Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Deluxe Edition Happiness is published and kindly sent to me to review by Parragon Books. The book is described as a deluxe edition and indeed it is, but this is the only edition published, there is no regular edition. This is one of two titles and this is my personal favourite, the other, Serenity, can be found reviewed by me HERE. The book is 26cm square, the hardback cover is a beautiful dark grey colour with a linen-style texture, the illustration is printed in white and the text on the cover and spine is embossed in gold foil. The spine is glue and stitch bound so it’s durable but quite difficult to get the book to open fully and lie flat. The book fastens shut with golden yellow ribbons and there is an identical ribbon bookmark which is very handy for marking the page you’re colouring. The pages are all printed single-sided and all of them have a thin border around them meaning none enter the spine and they would be easy enough to remove and frame if you wish. The paper is medium thickness, bright white and smooth, water-based pens shadow occasionally, alcohol markers will bleed so pop a protective sheet behind your work, pencils give even coverage because of the smoothness but it’s difficult to blend or layer with them because there’s no visible tooth. At the back of the book is a pocket containing a colourable poster which opens out to be a square, 4 times the size of the book pages (see photo below).
The images themselves are mostly nature inspired and range enormously from plants, flowers and leaves, to animals, insects, and shells. There is a huge amount of variety within these images, those of you who’ve already read my review of Serenity, the other title in this series, will know that the images in both books are stock images taken from Shutterstock and iStock, this is perfectly legitimate and there are no copyright issues with this at all and a large number of colouring books are created in the same way, luckily, I don’t recognise many, if any, of the images used in this book (not the case in Serenity where a huge number have been used in countless books) so this is unlikely to duplicate images in your current colouring book stash. A lot of the images are heavily patterned rather than especially realistic, however, they’re really good fun to colour and because they’re all created by different illustrators there is a real range of styles and designs. I expected this book to cost way more than £10, especially as it’s produced so nicely and printed single-sided. The cover image isn’t especially indicative of what’s inside so do check out my photos below.
In terms of mental health, this book offers a lot of variety so it’ll cover good days, bad days and anything in between. The content is very natural which is ideal for mental health and for calming you down and helping you zone out. The patterns within the images are also great because you aren’t restricted to colouring the animals and plants realistically if you don’t want to so the sky really is the limit when it comes to colour choices. The line thickness varies throughout from spindly thin to medium thickness. The intricacy and detail levels also vary hugely from teeny tiny details that you’ll struggle to colour within and probably have to colour over, to larger spaces however none of the images are overly basic (I coloured one of the simplest) or able to be viewed as children’s images therefore you will need pretty good vision and fine motor control to enjoy the majority of the book and very good levels of both to enjoy the most detailed and fine-lined images. You don’t need perfect concentration to be able to enjoy this book as some illustrations consist of lots of component parts which you could colour one or two of on a bad day, or you could colour a whole page on a good day, it’s ideal for those of you with fluctuating conditions. None of the images will take you ages to colour, especially not in pen so you can get a sense of achievement quite quickly without rushing through the book in a matter of weeks. The poster at the back is a nice added feature and a much larger project, I personally find it a very strange image choice as it doesn’t seem special and isn’t really the sort of image that you’d want to frame or display once finished, but that could just be me, everyone likes different things.
Overall, this isn’t one of my favourite books but it’s a very nice addition to any collection and would be a great starter book, as well as being ideal for those with fluctuating conditions. The production quality is really high, to the point where I can’t fault it, the images aren’t particularly special but do offer a huge amount of variety and the single-sided printing makes this book ideal for colourers who prefer to use pens and other wet media.
If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Deluxe Edition Happiness © Parragon Books Ltd 2016
The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-Tips and Staedtler Triplus Fineliners. The white accents were made with a White Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen.