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Summer Nights Coloring Book is illustrated by Hanna Karlzon and published and very kindly sent to me to review by Gibbs Smith. This book was originally published in Sweden under the title Sommarnatt and it’s finally been published in English and I can’t tell you how excited I was to finally receive my copy! There has been a lot of worry about whether the English editions would match up in quality to the Swedish editions and I can confirm that they absolutely do! Gibbs Smith have meticulously published this so it’s identical to the Swedish editions except for being written in English, the paper is not only identical, it’s from the same paper mill so these books really are truly identical! So, now that’s cleared up, on with the review.
This book is hardback and just a little smaller than A4 at 21.6 x 25.8 cm. The covers are a beautiful pale pink colour with black and white butterflies with gold foiling accents and lettering adding a touch of luxury! The spine of the book is black with gold lettering (these books look really luxurious on the shelf and look like classic tomes). The pages are glue and string-bound and the pages are attached to a sturdy ribbon which is flexible rather than being rigidly glued to the hardback spine; the spine is durable and hard-wearing but it can be a bit difficult to get to the very centre of some of the pages though this does ease up with use. The paper is thick, cream and lightly textured and pencils work well on it, easily building up layers for blending and shading and water-based pens don’t bleed or shadow (always test somewhere inconspicuous because everyone colours differently). The illustrations are printed double-sided and consist of single and double-page spreads. The image content is really varied and utterly beautiful! The pictures are very nature-centred but not all of them are realistic or as you’d find nature in real-life. There are lots of images of women (11) with flowing hair, floral tattoos and piercings but if you’re not interested in colouring people, don’t despair, these are not the majority and there are heaps of images of animals, flowers and plants and lots of gems for those of you who, like me, are addicted to colouring gemstones! It’s hard to describe the sheer amount of content within this book but some of the pages include pictures of keys, bees, mice, houses, cats, owls, portraits, butterflies, spiders, mushrooms, frogs, birds, and just so much more! The illustrations are all drawn in a very ornate, highly decorative style and they’re just beautiful and they look incredible when coloured!
In terms of mental health, this book is just wonderful, it offers escapism, natural imagery and lots of whimsy and it’s perfect for distraction even just by looking through the images! The line thickness is consistent throughout and remains medium/thin so it’s definitely manageable to colour. The intricacy and detail vary throughout and mostly range from medium to high but a few have much larger open spaces. The detail is part of what makes Hanna’s work so special and beautiful, if you’re wanting to colour within each teeny tiny section then you’ll need to have very good vision and fine motor control but if you’re happy to colour over some of it and use it as texture underneath then moderate vision and fine motor control would be absolutely fine! Unlike Hanna’s first book Daydreams, this book doesn’t contain any images with written prompts to fill in the outline with your own patterns. This may be a welcome change for those of you who don’t like to draw. A number of the images are centralised and have large open spaces behind or within them so there are plenty of opportunities to create your own background if you wish, though if course this isn’t a requirement! I found this book and the illustrations within it great for my mood, just looking through it and noticing all of the different details, patterns and creatures makes me feel calmer and the images are just charming so they’re sure to lift your mood and keep you distracted from any difficult thoughts or persistent symptoms. The images do vary in size and difficulty and they consist of a mixture of collections of components and scene scape images. This makes it ideal for good and bad days because you can work on one flower or beetle on a bad day, or a whole page on a good day so it’s ideal for those with fluctuating conditions or concentration levels.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves natural images, highly ornate illustrations, and anyone who likes all things pretty. This book is genuinely stunning and one of my favourites, I love just looking through it and I can’t wait to colour it cover to cover!
If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available right now at Book Depository and will be shipping shortly from Amazon.
Amazon UK – Summer Nights Coloring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Summer-Nights-Coloring-Book-Hann-Karlzon/9781423645580/?a_aid=colouringitmom
If you can’t get enough of Hanna’s work then check out her first book Daydreams, reviewed by me here.
The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils.