Escape to Christmas Past

Exotischer Urwald (Exotic Jungle) – A Review

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Exotischer Urwald: Ausmalen und entspannen is illustrated by the highly talented duo Good Wives and Warriors who brought us Escape to Wonderland and Escape to Christmas Past and this new book is published and was very kindly sent to me by Gräfe Und Unzer Verlag (Recht herzlichen Dank für deine Großzügikeit Andrea). Exotischer Urwald roughly translates to Exotic Jungle and this book gives you just that, images of jungles and rainforests from all over the world. This book is an absolute work of art and has definitely made it onto my ever-growing list of favourite books. It is significantly larger than their first two books at just over 23cms square and the quality of the book is second to none, it’s just beautiful! The book is paperback with a thick card cover that is double thickness and opens out front and back to reveal a beautiful jungle foliage scene at the front, and two beautiful colourable postcards at the back that can be carefully cut out with scissors. This book also has the unusual and amazing feature of 4 perforated card pages at the back which are printed single-sided with 3 additional designs and 2 giant bookmark-style images that are half a page each. The book is printed double-sided and contains a mixture of single and double-page designs, the images are borderless and the spine is glue-bound meaning a little of each image is lost into it which is a shame but this will ease up a little with use. The paper is thick and bright white and is lightly textured so it’s perfect for water-based pens which didn’t bleed or shadow at all (they only started to shadow when I accidentally coloured a section in the wrong colour and had to colour over it again and it didn’t even vaguely bleed through), and it’ll be perfect for blending and layering with pencils. The images are wonderfully cohesive and are absolutely stunning! The illustrations are organised into different jungles and rainforests of the world with a cleverly titled page for each one where the lettering is worked into the design as clouds, twigs, star constellations and signposts. The images following each are then different scenes, animals, plants and so on from that specific place making for a beautiful collection of images. So many different things are included from passion flowers to quetzal birds, lizards to duck-billed platypuses, vines to monkeys, the Northern Lights to the life cycle of a butterfly, this book just contains so so much and it’s all absolutely beautiful! There are no filler images, each page deserves to be there just as much as the last and they’re so beautifully drawn. I love the previous two books created by Good Wives and Warriors but this is definitely my favourite, even with being a huge Alice fan and falling in love with their take on the story. This book transports you all over the world from the Amazon river to the Alaskan Black Rainforest, and beautiful areas of Australia, Borneo, Liberia, and Ecuador and so much further, it’s a true worldwide tour of jungles and rainforests.

In terms of mental health, this book is fantastic, it is the absolute definition of nature-filled and you all know that I think that’s the best thing for calming an anxious mind, improving low mood and making you feel more in tune with nature and the outside world. The images are drawn very realistically which is ideal for those of you who like to colour in realistic colours, but will equally suit those of you who want to spice things up with purple leaves, orange clouds and burgundy beetles. Everything is obvious and easy to identify so you’ll easily be able to find pictures online of the things you’re colouring if you want to match your colour palette to those found in the wild. The line thickness is consistently thin throughout but it’s not particularly difficult to stay within the lines as long as you have moderate to good vision and fine motor control. The intricacy levels do vary throughout but mostly stay around the moderate to high range with lots of small spaces and details which you can really get your teeth into. There are a number of larger spaces in some of the images though that will be really well suited to using your pencils for blending and shading to really bring the animals and plants to life. There aren’t any designs for you to finish drawing but there are natural spaces left in a few of the designs where you could add your own creatures, foliage, scenery and backgrounds, this is a happy compromise for those who can and can’t draw because there is space to draw if you want it, without any written hints.  You will need a fair amount of concentration to really get the most out of this book as each image will take a good long while to colour but because of the subject matter you can always colour a few leaves or a flower to get your quick colouring fix on a bad day and tackle a whole image on days when you can cope with colouring for longer. I really can’t express how beautiful this book is or how amazing the production is. The paper will bleed with alcohol markers but it stands up brilliantly to water-based pens and it’s just a dream to colour no matter what mediums you choose. The pictures are exquisite and absolutely stunning and this is right up there with Millie Marotta and Johanna Basford’s books for beauty and cohesive nature imagery. You’ll get absolutely lost in these beautiful jungles of the world and it’s sure to join your list of favourite books, it’s stunning!

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves colouring natural images of plants, animals and scenery, this book is beautiful and the added features of removable card pages, bookmarks and postcards is such a wonderful touch. The paper is truly fantastic and a dream to colour. What are you waiting for? Grab your binoculars, insect repellent, and camera, and head into the jungle!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Exotischer Urwald: Ausmalen und entspannen
Book Depository Worldwide –

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Staedtler Triplus Fineliners.