The Sussex Colouring Book: Past and Present – A Review

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The Sussex Colouring Book: Past & Present is published and very kindly sent to me to review by The History Press. This book is one in a huge series of what looks set to be a colouring book for every county in England as well as separate books for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. I have been sent two titles of the counties I’m most familiar with, Sussex, where I’m from and live currently, and the Isle of Wight where I took holidays as a child and my mum now lives. This book is 16.5 x 24cm, landscape, paperback, with a flexible card cover with a partially coloured image from inside the book and the book has a durable glue-bound spine which a little of each borderless image is lost into, the spine does ease up a little with use. The paper is bright white, thick and lightly textured making it ideal for pencils and water-based pens which only lightly shadowed, alcohol markers will bleed through. The 45 images are printed single-sided and on the opposite side is the title/description of what each picture is showing which makes identification a lot easier! Each book is illustrated by a different artist and their styles can vary quite a lot judging by the differences between the two counties I have so do use the Look Inside feature on Amazon to check the books you’re looking at purchasing.

The images in this book are mostly of well-known places and buildings from Sussex as well as a few random choices of images such as the meerkats at Drussillas Zoo and a Barn Owl at East Sussex Falconry, neither of these images have any landscape in them and are therefore just pictures of animals that could be found anywhere in the country rather than specifically Sussex. However, the vast majority of the images are exactly what you’d expect, line drawings of landmarks such as Brighton and Worthing piers; the South Downs; Wakehurst Place; Brighton Pavilion; Anne of Cleves House, Lewes; the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum; Chichester Cathedral; Bodiam, Amberley and Hastings Castles, and even beach huts and deck chairs on Brighton beach. This book is a whistle-stop tour of Sussex through the countryside, across the coast, and around its historic buildings and landmarks. The illustrations are drawn in a typical line drawing style with no added contour lines making it easy to distinguish what’s what and allowing for realistic blending and shading if you so wish.

In terms of mental health, this book is great for nostalgia and if you love the past, or the familiar and Sussex is a place that’s close to your heart, then you’re sure to love this book. The illustrations are a manageable size and don’t take days and days to complete unless you wish for them to. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is medium/thin with a few thin-lined details. The intricacy and detail levels vary throughout depending on the image content from extremely detailed and intricate brick buildings or pebbled beaches, to much larger open spaces of the Seven Sisters cliffs and Hove cricket ground. This means this book would be suited to anyone with fairly good vision and fine motor control but it doesn’t need to be perfect at all. The nostalgia and familiarity of these images means this book would be ideal for the elderly, to remind them of places from their lives, and key events, and happy days out. The images do require a fair amount of concentration but this provides great distraction and the landscape nature of the images means they’re great for escapism as you’re reminded of having long walks on The Downs, ice cream on the beach and using the 2p machines at the amusement arcades on the piers. I really enjoyed just looking through the images of places I’d been on school trips to, gone on family days out, and even performed ballet at, it really took me on a trip down memory lane.

I would highly recommend this book to Sussex lovers, the elderly, and anyone who would like to colour images of quintessentially English architecture and landscapes. This book is a manageable size and great for those with moderate vision and fine motor control.

If you’d like to colour your way through Sussex, the book is available here:
Amazon UK – The Sussex Colouring Book: Past & Present
Book Depository Worldwide ––Present-The-History-Press/9780750968096/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you’d like to colour other counties from the UK, then head to Amazon where all of the different titles are listed – County Colouring Books

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-tips and Marco Raffine pencils.

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