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Draw Your Way to a Younger Brain: Dogs: An Art Therapy Book (Drawing) is illustrated by Anastasia Catris, and published and kindly sent to me to review by Orion Books. This book is part of a new series called Draw Your Way To a Younger Brain and you can read my review of the other two titles here: Safari and Cats. Anastasia has been very busy in the colouring book world and has also created 6 beautiful colouring books which are the same size and shape with her signature drawings and my reviews of these can be found here. This book is small at 17cms square which makes it perfect for drawing on the go and taking travelling in your bag. It’s paperback with a beautiful pink cover which matches the others in the sets beautifully meaning they look really gorgeous together on a shelf. The images are printed double-sided onto bright white medium thickness paper which doesn’t bleed or shadow with water-based pens and has a little tooth perfect for blending and shading with pencils. The spine is glue-bound and the images are borderless so a little of each is lost into the spine though this will ease up a bit over time. The illustrations are, unusually, all double-page spreads and as this book is primarily a drawing book and secondarily a colouring book, there are lots of spaces for you to add your own drawings and patterns to. If you don’t like drawing then this is not the book for you. The illustrations take various different forms from a patterned animal on the left with a blank outline of it mirrored on the right to fill with patterns, to drawings that you can draw the other half of with a line of symmetry drawn down the middle, to scenes you can complete. There are written hints on every page to give you a suggested direction but you can complete the pages however you wish and there’s plenty of scope in many of them to go in whatever direction you choose. Some of the pages include: drawing dogs at a dog show; drawing the rest of a sled dog team; adding patterns to various breeds of dogs; and adding objects and animals to scenes. The images are very cohesive and similar in style to Anastasia’s colouring books and they’re beautifully drawn.
In terms of mental health, this book is great, as long as you like drawing! I personally really struggle with drawing and therefore don’t find it to be a remotely relaxing activity, however, this book isn’t too taxing and it gives a lot of hints to get you started with drawing. These aren’t techniques or things that will teach you how to draw but they are suggestions of what to draw and sometimes that’s all the inspiration you need. There are lots of patterns added to the completed drawings which you can use as inspiration for adding patterns to the unfinished sections. You could also use search engines to look up pictures of things you want to draw in the larger spaces so that you can try to learn to draw new creatures and objects. This book probably wouldn’t suit an advanced artist because the amount of finished work in it will probably be quite restrictive but it would definitely suit a beginner or intermediate artist, especially those who prefer to have suggestions made of what to create. Adding patterns and zentangling has been found to be relaxing and very good for practising mindfulness and the more patterns I’ve discovered and added to my repertoire, the easier it has become to add patterns to things without going blank or getting stressed about it. These books are ideal for learning new patterns but if you need more inspiration and doodling and drawing are your thing then I’d highly recommend the Art Therapy series of books which I’ve reviewed here. The images are varied in content and require various different types of drawing and doodling to be added, the line thickness is consistent throughout and is very thin so this is definitely a book for those of you with good vision and fine motor control. There is a lot of intricacy and detail added to the completed images and you can add however much intricacy and detail as you want in your own drawings. The whole book is fully colourable but this isn’t a colouring book specifically and won’t suit those of you who can’t draw because there are just too many open spaces that will look very odd without anything added to them and will leave your images looking unfinished.
I would highly recommend this book, and the others in the series, for anyone who likes to draw and needs a little inspiration in order to get going. The images are lovely and the nature theme is very calming and the portable size means they’re great for colouring and drawing on the go.
If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Draw Your Way to a Younger Brain: Dogs: An Art Therapy Book (Drawing)
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Draw-Your-Way-Younger-Brain-Dogs-Anastasia-Catris/9781409165477/?a_aid=colouringitmom