Art Therapy

The Book of Prehistoric Beasts – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Book of Prehistoric Beasts is illustrated by Angela Rizza, published and kindly sent to me to review by Buster Books. This book is enormous, at a whopping 29cm square, it’s hardback with gorgeous deep green covers and all printing on both covers is silver foiled so it’s a really luxurious feeling book! The spine is glue and string-bound and very durable, it’s a little tricky to get to the very centre of the images but this is only a few millimetres. The images are printed single sided and on the back of each page is lots of information about each creature that is pictured including its name, size, diet, what it looked like, when it lived and facts about its environment. The paper is bright white, medium thickness and smooth, it takes soft pencils well but harder pencils may be a struggle to build up layers for blending due to the lack of tooth; alcohol makers will bleed through the page which you may not mind if you don’t wish to read the information on the back, and water-based pens don’t bleed or shadow, though do test them in an inconspicuous area to check. The book starts with a double-page spread showing the timeline of creatures and they’re shown in this order through the book from the earliest period, Devonian, 419.2 million years ago, all the way up to Quaternary, 2.6 million years ago. The images are split into 4 chapters including different time periods: Devonian, Carboniferous and Permian; Triassic and Jurassic; Cretaceous; and Tertiary and Quaternary. The images themselves are all full page spreads, each containing a few prehistoric creatures. A huge number of creatures are pictured, 87 in fact, and these mainly consist of dinosaurs but do include other, older creatures (I’m not sure if these class as dinosaurs) and younger creatures; the beasts include: gigantoscorpio, dimetrodon, ammonite, icthyosaurus, brachiosaurus, archaeopteryx, microraptor, tyrannosaurus, quetzalcoatlus, mononykus, triceratops, basilosaurus, megalodon, glyptodon, mammuthus, smilodon and gigantopithecus, and so many more, all of the creatures are pictured on the double-page timeline at the beginning of the book and then shown drawn in their habitats and to scale in the colouring pages. This book is every dinosaur-lovers’ dream, my brother was obsessed with dinosaurs growing up and I was therefore forced into knowing an awful lot more about them than I wanted to at the time, knowledge that has come in handy for many random reasons since and this book definitely covers all of the most well-known dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures, as well as others that you may never have heard of and can start to research if you wish.

In terms of mental health, you’re unlikely to find a more distracting book. The production quality is very high and from the cover and the very first page, you’re transported back in time to millions of years ago where gigantic beasts roamed the land and the landscape was unrecognisable, you instantly become immersed in this world as you learn facts about the animals and start to colour them and their habitats. It’s not calming as such, not in the same was as colouring landscapes and more familiar animals, but it’s really is very distracting and absorbing which is great for those of us with anxious, racing minds. The line thickness is consistent throughout and remains medium and thin. The intricacy and detail levels are quite variable depending on the creature and its landscape but there are a lot of details drawn in as well as a lot of dotted shading (ideal for beginner colourists who want to learn more about colouring realistically and learning where light and shade should be), therefore you will need moderate to good levels of vision and fine motor control to enjoy this book. This book is actually published with kids in mind though they’ll need to be quite mature and artistic to get the most out of it and have a good reading age as there are a lot of tricky animal names to contend with, at a guess, I’d suggest this book for kids aged 8 and above and I’d highly recommend it for big kids (adults!) too because we could all do with learning just a little bit more about the fascinating world of dinosaurs. The illustrations have been very cleverly curated to mostly include more than one creature and sometimes all of them are land or sea creatures and other time part of the image is above ground and other sections are underwater. None of the images feel random, haphazard or badly staged, they’re all really well-drawn and feel quite like uncoloured versions of the images found in regular dinosaur fact books and encyclopaedias. The scenes and animals are drawn pretty realistically and mostly don’t have patterns added to them unless it’s assumed they had those in real life, obviously there may be some inaccuracies as with most historic representations of velociraptors which show them featherless and significantly larger than they possibly could have been, but the artist has clearly worked hard to make these look as realistic as possible within the confines of the majority only being found as fossilised skeletons and a lot of guesswork having to be done about their external features, colouring and patterns.

Overall, this is a great book for those who already love prehistoric beasts, and those wanting to know more. The book is ideal for children and adults and the pages look amazing once coloured and you could even remove them from the book and frame them for you dinosaur-fanatic children (or yourself) if you wish, they’d look great as a series on the wall in a bedroom or playroom or even a classroom! The paper is pretty good and the facts and information about each beast is a huge added bonus.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of the book, it’s available here:
Amazon UK- The Book of Prehistoric Beasts
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Book-of-Prehistoric-Beasts-Jonny-Marx-Angela-Rizza/9781780554976/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils.

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Exploratorium - Ideal for child and adult colourists, fans of Doodle Fusion and Kerby Rosanes's artwork will love this book. Click through for the review, video and photos!

Exploratorium: A Search and Colour Mission – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Exploratorium: A Search and Colour Mission is illustrated by Lei Melendres and published and kindly sent to me to review by Michael O’Mara Books. This book is 25cm square, the same size as the bestsellers, paperback with black covers and coloured elements from inside the book on the covers. The spine is glue and string-bound and relatively tight but it does become more pliable with use so that you can reach the majority of the image to colour it. The images are printed double-sided and all of them are double-page spreads. The paper is bright white, medium thickness and lightly textured, it takes pencil well and water-based pens don’t bleed but do shadow a little so you may not want to use these but it should get covered when colouring the other side. This book is primarily aimed at children, however, the images are pretty detailed and packed with content and therefore plenty of adults will love it too. The book starts with a short introduction explaining the premise of the book, it’s a search and find colouring mission so there are a list of objects depicted which can be found within the pages. Following this, each double-page spread is dedicated to a different world and these drastically range in theme from space and future-themed to prehistoric and historical, there are heaps and heaps of scenes from a circus to haunted house, alien invasion to science lab, candy land to the North Pole, skate park to volcano and time travel to under the sea and so much more, there is a really wide scope to the content and something to suit everyone. Lei’s art style is most similar to Kerby Rosanes’s and is very much drawn in a doodle style, the images are packed with alien creatures and strange forms and the content is really quirky, whimsical and fun. The search and find aspect is surprisingly difficult for a book that’s aimed at children, my boyfriend spent ages searching for the items in one of the spreads and in the end had to give up on the last one and look at the answers, luckily there are thumbnail pictures of the spreads at the back that identify where the hidden creatures and objects are so there’s no need for frustration if one or two elude you.

In terms of mental health, this book is pretty good, the pages are packed with content and are very distracting, there’s loads to look at, to hunt down, and then to colour and this book really will keep you occupied for hours. It’s certainly not a calming book so those of you with anxiety or a racing mind may want to keep this book for calmer days but the content is quite invigorating so those suffering from low mood may well be perked up by the humour often depicted and added into the scenes. The line thickness is fairly consistent within each page but differs between them as do the intricacy and detail levels, all have a lot of content but some are much more detailed and fine-lined than others so do check out the photos and video flick-through as you’ll need fairly good vision and fine motor control to get the most out of this book, it’s certainly not well-suited to young children, probably advanced 8 year olds and up. While the content isn’t nature-based, the fantasy elements and imagination of it all are great for absorbing you into a far off land in the past or future which is often better than the here and now and is great for keeping your mind busy and focused on the task at hand rather than any troublesome thoughts or symptoms you might be experiencing. A lot of the images are filled with wacky, surreal creatures and therefore don’t have a “real” colour scheme that you need to follow so you can really go to town and use any colour you fancy and it’ll look equally fabulous and even the realistic aspects can be spiced up by unusual colour schemes like trees with blue trunks and orange leaves, purple pumpkins or red rocks, just grab a pen or pencil and get colouring and you’ll soon be fully immersed in this intricate, doodle-filled world.

Overall, I would highly recommend this to older kids and adults, it’s great fun to hunt the hidden items and to colour and the different scenes make for a really varied colouring experience with each scene being different from the last and transporting you to a far off place. This book is surreal, wacky and a joy to colour for the young, the old, and everyone in between!

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Exploratorium: A Search and Colour Mission
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Exploratorium-Lei-Melendres/9781910552759/?a_aid=colouringitmom

You can see my silent video flick-through of the book here.

The page below was coloured using Staedtler Fibre-Tip Pens.

Fantasia – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Fantasia is illustrated by Nicholas F. Chandrawienata and published and kindly sent to me to review by Phoenix Amulet Publishing. This book is one of the most talked about in the colouring groups on Facebook and has been one of the most difficult to get hold of after early US editions were printed with very disappointing paper quality, however, these issues have now been rectified and the book is produced to an extremely high standard and is readily available on Amazon US (details about International purchase at the bottom of the review above the photos). The book itself is 27.4 x 25.4cm, landscape orientation, paperback with flexible card covers with a fully coloured image from inside on the front. The book is spiral-bound on the left side and the pages are perforated but don’t come loose unless deliberately detached from the book. The 61 images are printed double-sided onto thick white paper, it’s not bright white but not off white either, it has a great amount of tooth (see photos below) and is ideal for layering and blending pencils and it doesn’t bleed or shadow with water-based pens when used carefully; alcohol markers will bleed through and you should always test any pens including water-based markers in an inconspicuous area to ensure you don’t ruin any reverse images as everyone colours differently. The images are all contained to a single page, none of them are spreads. The illustrations are really varied in content and while the majority are of people including their faces, upper bodies and whole bodies, a number of them are quite random too and include Easter eggs, a dinosaur, dragons, koi carp, roses, snowflakes, skulls and all sorts more. The most iconic images from this book and the ones that really sell it and look most spectacular when coloured are the images of people and these truly are transformed with colour, whether you use realistic flesh tones or go all out with green or purple tones instead, these images look unbelievable! Nicholas is an extremely talented illustrator and his work really is perfect, it’s beautiful, and really detailed and due to him being from Indonesia, there is a real Asian influence on his work which we don’t often see in colouring books and is a really fresh thing to see and colour. His work really does have to be seen to be believed so do check out the images below so you can see some of the variety and wide-ranging content as well as the beauty of his drawings.

In terms of mental health, this book is great, it’s so distracting and unusual and on one page you’re transported into prehistoric times where dinosaurs roamed the earth and on another you’re face to face with a mermaid, pirate, or even death. The illustrations are realistically drawn but much of the content is mythical or fantastical so there are no “correct” colour schemes and this book is definitely one to push you out of your comfort zone and get you trying new colour schemes and learning to colour flesh, fur or metal accurately. This book isn’t for the faint-hearted but if you’re brave you’ll really reap the rewards because it looks just incredible when coloured! The line thickness is consistent throughout and remains thin but not spindly. The intricacy and detail levels do vary throughout each picture with most containing some large and some small spaces, for example a large open space of a face with much more detailed flowers around the edge; none of the spaces are particularly tiny apart from on the odd occasion so this book would be suitable for most levels of vision and fine motor control but do check the pictures of the pages below in order to ensure suitability. Three of the images have small text on them suggesting for you to add detail to a named section of the image which has been left uncharacteristically simple, these aren’t overly intrusive and you can always ignore the instructions like I did and just colour the image as it is. This book does mostly require a fairly high level of concentration but there are a few images that are made up of component parts which you could focus on when you’re feeling poorly and leave the full page portraits for day when you’re feeling better and up for a challenge. I really can’t rave about this book enough, it’s stunning and even though a lot of the content isn’t stuff I’d normally choose to colour, I can’t wait to work my way through every page in this book because the artwork is just so beautiful!

Overall, I can’t recommend this book highly enough, it’s absolutely gorgeous and a great challenge to get you out of your comfort zone, the paper is fantastic for pencil-lovers and the illustrations are incredible. It’s ideal for those with mental or physical health problems as it’s so distracting and isn’t ridiculously intricate so it’s accessible and if you’re prepared to sacrifice the reverse image, or you want to buy two copies so you don’t have to, then you can even remove your finished pieces and frame them to brighten up your darker days and remind yourself of all that you can achieve!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s currently available on Amazon US and for those of you in the UK and elsewhere don’t despair as they do ship to other countries though I’m not sure exactly where they do and don’t ship to. I tried checking out to my address in West Sussex, UK and they do allow it and including shipping the book costs just £17 or thereabouts which is a steal so do check it out! International group orders are often set up and run through a dedicated Facebook Group which can be found here and they also share their finished pages from the book so it’s a great place to start if you need inspiration!

The image below was coloured using Holbein Artists’ Coloured Pencils and blended with a Caran d’Ache Blender Pencil. 

Mythomorphia: An Extreme Colouring and Search Challenge – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Mythomorphia is illustrated by Kerby Rosanes, and published and kindly sent to me to review by Michael O’Mara Books. This is the third and final book in the series after Animorphia and Imagimorphia. This book has a mythical theme and is a bit less intricate and less morphing than the first two books and contains fewer alien creatures than Animorphia too, that being said, it’s still incredible and really has to be seen to be believed, it’s probably the best book on the market with a mythological theme because of the sheer variety of creatures pictured.

The book is 25cm square, the same size as Animorphia and other bestsellers by JB and MM, it’s paperback with a black card cover with bright red lettering and a dragon (UK copy: other countries’ editions have different coloured lettering but the content is the same in all of the books titled Mythomorphia) in Kerby’s signature style which hints at what’s inside. The paper is bright white, very lightly textured and medium thickness, it doesn’t appear to shadow with water-based fineliners as long as you’re careful but do always check your pens somewhere inconspicuous to make sure you don’t ruin any reverse images. The paper is good for pencils and allows for a few layers for blending and shading. The ink does transfer a little when pressure is applied so when you’re using pencils pop a scrap piece of paper behind to avoid transfer. The book contains 80 images which are printed double-sided and include single (18) and double-page spreads (including 7 paired images which don’t enter the spine and have separate but similar designs on each page, and 24 traditional double-page spreads which do enter the spine and aren’t stand-alone images). The book has a glue- and stitch-bound spine which is fairly tight on arrival and the images are borderless so you do lose a strip of each image into the spine and unfortunately a number of the double-page spreads do have large sections of the creature’s body which enter the gutter however these are accessible if you break the spine. The content itself is all based around mythology and mythological creatures and a truly huge range are pictured from unicorns to mermaids, a hydra to a phoenix, different types of dragons and loads of hybrid creatures including a basilisk, manticore, cockatrice, faun, griffin and many, many more. While many of these creatures are drawn in Kerby’s typical morphine style, a number of them are drawn without morphs and simply as scenes. The morphing parts consist of all sorts of things from rock, flames and waves to smoke, flowers, bats and trees as well as a couple in Kerby’s most well-known style including lots of random objects, plants and swirls. The images are incredible and as always, they’re packed with content to look at and colour, the range of mythological creatures is astounding and a number of them were beasts I’d never heard of so I’ve had a great time researching them and the stories behind them!

In terms of mental health, this is one book that’s absolutely fantastic for distraction! It takes quite a lot of concentration to identify all of the parts of the picture let alone start choosing colours so this really is a book that will help you get through the days when your mind is racing and you need to be able to switch off. It’s not a book for the faint-hearted because each image takes a very long time and a lot of work but it’s so worth it and the effects you can create are amazing! This book doesn’t have any pages where you need to add your own doodles, I’m really pleased about this because I can’t draw at all so I’m glad that all of them are finished this time and ready to colour! The images are very cohesive and they contain such a variety of creatures, most of the images have some shading and texture drawn in but not loads (check out the pictures below to decide if you like this feature or not). The line thickness varies throughout but mainly sticks around the thin mark so you need fairly good vision and fine motor control, but definitely not perfect to enjoy this book! There is also a treasure hunt with 3 pages at the back of the book showing all of the items you can hunt for within the images, followed by thumbnails showing the answers. This book is ideal for those of you who have a fairly good attention span so that you can really get involved in the images and the content is so absorbing that you really do get out of your head and away from your thoughts and become immersed in what you’re colouring. The images have a variety of intricacy and detail levels so you can use simpler images on bad days and more detailed images on days where you’re able to focus better so it’s a great book for those of you with fluctuating conditions. Because the beasts are mythological there are no “correct” colour schemes so you can really go to town with your outlandish colour schemes or if you need a bit of help then have a quick Google, you’re sure to find film or art representations of most of them that you can use as inspiration for your colour choices.

I would highly recommend this book for male and female colourers who love all things weird, wonderful, and mythological. This book is packed with amazing images that are great fun to colour, it’s stunning, overwhelming at times and one that really gets your creative juices flowing so grab your pencils and get colouring mythology!

If you’d like to purchase a copy of the book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Mythomorphia
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Mythomorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552261/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you’d like a copy of either of Kerby’s previous books then they can be found here:
Animorphia
Amazon UK – Animorphia
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Animorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552070/?a_aid=colouringitmom

Imagimorphia
Amazon UK – Imagimorphia
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Imagimorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552148/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Prismacolor Premier Coloured Pencils.

Imagimorphia: An Extreme Colouring and Search Challenge – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Imagimorphia is illustrated by Kerby Rosanes, and published by Michael O’Mara Books, this book is from my personal collection and while it’s not due on sale in the UK until May the 5th and the US until the 21st of June, it’s currently shipping worldwide from Book Depository (link at the bottom) and from a number of UK bookstores (my copy is from WHSmith and it’s also available in Waterstones). This book is the sequel to the incredibly popular Animorphia, reviewed by me HERE. The first thing I said when flicking through the book, and still now, is WOW! I really liked Animorphia but I love this book! It’s even more unusual and quirky and there is far more variety in the image content too (more on this later). While Animorphia wasn’t to everyone’s taste, it’s one that grows on most people, and Imagimorphia even more so because of the sheer variety of themes and objects found within each picture. I found it a little less overwhelming to know where to start and a bit easier to just dive in and get colouring with this book. The quirkiness and unusual style is absolutely its selling point but this book is also prettier and more nature-filled than the first which was a huge bonus for me.

The book is square, the same size as Animorphia and other bestsellers by JB and MM, it’s paperback with a black card cover with bright yellow lettering and an eagle (UK copy: there is bright green lettering and an owl on the US cover) in Kerby’s signature style which hints at what’s inside. The paper is bright white, very lightly textured and medium thickness, it does shadow with water-based fineliners but doesn’t bleed so you could use them very carefully but always check your pens somewhere inconspicuous to make sure you don’t ruin any reverse images. The paper is good for pencils and allows for a few layers for blending and shading. The ink does transfer a little when pressure is applied so when you’re using pencils pop a scrap piece of paper behind to avoid transfer. The book contains 80 images which are printed double-sided and include single (6) and double-page spreads (including 13 paired images which don’t enter the spine and have separate but similar designs on each page, and 24 traditional double-page spreads which do enter the spine and aren’t stand-alone images). The book has a glue- and stitch-bound spine which is fairly tight on arrival and the images are borderless so you do lose a strip of each image into the spine and unfortunately a couple of the images haven’t been designed very well for this type of spine, most notably the tree image (photographed below). Unlike Animorphia, not all of the images are focused around a realistically drawn animal which then morphs into lots of different creatures and objects, there are still a lot of these but there is much also more variety. Rather than just having alien doodles and objects, there are a number of images with a real steampunk theme including cogs and wheels, others including wires and metal, others still including lots of leaves, flowers, fish, birds and more. There is a much more industrial feel to some images with a gorilla morphing into a skyline of buildings, snails with actual houses on their backs, a camel hump being the setting of a whole city as well as scarab beetles filled with cogs, a metalwork butterfly and even robots and airships. The prettier images are very nature-themed and include a bird morphing into butterflies, a chrysalis pouring out all sorts of leaves and birds and other objects, and the typical animal morphs similar to Animorphia where the morphing is done so seamlessly that it’s difficult to tell where the animal stops and the creatures start. A whole host of animals and objects are featured from a leopard to a train, a birdcage to a tyrannosaurus rex, castles to a horse, skulls to swans, a panda to pineapples and so many more! Kerby’s signature alien creatures don’t feature quite so heavily in this book and the content is spiced up a lot more, for those of you who weren’t a fan of them, you’re sure to like this book a lot more and for those of you who loved them, there are still plenty to keep you interested and entertained so I think the level of them is just right!

In terms of mental health, this is one book that’s absolutely fantastic for distraction! It takes quite a lot of concentration to identify all of the parts of the picture let alone start choosing colours so this really is a book that will help you get through the days when your mind is racing and you need to be able to switch off. It’s not a book for the faint-hearted because each image takes a very long time and a lot of work but it’s so worth it and the effects you can create are amazing! Kerby appears to have taken note of the feedback about the add your own doodle pages and these have been drastically reduced to just two, a tiger where you can doodle the stripes, and a double-page spread of feathers to fill in. I’m really pleased about this because I can’t draw at all so I’m glad that all but 3 of the pages are finished and ready to colour! The images are very cohesive and they’re prettier than those in Animorphia and a bit less dark, most of the images have some shading and texture drawn in but not loads (check out the pictures below to decide if you like this feature or not). The line thickness varies throughout but mainly sticks around the thin mark so you need fairly good vision and fine motor control, but definitely not perfect to enjoy this book! There is also a treasure hunt with 3 pages at the back of the book showing all of the items you can hunt for within the images, followed by thumbnails showing the answers. This book is ideal for those of you who have a fairly good attention span so that you can really get involved in the images and the content is so absorbing that you really do get out of your head and away from your thoughts and become immersed in what you’re colouring. The images have a variety of intricacy and detail levels so you can use simpler images on bad days and more detailed images on days where you’re able to focus better so it’s a great book for those of you with fluctuating conditions.

I would highly recommend this book for male and female colourers who love all things weird, wonderful, and quirky, and who love animals and nature mixed with alien creatures, foliage and metalwork. This book is packed with amazing images that are great fun to colour and I was thrilled to hear that Kerby is currently working on another sequel called Mythomorphia which will be published in 2017 so isn’t available to be pre-ordered yet. This book is stunning, overwhelming at times and one that really gets your creative juices flowing so grab your pencils and get colouring yourself quirky!

Imagimorphia can be purchased here:
UK Edition
Amazon UK – Imagimorphia
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Imagimorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552148/?a_aid=colouringitmom
US Edition
Amazon UK – Imagimorphia: An Extreme Coloring and Search Challenge
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Imagimorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9780399574122/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you’re late to the party and don’t yet have Animorphia then check out my review below or go straight ahead and order it here:
Review – Animorphia 
Amazon UK – Animorphia: An Extreme Colouring and Search Challenge
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Animorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552070/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and the background with Pan Pastels and Marco Raffine pencil blended with Zest-It Blending Solution (Gamsol in the US).

Relaxing Art Therapy: Doodle and Colour Your Stress Away – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Relaxing Art Therapy (Art Therapy Colouring Books) is the fifth in the Art Therapy series, and is published and was kindly sent to me to review by Michael O’Mara publishing. There are 4 other titles in the series, all of which I’ve reviewed – Art Therapy, Creative Therapy, Colour Therapy and  Calming Art Therapy.

These books truly have worked as therapy for me and I fell in love with this one as soon as I opened its pages. I was sent the paperback copy of this book but if you want to know about the hardback versions then the information is in all of my reviews of the previous 4 titles. This is an A4 paperback book which is glue and string bound so it’s sturdy, but this binding does mean that it’s pretty difficult to get the book to lie flat without a bit of a workout (if this is an issue for you then I’d recommend the hardback version which starts off a little too tight but quickly loosens up and lies flat for colouring). The images cover the full page and are borderless so a little of each image is lost into the spine of the paperback copies. The images are printed double-sided but as with all of the Michael O’Mara books I’ve encountered, the paper quality is fantastic and I’ve never experienced any bleeding despite using a multitude of different felt-tips and fineliners though do be a little careful about over-colouring as it can start to show through after a few strokes or holding in the same spot. The 100+ images are drawn by a number of very talented illustrators so there is a huge variety but in this book it’s not instantly obvious that it’s not been created by one person and the drawings flow really well giving a very cohesive feel to the book. There are lots of swirling lines, geometric patterns and abstract shapes but in equal measure there are captivating animals, flowers and scenes all stylised and just begging to be coloured.

So, what makes this series so special? For me, as an anxious colourer, this series is different from any other I’d seen before because many of the images have some colour already added to them. This book is a little different from the first 4 titles which all had lots of splashes of colour added to the drawings themselves, in this book the majority of the backgrounds are coloured but very few of the images have coloured sections added and where they do, they’re often in less conspicuous places like down the centre of the spine rather than all over. I personally think this is a little bit of a shame because I really loved that feature in the previous titles but for those of you who really weren’t keen this title might be a happy medium. When I first flicked through the books I felt that the added colour limited me because it forced me to use a colour that I would never have chosen, however, this feature actually changed the way I colour forever because until I had these books I had always felt forced by the perfectionist in me to colour everything in realistic, natural colours. This series stopped me being able to do that and really freed up my imagination so that I felt able to add outlandish colours instead of just realistic ones. This has been very therapeutic for me and has really expanded my creativity and I’m sure it would expand yours too. Another thing that makes this, and the others in the Art Therapy series, unique is the Doodling section at the back. There are a number of pages with huge sections left blank for you to doodle in however you wish. They are all started for you so again, there is no issue with staring at a blank page and not being able to narrow down a colour scheme. You can choose the same colours, contrasting colours, colours that clash, all of the colours even. This book has been wonderful for me as someone that’s never doodled in their life because it shows so many examples of adding colour to a page without simply colouring in a block and then colouring the next block in a different colour. These techniques don’t just have to be used in the doodling section, they can be added to any of the other images in the book and you’ll find that they free up your creative juices when colouring in other books too as the number of possibilities for your colouring just expands.

The images have varying line thicknesses, different coloured backgrounds and some lines are printed in colour rather than black. A huge range of themes is contained within this book and while it’s not the most delicate, it really is an essential book to add to your collection. I find these books particularly calming and often colour them in bed when my insomnia kicks in and I find they really help to settle my mind so that I can finally get to sleep. Some images are more intricate than others but actually this book is very well suited to the majority of you because of the wide-ranging content. It really is fantastic for all of you anxious colourers out there who agonise about colours and often feel increased tension at the sight of a blank white page with black lines on. This book is already started for you so you’re just continuing the process and somehow, that makes it so much easier to just pick up a pen or pencil and start. Of all of the colouring books I now own, this series is the one that has helped my mental health the most. It’s not so intricate that it’s frustrating but is definitely for adults, not children and when I’m feeling really anxious the lines are just thick enough that I can colour without having to concentrate on every single pen stroke for fear of going over the lines. This book is beautiful, bold and full of colour and it really is a joy to colour and doodle in. I really can’t recommend this book highly enough and strongly urge you to purchase a copy just as soon as you can because it does exactly what it says it’ll do on the cover – Doodle and Colour Your Stress Away and provides Relaxing Art Therapy – What more could you want?!

This book is available to purchase in hardback here (paperback copies should be available later in the year):
Amazon UK – Relaxing Art Therapy (Art Therapy Colouring Books)
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Relaxing-Art-Therapy-Richard-Merritt-Lizzie-Preston-Sam-Loman-Laur-Kate-Chapman-Hannah-Davies-Cindy-Wilde/9781782434993/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-tip pens.

Animorphia Notebook – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Animorphia Notebook is illustrated by Kerby Rosanes and published and kindly sent to me to review by Michael O’Mara books. 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 notebook is fun, quirky, neon, and filled with incredible illustrations from the hugely popular Animorphia colouring book which I’ve reviewed here. This notebook is A5 in size, softback (with a soft-feel, sturdy cover which I’m guessing would be wipe-clean), flexibound (meaning it’ll take some working to get to the centre of the spine but that it’ll hold up to lots of use), and it has a neon orange elastic band to keep it closed when transporting it and to prevent it getting damaged in a bag. The paper is bright white and medium thickness so it is mostly fine with water-based pens but it does shadow a little and can bleed if you’re not careful so do test somewhere inconspicuous. The paper is pretty smooth so it’s not ideal for pencils but you’ll be able to build up a few layers. The pages are double-sided so I would recommend using pencil to write in the journal, or water-based pens rather than ball-points which would dent the paper heavily and take away from its lovely smooth feel. The notebook contains 128 pages and these are a huge mixture of: plain white pages with some small animals and doodles; a few black background pages with animal illustrations; lined pages with doodled borders; and a few double-page spread images with illustrations dotted around,  drawn over a corner, or one half. The notebook starts with a “This book belongs to…” page and then continues into the plain paper and lined paper pages (lots of photographs of these below). The images are borderless and do enter the spine which can be reached with some hefty manipulation and patience. The illustrations are all from the original book and sections of these are displayed throughout, with lots of whole animals, as well as alien people on paper aeroplanes, and all sorts of other quirky scenes. One major difference to note is that a large number of the images have splashes of neon orange added to them. I wasn’t keen on this to begin with because it may well interfere with my desired colour schemes, however, this feature has grown on me and it’s quite easily disguised when colouring with bright pens and will be a bright accent on more subtly coloured pages.

In terms of mental health, this notebook would be ideal for those who journal and like to write down their thoughts, feelings, memories and ideas, who also love to colour, because you can seamlessly combine the two without the need for two separate notebooks. The images are quirky, fun and sure to put a smile on your face which is ideal for your dark days. There are spaces around some of the designs where you could add your own doodles and creations but this is by no means necessary and the pages all look finished without the need for doodles. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is medium/thin, so you don’t need perfect vision or fine motor control to enjoy this notebook. The images are intricate and detailed and pretty consistent throughout, but there are large open spaces on some of the animals like the toucan, chameleon and fox where you can go to town with your blending and shading. You will need a fair amount of concentration for the larger images but most of them aren’t huge so they don’t take days and days to complete and you could easily colour them alongside your journaling so that once you get to the end of the notebook the whole thing becomes a beautiful keepsake. There is a huge range of drawing sizes from a little alien on its own, to small scenes, all the way up to double-page spreads so there really is something for any level of functioning – good, bad, and everything in between. The illustrations are ideal for people who also own the book to attempt colour schemes that they might not be brave enough to do their first version of in the book.

I would highly recommend this journal for all Animorphia fans, stationery addicts, and those who love to write and ‘need’ a new notebook. This is wonderfully quirky, beautifully illustrated and ideal for mixing colouring and writing and it’s perfect for your bad mental health days when all you can cope with colouring is a few alien creatures. This journal is well-made, sure to be hard-wearing and with its splash of fluorescent orange throughout it’s sure to brighten up the darkest of days.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this notebook it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Animorphia Notebook
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Animorphia-Notebook-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552230/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you can’t get enough of the Animorphia images then check out these beautiful postcards:
My Review of the Animorphia Postcards
Amazon UK – Animorphia Postcards
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Animorphi-Postcards-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552247/?a_aid=colouringitmom

And if you’re late to the Animorphia party and haven’t got yourself a copy of the book yet head here:
My Animorphia Review
Amazon UK – Animorphia: An Extreme Colouring and Search Challenge
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Animorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552070/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you can’t get enough of Kerby’s work then you can pre-order his next title Imagimorphia in both the US and UK versions which have different covers and publishing dates:
UK Edition
Amazon UK – Imagimorphia
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Imagimorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552148/?a_aid=colouringitmom
US Edition
Amazon UK – Imagimorphia: An Extreme Coloring and Search Challenge
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Imagimorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9780399574122/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The images below were coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.

Animorphia Postcards: 20 Cards to Colour – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Animorphia Postcards are illustrated by Kerby Rosanes and published and kindly sent to me to review by Michael O’Mara Publishing. This book of postcards contains 20 images that are from the original book of the same name, found reviewed by me here. Each postcard is printed single-sided with one of three small quirky scenes on the reverse, and outlined stamp space and address lines on the back so that you can send them to family, friends and loved ones. The postcards are not perforated but are removable with a similar glue to that of note blocks which means they can be removed with a nice clean edge ready for sending or displaying, it also means the book lays flat for colouring so there is no tricky spine to contend with. The postcards are made of thick, bright white card which didn’t bleed or shadow at all with my water-based pens and will only potentially bleed if you use alcohol markers. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is thin but not very thin, so it’s perfectly colourable for those of you with fairly good vision and fine motor control. The images are a mixture of portrait and landscape styles.

The images contained are all smaller sections of original images from the Animorphia colouring book and these are mostly zoomed in so they are printed in a smaller size than the book but they’re not miniscule or impossible to colour. Some of the images contain one of the morphing animals that Kerby Rosanes is so well-known for, and others are quirky scenes including his alien-like creatures. These postcards are ideal to use fineliners with or fairly sharp pencils so that you can get into all of the corners. The cover is presented in a similar way to the original book with the morphing tiger on the front and an additional bright orange strip down the left-hand side, the tiger takes centre stage and a lovely addition to the postcard cover is some gorgeous silver foiling which adds to the luxurious feel of them. Unlike the book, none of the images included have large spaces for you to doodle in and all of them are “finished” drawings just waiting to be coloured which is a welcome relief to those of us with zero drawing talent! The image content is so striking and unusual and really welcomes whatever colour schemes you fancy trying out, it would look fabulous in monochrome, complimentary colours, neons, brights, there are no limits on what colours you can use and these postcards are sure to stretch you and increase your adventurousness.

In terms of mental health, I would highly recommend these postcards. Postcards make a great, small colouring project for days when your concentration isn’t at its best and they’re also lovely because you can display them or gift them to people. If you’re going to post them, pop them in an envelope to avoid them getting ruined on their journey after your hard work colouring them. The images are intricate and detailed but not stupidly so, they’re all doable and the image content is very quirky, unusual and energising so they’re sure to perk you up on a low-energy day or put a smile on your face when you’re struggling which is perfect for those of us who are mentally ill. There is a really good mix of original images included from the fox to the flamingo, the cockerel to the chameleon, the toucan to the swordfish and plenty of random alien scenes, I think this postcard book contains most of the favourite single-page images from the original book.  They’re mostly nature-based so they’re very soothing and they’re not overwhelming in size for your bad days when a whole page in a book just seems too much. They would be a really good project to practice mindfulness with because of the size of them they’d be manageable to colour whilst trying to just focus on your breathing and the present moment. They’re also great for testing out colour schemes before letting loose on the book, or just colouring with no rules and plenty of wacky colour choices! The postcards are beautiful and if you loved Animorphia, you’ll love this scaled down version that you can share with your family and friends.

I would highly recommend these postcards to anyone who liked the Animorphia book and anyone who is looking for postcards to colour. The images are manageable in complexity for many levels of colourers and they’re sure to energise and brighten up your day. They’re really quirky and wonderful to just sit and look at, and they truly come alive when coloured.

If you’d like to purchase a set then they’re published in the UK on the 3rd of March and can be pre-ordered here:
Amazon UK – Animorphia Postcards
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Animorphi-Postcards-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552247/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you can’t get enough of the Animorphia images then you can purchase a copy of the Animorphia Colouring Notebook which I’ve also reviewed:
My Animorphia Notebook Review
Amazon UK – Animorphia Notebook
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Animorphia-Notebook-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552230/?a_aid=colouringitmom

And if you’re late to the Animorphia party and haven’t got yourself a copy of the book yet head here:
My Animorphia Review
Amazon UK – Animorphia: An Extreme Colouring and Search Challenge
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Animorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552070/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you can’t get enough of Kerby’s work then you can pre-order his next title Imagimorphia in both the US and UK versions which have different covers and publishing dates:
UK Edition
Amazon UK – Imagimorphia
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Imagimorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552148/?a_aid=colouringitmom
US Edition
Amazon UK – Imagimorphia: An Extreme Coloring and Search Challenge
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Imagimorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9780399574122/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor pencils.

Colour Therapy: 20 Notecards and Envelopes – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Colour Therapy Notecards are published and were kindly sent to me for review by Michael O’Mara Books. I’ve had so many people asking me about colourable greetings cards and until now I hadn’t seen any but the search is over and these are well worth the wait! The set comes in a cardboard case which is fairly sturdy but isn’t magnetised so it does move freely (be aware of this if you’re taking them with you in a bag) and it opens out flat to reveal a sturdy cardboard slot on the left which the envelopes are slotted into and on the right the cards are in a stack with their backs face up and they’re lightly glued on the left (the open edge of the cards) with a similar binding to postcard books so that they can be carefully removed. I would suggest removing them in order rather than doing what I did and picking my favourite one which happened to be in the middle and was a struggle (but still doable) to remove. You’ll want to remove the cards before colouring because the kit is quite difficult to manhandle around when you’re colouring if it’s still attached. The kit contains 20 identical envelopes which are a natural cream colour with a small pink design in the bottom left and on the flap at the back. The cards come in 10 designs, 2 of each and they are all different colours so each one will look different even though the designs are in pairs. As with all of the Art Therapy range, these notecards each contain a splash of colour in the form of a coloured border or background and are stacked in rainbow order so each design is printed in complimentary colour pairs such as red and green and yellow and lilac, this means that you could easily create opposition colour schemes to really make the colours pop and it’ll help a little with learning colour theory (if you’re interested). The cards are left blank and aren’t themed so they can be used for any occasion. The colourable spaces on the cards are bright white and lightly textured so they’re prefect for blending and shading with pencils, and for using water-based pens which don’t bleed or shadow and are ideal for the smallest spaces on the cards. Once removed, the cards do often have a bit of glue still attached but this is easily peeled off, with no damage to the cards. The cards are a mixture of portrait and landscape styles, with the majority being portrait and the designs are varied throughout but mostly nature-inspired from lions to wolves, birdhouses to landscapes, peacocks to fish and Indian doorways to patterns. These cards would be perfect to spread the colouring love with your friends and family to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries or just to say hello, I’m thinking of you, they’re sure to brighten up the darkest of days and show people you care. They could even be sent uncoloured to try and get your friends hooked on colouring – we all need more colouring buddies!

In terms of mental health, these notecards are fabulous. You all know by now how much I love postcards and small colouring projects, and that I think colouring images of nature is the best for calming you down and settling your mood, so these notecards are perfect! Not only are they small enough to take a couple of hours to colour rather than days, they’re also amazing because you get to colour and enjoy them and then post them to a loved one to share the joy and what’s better than something hand-coloured to put a smile on someone’s face?! These cards are a great project for those of you with poor concentration because they don’t take ages to colour and you get results quickly. They are all fairly intricate and detailed with a bit of variance but some of the spaces are quite tiny so I’d advise these for people with moderate to good vision and fine motor control. The line thickness remains thin throughout but it’s not spindly so it’s not too difficult to stay within them. The images are really cohesive and I found them very calming and positive and they’re a lovely project to work on in between larger, more complicated pages in books. The sections of pre-added colour aren’t intrusive and are mostly not on the designs themselves so you’re free to choose whatever colours you like but you could also choose a complimentary colour scheme that matches it, or even just use shades of that colour for a beautiful monochrome look.

I would highly recommend these notecards for any colourers with moderate to good vision and fine motor control and people with any level of concentration. These are a bargain with an RRP of £9.99 that makes them just 50p a card and think of the hours of fun you can have colouring them and sending them off to friends and family. The designs are lovely, the added colour is great for inspiring colour schemes and just making them less daunting to start and I hope this is the first in a long line of colourable cards! Michael O’Mara have published a second set of notecards which you will find reviewed by me here.

If you’d like to purchase a set they’re available below:
Amazon UK – Colour Therapy Notecards
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Colour-Therapy-Notecards-Chellie-Carroll-Lizzie-Preston/9781782435303/?a_aid=colouringitmom

My reviews of other items in the Art and Colour Therapy range can be found below:
Colour Therapy Colouring Book
Art Therapy Colouring Book
Art Therapy Postcards
Art Therapy Coloring Kit

The image below was coloured using Staedtler Ergosoft Coloured Pencils.

Art Therapy: 20 Notecards and Envelopes – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Art Therapy Notecards are published and were kindly sent to me for review by Michael O’Mara Books. I’ve had so many people asking me about colourable greetings cards and until now I hadn’t seen any but the search is over and these are well worth the wait! The set comes in a cardboard case which is fairly sturdy but isn’t magnetised so it does move freely (be aware of this if you’re taking them with you in a bag) and it opens out flat to reveal a sturdy cardboard slot on the left which the envelopes are slotted into and on the right the cards are in a stack with their backs face up and they’re lightly glued on the left (the open edge of the cards) with a similar binding to postcard books so that they can be carefully removed. I would suggest removing them in order rather than doing what I did and picking my favourite one which happened to be in the middle and was a struggle (but still doable) to remove. You’ll want to remove the cards before colouring because the kit is quite difficult to manhandle around when you’re colouring if it’s still attached. The kit contains 20 identical envelopes which are a natural cream colour with a small blue design in the bottom left and on the flap at the back. The cards come in 10 designs, 2 of each and they are all different colours so each one will look different even though the designs are in pairs. As with all of the Art Therapy range, these notecards each contain a splash of colour in the form of a coloured border or background. The cards are left blank and aren’t themed so they can be used for any occasion. The colourable spaces on the cards are bright white and lightly textured so they’re perfect for blending and shading with pencils, and for using water-based pens which don’t bleed or shadow and are ideal for the smallest spaces on the cards. Once removed, the cards do often have a bit of glue still attached but this is easily peeled off, with no damage to the cards. The cards are a mixture of portrait and landscape styles, with the majority being portrait and the designs are varied throughout but mostly nature-inspired from birds to butterflies, cats to bears, trees to paisleys and more. These cards would be perfect to spread the colouring love with your friends and family to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries or just to say hello, I’m thinking of you, they’re sure to brighten up the darkest of days and show people you care. They could even be sent uncoloured to try and get your friends hooked on colouring – we all need more colouring buddies!

In terms of mental health, these notecards are fabulous. You all know by now how much I love postcards and small colouring projects, and that I think colouring images of nature is the best for calming you down and settling your mood, so these notecards are perfect! Not only are they small enough to take a couple of hours to colour rather than days, they’re also amazing because you get to colour and enjoy them and then post them to a loved one to share the joy and what’s better than something hand-coloured to put a smile on someone’s face?! These cards are a great project for those of you with poor concentration because they don’t take ages to colour and you get results quickly. They are all fairly intricate and detailed with a bit of variance but some of the spaces are quite tiny so I’d advise these for people with moderate to good vision and fine motor control. The line thickness remains thin throughout but it’s not spindly so it’s not too difficult to stay within them. The images are really cohesive and I found them very calming and positive and they’re a lovely project to work on in between larger, more complicated pages in books. The sections of pre-added colour aren’t intrusive and are mostly not on the designs themselves so you’re free to choose whatever colours you like but you could also choose a complimentary colour scheme that matches it, or even just use shades of that colour for a beautiful monochrome look.

I would highly recommend these notecards for any colourers with moderate to good vision and fine motor control and people with any level of concentration. These are a bargain with an RRP of £9.99 that makes them just 50p a card and think of the hours of fun you can have colouring them and sending them off to friends and family. The designs are lovely, the added colour is great for inspiring colour schemes and just making them less daunting to start and I hope this is the first in a long line of colourable cards! Michael O’Mara have published a second set of notecards which you will find reviewed by me here.

If you’d like to purchase a set they’re available below:
Amazon UK – Art Therapy Notecards
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Art-Therapy-Notecards/9781782435297/?a_aid=colouringitmom

My reviews of other items in the Art Therapy range can be found below:
Art Therapy Colouring Book
Art Therapy Postcards
Art Therapy Coloring Kit

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.