Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Birdtopia: Colouring Book (Colouring Books) is published and was kindly sent to me to review by Laurence King Publishing; it’s illustrated by Daisy Fletcher. This book is one of the most unusually formatted books I’ve seen during my time reviewing and the content isn’t quite as I’d expected – to illustrate this I’ve recorded a video flick-through which can be found HERE as well as a full written review and photographs as usual. This book is a little larger than A4 at 23.5 by 31cm, paperback with sturdy card covers with a gold foiled title. The paper is bright white, thick and lightly textured, the paper takes pencil very well and allows for lots of light layers which makes blending a breeze and even better, there’s absolutely no shadowing or bleed-through with water-based pens which is a huge bonus! The really strange part of the formatting is that the paper is white and the colouring spaces are left white but all of the backgrounds are printed in a strong cream colour. These background don’t feel printed and there isn’t a weird surface to the paper so you can still add your own background with pencil or pastel or any other mediums you normally use, but it means the uncoloured pages look quite strange and different from any other book I’ve seen. The images are printed double-sided and some are full page images and others are small illustrations somewhere in the middle of the page. There is a mixture of single page and double-page spreads and the spine is glue and string bound and is very durable but a little of many of the images is lost into it though with some bending it does loosen up a lot.
The book starts with a This Book Belongs To… page and then contains 76 images of birds, flowers, and other wildlife. The images contain a huge number of different birds from blue tits to birds of paradise, eagles to hummingbirds, flamingos to swallows and flocks more! Some of the images are drawn to scale with the birds and flowers drawn in a realistic scale and others have varied scale with birds being the same size as rabbits and foxes and flowers being much larger. Each double-page spread includes at least one bird, usually many more, and at the back of the book there are thumbnail pictures of each image with the names of each of the birds and few other animals included which makes them easy to identify and research to discover realistic colour schemes for them. In addition to the line drawings, there are also a few, quite strange, greyscale and sometimes fully coloured animals and a couple of flowers which almost look photoshopped into the images (see photos below), the greyscale creatures could be coloured over but the others are already finished for you. These certainly aren’t on the majority of images but there are a fair few and some of the collections of things on a page are quite oddly arranged, such as a hare sat on a pine cone, or a barn owl perched on a poppy. In the centre of the book are 3 double-page spreads of fully coloured images and while sections of these are found uncoloured throughout the book, the exact arrangements are unique to these pages. None of this is a criticism, and I don’t dislike it, it’s just very unusual and different from anything I’ve seen before and therefore worth commenting on.
In terms of mental health, this book is pretty good because of the information at the back of the book identifying what each animal is so that you can head to google and get searching for the accurate colour schemes if you wish. This means that colouring can be very relaxing and thought-free as you’ve got a ready created colour scheme that nature has handed you on a plate that can be found with a quick internet search. The natural images are lovely and relaxing and are sure to ground you and calm you down. The sometimes unusual arrangements are quirky and intriguing and these are almost energising as you ponder the surrealism of them. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is spindly thin so you will need very good fine motor control to enjoy and fully utilise this book. The intricacy and detail level varies throughout from large open spaces to teeny tiny sections so this book will only really suit those of you with good vision. The images themselves vary in size hugely so this a great book for those of you with fluctuating conditions because you can do some of the smaller images on your bad days or tackle a full double-page spread on your good days and everything in between. There are lots of large open spaces around the images where you could add your own drawings or backgrounds and there are no drawing hints to these images look and feel finished but you can add to them if you wish.
I would highly recommend this book to bird-lovers and those who love to colour nature and natural images, who don’t mind a bit of the surreal. This book is beautifully drawn and if the cream background don’t bother you then this book is sure to be a winner and the paper quality is fabulous!
If you’d like to purchase a copy of the book, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Birdtopia: Colouring Book (Colouring Books)
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Birdtopi-Colouring-Book-Daisy-Fletcher/9781780677798/?a_aid=colouringitmom
The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils.