Marco Fine Coloured Pencils

The Great British Cake Off: The 100% Unofficial Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Great British Cake Off is illustrated by Harriet Popham, published by Harper Collins and is from my personal collection. I was extremely excited about the prospect of this book as soon as I found out about its publication and had to wait weeks until its publishing date to see what it was going to be like. I saw a few photos of inside and was really disappointed but after managing to find it reduced a few days after launch, I decided to give it a go and I’m SO glad I did as the images I saw weren’t representative of the contents at all! Get your apron on, oven pre-heating and let’s head into the Great British Bake Off tent and see if this book is a recipe for success. Without further ado – on your marks, get set, colour! Get yourself ready for a truly cake-tastic review!

This book is paperback, 25cm square (the same size as JB and MM’s books) and contains 96 pages of beautiful cake-y illustrations. The best thing about these cakes? They’re calorie free so you can colour to your heart’s content and not worry about gaining those extra pounds, you might even lose a few as you become so engrossed in colouring that you forget to have your teatime snack. The pages are printed double-sided and the spine is glue-bound meaning a little of each image is lost into the spine but this does improve as the spine loosens up with use. The images are mostly single pages but a few double-page spreads are included too. The majority of the images are baked goods including cakes, cupcakes, tiered cakes, macarons, and page upon page of novelty cakes. Interspersed with these, are images of oven gloves, baking equipment, kitchen scenes and tea party spreads, many of which are very Cath Kidston-esque. The images also include many of the bakes featured through the series of the much-loved tv show The Great British Bake Off, including tarte tatin, croquembouche, gingerbread sculptures, Charlotte Royale, Kransekake, Schittorte, Swedish Princess cake, Povitica, battenberg and many more (if you remember all of those and already know what they all look like then you’re a true die-hard Bake Off fan, congratulations, you get a Special Commendation – Just like Paul in series 6 got for his Lion bread)! The paper is bright white, fairly thick and very lightly textured, I checked my water-based fineliners and fibre-tips and they rarely bled through but did heavily shadow so this book is definitely one to be kept for pencils (also, the black ink transfers under pressure so pop a protective sheet behind your work or pressing too hard will leave you with design transfer on the pages behind). However, don’t despair, the image content is so well-suited to pencils that you won’t mind not being able to use your pens because it really calls for pastel shades and you can get practising your blending, shading and highlighting skills to make your tempered chocolate have the perfect shine and your pieces of fruit looking really juicy. Settle yourself down with a cup of tea and a slice of cake (purely for research purposes of course), get your icing-coloured pencils out and start decorating those cupcakes and macarons.

In terms of mental health, I personally found this book fantastic! If you like cakes then this book has to be on your must-have list. It’s sure to cheer you up and improve your mood because the cakes are so beautiful and it might even inspire your baking (if you like to bake). I found the book really calming and very distracting, there are so many little details that you notice each time you flick through the pages allowing you to become totally absorbed and I really noticed my worries melting away as I coloured my lovely three-tiered cake. The images are fairly detailed and intricate and are all drawn in a thin or medium thickness line so you need fairly good, but not perfect, vision and fine motor control. You need a fairly good level of concentration in order to stay within the lines, focus on the recipe fully, get your measurements right and be able to colour the images to the best of your ability, but this is great because it means your symptoms can take a back seat and you can just enjoy colouring some deliciousness. Twelve of the images have small written hints telling you what some of the more obscure bakes are and suggesting you pipe the frosting in your favourite colours or asking what flavour sponges you might concoct. I’m not a fan of written hints in books because I don’t like having text on the page as I find it detracts a little from the finished look of the page, however, I do make an exception for this book because the cake-naming is actually really useful for those cakes that you’d have no idea what they were without the text.

There are certainly some technical challenges and some that you can truly colour into your own signature bake and more still that will hopefully become showstoppers! This book is sure to make you hungry and get you hunting through your recipe books for inspiration and to make tasty treats to snack on when you need a break from colouring. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves cake, baking, or the Great British Bake Off because this really is the ultimate book for cake-lovers, it completely transports you back to the Bake Off tent!

If you get a copy of this book then be sure to avoid Mel wearing your tuille as bracelets and Sue accidentally elbowing your English muffins. Keep your colouring area a disaster-free zone and for goodness’ sake, colour slowly so that nothing needs to be discarded and we can all avoid another episode of “bin-gate”, I’m still not sure I’m over the trauma of the Baked Alaska challenge! You can take your finished pages and offer them up on the Gingham Altar for Mary and Paul to poke, prod, and almost certainly tell you it’s under-blended or over-shaded, but perhaps, if you’re lucky enough, you might just get crowned Star Colourer for the week and receive the coveted handshake from Paul – we can all dream can’t we?! This book truly offers you a way to have your cake, and eat it! Happy Colouring and Happy Baking – I’d love to see your attempts at either activity over on my Facebook page which can be found here.

If you’d like to purchase a copy then head below:
Amazon UK – The Great British Cake Off
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/The-Great-British-Cake-off-Harriet-Popham/9780008159535/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils which are the crème de la crème of the pencil world and I would highly recommend them for this book. If you’re on a tighter budget then I would also highly recommend the Marco Raffine coloured pencils which you can read my review of here.

Secret Garden Artist’s Edition – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Secret Garden Artist’s Edition: A Pull-Out and Frame Colouring Book is published by Laurence King Publishing and was very kindly sent to me to review by Midas PR. Secret Garden, illustrated by Johanna Basford is the worldwide bestselling colouring book and with good reason – the images are stunning, beautifully detailed, tantalisingly intricate and beautifully put together. However, many of us colourers found that the spine caused a problem because some of the middle of each image was lost into it and the double-sided printing meant that those of us who wanted to use pens of any kind had to sacrifice a number of images on the reverse or resort to colouring with mediums we weren’t so keen on. These issues were taken on board by the publisher and they have responded with this Artist’s Edition.

This book includes 20 of the most popular original images from Secret Garden. The pages are made of thick card which will hold up to just about any colouring medium. I tested my Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and they didn’t even shadow onto the back and they also didn’t bleed sideways or into the card, they seemed to glide on top instead of saturating the paper like so often happens with thick pages. The card is cream which I know isn’t everyone’s favourite, however, I love it because it makes it feel like a classic book with age and luxury. It also means there’s a less harsh contrast between the colouring and the background if you leave the background uncoloured and also allows you to easily add white as highlights or as a colour where white paper simply doesn’t. The pages are all removable, they’re not perforated so there’s no risk of them not being fully perforated and you ripping a page when trying to remove it, they’re all glued onto the spine in a similar way to memo blocks but these pages don’t end up with a curly corner when you remove them. The removable nature of the pages is ideal for two reasons, firstly, its main purpose, which is so that they can be displayed, framed, or gifted to friends or family so your colouring is no longer destined to stay hidden away in a book; secondly, it makes it much easier to colour if you remove the page first – the book is very large when fully open which makes it difficult to colour on your lap or even on a clipboard because it’s over A3 size when opened, but when you remove the page you can turn it to any angle you please so that you can colour each section easily without having to have your hand hanging off one corner or be rubbing over previously coloured areas and accidentally smudging bits.

The images included are a good selection from the original Secret Garden book and I didn’t notice any of my favourites missing but this will obviously vary for everyone (I’ve included plenty of images from inside below). The circular images are almost exactly the same size as in the original book but the (mostly) portrait and (couple of) landscape images are zoomed in sections of some of the single and double-page spreads from the book – I’ve shown this in the owl comparison photo below. This means that a few of the images have slightly larger spaces meaning the ability to really go to town and blend and shade is increased which I personally really enjoyed when working on my owl picture ready for this review. I’m very new to using pencils and have a lot to learn about blending and shading and the sizes of the leaves was ideal for practising these techniques and I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out. But rest assured, the majority of the images are printed on the same scale as Johanna’s original book meaning it’s packed full with delicate leaves and intricate flowers all just crying out to have colour added to them.

I’ve already highlighted the majority of the ways in which this book is different from the original but a couple more things to note are that this book doesn’t have a treasure hunt aspect and none of the included images are designed to be added to, though of course you may still wish to add backgrounds or borders, there aren’t any images with large spaces or written suggestions like in the original so just bear that in mind. The book comes wrapped in thin plastic film so you won’t be able to look through it in stores but this means that the cover is well protected and won’t be at risk of staining or marking which I personally think is pretty sensible, though it’s a shame they didn’t do a preview on the back of what images are included. Because of this, I have included a large number of images from inside the book below so that you can “see inside” before you buy it.

In terms of mental health, this book is wonderful. Secret Garden was one of 3 adult colouring books that I purchased when I first developed my anxiety disorder 18 months ago and it’s provided countless hours of calming distractions and this new Artist’s Edition has been just the same. It arrived on Friday and I’ve spent all daylight hours since then (6 days) colouring in it, often forgetting to eat and not noticing the hours passing because I’ve been so engrossed and focused on colouring each section. Johanna’s books are not for the faint-hearted and are quite an undertaking and they’re not for those of you with poor eyesight or challenged fine motor control. However, for anyone who is mentally ill and doesn’t have poor eyesight, this book is ideal because not only are the images stunning but they’re also completely grounded in nature which is perfect for calming you down and relaxing you. When colouring these images, it feels like you’re taking a leisurely walk through a beautiful garden and this is sure to lift your mood and focus your thoughts so that even the most racing of minds will be quietened, at least for a short while. The details and intricacies force you to concentrate and become immersed in a world filled with brightly coloured foliage and enchanting creatures and you’re sure to feel your anxiety lessen and your dark thoughts soften a little. It’s by no means a cure, but this is a fabulous book for distraction and the fact that you can remove the pages and display them means that all of your hard work and creativity can be prominently displayed and used to brighten up your darker days and remind you that you can create beautiful things which I often find gives me a huge self-esteem boost.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. If you liked Johanna’s original books or want to delve into her inky world for the first time then I’d strongly recommend purchasing it. With the best paper quality that I’ve come across in a colouring book, it contains the most stunning images and the feature of removable pages is one that I hope will catch on with future publications because who wants to spend hours colouring a stunning image and then leave it in a book when you could be decorating your walls with your work or giving wonderful, thoughtful presents to family and friends?! This book exudes quality and luxuriousness from its thick card pages, to the signature gold foil accents on the front cover and the tiny flower image printed on the reverse of each picture, it is a work of art in itself and will be transformed into a masterpiece once you unleash your creativity upon it. I truly can’t enthuse enough about this book, it is a must-have and one that if you have been umming and ahhing about whether you should purchase it should be bought at once because I can just about guarantee that you won’t regret it. This book is ideal for anyone who is struggling with their mental health and anyone who just wants something truly beautiful to colour. I really hope that there will be Artist’s Editions created in the near future of Enchanted Forest and the soon-to-be-released Lost Ocean.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this stunning book, then head over to Amazon where it’s already selling for significantly less than the RRP. Secret Garden Artist’s Edition: A Pull-Out and Frame Colouring Book

The images below were coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.

If you have any further questions, comments or would like to show off your colouring then connect with me on Facebook – I love hearing from you all and getting feedback.

Wings & Things: Colouring For Grown Ups – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
wings and things: art therapy is illustrated and was kindly sent to me for review by Edwina Mc Namee. This gorgeous book is filled with 50 images of all things winged, feathery, mystical and magical. The book is paperback, glue-bound and printed single-sided with no border so a little of each image is lost into the spine but this really is only a little.  The book is slightly smaller than A4 and has a gorgeous aqua coloured cover that can almost certainly be coloured in so you’ve practically got an extra colouring page on the front and it also has a lovely “This book belongs to” page. Almost all of the images are portrait but a few are printed landscape so that more can be fitted onto the page. The book has a lovely cohesive image style because it’s all been hand-drawn by the very talented Edwina who clearly has a love of all things feathery. The images include all sorts of birds, headdresses, bats, butterflies, insects and unicorns. They are drawn with varying line thicknesses from thin to thick with most being medium/thick, they don’t look overly heavy though. The paper is bright white and pretty thin, my fibre-tip pens which hardly ever bleed did bleed through all over the back of the page so if you’re using anything that bleeds do put a scrap sheet behind your work so that you don’t ruin the next picture.

In terms of mental health, this book is great because it’s grounded in nature and while it contains images of fantastical things, the majority are birds and feathered creatures. I found this book really calming and relaxing to colour, so much so that I coloured two full pages instead of the usual one. The images are fairly detailed but not overly intricate so they’re really well suited to anybody because you don’t need perfect vision or fine motor control in order to be able to enjoy it. The spaces are large enough that you can practice shading and blending but not so large that the book feels basic or childish. The images feel very positive and the level of complexity varies meaning the book can be used on good and bad days as your concentration comes and goes. The images in this book are well-suited to any colouring medium and I found it lovely to use pens and pencils on. The images below were coloured using Staedtler Fibre-tip pens and Marco Raffine Oil-based pencils which were really easy to shade and layer on the paper.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who like animals or birds and anyone who struggles to colour the very intricate books but doesn’t want to colour very basic images. The images are lovely, calming and very charming and being printed one-sided means that you can use any medium you like without having to worry about ruining any images. In my opinion it’s great for mental health and well worth adding to your collection. Thank you very much to Edwina for sending me a copy of her gorgeous book and if you’d like to get your hands on a copy, head over to her Etsy shop where you can find the book in two parts: part 1 and part 2. It is also available on Amazon here wings and things: art therapy

Tangle Wood: A Captivating Colouring Book With Hidden Jewels – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Tangle Wood: A Captivating Colouring Book with Hidden Jewels is illustrated by Jessica Palmer and published and kindly sent to me by Search Press Publishing. I’ll start off by saying that this is one of the most beautiful colouring books that I’ve ever seen and it’s now firmly in my list of favourite books. It’s somewhat similar to the books created by Millie Marotta and Johanna Basford but it has a unique style of its own and seamlessly blends animals, plants and zentangle into a stunning work of art that you’ll be clamouring to colour by the end of this review. The book itself is square (slightly smaller in size than other square books) and softback (it’s not especially bendy so it’ll keep protected in a bag if you transport your books but also isn’t rigid and hard). The pages are thick, off-white and lightly textured and the 75 stunning images are printed double-sided. The outlines of each picture can be seen through the pages so I assumed that pens would be a no-go in this book but actually, I experienced no bleeding when using my water-based fineliners so these should be fine for you to use (always test on an inconspicuous area to avoid ruining any designs). Pencils add colour smoothly and because the paper is textured you can add plenty of layers so you’ll be able to blend and shade beautifully. Some of the images are single pages and others are double-page spreads and the book is relatively tightly glue-bound so some of the image near the middle is lost into the spine and it does take some stretching of the spine to be able to get it to lie flat or stay open without being held. With time though, I’ve found that spines like this do loosen up and with a book like this, it’s so worth the wait so don’t be put off, just be patient and keep working the spine so that you can reach the middle of the images.

This book is truly beautiful and the images are unlike anything else I’ve seen because they’re so detailed, patterned and charming. I hope you’ll get some of the atmosphere through the images attached at the bottom but truly you need to see this book to realise just how wonderful it is. If you like colouring nature images that are highly detailed then you’ll just love this book. It takes you on a journey rather than being a collection of similarly themed images. You start off seeing some of the jewels that have been hidden within the wood and are greeted by a large tree and a friendly looking fox, you discover a gingerbread house and walk past all sorts of species of birds. You walk further into the trees and happen upon all manner of woodland creatures including badgers, rabbits, foxes, deer and hedgehogs, you encounter a family of owls and a kingfisher who’s caught his lunch. By the end of the walk you’ve reached what’s probably the heart of the wood and night has fallen and your path is lit by a smiling full moon. This book is so much more than a colouring book. It tells a story, it has hidden elements in the form of jewels and jewellery pieces and it sparks your imagination and creates a wonderful world of escapism. The images are highly detailed and intricate and many encompass typical zentangle patterns that you can either colour between so you’re colouring teeny tiny sections or colour over to create patterned blocks and sections. Some of the images aren’t complete or have large sections around them that have been left blank and while I was confused by these at the beginning and it felt a little unfinished on certain pages, after reading the introduction page it explained that these spaces are left so that you can add your own details, backgrounds, and to continue the picture on in your own way. I think this feature is great because it means that you can add to the book or leave it without there being text in the way and detracting from your beautiful colouring. There are also a number of floral and faunal frames that are circular, square and even heart-shaped that you could either leave as they are or add to if your drawing skills are honed!

In terms of mental health, this book has a lot of detail and intricacy so it’s ideal for those of you who like complicated images that keep you distracted and focused for hours. The line thickness varies from spindly thin to medium thickness but mostly it’s thin throughout like the majority of intricate colouring books are. The line colour varies throughout and some are blackest black and others are much paler and grey. One thing to note is that the lines of some the images are kind of fuzzy and seem out of focus, I wasn’t too keen on this to begin with but as time has gone on it’s bothered me less and less and now it doesn’t worry me. It did make me think my eyes were having a problem to begin with though so do be aware of it if you have vision problems and be careful if you get migraines (like I do) as it can make you feel a little strange. That’s the only slight issue I had with the book though, it is absolutely stunning and completely captivating and the more I look through it the more I notice and discover and the more I fall in love with it. I think this book is absolutely ideal for anyone with mental health problems because it’s so natural and calming and the subject matter is really relaxing and beautifully drawn. This book contains hours and hours of enjoyment and I’m sure it’s set to become a bestseller because it’s so gorgeous so if you’re wanting a copy I’d get your hands on one soon before everyone catches on to how unmissable this book is. I for one, am hoping that Jessica will be creating a new book soon because her artwork is beautiful and an absolute joy to colour! The images below are coloured with Marco Fine Coloured Pencils and Stabilo Point 88 fineliners. If you’d like to get a copy of this wonderful, woodland treasure hunt follow the link to Amazon Tangle Wood: A Captivating Colouring Book with Hidden Jewels

Mijn Wonderlijke Wereld (My Wondrous World) Part 1 – A Review

Masja has created a truly beautiful book and it really does contain a wondrous world of creatures, flowers and patterns. Her illustration style is floral, delicate and detailed without being overly intricate. Those of you who like Millie Marotta’s style should really consider this book because I am now a huge fan of the work of both of these talented illustrators.

This book is square and glue-bound making it a little hard to get completely flat to colour but because it’s paperback it’s easily moved around to get the perfect angle for each section you’re working on. The images are printed double-sided and the paper is fairly thin so I’d stick to pencils in this book as my fineliners badly bled through to the back of the page I tested. However, the paper is bright white and fairly smooth and gives a lovely surface to colour on. The line thickness is thin but not extremely so and it does vary somewhat throughout the book but at no point could it be described as thick so this book is definitely for those of you with good vision and at least moderate fine motor control so that you can really get the most from the images. The book contains 46 images including some that are double-page spreads and others that are single pages. The image content includes animals, flowers, floral patterns, and wallpaper-esque prints. It’s quite a girly book so maybe one to miss for the male colourers unless floral is your thing.

I found the images really calming and soothing and found the process of colouring the images ready for this review very relaxing because of their grounding in nature. Looking through the pages of the book is like taking a leisurely walk through a beautiful garden, past stunning flowers, inhabited ponds and swooping birds. It takes you on a journey and allows for excellent escapism which means it’s ideal for mental health problems. Masja’s drawings are delicate and intricate and need just enough concentration to keep you occupied, focused and distracted from anxious or low thoughts but aren’t so complicated that they will ever lead to frustration or cause you to feel overwhelmed. Some of the images have large open spaces where you could add your own drawings or backgrounds to truly make the book your own but there is no writing on the pages so you’re totally free to add (or not) as you choose, rather than as directed.

This book is one not to be missed and for those of you who like to colour natural scenes, especially those including animals or flowers, this is a must-have book that you should be adding to your collection because it’s beautiful and really up there with the bestsellers in that category. Masja’s book is not published in the UK or US yet but is available from her Etsy shop where it is very reasonably priced and you can also check out her other books and colouring pages, all drawn in her unique, delicate style. You can read my review of her second instalment here and you can keep up with her progress via her Facebook page. Thank you so much Masja for inviting us all into your Wondrous World and for allowing me to review your stunning book!

The images below were coloured using Marco Raffine Coloured Pencils and Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.

Being In The Now: 50 Mindfulness Quotes to Colour and Keep – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Being in the Now: 50 mindfulness quotes to colour and keep (UK edition) is published by Luscious Books who very kindly sent me a copy to review. This book is aimed directly at those who wish to practice mindfulness and is therefore brilliantly suited to all of you who suffer from mental illnesses like I do. This book is square and slightly smaller than the bestsellers. It is glue-bound with a soft cover and the images are printed single sided and almost all of them have a generous border around the edge, though a few are full page but none are lost into the spine due to a dotted line (not perforated) that can be used to cut along to remove the images either before or after colouring so you can display them.  The book contains 50 images, each with a quote that has mindfulness at its core and keeps you focusing on the present moment. The quotes will really get you thinking and potentially re-evaluate where you are now, where you’re headed and how you’re going to get there. They’re also really quite empowering because they make you question how you’ve viewed the world and whether that view is helpful or healthy – they show you a different way of looking at things and aim to keep you in the present, something we should all be practising more!

The images are really varied and consist of flowers, patterns, scenes, borders, animals and more. The line thickness varies throughout from very thin to thicker and bolder so there is something for everyone and those who have poor vision or fine motor control will definitely still be able to get hours of colouring out of this book. The text that each quote is written in varies from page to page from blocky, to cartoon-y, handwritten, to curvy. The paper quality is fairly good, bright white and thin but not overly so but do put a sheet of paper behind your work when using any type of markers to prevent bleeding onto the next image. Cleverly, this book has been published in both UK and American English so that the spellings are correct for both UK and US colourers so do be sure to check which version you’re ordering if you purchase a copy. There are links to both below. A second volume is in the pipeline and I, for one, will be very interested to see what it will contain because this is a lovely book with mental health truly at its heart. The level of intricacy and detail really varies so this is a good all-rounder that can offer up colouring for your good and bad days, those where you just need to zone out and those where you have plenty of concentration to work on more detail. It’s a fairly small book so none of the images will take you hours and hours to complete meaning you’ll have a finished image to show for your efforts within no time.

I would recommend this book to anybody who is or wants to practice mindfulness and those of you who enjoy reading quotes and positive affirmations. There is less to actually colour in this book than some but it’s a really lovely book to add to your collection and I certainly found it calming and positive to colour and the quotes really did get me thinking about how I live my life and how my thought processes affect me. This is so much more than a colouring book, so what are you waiting for?! Start Being in the Now! If you’d like to a purchase a copy here are the links to the UK version Being in the Now: 50 mindfulness quotes to colour and keep (UK edition) and US version Being in the Now: 50 mindfulness quotes to color and keep (US edition).

The images below were coloured using Staedtler Triplus Fibre-Tips and Marco Raffine Coloured Pencils.

My Magical Oasis: Art Therapy Colouring Book For Creative Minds – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
My Magical Oasis: Art Therapy Colouring Book for Creative Minds is published and was kindly sent to me for review by Plexus Books. This is the first book in the series and the second – My Magical Oasis  is reviewed here. In short, this book is stunning and, in my opinion, comes close to rivalling the current bestsellers in the field. This square book is paperback, glue-bound and contains a whopping 101 images that are printed double-sided with no border so a small amount of the image is lost into the spine until this loosens up with use. The paper is white and fairly thin with a little texture so it is ideal for use with pencils (I used Marco Fine oil-based pencils which can be found for a VERY reasonable price on Ebay) but not so great with fineliners as they bleed through so if you’re wanting to use them pick your images carefully to avoid ruining one that you’re desperate to colour on the back (I used Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Scribbilicious Fineliners from The Works).

The images in this book are fairly cohesive and there is a lovely flora and fauna theme running through it though there are a few very different image styles that have almost been chucked in and seem quite out of place (see the Ram below). Mostly though, this book has a great flow and contains heaps of images of flowers, animals, patterns and mandalas to keep you colouring for weeks. The images vary in intricacy level but this is not a book for beginners or those with poor eyesight or fine motor control issues because mostly the images are intricate-highly intricate with a lot of detail added to most so good visual acuity and a steady hand will be a must! The line thickness varies from spindly thin to thick and chunky but mostly resides in the thin (but not too thin) area. Many of the images are realistically drawn but there are also a huge number of stylised and almost cartoon-style drawings. Some of the images are double-page spreads and others show a pattern or whole image on one side and then a zoomed in or repeated version on the opposite page creating a really nice pair without them being matching. There is no pre-added colour in this book but there are a number of pages that have gaps and spaces and written hints about what you can add there so for those of you that like drawing there is scope to add to and embellish this book.

In terms of mental health, this book is a great one and should definitely be added to your collection. The sheer variety of image content means this book was already onto a winner but the level of intricacy and detail in the majority of the images means that it’s perfect for keeping you focused and occupied. Those of you who have days of poor concentration will be able to use one of the simpler images contained within to still get your colouring fix but these are sparing so those of a moderate to advanced level of colouring would be best suited to this book. That said, I found it really relaxing, calming and distracting and it’s staying firmly in my “to keep” pile as it’s joined my ever-growing favourites list. As you’ll have seen in my other reviews, I rate books with natural images of animals and flowers very highly because they seem to have the greatest calming effect on me – the fact that there are ready made colour schemes for real things such as snails, lilies and irises means that if you really struggle with colour choices you can just head to google and choose from there. I also find it very soothing colouring natural images because I’m virtually housebound and don’t often get the chance to go outside and experience these things in the real world anymore so being able to colour my own flowers and animals is a helpful way in which I can reconnect with nature without my anxiety disorders kicking off and ruining my enjoyment of it. This book really is a magical oasis of reality and fantasy and totally brings you back to nature. This is a fabulous book for calming your thoughts and has more than enough detail to keep you focused and distracted from worries and stresses. I would highly recommend it, in particular to those of you who are fans of JB and MM’s work as this book is somewhere inbetween but with its own unique and beautiful style. If you’d like to purchase a copy then head over to Amazon UK via this link My Magical Oasis: Art Therapy Colouring Book for Creative Minds or Book Depository Worldwide here – http://www.bookdepository.com/My-Magical-Oasis-Eglantine-De-L-Fontaine-Various/9780859655354/?a_aid=colouringitmom