Polychromos

Die Welt Unter Der Lupe zu Lande click through to read my review, see a video flick through and photos of inside

Die Welt unter der Lupe – Zu Lande (The World Under the Magnifying Glass – Land) – 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 Lande (The World Under the Magnifying Glass – Land) is published and kindly sent to me to review by Bastei Lübbe. This book is the sixth 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, and the first in this new series, Die Welt unter der Lupe – Zu Wasser. I had high hopes for this new book after the previous one was so utterly beautiful and I didn’t think that one could be beaten but I think I’ve fallen in love with this one just a little more because the content is so wonderfully wide-ranging and just a little more free because of the topic being land rather than water, it’s just exquisite. As with all of her books, I was absolutely blown away by its beauty, I can’t enthuse enough about it, it’s beautiful! It is identical in format to her previous 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 a bee 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 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 or underwater and this time land, and it’s very clear from looking through each book what it’s dedicated to.

The drawings are incredible, as with all of Rita’s books, each time I look through the book I see new things that I didn’t notice before. The content this time is even more varied and ranges from double-page spreads of forest scenes and cities within birds’ wings, to branches of acorn houses and desert cactus landscapes. There are small centralised images of cornflowers and poppies, larger single-page images of beetles, flamingos, birds’ nests and mouse houses and a few pages showing a scene on one page and a corresponding pattern on the other. There are so many different things pictured including foxes, hedgehogs, bees, flowers, deer, snails, rabbits, birds, butterflies, insects, beehives, leaves, fruit, elephants, lizards, monkeys, parrots, and so much more. 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 all of the other titles by Rita, 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 Lande
Amazon US – Die Welt unter der Lupe – Zu Lande
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Die-Welt-unter-der-Lupe—zu-Lande-Rita-Berman/9783404609482/?a_aid=colouringitmom

You can read my reviews of Rita’s other books here.

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils.

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Tillsammans Målarbok (Together Colouring Book) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Tillsammans Målarbok (Together Colouring Book) is illustrated by Hanna Karlzon and published and kindly sent to me to review by Pagina Förlag. This book is in an artist’s edition format but this is the only format it’s available in, it’s not a full-size colouring book or postcard book. It is identical in format to the artist’s editions (tavelboks) of Hanna’s other books, Daydreams (Dagdrommar), Summer Nights (Sommarnatt) and Magical Dawn (Magisk Gryning) and therefore my review is mostly identical apart from the content section and the photos, skip to paragraph 2 for information about the content. The book measures 29.5x21cm (A4), it’s paperback with thick but flexible card covers which are a pale lemon colour with a black and white line drawing of one of the portraits (found inside) 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 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 20 illustrations are all portraits of women and 15 of these have been chosen from Hanna’s 4 previous colouring books and 5 have been newly created for this book specifically. The images Hanna has chosen are a really good cross-section and seem to be some of the favourites of the colouring community, none of the previously published images have been printed in artist’s edition format so while it’s not all new content, it is all newly published in the single-sided format printed on card. There are a range of different portraits from two women together to single women face on, some in side profile and others showing a whole person. Each image contains various different objects and accessories including gems, metal, jewellery, mushrooms, flowers, birds, shells, moths, crowns, and candles, there is a really good variety despite them all being portraits of women. Those images taken from previous colouring books are all printed the same size as the originals so if you’re able to colour those, you’ll also be able to colour these with no difficulty. The pictures would all look amazing framed for yourself or gifted to others and because the faces are mostly quite large they’re great to practice skin tone colouring on and really push yourself out of your comfort zone. 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 great, it’s very absorbing and ideal for those who want to colour realistically and learn how to colour people. 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 objects 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 but unlike many of Hanna’s images that consist of lots of component parts, these are all portraits and scenes and therefore they don’t have such natural stopping points for those wanting to just colour in short bursts, you can still colour just one flower or just the eyes but it’s not so easy to come to an obvious point to stop, however, if you don’t mind stopping part-way through an image then this book would be ideal for using on good and bad days. 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 her previous books and really want to colour more people, while 75% of the artwork can be found in Hanna’s previous books, this gives you the opportunity to colour those pages again and use different colour schemes or wetter media without ruining a reverse image and you can also frame them for wonderful gifts or beautiful decoration for your own home. This book is ideal for those who use wet media and alcohol markers and the illustrations are a great cross-section of Hanna’s portraits.

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available from Printworks. A Dutch edition will be published in March 2018 by BBNC Uitgevers and it will be called Karakter.

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and a White Sakuara Gelly Roll Gel Pen. I used the skin tone tutorial from Colorist’s Special Effects by Helen Elliston.
Buy on Amazon UK – Colorist’s Special Effects
Buy on Book Depository – goo.gl/CrS7DU

Lost Ocean Artist’s Edition: 24 Illustrations to Colour and Frame – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Lost Ocean Artist’s Edition is illustrated by Johanna Basford and published and kindly sent to me to review by Virgin Books. This book contains 24 of the original images from the Lost Ocean colouring book all printed single-sided. The book is 25x33cm, paperback with thick card covers with beautiful gold foiling accents on the cover and blue text on the spine. 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 they’re not stuck very strongly and in the process of colouring my page I’ve managed to detach nearly half of the pages so this book won’t stay together unless you’re extremely careful with it. 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 pages are made of thick card which will hold up to just about any colouring medium (this is the same card as used in the Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest Artist’s Editions). I tested my Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and they didn’t even shadow onto the back and they also didn’t bleed sideways or into the card, they seemed to glide on top instead of saturating the paper like so often happens with thick pages. The card is cream which I know isn’t everyone’s favourite, however, I love it because it makes it feel like a classic book with age and luxury. It also means there’s a less harsh contrast between the colouring and the background if you leave the background uncoloured and also allows you to easily add white as highlights or as a colour where white paper simply doesn’t.

The images included are from the original Lost Ocean book and I think they’re a really good selection. There aren’t any pattern or filler images this time and they’re all definitely frame-worthy. Of the 24 illustrations, 5 are landscape and the others are portrait orientation, 3 are printed smaller than the original illustrations but the others are all printed larger to varying degrees from 4mm to the largest being the skull at an extra 7cm larger, 5 of the images are taken from double-page spreads where a section has generally been enlarged (a couple have been shrunk but not drastically so) and the rest are from single page spreads. Because the majority of the images have been enlarged, at least a little bit, they mostly have larger spaces to colour which allows you to really go to town and the possibilities for blending and shading are increased. If you’re new to using pencils and want to learn about blending and shading then the slightly larger print would be ideal for practising these techniques.

As with all of the Artist’s Editions, this book doesn’t have a treasure hunt aspect. The Secret Garden Artist’s Edition arrived wrapped in thin plastic film, but this one didn’t, however that may be because it’s a review copy so do be aware that it may have plastic film on it in the shop and you may not be able to look through it in stores, this means that the cover is well protected and won’t be at risk of staining or marking which I personally think is pretty sensible, though it’s a shame they didn’t do a preview on the back of what images are included. Because of this, I have included pictures of all of the images from inside the book below so that you can “see inside” before you buy it, as well as comparing the size to the original images.

In terms of mental health, this book is wonderful. Colouring this book ready to review it has provided countless hours of calming distraction and the card is such a joy to colour that I’ve enjoyed every moment of colouring it and was almost disappointed when I finally finished my picture and had to move onto another review. This is a book where you really don’t notice the hours passing because you’re so engrossed and focused on colouring each section. Johanna’s books are not for the faint-hearted and are quite an undertaking and they’re not for those of you with poor eyesight or challenged fine motor control. However, for anyone who is mentally ill and doesn’t have poor eyesight, this book is ideal because not only are the images stunning but they’re also completely grounded in nature which is perfect for calming you down and relaxing you. When colouring these images, it feels like you’re going on a wonderful adventure into Johanna’s Lost Ocean, the journey is less obvious but the images are printed in the same order as they appear in the book so it does have a feeling of flow. It’s sure to lift your mood and focus your thoughts so that even the most racing of minds will be quietened, at least for a short while. The details and intricacies force you to concentrate and become immersed in a watery world filled with brightly coloured fish and enchanting sea creatures and you’re sure to feel your anxiety lessen and your dark thoughts soften a little. It’s by no means a cure, but this is a fabulous book for distraction and the fact that you can remove the pages and display them means that all of your hard work and creativity can be prominently displayed and used to brighten up your darker days and remind you that you can create beautiful things which I often find gives me a huge self-esteem boost.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. If you liked Johanna’s original books or want to delve into her inky world for the first time then I’d strongly recommend purchasing it. With the best paper quality that I’ve come across in a colouring book, it contains the most stunning images and the feature of removable pages is one that I personally love because it means you can decorate your walls with your work or give wonderful, thoughtful presents to family and friends. This book exudes quality and luxuriousness from its thick card pages, to the signature gold foil accents on the front cover and the small selection of shells printed on the reverse of each picture, it is a work of art in itself and will be transformed into a masterpiece once you unleash your creativity upon it. I truly can’t enthuse enough about this book, it is a must-have and one that if you have been umming and ahhing about whether you should purchase it should be bought at once because I can just about guarantee that you won’t regret it. This book is ideal for anyone who is struggling with their mental health and anyone who just wants something truly beautiful to colour. Do check the images below to ensure the selection is one that you’re happy with and then get ordering because this is a book you definitely need in your collection, it’s gorgeous and one I can’t wait to get working on again!

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Lost Ocean Artist’s Edition
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Lost-Ocean-Artists-Edition-Johann-Basford/9780753548134?ref=grid-view&qid=1491572389812&sr=1-1/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Prismacolor Premier Coloured Pencils and blended with a Caran d’Ache blender pencil.

Doctor Who Travels in Time Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Doctor Who: Travels in Time Colouring Book is 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 back through time and space into my review. Allons-y! *Sorry*

Just like “Hello Sweetie”, messages about this colouring book have been scattered throughout time and space, or at least the last few months on the internet since publication of this second book was announced. 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 hooked though there are significantly more images of the latest 3 doctors than the previous 9, and it’s also the perfect companion to the first Doctor Who Colouring Book reviewed by me here. This book is paperback with a card cover and has lots of red foiling on the front, it is 25cm square, the same size as the first book and 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 bright 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 (sometimes) and year of the episode, as well as the year they’ve travelled to in that picture, 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 Travels in Time 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! As with the first book, there are Daleks, Cybermen, and Abominable Snowmen, but there are also new additions including vampires, The Wire, Silents, Pig Slaves and many more, as well as familiar regenerations of the Doctor, their companions and of course, the beloved TARDIS. Unlike the first book which contained facial outlines of each Doctor depicting them and their companion, as well as pattern/mandala images, all of the illustrations in this book are scenes of a historical place or time that the Doctor has travelled to. They are arranged into date order, not of when they were televised, but of when in time they have visited ranging from 13,798,000,000 BC in the episdoe ‘The Pandorica opens’, all the way up until 2012 AD in the episode ‘Fear Her’ where the Olympic Torch is heavily featured. Bearing in mind all of the images are from time travel to the past, I’m guessing that this has left the future open to hopefully be covered in a third book. Memorable scenes from some of our favourite episodes are depicted from The Runaway Bride to The Fires of Pompeii, Robot of Sherwood to The Empty Child, Victory of the Daleks to The Impossible Astronaut. Along the way, the Doctor meets Vikings, Aztecs, Egyptians, Romans, pirates, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, Vincent Van Gogh, Winston Churchill, and ‘Me’.  There is a huge range of imagery, which is jam-packed with action, adventure and time travel.

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 thin line so the images are 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), the illustrations are created by a number of different artists and though they’re very cohesive, there is one particular style that involves a lot of contour lines drawn on the faces, I’m personally not a fan of this but others may not mind it (check the images below), these are most certainly not the majority so don’t be too put off. 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 the majority of the images, “Don’t Blink” or you’ll go over the lines. There is less variety in intricacy levels in this book than the last so it’s not so good for those of you with fluctuating conditions and will require a fair amount of concentration so this is a book for days when you’re not weary from time-travel, or buoyed up by another victorious battle. The image content is ideal for anxious colourers because all of the images are of characters and scenes 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: Travels in Time Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Doctor-Who-Travels-in-Time-Colouring-Book-null/9781405927260/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you’re late to the part, travel back in time and order the first book too. You can read my review here or go straight ahead and order a copy:
Amazon UK – Doctor Who: The Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Doctor-Who-Colouring-Book-James-Newman-Gray/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. For a perfect TARDIS blue I used the Helioblue-Reddish Polychromos pencil.

Enchanted Forest Artist’s Edition – A Review

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

This book includes 20 of the original images from Enchanted Forest, printed single-sided. The pages are made of thick card which will hold up to just about any colouring medium (this is the same card as used in the Secret Garden Artist’s Edition). I tested my Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and they didn’t even shadow onto the back and they also didn’t bleed sideways or into the card, they seemed to glide on top instead of saturating the paper like so often happens with thick pages. The card is cream which I know isn’t everyone’s favourite, however, I love it because it makes it feel like a classic book with age and luxury. It also means there’s a less harsh contrast between the colouring and the background if you leave the background uncoloured and also allows you to easily add white as highlights or as a colour where white paper simply doesn’t. The 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. 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 from the original Enchanted Forest book but they are a slightly bizarre selection. I’m sure we each have our own favourites and preferred images, I’m personally a huge fan of the animals, the leafy scenes and double-page spreads but there are a fair few of the more ‘filler’ style images included. I feel terrible criticising this book and it really is my only criticism because the production is second to none and the artwork is beautiful, it’s just a shame that images such as the gate, the coat of arms and the leafy pattern were included instead of images like the hedgehog, toadstool, enchanted tree, and leafy boat that would have been so spectacular to colour and frame. The circular and square images are slightly smaller in size then the original book (under 1cm – see comparison photos below) but the (mostly) portrait and (couple of) landscape images are either zoomed in (see the fox which is much larger than the original image and has also been printed facing the opposite direction from the original book) or zoomed out double-page spreads with a little of the edges cut off but this means you can finally colour that elusive section that enters the spine of the original book (see comparison photos below). This means that a few of the images have slightly larger spaces meaning the ability to really go to town and blend and shade is increased. If you’re new to using pencils and want to learn about blending and shading then the slightly larger print size in some of the images would be ideal for practising these techniques. The majority of the images are printed on the same, or similar, scale as Johanna’s original book meaning it’s packed full with delicate leaves and intricate details just crying out to have colour added to them.

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

In terms of mental health, this book is wonderful. Colouring this book ready to review it has provided countless hours of calming distraction and the card is such a joy to colour that I’ve enjoyed every moment of colouring it and was almost disappointed when I finally finished my picture and had to move onto another review. This is a book where you really don’t notice the hours passing because you’re so engrossed and focused on colouring each section. Johanna’s books are not for the faint-hearted and are quite an undertaking and they’re not for those of you with poor eyesight or challenged fine motor control. However, for anyone who is mentally ill and doesn’t have poor eyesight, this book is ideal because not only are the images stunning but they’re also completely grounded in nature which is perfect for calming you down and relaxing you. When colouring these images, it feels like you’re going on a wonderful adventure into Johanna’s Enchanted Forest, the journey is less obvious and the images don’t flow in this edition because they are printed in a different order from the original book, nevertheless, it’s sure to lift your mood and focus your thoughts so that even the most racing of minds will be quietened, at least for a short while. The details and intricacies force you to concentrate and become immersed in a world filled with brightly coloured foliage and enchanting creatures and you’re sure to feel your anxiety lessen and your dark thoughts soften a little. It’s by no means a cure, but this is a fabulous book for distraction and the fact that you can remove the pages and display them means that all of your hard work and creativity can be prominently displayed and used to brighten up your darker days and remind you that you can create beautiful things which I often find gives me a huge self-esteem boost.

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

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this stunning book, then head over to Amazon where the UK edition is on sale, unfortunately you’ll have to wait until May for the US edition but there are pre-order links below.
Amazon UK (UK edition) – Enchanted Forest Artist’s Edition: A Pull-Out and Frame Colouring Book (Pull Out & Frame Colouring Bks)
Book Depository Worldwide (UK edition) – https://www.bookdepository.com/Enchanted-Forest-Artists-Edition-Pull-Out-Frame-Colouring-Book-Johanna-Basford/9781780677842/?a_aid=colouringitmom
Book Depository Worldwide (US edition) – https://www.bookdepository.com/Enchanted-Forest-Artists-Edition-Johanna-Basford/9781780677859/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils.

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

Secrets Beneath the Leaves – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Secrets Beneath the Leaves is illustrated and was kindly sent to me by Törmänen and Haikonen. This book is really unusual and different from any other adult colouring book I’ve seen so far. Secrets Beneath the Leaves puts the ‘adult’ into adult colouring and this is definitely one for the over 18’s. The title really doesn’t give much away and I thought it was going to be a Johanna Basford style book filled with garden images and boy was I in for a surprise! For those of you of a nervous or sensitive disposition or who are offended by nudity, this book is not for you, please look away now. For those of you who are now even more intrigued, keep on reading!

This book contains 30 images of leaf and tree people getting up to all sorts! The illustrators welcome you to “the enchanting world of lush leaves, exotic flowers, ancient vines, colourful birds and sensual delights” but this really doesn’t describe what’s in store, they state that their images are “inspired by the beauty of nature and the human body” which gives a little more of a clue. So, what does it actually include? Images of males and females, mostly made up of leaves or trees, in various states of undress and in various sensual and erotic poses. The images range from burlesque style poses of a leafy lady in a giant cocktail glass and a foliage fireman, to couples canoodling and engaging in what looks like some passionate foreplay, all the way up to some very adventurous sexual poses that only the most gymnastic among you will be attempting to…. colour (wink wink). The book is almost A4, paperback and glue-bound and the images are printed single-sided with a preview of the next image printed on the back of each page. The paper is white and very thin, the next image can be seen through, the paper also dents quite noticeably when using pencils, however, it’s got a bit of tooth allowing for layers to be built up with pencils for blending and shading. Water-based pens do bleed through and alcohol markers would almost certainly mark the next page so make sure you put a spare sheet of paper behind your work and then you’re good to go! The images are all printed with a border around them so none of the image is lost into the spine. The book starts with a “This book belongs to” page and at the back has a double-page spread to test your pens and pencils on.

In terms of mental health, this book is sure to give you a good giggle which is fabulous for mental illness and helping you forget about the bad things in life. There are lots and lots of leaves and the book is fairly intricate and delicate and all drawn in a thin line so you will need fairly good fine motor control and vision to really ‘study’ the images and colour into all the ‘nooks, crannies and crevices’. The images are all the same complexity level (despite the content of the images being suitable for beginners all the way up to seasoned pro’s) so you will have to focus quite a lot to keep within the lines. This book gives great distraction from symptoms and from negative thoughts and feelings as you’re whisked off to a garden filled with raunchy people getting up to all sorts of erotic things. I personally wouldn’t describe many of the images as sensual and would err more towards kinky as a description but however you want to describe it this book is really unusual, sure to give you a giggle and offers great shading opportunities and might even offer you some inspiration for other colouring or areas of your life. One thing to note is that the images show males and females on separate pages but all pages of couples are of a male and female, unfortunately, there are no same-sex couples included. The images are mostly nature-inspired though some of the positions the tree-people have found themselves in cannot possibly be described as such, and as you know, I find nature images the best for calming down my anxiety. The garden aspect of these images is quite heavily over-shadowed by the hanky-panky the leafy people are getting up to and some of the birds in the pictures look quite alarmed and surprised about what’s happening and if they didn’t already, have certainly now learnt about the birds and the bees!

I would recommend this book for those of you looking for something different and unusual to colour and those of you who fancy colouring something a little more sensual, erotic and sometimes downright kinky. Those of you who like the Slinky Tarts books are likely to be a fan of this book. It provides great distraction from mental illness symptoms and is sure to cheer up even the darkest of days. Grab your pens and pencils and discover the secrets beneath the leaves.

You can purchase a copy here:
Amazon UK – Secrets Beneath the Leaves

The images below were coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils.

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.

Maps: A Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Maps – A Colouring Bookis published by the famous Geographer’s A-Z Map Company Limited who produce A-Z maps of the UK and very kindly sent me a copy to review and even included my name within one of the pages to thank me for helping them during production – I’m honoured to have helped and have my surname included! This book is probably the most unusual colouring book I’ve seen and with a market that is highly saturated now it’s really nice to see something so different. This book is square and a little smaller than the bestsellers by JB and MM. It is paperback, gluebound and printed single-sided with a 1cm border around each image so none of it is lost into the spine. The paper is bright white and medium thickness with a little tooth, enough for shading with coloured pencils, and I experienced bleed through when using water-based fineliners but this doesn’t matter because it’s single-sided. There are 40 images all created with the same, very thin line thickness which is the same as in their normal map books so this isn’t one for those of you with poor eyesight or fine motor control. Because of the nature of the material included, there are lots of detailed and intricate sections so this is definitely a book that requires concentration and focus to be able to colour it well.

In terms of mental health, this book is great for those of you that need to concentrate and focus in order to stave off anxiety or low mood. It is really unusual and ideal for those who like quirky artwork, patterns, mandalas and geometric designs. The images range from maps of cities to symbols found in maps and on road signs, to famous landmarks and object outlines of maps of areas associated with the shape, and mandalas created from sections of maps and so many more. There are also more abstract images of mountain contour lines and even a page at the end with a blank centre for you to add your own map if you want to! This book has a really cohesive image style and the subject matter means that you can colour it in whatever way you fancy. You could colour it in a similar way to printed road maps, do it all in neon, or even create a patchwork like I did in my sample image using rainbow colours to celebrate Gay Pride which is synonymous with Brighton, the City map I coloured. I personally didn’t find this book especially calming but it’s great for distraction and it would be suited to either gender because it’s not pretty or delicate and is very intricate so it will banish those racing thoughts. I would recommend this book for the colourist who has everything and wants to try something really new and different, and for those who want something less pretty or nature-inspired. If you’d like to get a copy then you can find it on Amazon here Maps – A Colouring Book

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils

Escape to Wonderland: A Colouring Book Adventure – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Escape to Wonderland: A Colouring Book Adventure is published by Puffin Books and is part of my personal collection. This book is illustrated by Good Wives and Warriors who are a creative partnership of two Glasgow School of Art graduates – their Facebook page can be found here.

This is a beautiful book that is essential for any Alice in Wonderland fan’s colouring collection. It is smaller than most at 18.4cms square but don’t let that put you off, it’s a gorgeous book and the size means that the images aren’t daunting and it’s also perfect for taking with you for colouring on the go. The book has a softback cover which is almost all double thicknesses of cardboard as it folds in on itself and when opened up it reveals a beautiful blue background with white line-drawn images of flowers, mushrooms, pocket watches and owls. The cover has silvery-gold foiling accents which really add to the luxury of the book and are a lovely bit of extra detailing. There are 96 pages with double-sided images which are borderless so a little of each image is lost into the glue-bound spine. I found the spine very tight when it arrived but with some work it has now loosened up a lot and lies flatter than it did. The pages are cream and lightly textured which I thought would be ideal for pencils but I did find it a little hard to get many layers as the tooth seemed to disappear quicker than I’d have liked or expected. However, it’s not impossible to layer and I did manage to get some nice shading. The paper is thick enough to use water-based pens and didn’t bleed or shadow on the sample I did but I’ve not yet coloured a whole image with pens so do be sure to test the pens you’re using beforehand to avoid any disasters. Alcohol markers are a definite no because they will bleed terribly and ruin the reverse images.

The images themselves are drawn in a thin line that is pretty consistent throughout so the difficulty level doesn’t change, meaning this is not a book that will adapt to differing levels of concentration but this does lead to a really cohesive feel to the book. The images are in the correct order to tell the story and almost every page contains a quote from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland so you always know where you are, though that’s not necessary for die-hard fans who pretty much know it off by heart but it’s good for people who are new to the story and it’s a great reminder of some of the classic quotes which never fail to put a smile on my face.

In terms of mental health, I found this book great because it instantly transported me back to my childhood and brought back happy memories of watching many different film adaptations and staring at the pictures in my illustrated versions of Lewis Caroll’s original books. Many of the images are of plants, animals and scenes or objects which are the things I’m most interested in colouring so I was in my element and really struggled to narrow it down to just one picture to colour in for my review. I really enjoyed just looking through at the images and reliving the story and while the images are fairly stylised, and different from Sir John Tenniel’s originals, it’s very obvious what each scene is depicting and who each character is. I didn’t notice anything missing apart from the Duchess who isn’t featured in any of the images but all of the classic characters and scenes are in there from the pool of tears, to the caucus race, the croquet match to the lobster quadrille and the trial to meeting the giant caterpillar, it’s all in there. Alice is beautifully drawn throughout in a number of different styles and there are individual images of the gryphon, mock turtle, white rabbit, mouse and dodo, all exquisitely drawn and just waiting to be coloured. The only drawing I’m not so keen on is that of the Cheshire cat. He’s been drawn with petals around his eyes and it just looks a little odd and not very true to the original however, this is my only gripe, and the rest of the book is truly beautiful.

I would highly recommend this book, especially to those who are fans of Alice because not only is this a beautiful colouring book, it’s also a wonderful pictorial retelling of a classic story that so many of us love. The book is really cohesive and I found it great for my own mental health so hopefully it’ll be just as good for yours too as it transports you back to childhood and into the magical world of Wonderland. If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s already reduced on Amazon here Escape to Wonderland: A Colouring Book Adventure If you’re on the look out for other Alice in Wonderland themed books then head over to my review of another recent release here or go straight to Amazon The Macmillan Alice Colouring Book

The picture below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: A Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Macmillan Alice Colouring Book is newly published by Macmillan publishing and is part of my personal collection. It was released last week to celebrate 150 years since Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was originally published and includes the original illustrations by Sir John Tenniel. This book is beautiful and every Alice fan’s dream. Lewis Caroll’s two tales of Alice’s adventures have been my favourite stories for as long as I can remember and whenever I watch any of the film adaptations, read the books or quotes or see illustrations of her story, I’m transported back to my childhood and am reminded of the wonder I used to feel. I was very worried that this book might be disappointing because I’m such a huge fan of Alice and her world but as soon as I opened the cover I fell down the rabbit hole and was instantly travelling through Wonderland.

This book is A4, softback and printed double-sided with mostly double-page spreads either consisting of a double-page image or an image alongside a quote from the book and occasionally a spread of patterns or repeated illustrations. The spine is glue-bound and there is no border around the images so a little is lost into the spine on each page. The line thickness varies throughout from very thin to medium thickness depending on how much the original image has been enlarged. You certainly don’t need perfect vision or fine motor control to be able to get huge benefits from this book though. One huge difference between this book and all of the other adult colouring books I own and have seen is that most of the images, certainly all of the original Tenniel ones, are not just outlines, they contain considerable amounts of black cross-hatching because the illustrations were originally printed in black and white and Tenniel needed to be able to indicate light and shade. I know this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but bear in mind that these illustrations were created 150 years ago and were not created for the purpose of colouring but rather to tell the story and the texture that has been added is actually really useful in showing which areas are light and dark and this can really aid colouring especially for newbies. The picture I coloured below was really easy to colour because the cross-hatched parts of the roses were clearly meant to be the parts that had been painted red by the cards and the bits without were still the original white. Some of the images, especially those of the Cheshire Cat are very heavily shaded and I have shown this in the images below so that you can get a proper feel for the book and decide whether you like this effect or not.

This book contains 96 pages and the paper is almost white and smooth with very little tooth but I didn’t find it difficult to build up a few layers when colouring with my polychromos pencils. The paper is medium thickness and doesn’t bleed when using water-based pens but does shadow a little so you would need to be careful when using pens to not hold them in one place for long or over-colour or it will bleed and you could ruin the reverse image. A few of the pictures have black backgrounds which is a nice touch as it really makes your colours stand out and adds to the quirkiness of the book and I found it very in keeping with Alice’s Wonderland tales. One major thing to note that I found very strange and a little disappointing is that the images are presented in a random order and do not tell the story in its original order. I personally think this is a real shame and I’m not sure what the reason behind this was but please don’t let it put you off because the illustrations are really beautiful and the book is certainly worth having! All of the iconic characters are pictured within: the Cheshire Cat and his famous grin; the White Rabbit who is perpetually concerned at being late; the Mad Hatter, March Hare and Dormouse all attending their tea party and the Duchess and Queen and King of Hearts all competing in the bizarre croquet match, and finally Alice herself meeting everyone and everything, questioning reality and indeed her very being and journeying through the curiouser and curiouser world of Wonderland.

This book truly draws you in and allows you to escape from the real world and into Wonderland where nothing is quite as it seems and everything you know to be right and true, isn’t quite that anymore. This book offers true escapism and takes you back to your childhood where it’s likely you first heard Alice’s story and became intrigued by it. These illustrations are wrapped in so much history and are so delicately drawn by the highly talented Sir John Tenniel that all they’re missing is the colour that you can easily add to bring them to life and create a Wonderland of your own.

As you can probably guess, I absolutely love this book and believe that anyone who fell in love with the story as a child will adore it as much as I do. While it’s not to everyone’s taste because the images are shaded and not just outlined, I firmly believe that this should not put you off and I would highly recommend it to anyone that wants to have their own adventures in Wonderland. Head over to Amazon where it’s currently selling for just £3.99 down from £9.99 and allow yourself to fall down the rabbit hole and into Alice’s world.The Macmillan Alice Colouring Book If you’re on the look out for other Alice in Wonderland themed books then head over to my review of another recent release here or go straight to Amazon Escape to Wonderland: A Colouring Book Adventure

The images below were coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils and the text was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 fineliners.