PanPastels

Die Welt unter der Lupe – Zu Wasser (The World Under the Magnifying Glass – Water) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Die Welt unter der Lupe – Zu Wasser (The World Under the Magnifying Glass – Water) is published and kindly sent to me to review by Bastei Lübbe. This book is the fifth illustrated by Rita Berman, a highly talented German illustrator, she previously brought us the hugely successful and utterly beautiful series of season colouring books, reviewed by me here. I had high hopes for this new book which will be joined in November by a land themed title and I wasn’t disappointed, I didn’t think that her season books could be topped but I think this new book might just have done that, it’s exquisite and absolutely packed full with content. As with all of her books, I was absolutely blown away by its beauty, I can’t enthuse enough about it, it’s stunning! It is identical in format to her previous four books and therefore my review of each is the same, as are the mental health benefits, skip straight to the second paragraph about content and photos at the end to see what’s inside this title.

The book itself is slightly smaller than most at 20cm square, it’s paperback with a partially coloured image from inside the book on the front cover and a hole in the centre of the magnifying glass which gives a very clever 3D effect of looking at an octopus printed on the inside of the full size French flaps. Both covers have fully illustrated French flaps with colour added to the external covers and the internal front flap but none add to the back one so it’s fully colourable with alcohol markers if you wish. The spine is glue and string-bound so it’s durable and strong and will ease up with use; many of the images are full page designs and therefore a number of them do reach or span the gutter however as the spine becomes more supple, you’ll be able to reach almost all areas of the page. The images are printed double-sided and are a mixture of single and double-page spreads, the book contains 72 pages of images, at the back of the book are three pages showing the book covers of the previous and upcoming titles. The paper is bright white, medium/thick and lightly textured, water-based pens didn’t bleed or shadow when I tested them but dark colours or colouring the same spot may cause shadowing so do ensure that you test them yourself in an inconspicuous area; coloured pencils blend and shade well. The images themselves are where these books really come into their own, there are similar style images in each of Rita’s books but they’re beautifully tailored to the specific theme of the title, previously seasons, and this time under water and it’s very clear from looking through each book what it’s dedicated to.

The drawings are incredible, each time I look through the book I see new things that I didn’t notice before. The content ranges from double-page spreads of whales or jellyfish to small central images of hermit crabs, shoals of pufferfish and a close up on the opposite spread to patterns including shells and waves, large centralised images to underwater scenes of deep sea diving, shipwrecks and a shell city and so much more! There are tropical fish, buried treasure, sea plants, shells and even an Arctic scene of seals and penguins. You can colour pearls, octopi, bubbles, seahorses, crabs, jellyfish, dolphins, starfish, seaweed, coral, anemones, clownfish, lobsters, turtles, squid and even a nautilus, it really is packed with watery, sea-dwelling creatures! The illustrations are all drawn quite realistically but each is filled with patterns and small sections to colour which really opens up the possibilities of how to colour them. The pages are filled with cute, whimsical and friendly-feeling images, none are intimidating, they just welcome you in to fill them with colour.

In terms of mental health, each of Rita’s books is just wonderful, the images are really natural and the content is very cute and packed with details so each time you flick through the book you notice more in the images. Because of how the illustrations are drawn, with mostly realistic outlines of obviously recognisable things but filled in with patterns and whimsical doodles, you can either colour the pages realistically, or in outlandish colour schemes and either will look totally fabulous as you’ll see from completed pages on social media. The line thickness is consistently variable throughout, each image is outlined in a medium/thin line with thin-lined details. The intricacy and detail level varies across the images from low-ish to very high, however, don’t despair if your vision or fine motor control aren’t perfect, they don’t need to be, none of the parts are impossibly tiny to colour and many of the images can be simplified by colouring over the internal patterns rather than within them which instantly reduces the intricacy to a much lower level for almost all of the images. The size of the book is ideal because it’s smaller than most and therefore doesn’t require quite so much time to complete each page, the content varies from full double-page spreads depicting scenes to much smaller images so it’s ideal for those with fluctuating conditions or poor concentration as you can colour one object or group of objects on a bad day, or colour a full double-page spread when you’re feeling focused and well. There are also a number of pages that have large open spaces where you could add your own backgrounds or imagery if you wish, this is by no means a necessity but the option is there if you want it. The illustrations create a wonderful sense of place and offer great escapism, they really transport you into Rita’s super cute world filled with charming animals and beautiful plants and away from any difficulties or symptoms you might be experiencing.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book and those in the seasons series, they complement each other beautifully and really transport you into a whimsical world. The pages offer a manageable project for any level of functioning and they are just gorgeous when finished.

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Die Welt unter der Lupe – Zu Wasser (The World Under the Magnifying Glass – Water)
Book Depository Worldwide (currently reduced in price!) – goo.gl/8CQa2s

You can read my reviews of the other books in the series here.

You can view my silent video flick-through here.

The image below was coloured using Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, the bubbles were created using a circle template, a Derwent burnishing pencil and the background with various colours of PanPastels.

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Magical Dawn Artist’s Edition (Magisk Gryning Tavelbok) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Magical Dawn Artist’s Edition is illustrated by Hanna Karlzon and published and kindly sent to me to review by Gibbs Smith. This book was originally published in Sweden under the title Magisk Gryning Tavelbok and this book is identical, apart from the language. This Artist’s Edition is also identical in format to those published for Hanna’s other books, Daydreams, and Summer Nights and therefore my review is mostly identical apart from the content section and the photos. The book measures 29.5x21cm (A4), it’s paperback with thick but flexible card covers which are a pale mauve colour (not identical to the book which is paler and more lilac) with black and white line drawings of Hanna’s flowers and a beetle with gold foiling accents on the front and back. The book has a black tape binding meaning the pages lie completely flat when the book is open and they can be removed for framing. The pages are made of thick cream card which is lightly textured and absolutely fabulous for using pencils on as they layer really well and blend seamlessly. Water-based pens also work really well on this card and don’t bleed through or sideways and there isn’t even a hint of shadowing either. The 20 illustrations are all single-page designs and are printed single-sided so you can use whatever medium you fancy without worrying about bleed-through.

The illustrations chosen are a really good cross-section of images from the Magical Dawn colouring book, there’s a huge range of content, all with a magical theme, including moths, a regal swan, a crown, birds, potion bottles, animal portraits, lanterns, crystal mushrooms and finally, a whopping four of Hanna’s signature female illustrations, the most ever included in an Artist’s Edition. The images are all printed the same size as the original colouring book so if you’re able to colour that, you’ll also be able to colour these with no difficulty and Hanna’s chosen a lovely range that will look incredible finished and framed or gifted to others. All of the images are pictured below so you can check that you’re happy with the choices and see if your favourites are included.

In terms of mental health, this book is just wonderful, seasoned readers of my blog will know that I strongly believe that natural images, and those depicting nature are the best for mental health and calming you down and this book is no exception, the images are very relaxing as well as a little bit magical! The line thickness is consistent throughout and remains medium/thin so it’s definitely manageable to colour. The intricacy and detail vary a little throughout from medium to high and this is part of what makes Hanna’s work so special and beautiful, if you’re wanting to colour within each teeny tiny section then you’ll need to have very good vision and fine motor control but if you’re happy to colour over some of it and use it as texture underneath then moderate vision and fine motor control would be absolutely fine! I found this book and the illustrations within it great for my mood, just looking through it and noticing all of the different details, patterns and creatures makes me feel calmer and the images are just charming so they’re sure to lift your mood and keep you distracted from any difficult thoughts or persistent symptoms. The images do vary a little in size and difficulty and they mostly consist of a collection of components which is ideal for good and bad days because you can work on one tiny potion bottle or moth on a bad day, or a whole page on a good day so it’s ideal for those with fluctuating conditions or concentration levels. The fact that the pages are printed single-sided and are removable is fantastic because it means you can remove your works of art and frame them or gift them which is a great way of reminding yourself of what you can achieve and brighten up the darkest of days.

I would highly recommend this book to those of you who are already fans of Hanna’s work and have the original book, those who love to gift or frame their colouring, and those who like to use alcohol markers or wet media as there’s no worry about ruining any reverse images. The illustrations chosen are beautiful, a wonderful cross-section and very calming.

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available to pre-order here:
Amazon UK – Magical Dawn Artist’s Edition
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Magical-Dawn-Hann-Karlzon/9781423646600/?a_aid=colouringitmom

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

Summer Nights Artist’s Edition (Sommarnatt Tavelbok) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Summer Nights Artist’s Edition is illustrated by Hanna Karlzon and published and kindly sent to me to review by Gibbs Smith. This book was originally published in Sweden under the title Sommarnatt Tavelbok and this book is identical, apart from the language. This Artist’s Edition is also identical in format to those published for Hanna’s other books, Daydreams, and Magical Dawn and therefore my review is mostly identical apart from the content section and the photos. The book measures 29.5x21cm (A4), it’s paperback with thick but flexible card covers which are a pale peach colour (not identical to the book which is paler and pinker) with black and white line drawings of Hanna’s butterflies and beading with gold foiling accents on the front and back. The book has a black tape binding meaning the pages lie completely flat when the book is open and they can be removed for framing. The pages are made of thick cream card which is lightly textured and absolutely fabulous for using pencils on as they layer really well and blend seamlessly. Water-based pens also work really well on this card and don’t bleed through or sideways and there isn’t even a hint of shadowing either. The 20 illustrations are all single-page designs and are printed single-sided so you can use whatever medium you fancy without worrying about bleed-through.

The illustrations chosen are a good cross-section of images from the Summer Nights colouring book (reviewed by me here), there’s a huge range of content including butterflies, birds, owls, jewels, houses, insects, cats, flowers, leaves and finally, one of Hanna’s signature female illustrations. The images are all printed the same size as the original colouring book so if you’re able to colour that, you’ll also be able to colour these with no difficulty and Hanna’s chosen a lovely range that will look incredible finished and framed or gifted to others. All of the images are pictured below so you can check that you’re happy with the choices and see if your favourites are included.

In terms of mental health, this book is just wonderful, seasoned readers of my blog will know that I strongly believe that natural images, and those depicting nature are the best for mental health and calming you down and this book is no exception, the images are very relaxing! The line thickness is consistent throughout and remains medium/thin so it’s definitely manageable to colour. The intricacy and detail vary a little throughout from medium to high and this is part of what makes Hanna’s work so special and beautiful, if you’re wanting to colour within each teeny tiny section then you’ll need to have very good vision and fine motor control but if you’re happy to colour over some of it and use it as texture underneath then moderate vision and fine motor control would be absolutely fine! I found this book and the illustrations within it great for my mood, just looking through it and noticing all of the different details, patterns and creatures makes me feel calmer and the images are just charming so they’re sure to lift your mood and keep you distracted from any difficult thoughts or persistent symptoms. The images do vary a little in size and difficulty and they mostly consist of a collection of components which is ideal for good and bad days because you can work on one flower or beetle on a bad day, or a whole page on a good day so it’s ideal for those with fluctuating conditions or concentration levels. The fact that the pages are printed single-sided and are removable is fantastic because it means you can remove your works of art and frame them or gift them which is a great way of reminding yourself of what you can achieve and brighten up the darkest of days.

I would highly recommend this book to those of you who are already fans of Hanna’s work and have the original book, those who love to gift or frame their colouring, and those who like to use alcohol markers or wet media as there’s no worry about ruining any reverse images. The illustrations chosen are beautiful, a wonderful cross-section and very calming.

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available to pre-order here:
Amazon UK – Summer Nights Artist’s Edition
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Summer-Nights-Hann-Karlzon/9781423646570/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Holbein Artists’ Coloured Pencils and the background was created using Panpastels.

Tangle Wood Collector’s Art Edition – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Tangle Wood Collector’s Art Edition is illustrated by Jessica Palmer and published and kindly sent to me to review by Search Press Publishing. This book is the artist’s edition of Jessica’s hugely popular debut colouring book, Tangle Wood, which I reviewed almost 18 months ago, she’s since gone on to produce two further titles, Tangle Bay and Tangle Magic. This artist’s edition is a different format from the original and contains 20 images, some originally single pages and others a full double-page spread, I’ve included photos of all of the pages below so that you can see if your favourites are included and decide if this book is for you. It’s currently listed on Amazon with a release date in the UK as the 31st of March but my contact at Search Press is expecting their own website to have stock by the end of January and Amazon doesn’t usually take long after that so do get your pre-order in (links below) and you’ll be sure to get a copy as soon as it’s available.

The book itself is very large, measuring 25 x 33cm (the same size as Floribunda and the JB artist’s editions), it’s paperback with covers made of the same card as the pages inside, it’s thick card which is a beautiful cream colour, lightly textured and perfect for use with water-based pens which don’t bleed sideways or through, and pencils which layer and blend beautifully. I tested my Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and they didn’t shadow onto the back, they just seemed to glide on top instead of saturating the paper. Cream isn’t everyone’s favourite page colour but it definitely adds a vintage feel and seems more natural than pure white so it really fits the woodland theme and also means you’re left with a less harsh contrast if you decide to leave the background uncoloured. The 20 images are printed single-sided onto the card and all of them are landscape, some are single page images from the original book which are printed a little larger, and others are double-page spreads which have been shrunk to fit the new page size. The book has a lay-flat binding meaning there is no spine to contend with and that you can reach the whole image to colour it. 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 the same way as postcard books so they’re easy to remove if you wish but do stay put as long as you’re careful and don’t twist the spine too much, mine arrived pretty stiff. 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 all from the original version of Tangle Wood, unlike most artist’s editions, the majority of these images are actually smaller than in the original book, I personally don’t think this was the best decision as Jessica’s illustrations are some of the most detailed around and it would have been lovely to have slightly larger scale versions to get our teeth into. There are also some slightly odd image choices like the floral frame which doesn’t actually fill the page or have enough space in the middle to draw much of your own imagery, or the floral spray with a small hummingbird, I was very disappointed to see that the gingerbread house wasn’t included apart from as a faded background for the bio on the back page. However, those niggles aside, the book is lovely and the images are really beautiful. Of the 20 images, 3 are printed larger than the original, 11 are printed smaller than the original, and the rest are the same size (see comparison photos below). The illustrations are printed in a different order from the book and don’t show the journey through the wood as the original did, there also isn’t a treasure hunt aspect though there are jewellery pieces hidden in each illustration. On the back of each page it says “Hand Coloured By” with a line to write your name and then “On” followed by space to write the date, you could also add the colouring mediums you used as a great record for the future.

In terms of mental health, this book is great, Jessica’s work contains so much detail that there’s constantly something to look at and notice, there’s a really good mix of images from up-close plants and insects to more scenic pages and all of the chosen illustrations will look beautiful framed if you wish. The linework is fairly consistent throughout and is thin and spindly thin, the detail levels do vary because the scale of the images varies and it ranges from the tiniest of details up to much larger open spaces. While you will need pretty good vision and fine motor control, don’t forget that you don’t have to colour in each tiny section individually and you can get great effects from colouring over sections and using the black linework as pattern or texture through your colouring, I often do this with Jessica’s illustrations and it’s really effective. The drawings themselves are really natural and evocative and are sure to spark your imagination as well as calm you down, Jessica’s illustrations feel very peaceful so they’re great for slowing down a racing mind. A number of the images have large spaces where you could add your own backgrounds but this is by no means necessary and the pages will look beautiful with or without any additions. There is also a variance in the amount of content on each page so you can tackle a simpler page on bad days or a more complex design on days where you can focus and concentrate more fully. Fans of the original book are sure to love this edition, it feels quite different from the original but it has many more uses and is ideal for using heavy/wet media that you can’t use on double-sided pages.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book, while the image choice and layout is a little disappointing, this may just be my personal taste and what is here is very lovely and will look stunning finished and framed. The book itself would make a wonderful gift or you could colour and frame a page for a loved one, or just brighten up your own home with your wonderful creations, I will certainly be framing my own soon, I just love how my owl turned out!

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available to pre-order here:
Amazon UK – Tangle Wood Collector’s Art Edition
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Tangle-Wood-Jessic-Palmer/9781782214878/?a_aid=colouringitmom
Search Press Website – https://www.searchpress.com/book/9781782214878/tangle-wood-collector-s-art-edition

The image below was coloured using Holbein Artists’ Colored Pencils and the background with PanPastels.

WORLDWIDE GIVEAWAY and Review – Tangle Magic: A Spellbinding Colouring Book With Hidden Charms

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Tangle Magic is illustrated by Jessica Palmer, published and kindly sent to me to review by Search Press Publishing. Search Press have very kindly offered to sponsor a Worldwide Giveaway for 2 copies of Tangle Magic (entry details at the bottom of this post, just above the photos). I am blown away by this book and have spent more time than I should have just looking through the pages, always noticing something new, there’s just so much detail included and so many aspects that aren’t immediately obvious but that you notice over time. I nearly cried when I saw that I had very kindly been mentioned in the dedication (see photo below) and that so many of my ideas for image content had been used, most notably the wonderful crystal ball, free from tangles so we can all colour it realistically, Jessica, from the bottom of my heart, thank you, for the dedication, for including us colourists in your inspiration process, and for creating such a wonderful third book! Emotional, mushy bit over, let’s get on with the actual review!

This book is 22.2cm square (10 inches), softback with a soft touch flexible card cover with line drawings on the front and back which are contained within the book and the pages are flexibound meaning they’re quite tight to begin with but the spine eases up with use and Search Press have reliably informed me that with sensible amounts of bending (including bending the covers so far back that they touch each other completely) the spine will hold up and you’ll be able to access the entire page. I’m yet to be brave enough to try this but you can certainly get very close to the centre of each image without much difficulty and the pages are stitch-bound which always increases durability. The paper is thick, bright white and lightly textured, (the same as Tangle Bay), water-based pens don’t bleed or shadow as long as you’re careful and there is plenty of tooth to be able to build up layers of pencil for blending and shading. The outlines of the images aren’t 100% permanent so when using pencils or heavy pressure, make sure you pop a spare sheet of paper behind your work to protect the proceeding page, the transfer is fully erasable but the paper will save time so you don’t have to be erasing things.

The book contains 75 pages of double-sided images which consist of a mixture of single and double-page spreads and they are filled with all manner of magical things. The content is a little different from what you might be expecting so I’ll describe it as best I can and have posted lots of photos of inside the book below so you can see inside for yourself. I was expecting to see predominantly magical paraphernalia and while there is plenty of that, the content is far more wide-ranging than I was expecting, I was thinking mostly witches, potions, magic wands and tricks, and there is lots of that, but there are also lots of anthropomorphised animals throughout which are either magical themselves, or in some cases performing magic tricks, or even the subject of spells. There are fairy tales included from the princess and the pea and what looks to be Aladdin in duck form, to a snow queen swan (or goose) and the characters of the nursery rhyme Hey Diddle Diddle and even the owl and the pussycat who appeared in Tangle Bay (they appear to be favourites of Jessica’s). All things weird, wacky, spellbinding, mystical and magical are included and while it’s not especially traditional, the wide-ranging content is fantastically diverse and covers everything from witches and potions to tarot cards and fortune telling, magic spells and rabbits out of hats, enchanted creatures and objects, and heaps of mythical creatures including a phoenix, unicorns, dragons, a lizard king and lots of other anthropomorphised creatures. This book is the perfect third instalment of the Tangle series and is a great combination of the heavily tangled and patterned designs from Tangle Wood, and the more whimsical anthropomorphised animals that we found in Tangle Bay. Tangle Magic is packed with content, all of which is original and fresh whilst still being very much drawn in Jessica’s signature hyper-detailed style. The book doesn’t tell a story or have a particular feeling of continuity but it is extremely cohesive and very much sticks to the magical brief. Unlike the previous two titles, there aren’t any pages with any particularly large open spaces left and there is only one frame rather than several so this book is much more geared towards those who want to just colour instead of adding their own drawings and features, though there is still plenty of space for backgrounds to be added if you wish! At the beginning of the book is a beautiful full-colour gemstone colouring tutorial and there are plenty of gems drawn that you can practice on throughout the book to perfect your skills!

In terms of mental health, this book offers fantastic escapism and will provide wonderful distraction from even the most intrusive of thoughts or symptoms. The line thickness varies a little throughout but mostly it’s thin and spindly then so you’ll definitely need very good vision and fine motor control to enjoy this book. The intricacy and detail levels are extreme and second to none, however don’t be put off, while there is a very high level of detail and intricacy, you can easily colour over this (see my chameleon picture) and use it as texture underneath rather than colouring within each section which makes it far less daunting and overwhelming and also means that your vision and fine motor control don’t need to be so good! There is so much to look at within each page that you really do get transported into Jessica’s wonderful, whimsical world and I have found this book fantastic for my mood because the illustrations are of nature which is inherently calming, but they’re also spiced up with lots of fun, humour and intrigue which piques your interest and keeps you focused on the here and now rather than being lost in your thoughts. This book is absolutely beautiful, hyper-detailed and will look absolutely incredible coloured in because there’s so much variety and because the content is magical you can use whatever colours you like and have purple dogs, red ducks and bright blue owls, the only limit is your imagination!

I would highly recommend this books to fans of Jessica’s previous books Tangle Wood and Tangle Bay, Tangle Magic has returned to the hyper-detailed zentangled patterns, with a wonderful whimsical scattering of anthropomorphised animals to lift your mood and fill the book with fun. All things magical and mystical are pictured and the content is extremely wide-ranging so there’s sure to be something to suit everyone.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of the book it’s available to pre-order here –
Amazon UK – Tangle Magic
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Tangle-Magic-Jessic-Palmer/9781782214632/?a_aid=colouringitmom
Search Press (first stock will arrive there next week so this is the fastest way of ordering a copy) – https://www.searchpress.com/book/9781782214632/tangle-magic

Jessica’s first two books can be found reviewed by me here – Tangle Wood, Tangle Bay.

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and the magic was coloured over using Sakura Gelly Roll Clear Stardust Gel Pen.

WORLDWIDE GIVEAWAY: Search Press have very kindly offered to sponsor a Worldwide Giveaway for one person to win two copies of Tangle Magic, one for them, and one to share with a friend. If you’d like to enter, head over to my Facebook Page and enter here by 8PM GMT on Sunday the 31st of July.

Imagimorphia: An Extreme Colouring and Search Challenge – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Imagimorphia is illustrated by Kerby Rosanes, and published by Michael O’Mara Books, this book is from my personal collection and while it’s not due on sale in the UK until May the 5th and the US until the 21st of June, it’s currently shipping worldwide from Book Depository (link at the bottom) and from a number of UK bookstores (my copy is from WHSmith and it’s also available in Waterstones). This book is the sequel to the incredibly popular Animorphia, reviewed by me HERE. The first thing I said when flicking through the book, and still now, is WOW! I really liked Animorphia but I love this book! It’s even more unusual and quirky and there is far more variety in the image content too (more on this later). While Animorphia wasn’t to everyone’s taste, it’s one that grows on most people, and Imagimorphia even more so because of the sheer variety of themes and objects found within each picture. I found it a little less overwhelming to know where to start and a bit easier to just dive in and get colouring with this book. The quirkiness and unusual style is absolutely its selling point but this book is also prettier and more nature-filled than the first which was a huge bonus for me.

The book is square, the same size as Animorphia and other bestsellers by JB and MM, it’s paperback with a black card cover with bright yellow lettering and an eagle (UK copy: there is bright green lettering and an owl on the US cover) in Kerby’s signature style which hints at what’s inside. The paper is bright white, very lightly textured and medium thickness, it does shadow with water-based fineliners but doesn’t bleed so you could use them very carefully but always check your pens somewhere inconspicuous to make sure you don’t ruin any reverse images. The paper is good for pencils and allows for a few layers for blending and shading. The ink does transfer a little when pressure is applied so when you’re using pencils pop a scrap piece of paper behind to avoid transfer. The book contains 80 images which are printed double-sided and include single (6) and double-page spreads (including 13 paired images which don’t enter the spine and have separate but similar designs on each page, and 24 traditional double-page spreads which do enter the spine and aren’t stand-alone images). The book has a glue- and stitch-bound spine which is fairly tight on arrival and the images are borderless so you do lose a strip of each image into the spine and unfortunately a couple of the images haven’t been designed very well for this type of spine, most notably the tree image (photographed below). Unlike Animorphia, not all of the images are focused around a realistically drawn animal which then morphs into lots of different creatures and objects, there are still a lot of these but there is much also more variety. Rather than just having alien doodles and objects, there are a number of images with a real steampunk theme including cogs and wheels, others including wires and metal, others still including lots of leaves, flowers, fish, birds and more. There is a much more industrial feel to some images with a gorilla morphing into a skyline of buildings, snails with actual houses on their backs, a camel hump being the setting of a whole city as well as scarab beetles filled with cogs, a metalwork butterfly and even robots and airships. The prettier images are very nature-themed and include a bird morphing into butterflies, a chrysalis pouring out all sorts of leaves and birds and other objects, and the typical animal morphs similar to Animorphia where the morphing is done so seamlessly that it’s difficult to tell where the animal stops and the creatures start. A whole host of animals and objects are featured from a leopard to a train, a birdcage to a tyrannosaurus rex, castles to a horse, skulls to swans, a panda to pineapples and so many more! Kerby’s signature alien creatures don’t feature quite so heavily in this book and the content is spiced up a lot more, for those of you who weren’t a fan of them, you’re sure to like this book a lot more and for those of you who loved them, there are still plenty to keep you interested and entertained so I think the level of them is just right!

In terms of mental health, this is one book that’s absolutely fantastic for distraction! It takes quite a lot of concentration to identify all of the parts of the picture let alone start choosing colours so this really is a book that will help you get through the days when your mind is racing and you need to be able to switch off. It’s not a book for the faint-hearted because each image takes a very long time and a lot of work but it’s so worth it and the effects you can create are amazing! Kerby appears to have taken note of the feedback about the add your own doodle pages and these have been drastically reduced to just two, a tiger where you can doodle the stripes, and a double-page spread of feathers to fill in. I’m really pleased about this because I can’t draw at all so I’m glad that all but 3 of the pages are finished and ready to colour! The images are very cohesive and they’re prettier than those in Animorphia and a bit less dark, most of the images have some shading and texture drawn in but not loads (check out the pictures below to decide if you like this feature or not). The line thickness varies throughout but mainly sticks around the thin mark so you need fairly good vision and fine motor control, but definitely not perfect to enjoy this book! There is also a treasure hunt with 3 pages at the back of the book showing all of the items you can hunt for within the images, followed by thumbnails showing the answers. This book is ideal for those of you who have a fairly good attention span so that you can really get involved in the images and the content is so absorbing that you really do get out of your head and away from your thoughts and become immersed in what you’re colouring. The images have a variety of intricacy and detail levels so you can use simpler images on bad days and more detailed images on days where you’re able to focus better so it’s a great book for those of you with fluctuating conditions.

I would highly recommend this book for male and female colourers who love all things weird, wonderful, and quirky, and who love animals and nature mixed with alien creatures, foliage and metalwork. This book is packed with amazing images that are great fun to colour and I was thrilled to hear that Kerby is currently working on another sequel called Mythomorphia which will be published in 2017 so isn’t available to be pre-ordered yet. This book is stunning, overwhelming at times and one that really gets your creative juices flowing so grab your pencils and get colouring yourself quirky!

Imagimorphia can be purchased here:
UK Edition
Amazon UK – Imagimorphia
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Imagimorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552148/?a_aid=colouringitmom
US Edition
Amazon UK – Imagimorphia: An Extreme Coloring and Search Challenge
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Imagimorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9780399574122/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you’re late to the party and don’t yet have Animorphia then check out my review below or go straight ahead and order it here:
Review – Animorphia 
Amazon UK – Animorphia: An Extreme Colouring and Search Challenge
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Animorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552070/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and the background with Pan Pastels and Marco Raffine pencil blended with Zest-It Blending Solution (Gamsol in the US).

Tangle Bay: An Enchanting Colouring Book With Hidden Treasure – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Tangle Bay: An Enchanting Colouring Book with Hidden Treasure is illustrated by Jessica Palmer and published and kindly sent to me by Search Press Publishing. This is the sequel to Tangle Wood and you can read my review of that here. Tangle Wood is one of the nicest books I’ve ever seen so when I heard Jessica was creating a second book and that it would be beach-themed, I was very excited. I was a little worried that it wouldn’t live up to the beauty of Tangle Wood, especially for me as my favourite place on earth is the beach so this book had a lot to live up to. So does it hold up? ABSOLUTELY! Jessica has done it again and created another beautiful, unique book which encapsulates everything beachy! Jessica’s signature illustration style has altered a little but it’s just the right mix of empty spaces, zentangle patterns and realism. Jessica seamlessly blends animals, plants, objects and landscapes and adds her own zentangle patterns meaning you can colour lots of tiny little sections or colour whole blocks and leave the patterns as texture. This book is a work of art and the only difficulty I’ve had with it was narrowing down which image to colour first, there are just so many beautiful pages to choose from!

The book itself is square (slightly smaller in size than other square books but the same size as Tangle Wood) 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, bright white (a deliberate change from Tangle Wood to ensure the blues you’re likely to use will show up well) and lightly textured and the 75 stunning images are printed double-sided. 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 stitched and flexi-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. One small thing to note is that the black ink on the blackest pages does transfer when using pencils so just pop a scrap piece of paper behind your work to avoid this, it’s fully erasable if it does transfer but that saves having to get your rubber out!

This book is truly beautiful and the images are 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. In Jessica’s first book you were taken on a journey through a wood, Tangle Bay doesn’t take you on a journey but instead Jessica wanted to create a sense of place and she’s done this beautifully and you really are transported to the beach of your childhood, your imagination, and of story books. So many aspects of the beach and the seaside are included from realistic scenes of puffins sitting on rocks and seagulls swooping, to storybook ships, mermaids and anthropomorphised animals like ducks wearing hats and donkeys dressed up having a day out at the beach on deck chairs! This book contains a mixture of styles and the majority of the images are less intricate and detailed than those in Tangle Wood (more info on this further down). This book contains such a wealth of images that it’s hard to describe them all. Jessica described it as being livelier than Tangle Wood and I definitely agree, there’s a lot more movement in the pages and more chaos, whimsy and fun. She’s added sprinkles of humour and you get hit by waves of nostalgia as you come across the image of the owl and the pussycat in their beautiful pea green boat, the Punch and Judy show, melting ice creams, deck chairs, parasols, postcards, sandcastles and flock upon flock of seagulls! This book flits between scenes of mermaids relaxing under the sea, penguins piloting an airship, day and night scenes of lighthouses, treasure troves just waiting to be made shiny and sparkly, and hordes of sea creatures from seahorses to whales, fish to crabs, dolphins to lobsters, jellyfish to seals and so much more! Scenes of typically British days at the beach are pictured including beach huts and even Brighton Pavilion (a huge plus for me as I live under 30 minutes away from it) and also underwater scenes from much further afield including coral reefs and exotic tropical fish. Hidden within the images are bits of treasure for you to hunt down and colour in and this treasure hunt aspect adds a real sense of adventure and fun to the book. Tangle Bay sparks your imagination and creates a wonderful world of escapism. Some of the images are highly detailed and intricate and many encompass typical zentangle patterns. Some of the images have large sections around or within them that have been left blank so that you can add your own details and backgrounds. These are less obvious than in Tangle Wood so the pictures won’t look at all unfinished if you choose not to add anything but the spaces are there if you want them. There are also some beautiful frames of shells, fossils, seaweed, and more, 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!

Tangle Wood and Tangle Bay are quite different from each other so I got in touch with Jessica to ask her about this so that I could give you all an accurate portrayal of the books. Tangle Wood is very detailed throughout whereas Tangle Bay has a fair number of much more open-spaced images with less detail and without zentangle patterns. Jessica explained that from the feedback she got about Tangle Wood, some people didn’t like the patterning so much and found it too intricate so she varied the detail levels more to appeal to more people and I have to say, this makes it ideal for those of you with fluctuating conditions because on your good days where you can really concentrate and focus, you can colour some of the really detailed zentangled pages, and on days where you’re more symptomatic you can colour the less detailed images and really practice your blending and shading skills and even have a go at adding your own zentangles to the sections. This mixture seems like a great way to reach more people and appeal to beginner and advanced colourist alike, I do personally miss a little of the detail, however, I’ve definitely been won over by the image content and shall have to get zentangling myself!

In terms of mental health, this book has a wide variety of detail and intricacy levels so it’s ideal for those of you with fluctuating conditions to keep you distracted and focused for hours on good and bad days. The line thickness varies from spindly thin to medium thickness but mostly it’s thin throughout so this book is best for those of you with fairly good vision and fine motor control. Unlike in Tangle Wood where the line colour varied, in Tangle Bay the linework is all black and there are no issues with fuzziness either so it’s great to see that’s been rectified. This book is beautiful and completely enchanting and the more I look through it, the more I notice and discover, and the more I fall in love with it, just as I did with Tangle Wood. 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 and some of the pages are really fun and might even make you laugh (see the donkeys on deck chairs and sharks riding bicycles below). Jessica states that she puts her heart and soul into her work and this is so very clear in every page, her work is beautiful and is meticulously created. This book contains hours and hours of enjoyment and I’m sure it’s set to become a bestseller because it’s just 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’ve heard that Jessica is currently working on a third title and as soon as I have any news, I will let you all know what we’re getting excited about and when we can get our sticky mitts on a copy. Like my Facebook page to be kept up to date!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Tangle Bay: An Enchanting Colouring Book with Hidden Treasure
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Tangle-Bay-Jessica-Palmer/9781782214137/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils, a Derwent burnishing pencil and PanPastels were used for the background.

Doctor Who Colouring book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Doctor Who: The Colouring Bookis a BBC colouring book published by Puffin Books an imprint of Penguin Random House. This book is from my personal collection so get ready for some terrible Doctor Who puns that will have you groaning by the end but a lot more enlightened about what’s included in this book and whether you’ll like it or not. So, without further ado, grab your sonic screwdriver, jump aboard the TARDIS and travel through time and space into my review. Allons-y! *Sorry*

Just like Bad Wolf, messages about this colouring book have been scattered throughout time and space, or at least the last couple of months on the internet since its publication was announced, and all of it was leading up to 3 days ago – publishing day! Rest assured, River Song would be pleased, because there aren’t any ‘spoilers’ within this review. This book is the perfect colouring ‘companion’ to the entire television series of Doctor Who, not just the newer series that got many of us (me included) hooked. This book is paperback with a card cover and has lots of gorgeous blue foiling on the front, it is 25cm square, the same size as other leading colouring books. It contains 45 images, though it feels like many more (one could describe it as almost TARDIS-like), which are all printed single-sided onto off-white medium thickness, fairly smooth paper. Water-based pens do bleed but this doesn’t matter because the only thing on the reverse of each image is a quote, the episode name, doctor number and year, so just put a protective sheet behind in case of bleed through and ‘fantastic’ you’re good to go! The spine of the book is glue-bound and tight, but it will ease up with use and the images are borderless so a little is lost into the spine but this is very small and pales into insignificance when battling aliens and trying to patch up cracks in the space-time continuum.

The Doctor Who Colouring Book starts with a lovely “This book belongs to…” page and then shows a number of items that are hidden within the images for you to hunt down in a time-travelling treasure hunt. This book contains images of everything you’d expect, and more! There are Daleks, Cybermen, Sycorax, Ood, Adipose, alien planet landscapes and images of inside and outside the TARDIS. There are also images of each Doctor in order from the first to the current, twelfth. These images are all of a right-facing portrait outline of each Doctor and contained within are images of that Doctor, their assistant/companion and some of the main features from their episodes, be that accessories, technology or even their nemeses. The final one of these is of Missy, because who could forget her?! The Doctor’s biggest enemies are featured in multiple images each so you’ll certainly get your fill of Daleks, Cybermen and Weeping Angels. Some of the images are scenes as you’d expect but they’re not specific stills from the TV series, more representations. There are mandalas (“The round things, I love the round things, What are the round things?, No idea!”) of various characters including Daleks, Ood and the TARDIS and many more images, a good cross-section of which are photographed below.

In terms of mental health, this book isn’t geared up to be calming or relaxing but if you’re a Whovian then you’re sure to get a huge amount of enjoyment out of it and that can only be good for your mental health. The images are drawn in a variety of line thicknesses which range from thin to medium thickness and are mainly thin, but not spindly so they’re all very colourable as long as you’ve got fairly good vision and fine motor control. None of the lines in the book are wibbly-wobbly, but they’ll all take plenty of timey-wimey (I’m not even sorry about that one). This book would not only be good for adult fans but also older children who can cope with the intricacy and detail which is fairly considerable in a number of images, “Don’t Blink” or you’ll go over the lines. Again, there is variety within this which means this book is ideal for those of you with fluctuating conditions who need simpler and more intricate images for days of different ability when you’re weary from time-travel, or buoyed up by another victorious battle. The image content is ideal for anxious colourers because most of the images are of characters that have specific colour schemes and you could easily either colour them from memory or google them in order to find out what colours they “should” be. Of course, this is just a guide and you could definitely colour your cyber men green and have a neon pink TARDIS if you chose and I’m sure it would look spectacular (if you colour your TARDIS neon pink then please send a photo to my Facebook page, I’m not quite brave enough to mess with the colour of my time machine yet).

As you can tell from my pun-tastic review, I’d highly recommend this book for all Whovians and I’m sure Matt Smith would say that “Colouring Books are cool”, especially this one! Exterminate your boredom and worries and get stuck in to this book which is nowhere near as bad as ‘yoghurt, baked beans, bacon or bread and butter’ and perhaps it’ll become something amazing in your life like ‘fishfingers and custard’. Grab your jelly babies, break out the fez (wrap up in your mega long scarf for good measure) and get out your sonic colouring pencils and ‘Geronimo!’ you’re in for some Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey fun!

No need to ‘run’ to the nearest bookshop, no need to be ‘the girl, or boy, who waited’, just ‘reverse the polarity of the neutron flow’, point your sonic screwdriver in the general direction of the internet and purchase a copy of this book from the comfort of your own TARDIS from one of the links below:
Amazon UK: Doctor Who: The Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide: https://www.bookdepository.com/Doctor-Who-Colouring-Book-Unknown/9780141367385/?a_aid=colouringitmom

A quick thank you to all of my Whovian friends, without whom, you’d have had nothing to groan at throughout this review, if you need someone to blame, blame them!

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils and the background was created using PanPastels. For a perfect TARDIS blue I used the Helioblue-Reddish Polychromos pencil.

Worldwide Giveaway and Review of PanPastels

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.

Berni from PanPastel very kindly sent me a set of 10 pastels in a palette tray along with a whole assortment of Sofft tools to use with them and boy have I had fun experimenting. Head over to my Facebook Page where I’m running a Worldwide Giveaway for 3 sets of 5 PanPastels and some Sofft Tools – you have until 10pm GMT on Sunday 11th of October.

I have used pastels once before, which was about 8 years ago when I was at school and I hated them at the time because they were so messy, difficult to use, dusty and my work looked like a 6 year old had attacked my page with chalky hands. I was very interested to try the PanPastels because I’d read reviews and product descriptions which stated that PanPastels were very different but most of these were written by artists and professionals who were clearly capable of using normal pastels really well so I was dubious about my ability to use these as a complete novice. As soon as I started using these pastels I was won over and realised just how easy they are to use and indeed how different they are from anything else I’ve previously used.

PanPastels come in a whopping 92 shades including 80 normal colours and a number of metallic and pearlescent colours too. The sheer number of shades available is wonderful and they can all be bought individually as well as in themed sets like Seascape, Painting, Portrait and Greens which come in set sizes of 3, 5, 10 and 20 depending on the theme. Some of the sets come in individual stacks and others come in a palette tray (these can be bought separately), some come with a selection of sofft tools and these are also available separately so you can get tools in just the right size and shape for your own projects. I found the large oval shaped sponges and the small, eyeshadow applicator-shaped tools the most useful for large expanses of backgrounds and the detailed areas that needed a more delicate touch but the sofft tools come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and styles so have a hunt for which ones you think will work best. They are all washable with warm, soapy water and are reusable once they’ve been air dried so as long as you’re careful and don’t use them on rough surfaces which will cause the sponges to deteriorate, they will last plenty of time.

The PanPastels themselves come in round plastic pots containing a compressed pastel powder which is highly pigmented. They are really vibrant and give great coverage without having to press hard or go over the area much, they fill the tooth of the paper really quickly and easily giving very even coverage with no white areas left. You only need to swipe your applicator once or twice over the surface of the pastel you’re using and it’ll be loaded with colour and away you go. The PanPastel website describes these pastels as similar to paints which I didn’t understand because they’re dry and not wet but once I received them and started using them I realised why – it’s because they give such bright, smooth coverage and can easily be blended together on the paper to create infinite numbers of new shades or gradients (shown below) so that you really only need a few basic colours to be able to create a rainbow of colours and different shades.

PanPastels work on any type of paper and because they’re dry there is no bleeding. They also create very little or no transfer to the opposite page as long as they’ve been buffed properly so there is no need for fixatives, and they are fully erasable dependent on paper type. Panpastels are lightfast and semi-transparent, meaning the black lines of your colouring images can still be seen, and they create very low dust so there is almost no waste and no mess (see close-up photos below of dust amounts). The only negative is that PanPastels are pretty expensive but you can get some good value sets of 5 for about £15 which I’ve added links to below. While they are expensive, they’re really high quality and great value because they are reported to give 4-5 times more coverage than ordinary pastels meaning they last a really long time so they’re a pretty good investment. Cotton wool balls are an absolute must-have to wipe away any excess and to blend colours either just to create even coverage or to smooth the lines between mixed colours to create a seamless blend (see the fish and sunset pictures below).

I would highly recommend these pastels for anyone wanting to create backgrounds on their colouring or wanting to branch out and colour with something new. While they are quite pricey, they’re definitely worth the money and I will be purchasing some extra colours when I can afford to. They’re unbelievably easy to use and create wonderful effects to enhance your colouring and it’s easy to work out how to create new effects as you work with them but if you need some help there are loads of techniques and tips on the PanPastel website which can be found here. You can also see all of the colours and products and find local stockists of PanPastels here.

I’ve spent a couple of hours scouring the internet to find the best priced sets and the best starter sets and while I assumed Ebay would be the cheapest it actually wasn’t and I found some great starter sets on Amazon. Sorry for the number of links but because they can be used for so many different things I’ve added lots that are useful for backgrounds but also for colouring things so I’ve linked to lots of sky and sea tones and also gorgeous brights for flowers and birds etc for you to check out below.
PanPastel 5 Colour Starter Set – Painting Set
PanPastel 5 Colour Starter Set – Shades Set
PanPastel 10 Colour Set – Painting Set
Panpastel Pearlescent Artist Pastels Set 9Ml 6/Pkg-Yellow,Green,Orange,Blue,Red And Violet
Panpastel 7 Color Mixed Media #2 Set
PanPastel 10 Colour Set – Seascape Set
PanPastel 10 Colour Set – Greens Set
Pan Pastel Ultra Soft Artists’ Painting Pastels Basic Colours Starter Set
PanPastel 20 Colour Set – Shades Set

Don’t forget that I’m running a Giveaway of these until the 11th of October which you can enter here.