The Coloring Notebook is published and kindly sent to me to review by Coloring Notebook LLC. Colouring notebooks and journals are becoming increasingly popular as people are wanting to combine their love of colouring with their desire to write, many people associate journaling or writing a diary with adding doodles but for those of us with no drawing or doodling talent, the colouring notebook solves the problem of wanting to be creative but not being able to draw. This book is A5, hardback with a soft feel black cover with the words Coloring Notebook embossed on the back cover, it has a card slip around it which is removable and states what type of paper is inside and it has a black elasticated band to keep the book closed making it the perfect size and design to take with you on the move. The spine is glue and stitch bound so it’s durable and should be hard-wearing but this does mean that there is a gutter down the centre of the pages which makes it difficult to reach the centre of the images. The book and pages have rounded corners and there is a helpful yellow satin ribbon bookmark to mark your page for easy access, on the inside of the back cover is an expandable thick paper pocket which is described as able to fit A5 sheets of paper but is an inch too short for this. The coloring notebook contains 176 pages of 100gsm pages, the paper is described as archival quality and the website states you can use most mediums but I found this not to be the case. The paper is a cream colour and is thin (outlines of the images can easily be seen through the pages), I experienced heavy shadowing throughout and bleed-through in numerous places so I’d avoid using any type of pen apart from possibly gel pens, and sticking to coloured pencils which are ok to blend and layer on this paper though there’s not much tooth so you can’t build up a lot of layers. The notebooks all contain the same images but you can order them with plain, lined or dot-grid paper so they can be used for a multitude of tasks and you can order the best one to suit your needs. I was sent lined and dot-grid copies and am personally a fan of the lined paper as the dots are quite faint though this would be useful for creating diagrams or patterns. The illustrations themselves are a really random and quirky assortment of pictures created by numerous artists, they are mostly single pages and kept to the right hand page and 5 are double-page spreads. There are a fair number of double-page spreads with no images so there is plenty of room for writing, doodling or drawing, as well as over 50 colouring pages so there’s loads to keep you busy all in one notebook. The images range from cartoons and random objects like floppy discs to futuristic scenes from space, fantasy scenes of a Godzilla-style monster rampaging through the streets, to images of cupcakes and pasta dishes. There really is something for everyone, there’s even a mandala!
In terms of mental health, this notebook is great for those of you who want to combine journaling, doodling or drawing with colouring, you could even use it to jot down notes about your mental health and keep a record of it. The line thickness varies throughout and ranges from medium thickness to spindly thin so you’ll need pretty good vision and fine motor control for some of the images. The intricacy and detail levels do vary but most of the images are very intricate and detailed with few large open spaces meaning these images will take quite a long time to colour. There are a number of images that are made up of various small component parts so this notebook can definitely be easily used by those with fluctuating symptoms or concentration levels because you can easily colour one cupcake or raccoon on a bad day, or a whole page or even double-page spread on a good day when your focus is good. This notebook offers a great way of being creative for those of us who can’t or don’t like to draw and who want to combine creativity with journaling or note-writing of some kind. The illustrations are so varied that you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy colouring and they’re not pretty or girly so this notebook would suit male and female colourers alike with its quirky, fun and often downright random imagery!
I would recommend this coloring notebook to people who want to combine colouring with any activity that they usually use a normal notebook for. If you’re a pen-lover then I’d steer clear because of the thin paper as it bleeds badly, but if you love colouring in pencils or pastels then you’ll love combining colouring and writing or doodling. These notebooks aren’t available on Amazon but can be ordered to most places worldwide from the Coloring Notebook website here.
If you can’t wait to get your hands on one and would like a copy with the dot-grid paper then head over to my Facebook page where I’m running a giveaway for my second copy. This competition is open to UK residents only and will close at 8pm on Monday the 11th of July.
The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.