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Čarovné Lahodnosti is illustrated, self-published and kindly sent to me to review by Klara Markova. It is Czech and the title translates into English as Magical Delights and the book truly contains all manner of magical and wonderful imagery. The book itself is hardback with beautiful dusky pink covers and a darker pink cloth binding down the spine with gold foiling text, it measures 25.4 x 21.6cm so it’s the same size as most Swedish books and their translations. The spine is glue and string-bound so it’s very durable but a little tricky to get the book to lie flat and reach the central part of the images that enters the book gutter. The illustrations are all printed single-sided and all but one are single-page spreads with one double-page spread near the back of the book. The paper is cream, medium thickness and very lightly textured, it’s most similar to the paper used in Swedish colouring books, oil-based pencils struggle a bit with layering and blending due to the smoothness of the paper; water-based pens don’t bleed but do shadow, alcohol markers will bleed through so make sure you put protective pages behind your work to avoid any accidents! The images are all beautifully drawn and contain all manner of things from mice to cats, mushrooms to berries, fairies to potion bottles and lots and lots of fairy houses which are just gorgeous! Some of the illustrations contain quite heavy shading in the form of dots but don’t be put off, these are really useful for beginner colourists and very helpful for those who are more advanced as it really shows where the shading should be placed in the image. The drawings are all quite fantastical and fantasy-based and many contain what look like enchanted objects and beings, these can all be coloured in whatever palette you choose and they look amazing whether you choose monochrome, realistic or as bright as can be so you really can go to town with your colour choices. At the back of the book is a page that can be cut out and included are 3 colourable doors that you can colour, cut out and then stick onto the corresponding colouring pages to make a lift-the-flap style page, a completely new idea which is fantastic and truly beautiful, the instructions are written in Czech but it’s fairly self-explanatory so don’t worry if you don’t understand the text. On the back of each colouring page is a pair of small designs, identical on each page, and 3 dotted lines where you can write your name, date and possibly even what colouring mediums you used.
In terms of mental health, this book offers wonderful escapism and distraction, there’s loads of content in each image so there’s lots to look at and decipher as well as lots of natural stopping points for days when your concentration is poor. The line thickness is consistently variable throughout and ranges from thin to medium, mostly staying in the thin range. The intricacy and detail levels also vary within each page with most containing a range of large open spaces and much smaller details so you’ve got lots of areas to practice blending and shading if you wish. You’ll need a moderate level of vision and fine motor control to enjoy this book, none of it’s too small to contend with. Because the content is fantasy-based it means there’s no set colour scheme and you can colour everything however you wish which is ideal for those of us who feel quite restricted when colouring realistic things and feel we have to use the “correct” colours, these images might help push you out of your comfort zone and spice things up with glowing blue berries, pink butterflies and more! The illustrations are drawn beautifully and are very absorbing, they create a wonderful sense of place and truly draw you into Klara’s magical world, you may never want to leave as the houses look so cosy and inviting!
Overall, I’d highly recommend this book, it’s gorgeous, beautifully produced and filled with wonderful creatures and magical scenes. If you like Swedish books, fantasy-based imagery or all things pretty then you’ll love this book and the fact that it’s single-sided means that you can use whatever mediums you wish.
If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available via Klara herself on her Etsy shop and her website. Occasionally it crops up on various Amazon sites for a stupidly cheap price (usually around £7 and under) please be aware that this is always a scam and not from legitimate sellers, you won’t get the book and will have to try to get your money back through Amazon. The only registered distributor is Klara herself so if it seems too good to be true, it definitely is!
Amazon UK – Čarovné Lahodnosti
Klara has recently announced that she’s nearly finished creating a second book, Tenderful Enchantments, this time it will be published in Czech and English and more information can be found here. https://www.facebook.com/klara.markova.12/posts/10209569730744522
The image below was coloured using Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils and Sudee Stile Pencils for the blue berry.