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Floribunda: A Flower Colouring Book (Colouring Books) is published and very kindly sent to me to review by Laurence King Publishing. Laurence King are known for publishing beautiful, high-quality books and their production is, in my view, second to none, and this latest book from them is no exception. This is possibly the prettiest, most delicate, most realistic nature colouring book I’ve ever seen and I’m really excited to bring it to your attention. The book itself is large at just over 33cm by 25cm (the same size as the artist’s editions of Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest – also published by Laurence King) and the pages are thick card which is a beautiful cream colour, lightly textured and perfect for use with water-based pens which don’t bleed sideways or through, and pencils which layer and blend beautifully. The 20 images are printed single-sided onto the card and all of them are portrait, apart from one landscape image. 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 do stay put as long as you’re careful and don’t twist the spine too much. 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 images themselves are what makes this such a beautiful and unusual book. The 20 images are all realistic drawings of flowers and leaves and rather than being a scene, they’re more like you’d find in a flower-spotters guide or an old-fashioned nature guide. The main flowers are all named underneath with their common and (I’m guessing) Latin name so they’re easy to identify and this is perfect for helping you to pick out colour schemes. Once I’d chosen the page I wanted to work on I went straight online and put the names into Google Images and I had a ready-made colour scheme just waiting to be copied. I didn’t have to worry about what colours to choose or what would look good with what, I just went with the colour scheme nature has chosen and I’m incredibly pleased with the results. The images are various different shapes but are mostly circular or square and they feature 3 or more flowers in each. Sometimes a few random flowers or leaves are added in which aren’t named (a slight frustration I found because I really want to colour my pages completely realistically and I’m not sure what some of these unnamed plants are) but the most prominent flowers in each image are named and are very recognisable as soon as you search for images online. The illustrations are drawn beautifully in a very thin, delicate line which is consistent throughout and there are lots of intricate parts to colour whether they be veined leaves, sepals or spindly thin stamens, there’s a lot of detail to get your teeth into and these images are very realistically drawn. The inside of the front and back cover is filled with full colour illustrations of various different flowers that are included within the book and these are a great place to start when picking colours and are really useful inspiration. There is a border around all of the images so these pieces would be incredibly easy to frame and would look stunning on the wall. A huge number of flowers is included from poppies to freesias, lilies to roses, Michaelmas daisies to agapanthus and plenty more. This book is a botanical-lover’s dream!
In terms of mental health, this book is fantastic, even just leafing through the pages brings calmness and focuses your thoughts as you notice all of the detail contained in each drawing. Nature and realism is the best thing for lessening symptoms of mental and physical illnesses and this book is sure to calm you down, relax you, and refocus your attention on the present. The images are complex and intricate and require a lot of concentration so you can accurately pick out which bits are petals or leaves and which stem is connected to which flower so this is certainly a book that will provide a wonderful amount of distraction but not one to be used on your worst days because the concentration required will be too much. There are large open spaces (see the dahlias and peonies) and teeny tiny sections (see the daisies and allium) and everything in between but the spindly thin line that these illustrations are so beautifully drawn in will unfortunately prevent those of you with any vision or fine motor control issues from enjoying this book. These drawings would simply not be the same drawn in a chunkier line but this does mean that you need to have good vision and co-ordination. Fineliners and well-sharpened pencils will be your best friends for this book, and the images are very time-consuming to complete so you’re certainly getting a lot of colouring time for your money and you’ll wile away the hours without even realising! These illustrations are beautifully cohesive and really are wonderful to colour and the innate beauty of the flowers and the colours you can add to them is sure to lift your mood and brighten even the darkest of days, it’s certainly helped lift my mood whilst I’ve been colouring ready to review.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves flowers, nature, and realistic imagery, who has good vision and co-ordination and who would like to frame their work. This is one of the prettiest books I’ve seen and the card the images are printed on is fantastic for almost any medium. This is definitely the book for lovers of all things botanical.
If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Floribunda: A Flower Colouring Book (Colouring Books)
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Floribund-Leil-Duly/9781780677767/?a_aid=colouringitmom
The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils.