Gulliver’s New Travels: Colouring In a New World – A Review

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Gulliver’s New Travels: Colouring in a New World (Colouring Books) was published and very kindly sent to me to review by Batsford Books. This book is illustrated by James Gulliver Hancock and is a mixture of his own travels around the world and those of the original Gulliver of Jonathan Swift’s 18th-century stories. Scale in these illustrations varies throughout, just like in the original stories from Lilliput where the people are very small and Gulliver is comparatively a giant, to the land of Brobdingnag where giants of a much larger scale live and Gulliver is the size of a doll’s house doll. I expected this book to tell a somewhat coherent story and sadly it doesn’t, which I think is a little bit of a shame however, this doesn’t take anything away from the quirky and whimsical artwork. This book is square, the same size as other bestsellers, paperback, with brown card covers with an entirely silver foiled scene illustrated on the front. The images are printed double-sided and are a mixture of single and double-page spreads. The spine is glue and string bound making it durable but a little tricky to get to the middle of each spread so a little of each image is lost into it, though this will ease up a bit with use. The paper is bright white and medium thickness and sadly it bleeds pretty badly with water-based pens so I’d stick to pencils in this book which will work well as the paper is lightly textured. The book contains 96 pages of illustrations which are all drawn in a very cohesive, distinctive style which is quirky, cartoony and quite heavily patterned with few large open spaces within the designs. The pictures are very whimsical, fantastical and nonsensical and show images of giants, teeny tiny people, lands made of fruit, household objects, cities built in pot plants, soup bowls and suitcases and they include all manner of strange, weird and wacky objects and scenarios – the more you look, the more you see!

In terms of mental health, this book offers great escapism and doesn’t take itself too seriously with its whimsical imagery. There is a fair amount of detail and intricacy which is ideal for getting you to focus, concentrate, and get out of your head so that you can slow down the anxious and worrying thoughts and zone into colouring the small sections, patterns and items within each image. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is thin so you will need moderately good vision and fine motor control to enjoy this book. The images vary in size from entirely illustrated double-page spreads to smaller items in the centre of a page and everything in between. There are also a number of pages with expansive blank spaces which are either left blank for you to add your own extra drawings or backgrounds, or leave as they are. On 8 of these pages there are subtle written hints with questions and suggestions of things you could add such as ‘Where does this road go to?’ and ‘Add your own suitcase treasure’. These are all written along the edges of the pre-existing drawing so they are pretty easily ignored if drawing isn’t your forte and you prefer just to colour! The images are fun, quirky and light-hearted and this is great for keeping your mood lifted and is ideal for those who like to use bright and vibrant colour schemes because these illustrations don’t require realistic colours and you can really go all out like I did in my image. You will need a fair amount of concentration in order to complete these pages but because of the difference in size, there are larger and smaller projects for your good and bad days so there’s really something for everyone and it’s ideal for those of you with fluctuating conditions.

I would recommend this book for those of you who like quirky, whimsical images that are based on real items but aren’t realistic. While this book doesn’t tell a story, it’s a fun concept to follow Gulliver on his travels through different landscape scales and surrealism.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book then it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Gulliver’s New Travels: Colouring in a New World (Colouring Books)
Book Depository Worldwide –

If you can’t wait to get colouring in this book then head over to the Batsford website where there’s a free download that you can print and colour! Click here.

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.

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