Doodling

Creative Colouring Techniques – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Creative Colouring Techniques is published and kindly sent to me to review by Michael O’Mara Books. This book is a wonderful compilation of hugely varied colouring pages, arranged into collections to practice the different colouring techniques which are described and illustrated within. This book is A4, paperback with brightly coloured and patterned flexible card covers. The spine is glue and string bound so it’ll be pretty hard-wearing but it does make it quite tricky to get the book to lie flat until it’s eased up with use. The images are printed double-sided and each has a 1cm border all the way around which prevents any of the image being lost into the spine. The paper is bright white and smooth but I’ve tested my pencils on it and they went down well and I was able to build up plenty of layers for blending and shading. The paper is thick and didn’t bleed through at all with water-based pens and only shadowed when I pressed too hard. The book contains 128 pages, which includes 100 colouring pages split into 20 chapters of 5 images which each start with a colouring or doodling technique which can then be practiced on the subsequent pages. This book contains heaps of techniques, suggestions and bits of advice about colour theory, different types of patterns and different filling techniques. Obviously I can’t give too much away or it’ll ruin the book for you but I have shown some of the technique pages in the photographs of the book so that you can see examples. I’ve also shown the contents page so that you can see the full list of techniques that are included. The images are so varied that it’s difficult to describe them briefly but there are images of everything you can imagine from buildings to fruit, weather to patterns, flowers to skulls and loads and loads of animals and birds. There really is something for everyone and you certainly won’t get bored or find any of the images samey.

In terms of mental health, this book is truly fantastic because it’s like an instruction manual for colouring. A lot of people with mental health problems get stuck sometimes and lack inspiration, especially those who are new to colouring because it can be daunting to know where and how to start. This book solves that problem completely and you could easily work through it from cover to cover because it’s somewhat arranged into difficulty level so you can increase your techniques as you work through the book. The images in each section do mostly lend themselves well to that specific technique and have clearly been chosen for this purpose, however, as you work through the book you could easily mix and match techniques and even add your own ideas as you grow in confidence. The line thickness varies throughout from spindly thin all the way up to medium/thick; the majority of the lines are medium/thin so this is a very usable book for anyone who doesn’t have poor vision or fine motor control. The intricacy and details levels also vary throughout from huge open spaces to teeny tiny details so this book will adapt really well to your good and bad days and you can focus on the larger images when your concentration is poor and the more intricate images when you’re feeling well. The techniques range from helping you to choose colours in various different ways, to using dots, dashes, patterns and more to fill the spaces instead of block colouring and even gives you hints for simple doodling too and as someone who really can’t draw, none of this was impossible for me to achieve so this is an ideal book for those of you who want to spice up your colouring but sometimes feel unable to due to lack of inspiration or lack of drawing talent.

I would highly recommend this book to beginner colourers as a great place to start and to those of you who want to learn new colouring and doodling techniques, this book is filled with all sorts of hints, tips and tricks and it’s beautifully organised so that you can learn a technique and then practice it on specially chosen colouring pages. I love it and think it’s one that you definitely need to add to your collection!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Creative Colouring Techniques
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Creative-Colouring-Techniques/9781782435532/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was doodled using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Stabilo 68 Fibre-tip pens.

Draw Your Way To A Younger Brain: Safari – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Draw Your Way to a Younger Brain: Safari: An Art Therapy Book (Drawing) is illustrated by Anastasia Catris, and published and kindly sent to me to review by Orion Books. This book is part of a new series called Draw Your Way To a Younger Brain and you can read my review of the other two titles here: Dogs and Cats. Anastasia has been very busy in the colouring book world and has also created 6 beautiful colouring books which are the same size and shape with her signature drawings and my reviews of these can be found here. This book is small at 17cms square which makes it perfect for drawing on the go and taking travelling in your bag. It’s paperback with a beautiful lilac cover which matches the others in the sets beautifully meaning they look really gorgeous together on a shelf. The images are printed double-sided onto bright white medium thickness paper which doesn’t bleed or shadow with water-based pens and has a little tooth perfect for blending and shading with pencils. The spine is glue-bound and the images are borderless so a little of each is lost into the spine though this will ease up a bit over time. The illustrations are, unusually, all double-page spreads and as this book is primarily a drawing book and secondarily a colouring book, there are lots of spaces for you to add your own drawings and patterns to. If you don’t like drawing then this is not the book for you. The illustrations take various different forms from a patterned animal on the left with a blank outline of it mirrored on the right to fill with patterns, to drawings that you can draw the other half of with a line of symmetry drawn down the middle, to scenes you can complete. There are written hints on every page to give you a suggested direction but you can complete the pages however you wish and there’s plenty of scope in many of them to go in whatever direction you choose. Some of the pages include: drawing what’s chasing the gazelles; drawing a scene in binoculars; adding patterns to zebras, elephants, rhinos and giraffes; and adding objects and animals to scenes. The images are very cohesive and similar in style to Anastasia’s colouring books and they’re beautifully drawn.

In terms of mental health, this book is great, as long as you like drawing! I personally really struggle with drawing and therefore don’t find it to be a remotely relaxing activity, however, this book isn’t too taxing and it gives a lot of hints to get you started with drawing. These aren’t techniques or things that will teach you how to draw but they are suggestions of what to draw and sometimes that’s all the inspiration you need. There are lots of patterns added to the completed drawings which you can use as inspiration for adding patterns to the unfinished sections. You could also use search engines to look up pictures of things you want to draw in the larger spaces so that you can try to learn to draw new creatures and objects. This book probably wouldn’t suit an advanced artist because the amount of finished work in it will probably be quite restrictive but it would definitely suit a beginner or intermediate artist, especially those who prefer to have suggestions made of what to create. Adding patterns and zentangling has been found to be relaxing and very good for practising mindfulness and the more patterns I’ve discovered and added to my repertoire, the easier it has become to add patterns to things without going blank or getting stressed about it. These books are ideal for learning new patterns but if you need more inspiration and doodling and drawing are your thing then I’d highly recommend the Art Therapy series of books which I’ve reviewed here. The images are varied in content and require various different types of drawing and doodling to be added, the line thickness is consistent throughout and is very thin so this is definitely a book for those of you with good vision and fine motor control. There is a lot of intricacy and detail added to the completed images and you can add however much intricacy and detail as you want in your own drawings. The whole book is fully colourable but this isn’t a colouring book specifically and won’t suit those of you who can’t draw because there are just too many open spaces that will look very odd without anything added to them and will leave your images looking unfinished.

I would highly recommend this book, and the others in the series, for anyone who likes to draw and needs a little inspiration in order to get going. The images are lovely and the nature theme is very calming and the portable size means they’re great for colouring and drawing on the go.

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Draw Your Way to a Younger Brain: Safari: An Art Therapy Book (Drawing)
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Draw-Your-Way-Younger-Brain-Safari-Anastasia-Catris/9781409165484/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was added to with Staedtler Pigment Liners and coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils.

Art Therapy Coloring Kit – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Art Therapy Coloring Kit is published by Running Press and is from my personal collection. This is just about the cutest colouring kit I’ve ever seen and as soon as I saw it online in a colouring group I went straight on Amazon and snapped it up and when it arrived the next day I was even more blown away by it and had to review it right away for you all. This is the PERFECT colouring kit to pop in your handbag for that on-the-go colouring fix that I know so many of you crave. It’s small enough to put in the glove box in your car, in your handbag, in your luggage, in a rucksack, the only place it won’t fit is a pocket because it’s a bit too cube-y! The kit is about the size of two packs of playing cards stacked on top of each other and it’s all boxed up in a really thick cardboard case which will take a lot of battering before it begins to show wear and tear. The side is magnetised with a really strong magnet so it won’t accidentally open up and spill its contents in your bag. When you open the kit up it has two turquoise-blue boxes which are firmly secured to the outer casing and are covered in lovely black and white patterns giving you a hint at what’s inside. The box on the left contains 10 mini colouring pencils (with space for a small pencil sharpener – very handy) and the box on the right contains 50 (yes that’s right, a whopping 50!) playing card sized images for you to colour. Each of the cards is backed with the same turquoise-blue colour as the boxes so this is a beautifully cohesive set which has most certainly not been thrown together in a hurry but has instead been created with a huge amount of attention to detail. As with all of the other Art Therapy books and stationery items, a splash of colour is added to each image in the form of a small coloured section, a background, or even the design being drawn in colour rather than black lines. The majority of the cards are white with coloured backgrounds and they are made of thick card which looks smooth but not at all shiny and feels slightly rough meaning it was perfect for my pencils and my water-based pens which didn’t bleed in any direction either sideways or through the card and there was no shadowing at all. The pencils in the kit are pictured below and the colours you receive are: Red, Orange, Yellow, Light Green, Dark Green, Light Blue, Dark Blue, Purple, Pink and Brown, so a really good selection and they’re great if you’re completely new to colouring or you forget your mediums and need a colouring fix while you’re out.

The cards themselves contain a really wide variety of images and are very varied in style too. Many of the cards have animals pictured including bears, squirrels, birds, butterflies, insects, an elephant, an owl, a frog, an octopus, a deer and more! Some are patterned with circles, swirls, and paisleys. Others have a decorative frame which can be coloured with space in the centre where you could leave it blank, draw something or even write a message. Others still, have patterns started for you but with plenty of blank spaces where you can just colour in blocks or continue creating your own patterns (see photo below of the image I continued) but you will need a good set of fineliners for this, my recommendation would be Staedtler 308 WP4 Pigment Liner Fineliner Technical Drawing Pens Assorted Line Width – Set of 4 and I used the 0.1 size pigment liner which was the perfect thickness. You could use the black from any normal fineliner set but the ink will run if you then try to colour with pens because they’re both made of water-based ink rather than being pigment liners like the set I recommended so just bear that in mind. The cards would be perfect to keep in the set once coloured, sent to friends or family to brighten up their day, great for writing messages on, or even incorporating into craft projects – the small designs would be ideal for adding to homemade cards either coloured or uncoloured for that extra wow factor!

In terms of mental health, this kit is ideal for those of you who use colouring for therapy and might need a quick fix at any moment whilst out of the house. It’s small, compact and contains everything you need to be able to colour away your worries and restore some calm again. This kit won’t take up half of your handbag and the cards are small so each project doesn’t take very long, meaning you can get colouring satisfaction pretty quickly. My only criticism is that the line thickness is spindly thin throughout and the images range from intricate and detailed to so intricate and detailed that you couldn’t possibly colour in each section separately so I’m afraid this kit is only for those of you with very good vision and pretty much perfect fine motor control or you’ll just find it more frustration than it’s worth as you’ll be going over the lines constantly. This is the only critical point though in an otherwise perfect kit! Some of the cards have space to add doodles, as I mentioned before, so those of you who like to draw will particularly like being able to personalise the images. You will need good concentration, not because of the length of time it’ll take to colour but because of the precision you’ll need to use to make it look really good. The fact that each card has colour added is a huge bonus in my opinion because each one is started for you and for those of you who are anxious, this might just give you the push you need to just start colouring instead of agonising over colour schemes. Many people view the added colour as restrictive to begin with but I have found, over time, that it’s actually really freeing (you can read more about my experience of this in my reviews of the Art Therapy books linked below). These cards are so bright, cheerful, and beautifully drawn that they’re sure to brighten up the darkest of days and lift your mood when you need it most, even just looking through them has cheered me up and colouring them takes so much concentration that my anxiety melted away within minutes because I couldn’t focus on worrying and trying to stay within the lines at the same time!

I would highly recommend this colouring kit to anyone with great vision and fine motor control who wants to colour lots of mini pictures, would like to colour on the move, or who loves the Art Therapy series and their unique feature of pre-added colour. This kit is fabulously priced, ideal for taking with you anywhere and great for spreading the colouring love with your family and friends. If you’d like to purchase a kit it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Art Therapy Coloring Kit

If you like the style of drawings or the variety of images, or the idea of pre-added colour and would rather have this in much larger images and in book format then look no further than the Art Therapy series of books which I have reviewed here, there is also a postcard book in the series which is the last link in the list:

Art Therapy

Colour Therapy

Creative Therapy

Calming Art Therapy

Art Therapy Postcards

The images below were coloured using:
Poppies – Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Staedtler triplus fineliners
Fox – Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils
Doodled boxes – Staedtler Pigment Fineliners and Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners
Fish – Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners

Zen Coloring Book: Mandalas and More for Artists of All Ages – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Zen Coloring Book: Mandalas and More for Artists of All Ages: Volume 1 This beautiful and unusual mandala colouring book is illustrated and was kindly sent to me for review by Deirdre “Crafty Dee” Dixon. This book, at first glance, looks like it could be aimed at children but as you turn the pages, the complexity of the mandalas increases and the world of possibilities starts to open up. These mandalas aren’t just the usual patterned circles, many of them include pictures of flowers, plants and animals which are really charming to look at and to add colour to. The images are roughly grouped by complexity from beginner to more complex, though none of them are especially detailed or intricate so this book would be great for those of you who prefer simpler designs or those who have poor vision or issues with fine motor control. This paperback book is a fair bit smaller than A4 size but much larger than A5, it’s glue-bound so doesn’t lie flat but none of the images go up to the edges so there is no image loss in the spine. The images are printed single-sided onto bright white medium-thickness paper. Water-based fineliners and fibre-tip pens didn’t bleed but alcohol markers and sharpies would so makes sure you place some scrap paper behind your work. The line thickness is medium throughout so there aren’t any tiny areas to contend with and you don’t need to worry about going over the lines. The large spaces in some of the simpler designs can be used to practice your doodling and texture techniques rather than just colouring in blocks so this is a great book for expanding your techniques and abilities. The book contains a whopping 50 mandalas that are all numbered so it’s easy to locate your works in progress and practice your blending and shading.

In terms of mental health, this book is very calming and despite not being a fan of mandalas, I really enjoyed colouring the images ready for reviewing because they’re so different from the norm. Mandalas are inherently very relaxing to colour because of their repetitive patterns and they are a great tool for practising mindfulness and meditation which we all know are very useful for keeping mental illness symptoms at bay or at least a little more manageable. This book reminded me of some of the images I used to enjoy colouring as a child and I really enjoyed being able to colour them in a more adult and complex way and seeing how my colouring has improved. The images are relatively small and uncomplicated so they’re great for giving you a quick colouring fix that you can finish within minutes or a couple of hours rather than days or weeks. For those of you that aren’t so keen on traditional mandalas but who like circular designs, this may well be the book for you. I’ve found it particularly useful when I’m really anxious and can’t deal with the intricately detailed books because my vision has deteriorated and my tremor has increased. This book has meant that I could colour without stressing about accidentally going over the lines and I could see my progress quickly which has been very helpful. This is a lovely book that is ideal for those of you who like mandalas and those who need a thicker line and a less complicated image to colour. Deirdre has even created a Facebook group where you can look for inspiration for how to colour her images, or post up your own which can be found here. Enjoy! If you’d like to get a copy for yourself then head over to Amazon via this link Zen Coloring Book: Mandalas and More for Artists of All Ages: Volume 1

The images below were coloured using Steadtler Triplus Fibre-Tips and Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.