Japanese

My Colorful Town: A Coloring Tour – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
My Colorful Town: A Coloring Tour is illustrated by Chiaki Ida, a Japanese illustrator, and published and kindly sent to me to review by Get Creative 6. This book is pretty similar in style to the Romantic Country series by Eriy (reviewed by me here) and if you liked those books, you’re likely to be a fan of this too. This book was originally published in Japan and was somewhat different in format with it being larger, and including a few extra pages and some postcards. This edition has been translated into English.

This book is 22.4cm square, paperback, with flexible card covers and partially coloured images from inside the book. The spine is glue and string-bound and eases up with use, some of the images do reach the centre of the spine and therefore a little is lost but the majority of the images aren’t full-page and have a border so the spine isn’t an issue for most of the pages. The images are printed double-sided and are a mixture of double and single-page spreads. The paper is cream, medium thickness and smooth with very little tooth, it coped well with my Prismacolor Premiers but may not cope so well with oil-based pencils which you’ll possibly struggle to layer; water-based pens shadow but don’t bleed so you’ll probably want to avoid using these. The images themselves are all of shop exteriors, interiors and produce, at the back of the book is a double-page spread depicting a map of the street. The shops include a book shop, bakery, patisserie, dress shop, shoe shop, clock shop, art shop, antique shop, café, flower shop, fruit and veg market and food stalls. There is a real variety of things to colour from shop fronts and brickwork to furniture, cakes, fruit and veg and flowers, there are outfits, metalwork, wood, and so much more so there are plenty of techniques to perfect to make this book look amazing. There is a little girl who you follow through the book into the shops, she isn’t named or mentioned in the book so I’m guessing it’s meant to be Chiaki Ida herself, taking us on a childhood walk through the town.

In terms of mental health, this book is lovely, it has a very charming feel to it and the imagery feels really nostalgic and heartwarming and takes you back to simpler times where you don’t have a care in the world. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is thin, verging on spindly thin. The intricacy and detail levels vary somewhat with the majority of the pages being very intricate and detailed with a few having larger open spaces and less detailed imagery. You’ll need pretty good vision and fine motor control to enjoy this book. The majority of the images will be best kept for your good days because they’re just packed full with content and in a number of the pages there aren’t overly obvious stopping points, however, if you’re really keen to colour this on a day when you’re quite symptomatic, you could pick one of the pages filled with collection images and colour just one cake or clock rather than a whole shop front. You will need very good concentration levels to complete most of the pages but you can always colour in sections so that it’s easier to focus. You can use realistic colour schemes if you wish, or go more outlandish, bricks can always be blue and wood doesn’t have to be brown so spice things up if you fancy, these images will look amazing no matter what colours you choose!

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to those of you who liked Romantic Country and those looking for a nostalgic, warm, characterful colouring book. The illustrations are meticulously drawn, realistic but also slightly cartoony and therefore they’re not so perfect that they feel intimidating to start. It’s yet another beautiful Japanese colouring book, filled with charm!

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – My Colorful Town: A Coloring Tour
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/My-Colorful-Town-Chiaki-Id/9781942021599/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Prismacolor Premiers and blended with a Caran d’Ache Blender Pencil.

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Rhapsody in the Forest – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Rhapsody in the Forest is illustrated by Kanoko Egusa, a Japanese artist, who very kindly sent me a copy to review. Kanoko’s work is yet to be picked up by a US or UK publisher which is a real shame because her work is truly stunning, it’s unlike anything we’ve seen before in the UK but is similar to many of the other beautiful Japanese books on the market, they have such a lovely quality to them and are very whimsical and cute with plenty of detail. Kanoko has created two books so far, this one and a second called Menuet de Bonheur which I’ve reviewed here.

The book itself is just under 25cm square, paperback with very flexible card covers and a beautiful thick paper dust jacket with linework from inside the book. The pages are printed double-sided and the spine is glue-bound, the images are printed full-page and therefore do enter the spine so you’ll need to be careful when trying to reach the centre of the pages not to break the spine or you may end up loosening the pages. The paper is white, medium/thin and very lightly textured, it doesn’t bleed or shadow with water-based pens but do make sure you check this somewhere inconspicuous as we all colour differently, pencils blend and shade well despite the lack of tooth in the paper and sparing amounts of water were tolerated very well and didn’t cause bleeding when I used my Derwent Inktense Pencils. The images are a mixture of single and double-page spreads and the content is all heavily nature-based with lots of animal characters. The book is printed in Japanese so it’s not possible to read the text at the beginning of the book which I assume explains what’s happening through the pages but most of the scenes are pretty self-explanatory.

The illustrations contain all sorts of imagery from food to flowers, postage stamps to books, circus and nautical scenes and lots and lots of animals in various stages of anthropomorphosis from very animal-like, possibly wearing a hat, to very anthropomorphic and doing human jobs like decorating cakes, trick-or-treating, and even going to a ball. They are very natural and filled with detail, objects, and plenty to look at and the content is really wide-ranging and very pretty. I’m not entirely sure what the specific theme of the book is but it seems like it’s following the lives of lots of woodland and more exotic creatures and their travels, tales, exploits and even parties! It’s a really lovely theme for a book and the pictures are truly exquisite and beautiful! Five of the pages have black or grey backgrounds which is quite novel and a nice addition to the book.  Of the two books, I personally prefer this one as it’s more natural and less anthropomorphic which suits my tastes more, however, both are just gorgeous! At the back of the book are two light brown pages, the first has two postcard sized images which can be cut out and coloured, the second has 5 illustrations each with dotted lines drawn around them so that they can be cut out and attached to cards or used as gift tags etc either coloured or uncoloured.

In terms of mental health, this book is fantastic, it’s so calming and distracting and there’s just so much to look at in each picture so it’s really absorbing. It also offers wonderful escapism because you can create stories about what the animals are doing and what they might be baking a cake or wearing their best outfits for and immerse yourself in their lovely world. The book feels really peaceful and reminds me of my childhood reading Beatrix Potter’s wonderful stories about animals, I’m sure Peter Rabbit and Mrs Tiggywinkle would fit right in with Kanoko’s forest of creatures and you could have great fun naming all of the characters depicted in this beautiful book. The line thickness is pretty consistent throughout and is thin but not spindly thin so it’s perfectly colourable. The intricacy and detail levels vary throughout from very detailed sections with lots of intricate parts to much larger sections where you can really go to town with your blending and shading if you wish; this book would be suitable for those with moderate to good vision and fine motor control. This book will require a fairly good level of concentration but there are lots of natural stopping points so you can colour for as little or as much time as you want and still get a good sense of accomplishment. The amount of content in each page varies so some are centralised single page images, others are fully covered double-page spreads and a few have spaces where you could add your own imagery or backgrounds if you wish.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book and Kanoko’s second book, Menuet de Bonheur, both are truly beautiful, really natural and calming and just charming to look through. Having seen lots of coloured images from inside, these illustrations are really brought to life with colour and they look spectacular when finished.

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it is available on Amazon but price varies so do check there as well as Amazon Japan (postage is steep but does reduce per item if you buy more than one thing) and check Etsy too where an increasing number of Japanese and other International colouring books are being stocked for a reasonable price.

Amazon UK – Rhapsody in the Forest

The image below was coloured using Derwent Inktense Pencils activated with water.

Princesses and Fairies Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Princesses and Fairies Colouring Book is illustrated by Tomoko Tashiro, originally published in Japanese and is now published in English and kindly sent to me to review by Pavilion Books. This book is 25cm square, paperback, with flexible card covers with an illustration from within the book partially coloured on the front and the title written in gold foiling, the spine has pink and green stripes which makes it quite striking on the shelf. The spine is glue and string-bound and is fairly tight on arrival but it does loosen up with use. The images are a mixture of single and double-page spreads and a little of each image is lost into the spine gutter though as the spine becomes more pliable this will lessen. The paper is bright white, smooth and medium thickness, I found that water-based pens shadowed throughout and bled through at points too, pencils don’t blend or layer particularly well due to lack of tooth in the paper so block-colourers will love it but those who like to blend and shade may struggle a little.

The content of the book consists of various styles of image and various numbers of these for each princess and fairy with some being depicted in far more pages than others. The illustrated princesses and fairies include those from: Thumbelina, The Frog Prince, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Real Princess (The Princess and the Pea), Cinderella, Princess Minon-minette, The Little Mermaid, The Flying Trunk, The Moon Princess, and Tanabata (The Star Festival Story). The illustrations range widely and include wallpaper-style images and repeating patterns; images of collections of objects including jewellery, flowers, and birds; double-page spreads depicting famous fairytale scenes, oval-shaped portrait-style images, and double-page spreads of flowers. The images are very floral and busy and contain heaps to look at. The layout of the book is a little chaotic but is much more cohesive than the other book in the series (The Fairy Tales Colouring Book). Each story is pictured in turn with a double-page spread depicting the main characters in a famous scene with text stating the fairy tale it’s from, following this are slightly random collections of somewhat related images in a range of styles including wallpapers, objects, and patterns. These feel less like filler images and more like stand-alone images than those found in the other book which means this one flows much better though it is a shame that a large number of them don’t directly tie back in with each fairy tale.

In terms of mental health, if you want a book that will provide hours of distraction, heaps to look at and colour, and lovely nostalgic imagery, then this is your book! If you’re not a fan of wallpapers or collection images then you might want to give it a miss as there are a fair few of these throughout. This book is a little less cohesive than others but the images are really beautiful and extremely pretty. The line thickness is pretty consistent throughout and remains thin and spindly thin so you’ll need pretty good vision and fine motor control to stay within the lines. The intricacy and detail levels vary throughout from quite large open spaces to teeny tiny sections that would be best suited to fineliners or sharp pencils so again, you’ll need pretty good vision and co-ordination in order to get the most out of this book. Some of these princesses and fairies are well-known and others aren’t ones I’d heard of so this book offers a real opportunity to get researching and discovering some fairy tales you didn’t know existed. The illustrations are so busy that they offer a great level of distraction and escapism but this does mean that you’ll need to have fairly good concentration so I’d keep this book for your good days so that you can give it the attention it deserves. The book is pretty, cheerful, and good for keeping your spirits up, there are lots of repeated sections or lots of the same flower which is good for helping you zone out and calm down without having to keep choosing different colours or techniques.

Overall, this is a beautiful book, it’s a little chaotic and difficult to follow, however, the artwork is stunning and offers so many hours of colouring. The paper is quite poor quality which is a real shame because it isn’t well suited to pens or pencils. I would recommend this book to those of you who love intricate and detailed illustrations who don’t mind persevering with the paper because it’ll look stunning when finished!

You can purchase a copy of the book here:
Amazon UK – Princesses and Fairies Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Princesses-Colouring-Book-Tomoko-Tashiro/9781843653172/?a_aid=colouringitmom

Can’t get enough of this art? Check out my review of the second book in this series – Fairy Tales Colouring Book.

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Stabilo 68 Fibre-tips.

Fairy Tales Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Fairy Tales Colouring Book is illustrated by Tomoko Tashiro, originally published in Japanese and is now published in English and kindly sent to me to review by Pavilion Books. This book is 25cm square, paperback, with flexible card covers with an illustration from within the book partially coloured on the front and the title written in gold foiling, the spine has pink and purple stripes which makes it quite striking on the shelf. The spine is glue and string-bound and is fairly tight on arrival but it does loosen up with use. The images are a mixture of single and double-page spreads and a little of each image is lost into the spine gutter though as the spine becomes more pliable this will lessen. The paper is bright white, smooth and medium thickness, I found that water-based pens shadowed throughout and bled through at points too, pencils don’t blend or layer particularly well due to lack of tooth in the paper so block-colourers will love it but those who like to blend and shade may struggle a little.

The content of the book consists of various styles of image and various numbers of these for each fairy tale with some being depicted in far more pages than others. The illustrated fairy tales include: Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Swan lake, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Cinderella, The Story of the Magic Horse, The Little Mermaid, The Snow Queen, and The Nutcracker. The illustrations range from a large number of wallpaper-style images and repeating patterns; to a couple of mandalas; images of collections of objects including jewellery, shells, and snowflakes; double-page spreads depicting famous fairytale scenes, and small motifs in the centre of the page with lots of space around them to add your own imagery or backgrounds if you wish (there are no written hints or prompts so the space can be left if you prefer). The images are very floral and busy and contain heaps to look at. The layout of the book isn’t very cohesive and it doesn’t flow well, the images are very lovely but rather than being properly split into each story, it seems quite randomly laid out. Each fairy tale is pictured in turn with a double-page spread depicting the main characters in a famous scene with text stating the fairy tale it’s from, following this though are seemingly random collections of images including wallpapers, objects, patterns etc; some of these are related e.g. snowflakes near the Snow Queen section and Christmas imagery near The Nutcracker section, but many seem quite random and a little like filler images. To be clear, the majority of these images are really beautifully drawn and absolutely deserve to be there but it would have been nice for the order to be more carefully considered and for more of the pages to actually directly tie back in with each fairy tale.

In terms of mental health, if you want a book that will provide hours of distraction, heaps to look at and colour, and lovely nostalgic imagery, then this is your book! If you’re not a fan of wallpapers or collection images then you might want to give it a miss as there are a lot of these throughout. The lack of cohesion bothered me a surprising amount and I’ve struggled to feel enthusiastic about this book because of this, however, as stand-alone images, they really are gorgeous and will look so lovely when finished so if cohesion doesn’t bother you then you’ll love it! The line thickness is pretty consistent throughout and remains thin and spindly thin so you’ll need pretty good vision and fine motor control to stay within the lines. The intricacy and detail levels vary throughout from quite large open spaces to teeny tiny sections that would be best suited to fineliners or sharp pencils so again, you’ll need pretty good vision and co-ordination in order to get the most out of this book. Some of these fairy tales are well-known and others aren’t ones I’d heard of so this book offers a real opportunity to get researching and discovering some fairy tales you didn’t know existed. The illustrations are so busy that they offer a great level of distraction and escapism but this does mean that you’ll need to have fairly good concentration so I’d keep this book for your good days so that you can give it the attention it deserves. The book is pretty, cheerful, and good for keeping your spirits up, there are lots of repeated sections or lots of the same flower which is good for helping you zone out and calm down without having to keep choosing different colours or techniques.

Overall, I’ve been a little disappointed by this book, it’s quite haphazard and difficult to follow, however, the artwork is beautiful and offers so many hours of colouring. The paper is quite poor quality which is a real shame because it isn’t well suited to pens or pencils. I would recommend this book to those of you who’ve not been put off by these negative points, the illustrations are delicate and will look stunning when finished by those of you brave enough to persevere.

You can purchase a copy of the book here:
Amazon UK – Fairy Tales Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Fairy-Tales-Colouring-Book-Tomoko-Tashiro/9781843653165/?a_aid=colouringitmom

Can’t get enough of this art? Or fancy a bit more cohesion? Check out my review of the second book in this series – Princesses and Fairies.

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Stabilo 68 Fibre-tips.