame-worthy. Of the 24 illustrations, 5 are landscape and the others are portrait orientation, 3 are printed smaller than the original illustrations but the others are all printed larger to varying degrees from 4mm to the largest being the skull at an extra 7cm larger, 5 of the images are taken from double-page spreads where a section has generally been enlarged (a couple have been shrunk but not drastically so) and the rest are from single page spreads. Because the majority of the images have been enlarged, at least a little bit, they mostly have larger spaces to colour which allows you to really go to town and the possibilities for blending and shading are increased. If you’re new to using pencils and want to learn about blending and shading then the slightly larger print would be ideal for practising these techniques.

As with all of the Artist’s Editions, this book doesn’t have a treasure hunt aspect. The Secret Garden Artist’s Edition arrived wrapped in thin plastic film, but this one didn’t, however that may be because it’s a review copy so do be aware that it may have plastic film on it in the shop and you may not be able to look through it in stores, this means that the cover is well protected and won’t be at risk of staining or marking which I personally think is pretty sensible, though it’s a shame they didn’t do a preview on the back of what images are included. Because of this, I have included pictures of all of the images from inside the book below so that you can “see inside” before you buy it, as well as comparing the size to the original images.

In terms of mental health, this book is wonderful. Colouring this book ready to review it has provided countless hours of calming distraction and the card is such a joy to colour that I’ve enjoyed every moment of colouring it and was almost disappointed when I finally finished my picture and had to move onto another review. This is a book where you really don’t notice the hours passing because you’re so engrossed and focused on colouring each section. Johanna’s books are not for the faint-hearted and are quite an undertaking and they’re not for those of you with poor eyesight or challenged fine motor control. However, for anyone who is mentally ill and doesn’t have poor eyesight, this book is ideal because not only are the images stunning but they’re also completely grounded in nature which is perfect for calming you down and relaxing you. When colouring these images, it feels like you’re going on a wonderful adventure into Johanna’s Lost Ocean, the journey is less obvious but the images are printed in the same order as they appear in the book so it does have a feeling of flow. It’s sure to lift your mood and focus your thoughts so that even the most racing of minds will be quietened, at least for a short while. The details and intricacies force you to concentrate and become immersed in a watery world filled with brightly coloured fish and enchanting sea creatures and you’re sure to feel your anxiety lessen and your dark thoughts soften a little. It’s by no means a cure, but this is a fabulous book for distraction and the fact that you can remove the pages and display them means that all of your hard work and creativity can be prominently displayed and used to brighten up your darker days and remind you that you can create beautiful things which I often find gives me a huge self-esteem boost.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. If you liked Johanna’s original books or want to delve into her inky world for the first time then I’d strongly recommend purchasing it. With the best paper quality that I’ve come across in a colouring book, it contains the most stunning images and the feature of removable pages is one that I personally love because it means you can decorate your walls with your work or give wonderful, thoughtful presents to family and friends. This book exudes quality and luxuriousness from its thick card pages, to the signature gold foil accents on the front cover and the small selection of shells printed on the reverse of each picture, it is a work of art in itself and will be transformed into a masterpiece once you unleash your creativity upon it. I truly can’t enthuse enough about this book, it is a must-have and one that if you have been umming and ahhing about whether you should purchase it should be bought at once because I can just about guarantee that you won’t regret it. This book is ideal for anyone who is struggling with their mental health and anyone who just wants something truly beautiful to colour. Do check the images below to ensure the selection is one that you’re happy with and then get ordering because this is a book you definitely need in your collection, it’s gorgeous and one I can’t wait to get working on again!

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Lost Ocean Artist’s Edition
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Lost-Ocean-Artists-Edition-Johann-Basford/9780753548134?ref=grid-view&qid=1491572389812&sr=1-1/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Prismacolor Premier Coloured Pencils and blended with a Caran d’Ache blender pencil.

Johanna’s Christmas: A comparison between the UK and US editions

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Johanna’s Christmas was released in the UK and US last week and after the huge online debates surrounding the differences between the UK and US editions of her previous books I thought I’d do a comparison of them both as my previous comparisons of Lost Ocean and Magical Jungle were very successful. I was unable to get review copies so I have purchased the US edition from Book Depository and the UK edition from Amazon UK (purchase links below). I have heard that there are issues with some UK editions which have been printed in China, my copy was printed in Italy (more info below).

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. Some of the very noticeable differences include size and paper type so here goes with the most comprehensive list of similarities and differences that you’re likely to find online!

  1. Dust Jacket – This is usually one of the biggest differences between the editions, with the UK version usually having a removable dust jacket and the US edition having it attached. This time we have a break in convention and both the UK and US edition have attached covers, with no removable dust jacket. I think this is a shame as I’ve loved the removable dust jackets but there you go, neither has them.
    johannas-christmas-1-dust-jacket-1 johannas-christmas-1-dust-jacket-2 johannas-christmas-1-dust-jacket-3 johannas-christmas-1-dust-jacket-4 johannas-christmas-1-dust-jacket-5
  2. French Flaps – The inside flaps of the cover are larger in the UK edition. Both editions have a white line-drawn bauble pattern but the UK edition has more baubles printed smaller, the US edition has them cut off a little and printed larger, and the image on the UK front flap is on the back one in the US and vice versa.
    johannas-christmas-2-french-flaps-1 johannas-christmas-2-french-flaps-2 johannas-christmas-2-french-flaps-3
  3. Spine – The UK edition has a black spine with white writing (the same as Secret Garden and UK Lost Ocean and Magical Jungle) and the Virgin books symbol. The US edition has a white spine with black writing and the Penguin books symbol (the same as US Lost Ocean and Magical Jungle).
    johannas-christmas-3-spine-1 johannas-christmas-3-spine-2 johannas-christmas-3-spine-3
  4. Book size – The UK edition is exactly the same size as Johanna Basford’s first two titles (and the same as the UK editions of Lost Ocean and Magical Jungle) – 25cm square, the US edition is slightly larger at around 25.5cm square making it about half a centimetre taller and wider (this is the same size as the US editions of Lost Ocean and Magical Jungle).
    johannas-christmas-4-book-size-1 johannas-christmas-4-book-size-2
  5. Cover colour – The UK cover is bright white, the US cover is ever so slightly off-white though this is only noticeable when placed next to something truly white.
    johannas-christmas-5-cover-colour
  6. Foiling – This is one of the most noticeable differences. The UK edition has stuck with tradition and has gold foiling accents, these are smooth and very shiny and a yellower gold than the UK Magical Jungle foil (this didn’t show up well in photos). Most of the title and lots of aspects of the cover design are foiled. The sheer amount of foiling on the UK edition means that I feel it looks quite tacky and gaudy. The US edition is much more subtle and classy and has a fully foiled title in gold but brand new red and green foiling on the wreath which looks really beautiful!
    johannas-christmas-6-foiling-1 johannas-christmas-6-foiling-2 johannas-christmas-6-foiling-3 johannas-christmas-6-foiling-4 johannas-christmas-6-foiling-5 johannas-christmas-6-foiling-6 johannas-christmas-6-foiling-7 johannas-christmas-6-foiling-8
  7. Spelling differences – As you’d expect, the UK edition has the British spellings throughout of colour etc, the US edition has color (always check your cover as it’s the easiest way of telling if you have a UK or US edition by the spelling of “colouring book”).
    johannas-christmas-7-spelling-differences-1 johannas-christmas-7-spelling-differences-2
  8. Cover design – The image on the cover of the UK edition is ever so slightly smaller and shows a little less all the way around than the US edition, it is not shifted at all like previous covers have been.
    johannas-christmas-8-cover-design-1 johannas-christmas-8-cover-design-2
  9. Blurb – The UK and US editions have completely different blurbs.
    johannas-christmas-9-blurb-1 johannas-christmas-9-blurb-2
  10. Back cover design – The back of the UK edition is identical to the front, minus the foiling. The US edition also has no foiling on the back but the design is printed in a mirror image compared to the front.
    johannas-christmas-10-back-cover-design
  11. Inside covers – On opening out the French flaps, both editions have the same bauble design printed front and back, however the baubles are printed much larger in the UK edition.
    johannas-christmas-11-inside-covers-1 johannas-christmas-11-inside-covers-2
  12. Paper quality – This is one of the biggest differences between the two editions. The paper in each edition is the same as the paper used in that edition of Magical Jungle but they’re not the same as each other. The colour is different, the thickness is different and the surface texture is different. The UK paper is ivory and a much whiter hue, it is a little thinner but feels equally thick as Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest and significantly thicker than Lost Ocean. There is a little tooth but the paper does burnish after a few layers when tested with Polychromos and Prismacolor pencils. The US paper is ivory but a more cream colour though it’s still paler than the cream colour of Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest. The paper is the thickest yet and has a more visible tooth, it took far more layers for blending (see direct comparison below with identical numbers of layers with two polychromos pencils on the red and yellow leaf) and still isn’t totally burnished. In both editions water-based pens behave the same way and the paper in both is beautiful to colour on with pens as they glide really well with no feathering or spreading at all. The UK paper seems like it will shadow faster and more easily than the US edition and while I didn’t experience any shadowing in either, the UK paper did seem like it might with very dark colours if not using a light touch. The US paper is the ‘Johanna Basford’ paper which was created for her books and the UK paper was found by Johanna and her team in a global search for a suitable ivory paper. I personally prefer the colour of the UK edition but the US paper is much easier to use pencils on and is less likely to bleed with water-based pens so I have to recommend that one.
    johannas-christmas-12-paper-quality-1 johannas-christmas-12-paper-quality-2 johannas-christmas-12-paper-quality-3 johannas-christmas-12-paper-quality-4 johannas-christmas-12-paper-quality-5
  13. Page ink quality – Both books have equally permanent ink when tested with Derwent blender and burnishing pencils. Both smudged ever so slightly but I was pressing hard. I haven’t coloured an image in each with pencil yet to be able to state much about ink transfer, however, my US copy arrived with little bits of print transferred onto the opposite page, presumably just from the weight of being in a stack of books so I’d guess it’s not hugely permanent, my suggestion would be to use a scrap piece of paper behind your colouring in either edition of the book just to be safe, especially between the double page spreads.
    johannas-christmas-13-page-ink-quality-1 johannas-christmas-13-page-ink-quality-2 johannas-christmas-13-page-ink-quality-3 johannas-christmas-13-page-ink-quality-4
  14. Image size – The images in the UK edition are printed a fair bit smaller than the US edition (up to 1.5cm 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 hasn’t been especially noticeable in previous books but is visibly different in most images in these editions. Those of you with poorer vision or fine motor control would be best purchasing the US edition as the images are larger throughout, those who prefer intricacy should opt for the UK edition.
    johannas-christmas-14-image-size-1 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-2 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-3 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-4 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-5 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-6 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-7 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-8 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-9 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-10 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-11 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-12 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-13 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-14 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-15
  15. Printing – The UK edition is printed in Italy (predominantly, some much whiter versions seem to be appearing and these have apparently been published in China) and the US edition is printed in the US.
    johannas-christmas-15-printing-1 johannas-christmas-15-printing-2
  16. Image Quality – There was a major issue with pixelation in the UK edition of Magical Jungle, I’m pleased to state that at least in my copy there are no printing issues at all and image quality is equally good in the UK and US editions.
    johannas-christmas-16-image-quality-1 johannas-christmas-16-image-quality-2
  17. Introduction page – The text on both editions is laid out and justified differently.
    johannas-christmas-17-introduction-page-1 johannas-christmas-17-introduction-page-2
  18. Binding – The UK edition is stitched and lightly glue-bound whereas the US edition is only glue-bound which will make it less durable and can lead to pages falling out.
    johannas-christmas-18-binding
  19. Thickness – The UK edition is noticeably thinner than the US edition, this will be because the paper is thinner in the UK edition. This also makes the UK edition much bendier than the US edition.
    johannas-christmas-19-thickness-1 johannas-christmas-19-thickness-2 johannas-christmas-19-thickness-3 johannas-christmas-19-thickness-4
  20. Weight – The UK edition is also lighter in weight than the US edition. I have weighed them both and the UK edition weighs 488g and the US edition 514g.
    johannas-christmas-20-weight-1 johannas-christmas-20-weight-2
  21. Backing wallpaper colour – Each single-sided design has one of three festive wallpaper designs on the back because Johanna didn’t want the pages to just be blank. In the UK edition these are printed in a darker grey line than the fainter US edition.
    johannas-christmas-21-backing-wallpaper-colour
  22. Backing wallpaper order – The images are single-sided but 5 are arranged into double-page spreads meaning that the preceding double-page is wallpaper. In the UK edition both sides of the spread are the same wallpaper pattern, in the US edition they are each different though the order throughout on the single pages is the same.
    johannas-christmas-22-backing-wallpaper-order-1 johannas-christmas-22-backing-wallpaper-order-2
  23. Perforations – The perforations are better cut and more obvious in the UK edition and the pages are easier to tear out, they are less visible in the US edition and harder to pull out the pages. Both editions are quite difficult to remove the pages from and the section of the page that is left tends to rip as you’re pulling it out so do be very careful when removing pages to avoid any rips to the pages themselves.
    johannas-christmas-23-perforations-1 johannas-christmas-23-perforations-2 johannas-christmas-23-perforations-3 johannas-christmas-23-perforations-4
  24. Page size – The size of the perforated section of the page is different in each edition and actually neither are square which will making framing them a little bit challenging as they’re not a standard shape or size. You’ll either have to matt and layer in a larger frame or cut off some of the edge of the page on the centralised images to make them a standard size. The UK pages measure approximately 23.4cm x 24.9cm. The US pages measure approximately 24.1cm x 25.2cm.
    johannas-christmas-24-page-size-1 johannas-christmas-24-page-size-2 johannas-christmas-24-page-size-3 johannas-christmas-24-page-size-4

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 Johanna’s Christmas to match Secret Garden, Enchanted Forest and the UK editions of Lost Ocean and Magical Jungle 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 but it doesn’t have a removable dust jacket. This is also the best copy to purchase if you prefer higher levels of intricacy or more space to add your own drawings and backgrounds.
  2. Larger, easier to colour images and thicker paper– If your vision or fine motor control aren’t perfect then I’d definitely advise purchasing the US edition of Johanna’s Christmas because the extra (up to) 1.5cm in the images will be useful. The paper is thicker and toothier making it best for pen and pencil users, the US edition is superior in almost every way.

Everything else I’ve listed is not a criticism and doesn’t impact use or enjoyment, 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. In my opinion, the US edition offers a superior colouring experience to the UK edition and if you’re going to purchase just one copy then I’d suggest it be that one. 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 Johanna’s Christmas, including my mental health recommendations here for the UK and here for the US edition. My comparisons of the UK and US editions of Johanna’s other books can be found here – Lost Ocean & Magical Jungle.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of Johanna’s Christmas it’s available here:
UK Edition
Amazon UK – Johanna’s Christmas
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Johanns-Christmas-Johann-Basford/9780753557563/?a_aid=colouringitmom
US Edition
Amazon UK – Johanna’s Christmas
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Johanns-Christmas-Johann-Basford/9780143129301/?a_aid=colouringitmom