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My Magical Oasis: Art Therapy Colouring Book for Creative Minds is published and was kindly sent to me for review by Plexus Books. This is the first book in the series and the second – My Magical Oasis is reviewed here. In short, this book is stunning and, in my opinion, comes close to rivalling the current bestsellers in the field. This square book is paperback, glue-bound and contains a whopping 101 images that are printed double-sided with no border so a small amount of the image is lost into the spine until this loosens up with use. The paper is white and fairly thin with a little texture so it is ideal for use with pencils (I used Marco Fine oil-based pencils which can be found for a VERY reasonable price on Ebay) but not so great with fineliners as they bleed through so if you’re wanting to use them pick your images carefully to avoid ruining one that you’re desperate to colour on the back (I used Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Scribbilicious Fineliners from The Works).
The images in this book are fairly cohesive and there is a lovely flora and fauna theme running through it though there are a few very different image styles that have almost been chucked in and seem quite out of place (see the Ram below). Mostly though, this book has a great flow and contains heaps of images of flowers, animals, patterns and mandalas to keep you colouring for weeks. The images vary in intricacy level but this is not a book for beginners or those with poor eyesight or fine motor control issues because mostly the images are intricate-highly intricate with a lot of detail added to most so good visual acuity and a steady hand will be a must! The line thickness varies from spindly thin to thick and chunky but mostly resides in the thin (but not too thin) area. Many of the images are realistically drawn but there are also a huge number of stylised and almost cartoon-style drawings. Some of the images are double-page spreads and others show a pattern or whole image on one side and then a zoomed in or repeated version on the opposite page creating a really nice pair without them being matching. There is no pre-added colour in this book but there are a number of pages that have gaps and spaces and written hints about what you can add there so for those of you that like drawing there is scope to add to and embellish this book.
In terms of mental health, this book is a great one and should definitely be added to your collection. The sheer variety of image content means this book was already onto a winner but the level of intricacy and detail in the majority of the images means that it’s perfect for keeping you focused and occupied. Those of you who have days of poor concentration will be able to use one of the simpler images contained within to still get your colouring fix but these are sparing so those of a moderate to advanced level of colouring would be best suited to this book. That said, I found it really relaxing, calming and distracting and it’s staying firmly in my “to keep” pile as it’s joined my ever-growing favourites list. As you’ll have seen in my other reviews, I rate books with natural images of animals and flowers very highly because they seem to have the greatest calming effect on me – the fact that there are ready made colour schemes for real things such as snails, lilies and irises means that if you really struggle with colour choices you can just head to google and choose from there. I also find it very soothing colouring natural images because I’m virtually housebound and don’t often get the chance to go outside and experience these things in the real world anymore so being able to colour my own flowers and animals is a helpful way in which I can reconnect with nature without my anxiety disorders kicking off and ruining my enjoyment of it. This book really is a magical oasis of reality and fantasy and totally brings you back to nature. This is a fabulous book for calming your thoughts and has more than enough detail to keep you focused and distracted from worries and stresses. I would highly recommend it, in particular to those of you who are fans of JB and MM’s work as this book is somewhere inbetween but with its own unique and beautiful style. If you’d like to purchase a copy then head over to Amazon UK via this link My Magical Oasis: Art Therapy Colouring Book for Creative Minds or Book Depository Worldwide here – http://www.bookdepository.com/My-Magical-Oasis-Eglantine-De-L-Fontaine-Various/9780859655354/?a_aid=colouringitmom