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Zen Coloring Book: Mandalas and More for Artists of All Ages: Volume 1 This beautiful and unusual mandala colouring book is illustrated and was kindly sent to me for review by Deirdre “Crafty Dee” Dixon. This book, at first glance, looks like it could be aimed at children but as you turn the pages, the complexity of the mandalas increases and the world of possibilities starts to open up. These mandalas aren’t just the usual patterned circles, many of them include pictures of flowers, plants and animals which are really charming to look at and to add colour to. The images are roughly grouped by complexity from beginner to more complex, though none of them are especially detailed or intricate so this book would be great for those of you who prefer simpler designs or those who have poor vision or issues with fine motor control. This paperback book is a fair bit smaller than A4 size but much larger than A5, it’s glue-bound so doesn’t lie flat but none of the images go up to the edges so there is no image loss in the spine. The images are printed single-sided onto bright white medium-thickness paper. Water-based fineliners and fibre-tip pens didn’t bleed but alcohol markers and sharpies would so makes sure you place some scrap paper behind your work. The line thickness is medium throughout so there aren’t any tiny areas to contend with and you don’t need to worry about going over the lines. The large spaces in some of the simpler designs can be used to practice your doodling and texture techniques rather than just colouring in blocks so this is a great book for expanding your techniques and abilities. The book contains a whopping 50 mandalas that are all numbered so it’s easy to locate your works in progress and practice your blending and shading.
In terms of mental health, this book is very calming and despite not being a fan of mandalas, I really enjoyed colouring the images ready for reviewing because they’re so different from the norm. Mandalas are inherently very relaxing to colour because of their repetitive patterns and they are a great tool for practising mindfulness and meditation which we all know are very useful for keeping mental illness symptoms at bay or at least a little more manageable. This book reminded me of some of the images I used to enjoy colouring as a child and I really enjoyed being able to colour them in a more adult and complex way and seeing how my colouring has improved. The images are relatively small and uncomplicated so they’re great for giving you a quick colouring fix that you can finish within minutes or a couple of hours rather than days or weeks. For those of you that aren’t so keen on traditional mandalas but who like circular designs, this may well be the book for you. I’ve found it particularly useful when I’m really anxious and can’t deal with the intricately detailed books because my vision has deteriorated and my tremor has increased. This book has meant that I could colour without stressing about accidentally going over the lines and I could see my progress quickly which has been very helpful. This is a lovely book that is ideal for those of you who like mandalas and those who need a thicker line and a less complicated image to colour. Deirdre has even created a Facebook group where you can look for inspiration for how to colour her images, or post up your own which can be found here. Enjoy! If you’d like to get a copy for yourself then head over to Amazon via this link Zen Coloring Book: Mandalas and More for Artists of All Ages: Volume 1