Pattern

The Book of Prehistoric Beasts – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Book of Prehistoric Beasts is illustrated by Angela Rizza, published and kindly sent to me to review by Buster Books. This book is enormous, at a whopping 29cm square, it’s hardback with gorgeous deep green covers and all printing on both covers is silver foiled so it’s a really luxurious feeling book! The spine is glue and string-bound and very durable, it’s a little tricky to get to the very centre of the images but this is only a few millimetres. The images are printed single sided and on the back of each page is lots of information about each creature that is pictured including its name, size, diet, what it looked like, when it lived and facts about its environment. The paper is bright white, medium thickness and smooth, it takes soft pencils well but harder pencils may be a struggle to build up layers for blending due to the lack of tooth; alcohol makers will bleed through the page which you may not mind if you don’t wish to read the information on the back, and water-based pens don’t bleed or shadow, though do test them in an inconspicuous area to check. The book starts with a double-page spread showing the timeline of creatures and they’re shown in this order through the book from the earliest period, Devonian, 419.2 million years ago, all the way up to Quaternary, 2.6 million years ago. The images are split into 4 chapters including different time periods: Devonian, Carboniferous and Permian; Triassic and Jurassic; Cretaceous; and Tertiary and Quaternary. The images themselves are all full page spreads, each containing a few prehistoric creatures. A huge number of creatures are pictured, 87 in fact, and these mainly consist of dinosaurs but do include other, older creatures (I’m not sure if these class as dinosaurs) and younger creatures; the beasts include: gigantoscorpio, dimetrodon, ammonite, icthyosaurus, brachiosaurus, archaeopteryx, microraptor, tyrannosaurus, quetzalcoatlus, mononykus, triceratops, basilosaurus, megalodon, glyptodon, mammuthus, smilodon and gigantopithecus, and so many more, all of the creatures are pictured on the double-page timeline at the beginning of the book and then shown drawn in their habitats and to scale in the colouring pages. This book is every dinosaur-lovers’ dream, my brother was obsessed with dinosaurs growing up and I was therefore forced into knowing an awful lot more about them than I wanted to at the time, knowledge that has come in handy for many random reasons since and this book definitely covers all of the most well-known dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures, as well as others that you may never have heard of and can start to research if you wish.

In terms of mental health, you’re unlikely to find a more distracting book. The production quality is very high and from the cover and the very first page, you’re transported back in time to millions of years ago where gigantic beasts roamed the land and the landscape was unrecognisable, you instantly become immersed in this world as you learn facts about the animals and start to colour them and their habitats. It’s not calming as such, not in the same was as colouring landscapes and more familiar animals, but it’s really is very distracting and absorbing which is great for those of us with anxious, racing minds. The line thickness is consistent throughout and remains medium and thin. The intricacy and detail levels are quite variable depending on the creature and its landscape but there are a lot of details drawn in as well as a lot of dotted shading (ideal for beginner colourists who want to learn more about colouring realistically and learning where light and shade should be), therefore you will need moderate to good levels of vision and fine motor control to enjoy this book. This book is actually published with kids in mind though they’ll need to be quite mature and artistic to get the most out of it and have a good reading age as there are a lot of tricky animal names to contend with, at a guess, I’d suggest this book for kids aged 8 and above and I’d highly recommend it for big kids (adults!) too because we could all do with learning just a little bit more about the fascinating world of dinosaurs. The illustrations have been very cleverly curated to mostly include more than one creature and sometimes all of them are land or sea creatures and other time part of the image is above ground and other sections are underwater. None of the images feel random, haphazard or badly staged, they’re all really well-drawn and feel quite like uncoloured versions of the images found in regular dinosaur fact books and encyclopaedias. The scenes and animals are drawn pretty realistically and mostly don’t have patterns added to them unless it’s assumed they had those in real life, obviously there may be some inaccuracies as with most historic representations of velociraptors which show them featherless and significantly larger than they possibly could have been, but the artist has clearly worked hard to make these look as realistic as possible within the confines of the majority only being found as fossilised skeletons and a lot of guesswork having to be done about their external features, colouring and patterns.

Overall, this is a great book for those who already love prehistoric beasts, and those wanting to know more. The book is ideal for children and adults and the pages look amazing once coloured and you could even remove them from the book and frame them for you dinosaur-fanatic children (or yourself) if you wish, they’d look great as a series on the wall in a bedroom or playroom or even a classroom! The paper is pretty good and the facts and information about each beast is a huge added bonus.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of the book, it’s available here:
Amazon UK- The Book of Prehistoric Beasts
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Book-of-Prehistoric-Beasts-Jonny-Marx-Angela-Rizza/9781780554976/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils.

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Exploratorium - Ideal for child and adult colourists, fans of Doodle Fusion and Kerby Rosanes's artwork will love this book. Click through for the review, video and photos!

Exploratorium: A Search and Colour Mission – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Exploratorium: A Search and Colour Mission is illustrated by Lei Melendres and published and kindly sent to me to review by Michael O’Mara Books. This book is 25cm square, the same size as the bestsellers, paperback with black covers and coloured elements from inside the book on the covers. The spine is glue and string-bound and relatively tight but it does become more pliable with use so that you can reach the majority of the image to colour it. The images are printed double-sided and all of them are double-page spreads. The paper is bright white, medium thickness and lightly textured, it takes pencil well and water-based pens don’t bleed but do shadow a little so you may not want to use these but it should get covered when colouring the other side. This book is primarily aimed at children, however, the images are pretty detailed and packed with content and therefore plenty of adults will love it too. The book starts with a short introduction explaining the premise of the book, it’s a search and find colouring mission so there are a list of objects depicted which can be found within the pages. Following this, each double-page spread is dedicated to a different world and these drastically range in theme from space and future-themed to prehistoric and historical, there are heaps and heaps of scenes from a circus to haunted house, alien invasion to science lab, candy land to the North Pole, skate park to volcano and time travel to under the sea and so much more, there is a really wide scope to the content and something to suit everyone. Lei’s art style is most similar to Kerby Rosanes’s and is very much drawn in a doodle style, the images are packed with alien creatures and strange forms and the content is really quirky, whimsical and fun. The search and find aspect is surprisingly difficult for a book that’s aimed at children, my boyfriend spent ages searching for the items in one of the spreads and in the end had to give up on the last one and look at the answers, luckily there are thumbnail pictures of the spreads at the back that identify where the hidden creatures and objects are so there’s no need for frustration if one or two elude you.

In terms of mental health, this book is pretty good, the pages are packed with content and are very distracting, there’s loads to look at, to hunt down, and then to colour and this book really will keep you occupied for hours. It’s certainly not a calming book so those of you with anxiety or a racing mind may want to keep this book for calmer days but the content is quite invigorating so those suffering from low mood may well be perked up by the humour often depicted and added into the scenes. The line thickness is fairly consistent within each page but differs between them as do the intricacy and detail levels, all have a lot of content but some are much more detailed and fine-lined than others so do check out the photos and video flick-through as you’ll need fairly good vision and fine motor control to get the most out of this book, it’s certainly not well-suited to young children, probably advanced 8 year olds and up. While the content isn’t nature-based, the fantasy elements and imagination of it all are great for absorbing you into a far off land in the past or future which is often better than the here and now and is great for keeping your mind busy and focused on the task at hand rather than any troublesome thoughts or symptoms you might be experiencing. A lot of the images are filled with wacky, surreal creatures and therefore don’t have a “real” colour scheme that you need to follow so you can really go to town and use any colour you fancy and it’ll look equally fabulous and even the realistic aspects can be spiced up by unusual colour schemes like trees with blue trunks and orange leaves, purple pumpkins or red rocks, just grab a pen or pencil and get colouring and you’ll soon be fully immersed in this intricate, doodle-filled world.

Overall, I would highly recommend this to older kids and adults, it’s great fun to hunt the hidden items and to colour and the different scenes make for a really varied colouring experience with each scene being different from the last and transporting you to a far off place. This book is surreal, wacky and a joy to colour for the young, the old, and everyone in between!

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Exploratorium: A Search and Colour Mission
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Exploratorium-Lei-Melendres/9781910552759/?a_aid=colouringitmom

You can see my silent video flick-through of the book here.

The page below was coloured using Staedtler Fibre-Tip Pens.

Life Under the Lens: A Scientific Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Life Under the Lens: A Scientific Colouring Book is illustrated, self-published, and kindly sent to me to review by Jennifer Delaney. This book is A4, paperback with flexible card covers and a partially coloured image from inside on the front. The spine is glue-bound and the images are printed single-sided, the majority of them are centralised but a few are full-page and therefore do enter the spine which you may need to break if you wish to reach the entirety of the image. The paper is white, thin and standard Createspace type paper, it’s lightly textured and fine for a few layers of pencil and water-based pens shadow and do bleed occasionally so if using these or alcohol markers do make sure that you put some spare paper behind to protect the next page. The content includes 50 images of things you’d look at under a microscope and contains everything from bacteria and funghi to algae, cells and teeny tiny creatures. The images are printed single-sided but on the opposite page is information about the illustration so that you can easily identify it and find out some facts about each one. The illustrations each have a realistically drawn outline and features and all are filled with highly detailed and decorative patterns so that they’re fun to colour whilst still being quite accurate scientifically, this is a great combination and one that really brings the world of science and art together. Some of the pictures include: cyanobacteria, radiolarians, diatoms, volvox, female pinecone, tilia cordata, cup fungus, rotifers, shrimp zoea, mosquito pupa and so much more, there is a really wide range of content and something to please any level of biologist or budding scientist.

In terms of mental health, this book is very distracting, it’s not pretty but I wouldn’t expect it to be and it’s a really novel concept and unlike anything else I’ve seen in the nearly 300 books I’ve now reviewed. The information included is really useful, not only for identifying what’s in each image so you can colour it realistically if you wish, but also so you can learn something new and you could even use it to start off research into our microscopic world, it would be an ideal starting point. Of course, you don’t have to colour realistically, I’m really pleased with my rainbow coloured diatom and may have to make it my mission to colour the whole book in rainbows to spice it up! The line thickness is consistent throughout and remains very thin, the intricacy and detail levels vary a fair amount with some images consisting of lots of small details and others including larger open spaces so there is a range of difficulty levels but you will need pretty good vision and fine motor control to get the most from this book. The pages include varying amounts of content from component pictures to a large centralised image so they need varying levels of concentration and you’ll be able to find an image to suit any mood, symptom level or ability to focus. The patterns within each image are great for giving you something to focus on, ideal if your mind is racing and your thoughts won’t settle. Once you’ve finished colouring the pages you could carefully remove them from the book and frame them to make a cute and quirky gift for a scientist in your life, or to jazz up your office or study space.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to science-lovers, it’s unusual, quirky and interesting and would make a great stocking filler (yes, I’m already thinking about Christmas) or present for the scientist in your life who has everything! It’s great fun to colour, informative and interesting and different from any other colouring books.

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available to order here:
Amazon UK – Life Under the Lens: A Scientific Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Life-Under-the-Lens-Jennifer-Delaney/9781999742201/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured with Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.

Fantasia – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Fantasia is illustrated by Nicholas F. Chandrawienata and published and kindly sent to me to review by Phoenix Amulet Publishing. This book is one of the most talked about in the colouring groups on Facebook and has been one of the most difficult to get hold of after early US editions were printed with very disappointing paper quality, however, these issues have now been rectified and the book is produced to an extremely high standard and is readily available on Amazon US (details about International purchase at the bottom of the review above the photos). The book itself is 27.4 x 25.4cm, landscape orientation, paperback with flexible card covers with a fully coloured image from inside on the front. The book is spiral-bound on the left side and the pages are perforated but don’t come loose unless deliberately detached from the book. The 61 images are printed double-sided onto thick white paper, it’s not bright white but not off white either, it has a great amount of tooth (see photos below) and is ideal for layering and blending pencils and it doesn’t bleed or shadow with water-based pens when used carefully; alcohol markers will bleed through and you should always test any pens including water-based markers in an inconspicuous area to ensure you don’t ruin any reverse images as everyone colours differently. The images are all contained to a single page, none of them are spreads. The illustrations are really varied in content and while the majority are of people including their faces, upper bodies and whole bodies, a number of them are quite random too and include Easter eggs, a dinosaur, dragons, koi carp, roses, snowflakes, skulls and all sorts more. The most iconic images from this book and the ones that really sell it and look most spectacular when coloured are the images of people and these truly are transformed with colour, whether you use realistic flesh tones or go all out with green or purple tones instead, these images look unbelievable! Nicholas is an extremely talented illustrator and his work really is perfect, it’s beautiful, and really detailed and due to him being from Indonesia, there is a real Asian influence on his work which we don’t often see in colouring books and is a really fresh thing to see and colour. His work really does have to be seen to be believed so do check out the images below so you can see some of the variety and wide-ranging content as well as the beauty of his drawings.

In terms of mental health, this book is great, it’s so distracting and unusual and on one page you’re transported into prehistoric times where dinosaurs roamed the earth and on another you’re face to face with a mermaid, pirate, or even death. The illustrations are realistically drawn but much of the content is mythical or fantastical so there are no “correct” colour schemes and this book is definitely one to push you out of your comfort zone and get you trying new colour schemes and learning to colour flesh, fur or metal accurately. This book isn’t for the faint-hearted but if you’re brave you’ll really reap the rewards because it looks just incredible when coloured! The line thickness is consistent throughout and remains thin but not spindly. The intricacy and detail levels do vary throughout each picture with most containing some large and some small spaces, for example a large open space of a face with much more detailed flowers around the edge; none of the spaces are particularly tiny apart from on the odd occasion so this book would be suitable for most levels of vision and fine motor control but do check the pictures of the pages below in order to ensure suitability. Three of the images have small text on them suggesting for you to add detail to a named section of the image which has been left uncharacteristically simple, these aren’t overly intrusive and you can always ignore the instructions like I did and just colour the image as it is. This book does mostly require a fairly high level of concentration but there are a few images that are made up of component parts which you could focus on when you’re feeling poorly and leave the full page portraits for day when you’re feeling better and up for a challenge. I really can’t rave about this book enough, it’s stunning and even though a lot of the content isn’t stuff I’d normally choose to colour, I can’t wait to work my way through every page in this book because the artwork is just so beautiful!

Overall, I can’t recommend this book highly enough, it’s absolutely gorgeous and a great challenge to get you out of your comfort zone, the paper is fantastic for pencil-lovers and the illustrations are incredible. It’s ideal for those with mental or physical health problems as it’s so distracting and isn’t ridiculously intricate so it’s accessible and if you’re prepared to sacrifice the reverse image, or you want to buy two copies so you don’t have to, then you can even remove your finished pieces and frame them to brighten up your darker days and remind yourself of all that you can achieve!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s currently available on Amazon US and for those of you in the UK and elsewhere don’t despair as they do ship to other countries though I’m not sure exactly where they do and don’t ship to. I tried checking out to my address in West Sussex, UK and they do allow it and including shipping the book costs just £17 or thereabouts which is a steal so do check it out! International group orders are often set up and run through a dedicated Facebook Group which can be found here and they also share their finished pages from the book so it’s a great place to start if you need inspiration!

The image below was coloured using Holbein Artists’ Coloured Pencils and blended with a Caran d’Ache Blender Pencil. 

Mythomorphia: 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.
Mythomorphia is illustrated by Kerby Rosanes, and published and kindly sent to me to review by Michael O’Mara Books. This is the third and final book in the series after Animorphia and Imagimorphia. This book has a mythical theme and is a bit less intricate and less morphing than the first two books and contains fewer alien creatures than Animorphia too, that being said, it’s still incredible and really has to be seen to be believed, it’s probably the best book on the market with a mythological theme because of the sheer variety of creatures pictured.

The book is 25cm square, the same size as Animorphia and other bestsellers by JB and MM, it’s paperback with a black card cover with bright red lettering and a dragon (UK copy: other countries’ editions have different coloured lettering but the content is the same in all of the books titled Mythomorphia) in Kerby’s signature style which hints at what’s inside. The paper is bright white, very lightly textured and medium thickness, it doesn’t appear to shadow with water-based fineliners as long as you’re careful but do 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 (18) and double-page spreads (including 7 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 number of the double-page spreads do have large sections of the creature’s body which enter the gutter however these are accessible if you break the spine. The content itself is all based around mythology and mythological creatures and a truly huge range are pictured from unicorns to mermaids, a hydra to a phoenix, different types of dragons and loads of hybrid creatures including a basilisk, manticore, cockatrice, faun, griffin and many, many more. While many of these creatures are drawn in Kerby’s typical morphine style, a number of them are drawn without morphs and simply as scenes. The morphing parts consist of all sorts of things from rock, flames and waves to smoke, flowers, bats and trees as well as a couple in Kerby’s most well-known style including lots of random objects, plants and swirls. The images are incredible and as always, they’re packed with content to look at and colour, the range of mythological creatures is astounding and a number of them were beasts I’d never heard of so I’ve had a great time researching them and the stories behind them!

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! This book doesn’t have any pages where you need to add your own doodles, I’m really pleased about this because I can’t draw at all so I’m glad that all of them are finished this time and ready to colour! The images are very cohesive and they contain such a variety of creatures, 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. Because the beasts are mythological there are no “correct” colour schemes so you can really go to town with your outlandish colour schemes or if you need a bit of help then have a quick Google, you’re sure to find film or art representations of most of them that you can use as inspiration for your colour choices.

I would highly recommend this book for male and female colourers who love all things weird, wonderful, and mythological. This book is packed with amazing images that are great fun to colour, it’s stunning, overwhelming at times and one that really gets your creative juices flowing so grab your pencils and get colouring mythology!

If you’d like to purchase a copy of the book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Mythomorphia
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Mythomorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552261/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you’d like a copy of either of Kerby’s previous books then they can be found here:
Animorphia
Amazon UK – Animorphia
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Animorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552070/?a_aid=colouringitmom

Imagimorphia
Amazon UK – Imagimorphia
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Imagimorphi-Kerby-Rosanes/9781910552148/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Prismacolor Premier Coloured Pencils.

UK Giveaway and Review – Doodle Artist: Dogs

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Doodle Artist: Dogs is a lovely book illustrated and kindly sent to me by Annette Rand. Annette has very kindly sent me two extra copies of this book and her other new title Doodle Artist: Guinea Pigs so that I can run a giveaway. This is being run on the pinned post on my Facebook page and is open to UK residents only due to postage costs, it ends at 8pm on Monday 28th of November. Good luck!

This book is filled with 2 copies of 20 full-page images of dogs and they’re fab! Annette used images of real dogs to create the outlines so that they’re realistic and then she filled them all with her signature patterns so if you’ve loved her previous books, you’ll love this one too! This paperback book is A4 size, with a portrait cover and a mixture of portrait and landscape images. The book is glue-bound so it’s a little difficult to get it to lie flat but the images are printed single-sided with a large border around them so none of the image is lost into the spine. The paper is standard Createspace paper which gets a pretty bad rep but you can’t see half the proceeding images through it, the paper is bright white and thick enough that my water-based fineliners didn’t bleed at all (they did shadow) or chew up the paper in any way so it was a joy to colour and would be perfect for pens or pencils and you could even use your sharpies or alcohol pens with a protective sheet behind so that the next image doesn’t get spoiled. Each of the 20 images portrays a different dog breed with 2 copies of each so you could colour copies to match your current, or past, pets. The dogs included are: Toy Poodle, Jack Russell Terrier, German Shepherd, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Basset Hound, Cavavlier King Charles Spaniels, Bulldog, Dachsund, Whippet, Pug, Beagle, Saluki and Golden Retriever, Chihuahua, Border Collie, Shih-Tzu, Dogue de Bordeaux, English Cocker Spaniel, Rough Collie, Weimeramer, and Cairn Terrier. Annette’s clever use of realistic outlines and stylised patterns makes these dogs easily identifiable and the patterns really add to the texture of the pictures and often looks like fur, they’re really lovely! If you’re not sure what breed each one is there’s a helpful key at the front of the book with a named list of the images so you can check. 3 of the images in this book have a black background which is a nice touch and will really make your colours pop, one is even drawn in a stained glass window style which could look incredible when finished!

In terms of mental health, this book is lovely. It’s really calming and has various different levels of intricacy to suit your good and bad days. The line thickness is the same throughout and I would describe it as thin but not very thin (approximately fineliner thickness). The lines are crisp and accurate with no fuzziness, blurring or not quite joining up so this is a really professional looking book. I really enjoyed colouring this book ready for review and it was a great design to use my glitter gel pens on. The dogs are beautifully drawn – some are swirly, some are patterned, some are furry and others are contoured. This really is a fabulous book for animal lovers and those who love dogs, it would also be an amazing book for vets! The majority of the images aren’t drawn to be exactly like real-life dogs, they have realistic outlines but they’re covered in patterns which means that you can use any colour scheme you like, as you’ll see from my glittery rainbow Jack Russell Terrier below!

I found this book really calming and relaxing. As with all nature themed books, I find them the most relaxing and the best at reducing my anxiety levels and this book was no exception. The pictures are beautiful, there are no filler images and each has definitely earnt its right to be there and you could even cut them out once you’re done and frame them. The variation in levels of detail and intricacy means that as long as you have fairly good vision, you’ll be able to enjoy this book on your good and bad days and those of you with moderate to good fine motor control will definitely get a huge amount out of this book. The image below was coloured using UK supermarket own-brand glitter gel pens.

If you’d like to get a copy of this book then it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Doodle Artist: Dogs
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Doodle-Artist-Dogs-Annette-Rand/9781530798179/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you’d like to read my reviews of Annette’s other titles then click below:
Doodle Artist Butterflies
Doodle Artist Fanciful Rats
Doodle Artist Guinea Pigs
Doodle Artist Peaceful Patterns
Doodle Artist Pets
Doodle Artist Rabbits and Hares
Doodle Artist Simply Snowflakes

UK Giveaway and Review – Doodle Artist: Guinea Pigs

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Doodle Artist: Guinea Pigs is a lovely book illustrated and kindly sent to me by Annette Rand. Annette has very kindly sent me two extra copies of this book and her other new title Doodle Artist: Dogs so that I can run a giveaway. This is being run on the pinned post on my Facebook page and is open to UK residents only due to postage costs, it ends at 8pm on Monday 28th of November. Good luck!

This book is filled with 2 copies of 20 full-page images of guinea pigs and they’re super cute! Annette used images of real guinea pigs to create the outlines so that they’re realistic and then she filled them all with her signature patterns so if you’ve loved her previous books, you’ll love this one too! This paperback book is A4 size, with a portrait cover and a mixture of portrait and landscape images. The book is glue-bound so it’s a little difficult to get it to lie flat but the images are printed single-sided with a large border around them so none of the image is lost into the spine. The paper is standard Createspace paper which gets a pretty bad rep but you can’t see half the proceeding images through it, the paper is bright white and thick enough that my water-based fineliners didn’t bleed at all (they did shadow) or chew up the paper in any way so it was a joy to colour and would be perfect for pens or pencils and you could even use your sharpies or alcohol pens with a protective sheet behind so that the next image doesn’t get spoiled. Each of the 20 images portrays a single guinea pig, pair or even a group, with 2 copies of each so you could colour copies to match your current, or past, pets. Annette’s clever use of realistic outlines and stylised patterns makes these guinea pigs look really cute and the patterns really add to the texture of the pictures and often looks like fur, they’re really lovely! There’s a real variety of image content from a guinea pig dressed up in steampunk clothing to various portrait style images, a guinea pig hiding in flowers, some dressed up in floral garlands and even wings, and there’s even a guinea pig mandala! Who’d have thought you could get so much content variety from 20 images of the same small furry animal?!

In terms of mental health, this book is lovely. It’s really calming and has various different levels of intricacy to suit your good and bad days. The line thickness is the same throughout and I would describe it as thin but not very thin (approximately fineliner thickness). The lines are crisp and accurate with no fuzziness, blurring or not quite joining up so this is a really professional looking book. I really enjoyed colouring this book ready for review and it was a great design to use my glitter gel pens on. The guinea pigs are beautifully drawn – some are swirly, some are patterned, some are furry and others are flowery. This really is a fabulous book for animal lovers and those who love guinea pigs, it would also be an amazing book for vets! The majority of the images aren’t drawn to be exactly like real-life guinea pigs, they have realistic outlines but they’re covered in patterns or dressed up in costumes or with props which means that you can use any colour scheme you like, as you’ll see from my glittery rainbow guinea pigs below!

I found this book really calming and relaxing. As with all nature themed books, I find them the most relaxing and the best at reducing my anxiety levels and this book was no exception. The pictures are beautiful, there are no filler images and each has definitely earnt its right to be there and you could even cut them out once you’re done and frame them. The variation in levels of detail and intricacy means that as long as you have fairly good vision, you’ll be able to enjoy this book on your good and bad days and those of you with moderate to good fine motor control will definitely get a huge amount out of this book. The image below was coloured using UK supermarket own-brand glitter gel pens.

If you’d like to get a copy of this book then it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Doodle Artist: Guinea Pigs
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Doodle-Artist-Guinea-Pigs-Annette-Rand/9781539162339/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you’d like to read my reviews of Annette’s other titles then click below:
Doodle Artist Butterflies
Doodle Artist Dogs
Doodle Artist Fanciful Rats
Doodle Artist Peaceful Patterns
Doodle Artist Pets
Doodle Artist Rabbits and Hares
Doodle Artist Simply Snowflakes

Creative Colouring Techniques – A Review

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

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

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

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

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

The Second One and Only Colouring Book For Travelling Adults – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Second One and Only Colouring Book for Travelling Adults was published and kindly sent to me to review by Phoenix Yard Books. It is the sequel to The One and Only Colouring Book for Travelling Adults which I have previously reviewed. This book is the same format and it paperback with card covers, and comes in a cardboard sheath which admittedly isn’t the strongest and will probably get pretty battered if shoved in and out of a bag but it’ll certainly serve the purpose of protecting the book from receiving the same injuries. This book is smaller than most at approximately A5 size, making it the perfect size to fit in your handbag for your commute or a suitcase or rucksack for travelling further afield. The book is spiral-bound meaning none of the images are lost into the spine and you don’t have to colour with the book lying open, you can fold it in half so it takes up less space – particularly useful if you’ll be colouring on the move on a train or plane with limited space. The paper quality is fantastic! It’s bright white, lightly textured and so thick that I’d be tempted to describe it as card and there was absolutely no bleeding or shadows with any of my water-based pens. The images are printed double-sided but as long as you’re careful there is no worry about ruining any of them with your water-based pens, alcohol markers will definitely bleed through so I’d avoid those! The book contains 60 single page images of both abstract and more realistic designs and the sheer amount of variety within them is astounding from swirling patterns to abstract creations, pictures of food, objects and flowers, to patterned cats and woolly jumpers, this is a great book for those who love variety!

In terms of mental health, this book is truly fantastic! The images are really varied so you won’t get bored and no matter what mood you’re in you’ll be able to find a page that calls to you and just asks to have colour added. The images are drawn with varying line thicknesses to adapt to your better and worse days of vision and concentration. The pictures vary in intricacy and detail and will keep you occupied for hours as you colour in each detailed section. I would strongly recommend investing in a good set of fineliners (I recommend Stabilo Point 88), so that you can really get the details without the frustration of accidently going over the lines. You will need fairly good vision and fine motor control in order to get the most out of this book but if you have those then this book is ideal for anoyone who want to colour on the move!

I found this book very calming and soothing. The intricacy of the designs meant I had to focus, meaning I had less capacity to be anxious and listen to the worries that so often plague me and the smaller size meant that the pages weren’t too overwhelming when trying to choose a design to start, as sometimes happens in A4 books. The nature of the spiral-binding and cardboard sheath mean it’s perfect for taking with you wherever you go and those of you who, like me, use colouring as therapy or as part of mindfulness, should definitely be investing in this book so that you can have art therapy on the go to whip out when you feel your anxiety increasing or stress levels rising. I highly recommend this book for those of you who love to use fineliners and felt-tips that often bleed in other books and for any of you who want to travel and colour or who use colouring as therapy so that you have it with you whenever you may need it without fear of ruining the book in your bag. This is one of my firm favourites.

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – The Second One and Only Colouring Book for Travelling Adults
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/The-One-Second-One-and-Only-Coloring-Book-for-Travelling-Adults-Part-2-null/9781907912986/?a_aid=colouringitmom

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

The Fourth One and Only Colouring Book for Adults – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Fourth One and Only Colouring Book for Adults (One and Only Colouring / One and Only Coloring) is published and was very kindly sent to me to review by Phoenix Yard Books. This book is the fourth in the One and Only series, you can read my reviews of its predecessors here: First, Second, and Third. It is smaller than A4 but larger than A5, paperback and pretty thick as it contains a whopping 144 images! The paper-quality is pretty good, bright white, non-textured and fairly thick and I found that as long as I didn’t over colour with my felt-tips it didn’t bleed but did a little with my fineliners and it did shadow a little with both so be aware of this before getting stuck into an image with a reverse that you’re also very keen to colour. As with the other books in the One and Only series, this book contains a truly huge variety of images which are mostly patterns, shapes and line designs but with a fair helping of floral images thrown in – there are fewer images of ‘things’ in this title than the previous ones so this really is a book for lovers of patterns and the abstract. The line thicknesses vary enormously from fineliner thickness to much thicker, marker-style lines and everything in between. A couple of the images have black backgrounds with small white spaces to colour and a couple of these also have white outlines. The spine of the book is glue and string-bound and this is fairly stiff at first but with some work it does become more pliable meaning it becomes easier to lie flat over time but that a thin strip of each image is lost into the spine and unable to be coloured. The book is printed double-sided; most of the designs are single pages but some are double-page spreads and obviously the middle of these can’t be reached.

From a mental health perspective this is a fabulous starter book because it contains such a huge variety of images, line thicknesses, intricacies and design styles. If you’re new to colouring and not yet sure what sorts of images you want to get into, or indeed if you even want to pick a specific area then this book is ideal for helping you choose as most aspects are covered with the most notable exceptions being people and mandalas. This book will keep you occupied for a very long time and every time I flick through it I discover a new image that I’ve not noticed before. The sheer number of images makes this book great value and it would certainly be one I’d be adding to my list if I’d not already been sent a copy. The variety means the images are great for lots of different moods, some are calming and soothing with flowing lines, others are more distracting (great if you’re anxious) with intricate details and beautiful petals to really take your time over colouring in, others still are vibrant and energetic and feel like they’d perk you up on a low day and increase your feeling of energy. This book is great for anyone, whether you have 20:20 vision and love to colour tiny details, or have visual problems that mean you need chunkier pictures to colour, fine motor control is not a requirement for this book because there are so many images that have thicker lines that you’ll easily be able to colour within or thinner lines that you can colour over if you so choose.

I would highly recommend this book for those of you on a tight budget who want a lot of images for your money, those of you who have a lot of variance in symptoms and want one book to cover all of your different levels of severity, and those of you who are just dipping your toe into the colouring world and want to try lots of different styles. Of course, seasoned colourers like myself should also seriously consider purchasing a copy as this book is very different from most on the market and is a lovely size being not too small but not overwhelmingly large so that it takes weeks to complete an image. The paper quality isn’t ideal for pens and is best suited to pencils. This book really is one that can be described as the only one you’ll ever need, though be warned, colouring is highly addictive and I don’t know anybody who manages to stick at buying just one book!

If you’d like to purchase a copy then it can be found here:
Amazon UK – The Fourth One and Only Colouring Book for Adults (One and Only Colouring / One and Only Coloring)
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/The-Fourth-One-and-Only-Coloring-Book-for-Adults-null/9781907912979/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you like the look of this book, you’ll love the other books published by Phoenix Yard, my reviews can be found here – Phoenix Yard Book Titles

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-tips.