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Millie Marotta’s Wild Savannah: A Colouring Book Adventure (Colouring Books) published by Batsford Books, is from my personal collection. It’s not due to be published for another 3 weeks but has been released early in some UK bookshops and my boyfriend managed to hunt me down a copy to review for you all. I’ve heard reports that it’s currently available in WHSmith and Waterstones but do phone ahead to avoid disappointment, alternatively it’s available for pre-order online (links at the bottom of this review). Back to the review – Millie’s done it again, for the third time, and created another beautiful masterpiece! Millie has a really unique style of illustrating and while I’ve seen many books and magazines cropping up that attempt to somewhat recreate her style, in my view, they all fall short in comparison to Millie’s beautiful original creations. This is so much more than a colouring book, it is a true work of art! Get ready to go on safari through the Savannah, grab your binoculars, compass, map and dress in head-to-toe khaki, pack your butterfly net, camera, magnifying glass and mosquito net, and away we go!
Wild Savannah is a large square (same size as Animal Kingdom), paperback book with a glued spine and a thick, bendy card cover with beautiful gold foiling. This cover is folded over to double-thickness and opens out to show a beautiful savannah scene that can be coloured using any medium because it’s matte, not shiny. Most of the images are contained to one side of the page, but those that are double-page spreads do sadly lose some of the middle of the image into the spine (some people get around this by taking their book to an office supplier or book binding shop and getting it spiral-bound). The paper is bright white, and lightly textured meaning it’s ideal for pens and pencils and you’ll be able to build up plenty of layers. I experienced no bleeding or shadowing with my water-based fineliners (Stabilo Point 88) but do always be careful about how hard you press. This book contains almost 100 double-sided images to keep you busy for weeks, if not years. Millie’s book is filled with flora and fauna and the animal images include: a vulture, rhinos, antelope, a hyena, multiple anteaters, a family of emus, a crocodile, various kinds of insects, various indigenous deer-like creatures, lots and lots of birds, a kangaroo, a lion, a warthog, and ostriches. There are also a multitude of plants which I can’t possibly name, as well as some beautiful savannah scenes including: a pattern of elephants, a herd of wildebeest, baobab trees during the rainy season, a flock of flamingos, hippos bathing, gazelles leaping through a grassy plain, an army of leaf-carrying ants, giraffes drinking, and a zeal (yes that’s correct, I checked) of zebras!
In terms of mental health, this book is very intricate, but don’t let that scare you. You can use pencils, fine-nibbed felt tips, fineliners and gel pens, all with great effects and the images aren’t so detailed that you’re put off or overwhelmed. If you have vision problems or issues with fine motor control then you may struggle with this book but for any of the rest of you I’d suggest giving this book a go and persevering into a more intricate world. The natural scenes of animals, flowers and trees definitely create a sense of calm and this will be one of my go-to books when I really need to focus on something and be distracted. It’s detailed enough that you have to focus and concentrate and this lends itself wonderfully to drowning out any anxious or disturbing thoughts you may want to shift. Other books that are less detailed can be good for calming, but they’re less distracting as they involve less concentration, so if you’re feeling particularly plagued then intricacy is usually the way forward, though there’s a fine line between being distracted and becoming more frustrated, so be careful. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is really quite thin so I’d advise colouring during the day or near a very good desk lamp, both my mum and I have made the mistake of thinking we can get away with colouring this book in bad lighting and realising just what a mistake it was the next morning when we’ve got gaps or gone over the lines. The cohesion of this book being illustrated by one person throughout is just lovely and means it’s not bitty or all over the place like some books made by multiple illustrators can be. It almost feels like a story is being told as you turn the pages and it really is a book to work through and finish rather than just picking out your favourite images – of course this is fine to do too.
I can’t praise this book highly enough, every time I look through it I’m struck by the beauty of the images and there are so many ways of colouring them using rainbows, monochrome, black and white, mixed media and many more. If you’re stuck for ideas then just wait a few weeks and then put the title into Google Images or Pinterest and you’ll be flooded with inspiration (good luck narrowing down your choice of colours after that)! This book is highly detailed and beautifully delicate though some of the images have a detailed and less detailed copy (see the rhinos below) that you’re meant to add your own details to but can be coloured as they are with amazing effects and may be more suited to those who don’t have the patience or visual acuity to colour the most intricate images. Unlike Millie’s previous two titles which had written hints about what you could add or suggested colour schemes, this book has no writing through it so you’re free to colour however you want and you won’t have any text cluttering up your pages (a huge improvement in my opinion). Many of the patterns drawn onto the animals can be coloured over in blocks as well making them less intricate and giving your colouring texture and pattern rather than outlined spaces to colour, so the possibilities are endless. I urge you to give this book a go, you really won’t be disappointed. For those of you who already have Animal Kingdom/Tropical Wonderland and are wondering where to get your next creature colouring fix look no further, this is a stunning third instalment and I really hope there will be more to come in the future.
You can get your hands on a copy of this wonderful book here:
Amazon UK – Millie Marotta’s Wild Savannah: A Colouring Book Adventure (Colouring Books)
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Millie-Marotts-Wild-Savannah-Millie-Marott/9781849943284?ref=bd_recs_1/?a_aid=colouringitmom
The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.
Happy colouring and if you have any coloured in pictures from this, or any other books that you’d like to share then head over to my facebook page, I’d love to see them!