Sakura

Twilight Garden Artist’s Edition (Blomstermandala Tavelbok) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Twilight Garden Artist’s Edition is published and very kindly sent to me to review by Gibbs Smith Publishing. Twilight Garden is the English title of the hugely successful series of colouring books called Blomstermandala by Swedish artist, Maria Trolle. I have previously reviewed the Blomstermandala Colouring Book HERE and this is the Artist’s Edition of that book, it’s identical in format to other Artist’s Editions published by Gibbs Smith and Pagina (the Swedish publisher of all of these books) and therefore much of my review is identical to those, this Artist’s Edition is also identical to the Swedish version of it apart from the language. The book measures 29.5x21cm (A4), it’s paperback with thick but flexible card covers which are black with muted coloured flowers from inside the book and gold foiled text on the front, back, and spine. The book has a matte gold 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. For my page I used Derwent Inktense Pencils activated with minimal water which worked brilliantly with absolutely no buckling or warping at all. 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 content is a little strange, the book contains 20 pages, 16 of which are illustrations from the original book, 1 is a floral alphabet where each letter shape consists of a single flower (oddly the letter W is missing), and 3 of which are black-background images with full colour printing of what look to be photographed petals, leaves and flowers so these 3 pages are unable to be coloured, a strange choice I feel. However, the other 17 images are lovely choices and are all single-page spreads from the book printed either the same size as the originals or a little larger. 7 of the images have white backgrounds and 10 have black backgrounds (some of these were printed with white backgrounds in the original book). The images are all of flowers and plants and none contain any animals, birds or objects so if those were you favourites then this Artist’s Edition may not be for you. A huge range of flowers are included from daffodils to tulips, lupins to forget-me-nots, foxgloves to grape hyacinths, and fuchsias to peonies and so many more! I’ve included photos of all of the pages below so that you can see the range and make an informed choice. None of the images reach the edges of the page and those with a white background have space where you could add your own backgrounds or imagery if you wish, though this is by no means a requirement, and this will make all of them very easy to frame for yourself or to gift to others.

In terms of mental health, this book is just wonderful, seasoned readers of my blog will know that I strongly believe that natural images, and those depicting nature are the best for mental health and calming you down and this book is no exception, the images are very relaxing and very realistic and details have been added to these that weren’t in the original illustrations (see photo comparisons below). The line thickness is consistent throughout and remains medium/thin so it’s definitely manageable to colour. The intricacy and detail vary throughout from medium to high and this is higher than the original book due to the added details in the larger spaces of each section, these are easily coloured over if you prefer larger sections to colour or they’re manageable to colour within so this book is good for a range of levels of vision and fine motor control depending on how you want to use it. I found this book and the illustrations within it great for my mood, just looking through it and noticing all of the different flowers and leaves made me feel calmer and the images are just beautiful so they’re sure to lift your mood and keep you distracted from any difficult thoughts or persistent symptoms. The images do vary a little in size and difficulty and they mostly consist of a collection of components which is ideal for good and bad days because you can work on one tiny flower or leaf on a bad day, or a whole page on a good day so it’s ideal for those with fluctuating conditions or concentration levels. The fact that the pages are printed single-sided and are removable is fantastic because it means you can remove your works of art and frame them or gift them which is a great way of reminding yourself of what you can achieve and brighten up the darkest of days.

I would highly recommend this book (despite the inclusion of three uncolourable images) to those of you who like to colour flowers and plants, those who have the original book, those who love to gift or frame their colouring, and those who like to use alcohol markers or wet media as there’s no worry about ruining any reverse images. The illustrations chosen are beautiful and very calming.

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Twilight Garden Artist’s Edition
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Twilight-Garden-Mari-Trolle/9781423647072/?a_aid=colouringitmom

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

The Inspiring Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Inspiring Colouring Book: Hand Lettered Botanical Designs of Motivational Phrases and Positive Affirmations is illustrated by Meg Cowley who kindly sent me a copy to review. This book is A4 and is hand-drawn by Meg, it’s published through Createspace and is therefore paperback with flexible card covers, and a glue-bound spine. The images are printed single-sided and are a mixture of portrait and landscape orientation, none of them reach the edges of the paper and therefore none of the images have any aspects lost into the spine. The paper is standard Createspace paper and bright white, thin and very lightly textured, it shadows with water-based pens and will bleed heavily with alcohol markers so do place some scrap paper behind your work; pencils blend and layer fine, especially if you’re patient with them. The book contains 20 images, each printed twice full size and then once a little smaller than A5 in pairs at the back of the book so you get 3 copies of each image. The illustrations each contain a hand-drawn motivational phrase or positive affirmation as well as beautiful botanical drawings; some of the phrases include Stay True To Yourself, Find Your Joy, Count Your Blessings, and Dream Big. At the bottom of each page is space to write your name, copyright information, and Meg’s web address. The illustrations are all drawn quite differently so there’s a good variety, their content is also quite varied and ranges from very busy, full-page drawings with flower-filled backgrounds to decorated text in the centre of the page, scenic images to poster-style depictions and more. While the images are all hand-drawn, the lines on very close inspection are ever so slightly pixelated during printing, however, this doesn’t affect enjoyment because it’s only noticeable if you get really close to the page so once coloured and framed you’ll just be dazzled by your artwork! A handy tester sheet has been included at the front of the book for you to test your colouring mediums on.

In terms of mental health, if you like affirmations and positive reminders then this book will be ideal, there’s a good mix of evocative words as well as inspiring phrases, I’m personally really picky about this kind of thing and there are a couple I’m not overly keen on and don’t agree with (e.g. Mind Over Matter), but we’re all different and I know that many people live their lives by these sayings so do check out the images below and don’t be put off by my niggles. The line thickness is varied and ranges from medium/thin to spindly thin, it’s also thinner on the smaller versions due to the downscale in size. The intricacy and detail levels also vary hugely from large, open spaces to smaller, more detailed sections and everything in between, this book will suit people with most levels of vision or fine motor control though those with poorer levels of either might struggle with the smaller size prints. These illustrations would be ideal to remove from the book and frame once coloured so that they can inspire you throughout the day or be given as inspirational gifts to friends or family. Text is ideal to colour because you can use any colour scheme you fancy, there’s no right or wrong and it looks fabulous no matter what you choose. The natural aspects can either be coloured realistically if you want the choice taken away, or again, in any colours you fancy to complement the text or to contrast it. These pages have a manageable level of content and you can colour just one word or butterfly on a bad day, or a full page on a good day. The phrases and sayings are great for keeping you focused and inspiring you on bad days to remind you that good days will come again so this book is ideal for those of us with mental health problems.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to those who like inspirational sayings, who respond well to positive affirmations and want to be able to colour and possibly frame or gift these to spread some sunshine. The pages are drawn beautifully and look really lovely when coloured.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – The Inspiring Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Inspiring-Colouring-Book-Meg-Cowley/9781537785820/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-Tip Pens and Prismacolor Premier Pencils, the white accents were created using a white Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen.

Magisk Gryning 20 Vykort (Magical Dawn 20 Postcards) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Magisk Gryning 20 Vykort are illustrated by Hanna Karlzon, and published and kindly sent to me to review by Pagina Förlag. These postcards are taken from Hanna’s original colouring book Magisk Gryning/Magical Dawn (reviewed by me here), there is also an artist’s edition available. This postcard book contains 20 postcards, it’s paperback with thick card covers and a black tape binding. The cover is the same colour and design as the original book but printed on a smaller scale with the same luxurious gold foil accents. The book has a lay flat binding meaning there is no spine to contend with so you’re able to reach and colour the entirety of the image; the postcards are easy to remove if you wish so they can be sent or gifted or even framed but they’ll stay in the book as long as you’re careful not to twist the spine. The cards are a cream colour which looks quite vintage, it’s fairly smooth with a light texture and is perfect for blending and shading with pencils but pens glide over it seamlessly too. Alcohol markers won’t bleed if you’re careful and they don’t spread, they do shadow onto the reverse so bear this in mind if you’re wanting to write on the back. The postcards are printed single-sided and on the reverse are printed three address lines and space for a stamp with a little star motif within it. The drawings mostly have a small border around them but 6 are full page, they will be pretty easy to frame if you wish to do so. The illustrations are all very similar to those used in the Daydreams and Winter Dreams postcard sets in terms of intricacy level and content, none are impossible to colour and all will look beautiful when finished. The images are mostly nature-based but a number of them are magic-themed and for the second time Hanna has included female drawings, four have been included this time which is a lovely addition. There aren’t a lot of gems in this selection but the illustrations do contain a really good variety of things from birds to potion bottles, jewellery to cats, females to sand timers and beetles to flowers, this postcard set possibly contains the widest ranging content of all of Hanna’s postcards. They’ve all got a bit of added whimsy and fantasy which is a huge part of what gives Hanna’s images such charm and sets them apart from others, they’re just beautiful, even without colour added!

In terms of mental health, these postcards are just perfect! Postcards offer a smaller project which is less daunting to start and takes far less time to make progress on or finish than a full book page. The card is ideal for using any mediums and because they’re single-sided they’re perfect for framing so you can brighten up your darker days by just looking at all of the wonderful pages you’ve created, a great way of lifting your spirits. These postcards are fantasy-based which means they offer great escapism and distraction from difficult thoughts or symptoms, Hanna’s images really absorb you and transport you to far off lands and magical places. Fantasy images are great for those of you who don’t like being restricted with colour schemes and they’re a good challenge for those of you who like to colour things realistically as you can really let your hair down and use any colours you fancy for feline princesses or crystal mushrooms, there’s no right or wrong colour scheme and often the more vibrant and outlandish you go, the better the results! The line thickness is consistently thin throughout but it’s not spindly thin. The intricacy and detail levels are pretty high but none of the spaces are impossible to colour. You will need fairly good vision and fine motor control to get the most out of these postcards. As for concentration level, these pages are ideal because their smaller size means they take less concentration and you can focus on individual aspects if you prefer and colour just one gem or potion bottle rather than focusing on the whole picture at once. These postcards are ideal for good and bad days, they’re a manageable size and I personally find them very inspiring and easy to get into without having to stress over colours for hours, I can just dive right in. If you need any inspiration then just search online using Hanna’s name or the book title and you’ll find heaps of ideas to get you going!

Overall, I would highly recommend these postcards, they’re all beautifully illustrated and they’re perfect for days when you’re feeling poorly, down, or your concentration is waning. They make an ideal project to send to others, to frame, or to keep in the book and they’re truly beautiful even just to look through uncoloured! They are a great format for Hanna’s drawings and even if you have the original colouring book, it doesn’t feel samey or stale despite containing the same imagery, the change in scale somehow makes the artwork seem different and lends itself to different colour schemes and the use of different mediums and techniques.

If you’d like to purchase a set they’re available here:
Pen Store – https://www.penstore.com/art-design/magisk-gryning-20-postcards-to-color
Bokus – http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163612831/magisk-gryning-20-vykort-att-farglagga/

Or you can pre-order the English language version, published in April, here:
Amazon UK – Magical Dawn 20 Postcards
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Magical-Dawn-20-Postcards-Hann-Karlzon/9781423646617/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Sharpie Fine Point Alcohol Markers and a few Promarker Alcohol Markers and the white highlights were added using a White Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen.

Vinternatt 20 Vykort (Winter Night 20 Postcards) – A Review

Vinternatt Postcards are illustrated by Hanna Karlzon, and published and kindly sent to me to review by Pagina Förlag. These postcards are not taken from a book and have been published as a standalone postcard set and Hanna has categorically stated that there are no plans to turn these, or her other winter-themed postcard set, Vinterdrommar/Winter Dreams, into a full length colouring book. This postcard book contains 20 postcards, it’s paperback with thick card covers and a black tape binding. The cover is a pale blue with an illustration from inside the book with beautiful silver foiling accents and writing on the spine. The book has a lay flat binding meaning there is no spine to contend with so you’re able to reach and colour the entirety of the image; the postcards are easy to remove if you wish so they can be sent or gifted or even framed but they’ll stay in the book as long as you’re careful not to twist the spine. The cards are a cream colour which looks quite vintage, it’s fairly smooth with a light texture and is perfect for blending and shading with pencils but pens glide over it seamlessly too. Alcohol markers won’t bleed if you’re careful and they don’t spread, they do shadow onto the reverse so bear this in mind if you’re wanting to write on the back. The postcards are printed single-sided and on the reverse are printed three address lines and space for a stamp with little star doodles within it. The drawings mostly have a small border around them but 4 are full page, they will be pretty easy to frame if you wish to do so. The illustrations are all very similar to those used in the Daydreams and Winter Dreams postcard sets in terms of intricacy level and content, none are impossible to colour and all will look beautiful when finished. The images are very nature-based and for the first time in a postcard set two of Hanna’s female drawings have been included which is a lovely addition. There are a good number of gems which many of you will know I’m a huge fan of colouring and the illustrations also include lots of birds, stars, a cat, candles, a crown, a beautiful house, lanterns, a beetle and more. They’ve all got a bit of added whimsy and fantasy which is a huge part of what gives Hanna’s images such charm and sets them apart from others. These images are all winter themed with a real Nordic style to them, there’s nothing Christmas-themed in this book and if you’re looking for that then I’d recommend the Vinterdrommar/Winter Dreams set, this set is very bird and star heavy and it’s really ornate and highly decorated.

In terms of mental health, these postcards are just perfect! Postcards offer a smaller project which is less daunting to start and takes far less time to make progress on or finish than a full book page. The card is ideal for using any mediums and because they’re single-sided they’re perfect for framing so you can brighten up your darker days by just looking at all of the wonderful pages you’ve created, a great way of lifting your spirits. These postcards are nature-based and I find this the best thing for mental health as they’re very calming and peaceful and if you struggle to conjure up colour palette ideas you can just go with the one nature already created or spice things up a little if you’re feeling brave. The line thickness is consistently thin throughout but it’s not spindly thin. The intricacy and detail levels are pretty high but none of the spaces are impossible to colour. You will need fairly good vision and fine motor control to get the most out of these postcards. As for concentration level, these pages are ideal because their smaller size means they take less concentration and you can focus on individual aspects if you prefer and colour just one star or bird rather than focusing on the whole picture at once. These postcards are ideal for good and bad days, they’re a manageable size and I personally find them very inspiring and easy to get into without having to stress over colours for hours, I can just dive right in. If you need any inspiration then just search online using Hanna’s name or the book title and you’ll find heaps of ideas to get you going!

Overall, I would highly recommend these postcards, they’re all beautifully illustrated and they’re perfect for days when you’re feeling poorly, down, or your concentration is waning. They make an ideal project to send to others, to frame, or to keep in the book and they’re truly beautiful even just to look through uncoloured!

If you’d like to purchase a set they’re available here:
Pen Store – https://www.penstore.com/art-design/vinternatt-20-postcards-to-color
Bokus – http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163612664/vinternatt-20-vykort-att-farglagga/

The image below was coloured using Holbein Artists’ Colored Pencils, the background was coloured using a black Sharpie and the white highlights were added using a White Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen.

Vivi Söker en Vän Målarbok (Vivi’s Looking for a Friend) – A Review

Vivi Söker en Vän Målarbok, which translates into English as Vivi’s Looking for a Friend, is illustrated by Maria Trolle, who has also illustrated Blomstermandala and I Bring You Flowers Postcards, and is published and kindly sent to me to review by Pagina Förlag. This book is Swedish and currently only published there, it’s available for International purchase using the links at the bottom of this review just above the photos. Maria has created a children’s story book with these illustrations in full colour and an adult’s colouring book (reviewed here) where the story is removed. Maria has posted a short description of the story on her Facebook page which I’ve quoted directly below.

“The story of the book in short is this: “When Vivi woke at dawn the walls were darker than usual and the house felt cramped. I want a friend, someone who is just mine, she thought. Vivi lives in a tree house in the woods. One day she goes on an adventure to find herself a friend.
Vivi takes a ride with a bird and fly up into the sky where she meets the Cloudbear. She goes deep into the ocean where she meets ta mermaid. In the oak, she becomes friends with the tree spirit. Vivi looks into hollows in the ground where the voles live. But who can be her very own friend who is hers always…
The Miniwolf are also looking for a friend. He is curious about Vivi and wonders if she’ll ever see him …
Vivi meets a friend is about finding your place in the world and to find yourself and meet the right person. A best friend.”

The book itself is 21.5 x 25.4cm, it’s paperback with a partially coloured image from inside on the cover (the storybook has a fully coloured image on the front so be sure you’re ordering the correct one) wrapped around both flexible card covers, there are small colourable images from inside the book on the insides of both covers. The spine is glue and string bound so it’s very durable but a little tricky to get the book to lie flat at first. The pages are printed single-sided onto perforated pages which are sturdy enough to hold them in the book if you wish to keep it complete, but these do allow you to remove pages before or after colouring if you wish. The paper is cream, thick and very lightly textured, it doesn’t bleed with water-based pens but does bleed with alcohol markers so make sure you pop a protective sheet behind your work. Pencils go on smoothly but are a little tricky to blend and layer due to lack of tooth, experienced colourists will manage to get stunning results though I’m sure! The images themselves are a great mix of adult level colouring but with childlike charm. The illustrations tell the story of Vivi as she goes in search of a friend and she travels to different environments and meets different creatures which means you’re offered a huge variety of things to colour from practising skin tones and fur to feathers and clouds, if you want a book to challenge you out of your comfort zone then this is ideal. Equally though, this would look gorgeous block coloured or with minimal blending and shading, or with a touch of added sparkle from some glitter gel pens so don’t be put off if you’ve not mastered fur, I haven’t yet but I’ll be giving it a go in this book. A few of the images have dots on to indicate shading and these are very useful, especially for beginner colourists to learn where light and shade can be placed in an image. As with Maria’s other books, a total of 8 images have a black background which is a lovely touch and will make the colours really pop on those pages. There are almost 50 images which are really varied in content and there is a beautiful map at the back showing all of the different places Vivi travels to within the story.

In terms of mental health, this book is wonderful, the storytelling aspect is lovely because it offers escapism and Maria’s images are so evocative and charming that you can’t help but become immersed in Vivi’s world and your worries and symptoms soon melt away. The childlike quality of the images is very nostalgic and really transports you back to simpler times and happy days as a child. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is thin. The intricacy and detail levels vary from large open spaces of a fox or whale to much smaller details of leaves, flower centres and butterflies, and everything in between. You will need fairly good vision and fine motor control to keep within the lines but they don’t need to be perfect so don’t be put off, just check the images below to decide if they’re suitable or not. This book offers a huge amount of scope for the imagination, while the pictures do tell the story very well, you could easily add your own written story on the blank left-hand pages throughout the book and once coloured you could gift it to a child or read it to your own children. You could even colour Vivi to look like a little girl you know and get her to wear their favourite colour so that it’s like that child is in the story, this would make the most wonderful personalised gift! Equally, you could remove the pages and frame them for a child’s bedroom, they’d be a wonderful addition with their whimsical content. The variance in image content means that this book is ideal for those with fluctuating conditions and concentration levels, on bad days you can colour just one cloud or acorn and on better days you could colour a whole image, there are loads of natural stopping points so you can get the satisfaction of finishing something without it having to be the entire page which can often be quite daunting and off-putting!  This book really is another beautiful creation which is exactly what we’ve come to expect from Maria, it’s a really different premise from most adult colouring books but I personally love it and even though I don’t have children myself, or really anyone to gift it to, I’m still loving colouring in it and imagining myself on Vivi’s journey as she meets cloud bears, mermaids and woodland creatures.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book, it offers so much escapism and the artwork is just charming. It would make a wonderful gift fully coloured, with a written story added, or even a framed page and Vivi is sure to become a family favourite!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available to order below though you may need to be patient as it’s very popular and often out of stock.
Pen Store – https://www.penstore.com/art-design/vivi-soker-en-van
Bokus – http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163612695/vivi-soker-en-van-malarbok/

If you’d also like to purchase a copy of the Vivi storybook with fully coloured illustrations then it’s available from Bokus here – http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163612718/vivi-soker-en-van-sagobok/

The image below was coloured using Sharpie Fine Point Alcohol Markers.

Deluxe Edition Happiness – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Deluxe Edition Happiness is published and kindly sent to me to review by Parragon Books. The book is described as a deluxe edition and indeed it is, but this is the only edition published, there is no regular edition. This is one of two titles and this is my personal favourite, the other, Serenity, can be found reviewed by me HERE. The book is 26cm square, the hardback cover is a beautiful dark grey colour with a linen-style texture, the illustration is printed in white and the text on the cover and spine is embossed in gold foil. The spine is glue and stitch bound so it’s durable but quite difficult to get the book to open fully and lie flat. The book fastens shut with golden yellow ribbons and there is an identical ribbon bookmark which is very handy for marking the page you’re colouring. The pages are all printed single-sided and all of them have a thin border around them meaning none enter the spine and they would be easy enough to remove and frame if you wish. The paper is medium thickness, bright white and smooth, water-based pens shadow occasionally, alcohol markers will bleed so pop a protective sheet behind your work, pencils give even coverage because of the smoothness but it’s difficult to blend or layer with them because there’s no visible tooth. At the back of the book is a pocket containing a colourable poster which opens out to be a square, 4 times the size of the book pages (see photo below).

The images themselves are mostly nature inspired and range enormously from plants, flowers and leaves, to animals, insects, and shells. There is a huge amount of variety within these images, those of you who’ve already read my review of Serenity, the other title in this series, will know that the images in both books are stock images taken from Shutterstock and iStock, this is perfectly legitimate and there are no copyright issues with this at all and a large number of colouring books are created in the same way, luckily, I don’t recognise many, if any, of the images used in this book (not the case in Serenity where a huge number have been used in countless books) so this is unlikely to duplicate images in your current colouring book stash. A lot of the images are heavily patterned rather than especially realistic, however, they’re really good fun to colour and because they’re all created by different illustrators there is a real range of styles and designs. I expected this book to cost way more than £10, especially as it’s produced so nicely and printed single-sided. The cover image isn’t especially indicative of what’s inside so do check out my photos below.

In terms of mental health, this book offers a lot of variety so it’ll cover good days, bad days and anything in between. The content is very natural which is ideal for mental health and for calming you down and helping you zone out. The patterns within the images are also great because you aren’t restricted to colouring the animals and plants realistically if you don’t want to so the sky really is the limit when it comes to colour choices. The line thickness varies throughout from spindly thin to medium thickness. The intricacy and detail levels also vary hugely from teeny tiny details that you’ll struggle to colour within and probably have to colour over, to larger spaces however none of the images are overly basic (I coloured one of the simplest) or able to be viewed as children’s images therefore you will need pretty good vision and fine motor control to enjoy the majority of the book and very good levels of both to enjoy the most detailed and fine-lined images. You don’t need perfect concentration to be able to enjoy this book as some illustrations consist of lots of component parts which you could colour one or two of on a bad day, or you could colour a whole page on a good day, it’s ideal for those of you with fluctuating conditions. None of the images will take you ages to colour, especially not in pen so you can get a sense of achievement quite quickly without rushing through the book in a matter of weeks. The poster at the back is a nice added feature and a much larger project, I personally find it a very strange image choice as it doesn’t seem special and isn’t really the sort of image that you’d want to frame or display once finished, but that could just be me, everyone likes different things.

Overall, this isn’t one of my favourite books but it’s a very nice addition to any collection and would be a great starter book, as well as being ideal for those with fluctuating conditions. The production quality is really high, to the point where I can’t fault it, the images aren’t particularly special but do offer a huge amount of variety and the single-sided printing makes this book ideal for colourers who prefer to use pens and other wet media.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Deluxe Edition Happiness © Parragon Books Ltd 2016

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-Tips and Staedtler Triplus Fineliners. The white accents were made with a White Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen.

I Bring You Flowers: 20 Greetings Cards to Colour – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
I Bring You Flowers is published and very kindly sent to me by Print Works, an imprint of Pagina Förlag. This book is illustrated by Maria Trolle who illustrated the hugely successful Blomstermandala. This is a postcard book (the description states greetings cards but they’re actually postcards), it’s standard size with a lilac tape binding and black covers with a design from inside on the front cover with pinky-silvery foiling accents. The postcards have a standard lay-flat binding meaning the book opens completely flat without needing to be held and you can reach the entirety of the page to colour it, it also means you can remove the postcards to gift to others if you wish but they do stay put if you’re careful not to twist the binding. They are printed onto thick card which is a light cream colour (all postcard books from Pagina are printed on the same card), and lightly textured, water-based pens don’t bleed at all and alcohol markers only started to shadow after a number of layers were added, they didn’t spread sideways so these are perfect for users of alcohol-markers. The card isn’t very textured so you may struggle a little with blending and shading with coloured pencils though Prismacolor Premiers work pretty well. Each postcard is printed single-sided with a small co-ordinating motif at the bottom on the back with the publishing information. Of the 20 cards, 14 of them have written greetings on them (all written in English), the others have space for your own greeting, these greetings include Congratulations, Thank You, Happy Birthday, Love You, and more. Every other card has a black background which is a lovely feature as it really shows up the colours, with no need to add your own background! The images themselves are very similar to those found in Blomstermandala so fans of that book will love these cards. The illustrations are very floral, and nature-inspired with lots of leaves, flowers and animals. All of the linework is black apart from two of the images which are a paler colour I’m not quite sure why, this doesn’t affect enjoyment or colouring ability though. All but one of the postcards are portrait orientation.

In terms of mental health, this postcard book is lovely. As many of my readers will know, I am completely in love with postcards, they make the perfect small project for those days when you’re feeling really poorly, or your concentration isn’t good. These postcards have just the right amount of imagery to keep you focused and distracted, without needing to spend hours on them or be thinking particularly clearly. The linework is consistently thin throughout and the intricacy and detail levels range from medium sized spaces to very small so you’ll definitely need good vision and fine motor control to enjoy these postcards, as well as some sharp pencils or decent fineliners. The images are a great size to get finished in a couple of hours if you use pens, or much longer if you want to blend and shade with pencils. They provide the perfect project to send to others, coloured or uncoloured, and they’d look beautiful attached to handmade cards, or even framed. The nature themes are lovely and really calming, looking through this book is like walking through a beautiful garden and as you turn the pages you can feel your anxiety ebbing away and your depression easing a little, I could anyway!

I would highly recommend these postcards to fans of Maria’s work, those who love natural images, and those who like small colouring projects to keep or send to others. These postcards are beautiful with no filler images and the black background on half of them is a lovely, unusual feature.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s currently available here:
Pen Store – http://www.penstore.com/art-design/i-bring-you-flowers-20-greeting-cards-to-color
Bokus – http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163612701/i-bring-you-flowers-20-greeting-cards-to-color/

It may also get picked up for English release by Gibbs Smith who will be publishing Maria’s book, Blomstermandala, in April which can be pre-ordered here:
Amazon UK – Twilight Garden
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Twilight-Garden-Coloring-Book-Mari-Trolle/9781423647065/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Sharpie alcohol markers.

Johanna’s Christmas: A Festive Colouring Book (UK Edition) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Johanna’s Christmas is published by Virgin Books and is from my personal collection, it’s currently available on Amazon UK though there was a delay for most of us getting them. I also ordered a US edition from Book Depository which I have reviewed HERE and I will be writing a comparison post very soon. There are a lot of differences between the two including big differences in image size and paper quality and colour so do check back for my comparison post later this week.

The book itself is 25cm square, the same size as the previous UK editions of Johanna’s books, ever so slightly smaller than the US editions which are all 25.4cm square. It’s paperback with flexible card covers with two third French flaps which open out front and back to reveal a beautiful colourable large-print bauble design. The covers are white with black text, the spine is black with white text and gold foil stars and Christmas trees; the cover has loads of gold foil accents, it’s a bright gold (yellower than the foil used on the UK Magical Jungle) and I personally feel it’s a bit overdone and looks a little tacky and gaudy! Upon opening the book, you find the beautiful title page, followed by the copyright page, name page, and Introduction, including colouring tips from Johanna. Unlike Johanna’s previous books, there isn’t a treasure hunt element, this has been replaced by the quest to find a flock of 63 hidden robins though you may be left scratching your head if you can’t find them all because there are no answer pages at the back. The spine is glue and string-bound making it pretty durable and with a bit of work it’ll lie quite flat. The paper is pale ivory, the same as UK Magical Jungle, different from the US edition of this book and Magical Jungle (those both have the same paper). The paper is a whiter colour and slightly thinner than that in the US edition but is equally as thick as the paper in Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest, and far thicker than the paper in Lost Ocean. It’s very lightly textured so it’s easy to get an even coverage with pencils and water-based pens don’t bleed and only barely shadow but this doesn’t matter as the pages are printed single-sided, alcohol markers will bleed through so make sure you put protective sheets behind your work to protect the proceeding page. The images are printed single sided onto perforated pages so you really can use any medium you fancy as long as you either remove the page first or put adequate scrap paper behind the page. On the back of each image is one of 3 grey line-drawn Christmas-themed patterns which you can colour or just leave blank. The majority of the images are single pages but 5 of them are double-page spreads which can easily be coloured as single images as each half is contained to a perforated single page, or paired together either in the book or for framing to create a scene or matching pair. At the back of the book is a double-sided colour palette testing page where you can test all of your mediums to see how they look and behave on the paper.

The 37 images include many of the things you’d expect a Chirstmassy colouring book to include though a quick note here of some of the things you may have expected that aren’t included, Nativity scenes or any religious imagery, no people including no Father Christmas, no Mrs Claus, and no elves because Johanna doesn’t like drawing people, there’s also no Christmas dinner. However, don’t despair, because she really and truly has included everything else that you could possibly wish for from Christmas trees to reindeer, Christmas puddings to sweets, gingerbread houses to robins, and presents of all shapes and sizes. There are wonderful images of a polar bear on an iceberg, a rocking horse, a Gramophone emitting Christmas-themed music, and a stunning cuckoo clock. The illustrations are unmistakable and to me the content is pretty perfect, until now I’ve only purchased one Christmas-themed colouring book because all of the previous books I’ve seen have fallen short in content or not had enough detail for my liking, this book is everything I wanted and is jam-packed with holly, mistletoe, candy canes, poinsettias, wreathes, baubles, stockings, snowflakes, and nutcrackers. The images are presented in a number of forms from a beautiful two page ribbon spread, to a circular frame surrounding an arctic hare, two mandala-style squares and a snowflake shape created from repeating Christmas objects, centralised images, symmetrical patterns and my favourite, a double-page spread of a wonderful living room with a roaring fire, beautifully decorated Christmas tree, and even a carrot, cookie and hot drink left out for Father Christmas and his reindeer.

In terms of mental health, this book is fantastic, especially for those who dream of Christmas all year around like I do! If you’re wanting to get into the festive spirit then I’d suggest settling down wearing a Christmas jumper, putting on a Christmas film or festive music and even breaking out the mince pies or yule log so you can really get into the mood for your colouring. This book offers a wonderful level of escapism, it really transports you to memories of happy Christmas times and the joy of a beautifully decorated tree and perfectly wrapped presents. Those of you who are Christian will probably be disappointed by the lack of religious imagery but Johanna has suggested that she isn’t religious and a great number of us who celebrate Christmas aren’t either so she has kept away from religion and instead kept to illustrations of Winter-themed things and traditional Christmas Day celebrations. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is very thin with spindly thin details. The intricacy and detail levels are drastically reduced from Lost Ocean and are most similar to Enchanted Forest and Magical Jungle so this book will be suited to those with fairly good but not perfect vision and fine motor control (check the images below to ensure it’s suitable for you). The images mostly contain lots of different component parts which make it very easy to colour a small section on days when your concentration is poor, or a much larger section when you’re focusing well. The illustrations also have different amounts of imagery ranging from centralised images with quite large open spaces to double-page spreads with loads of detail and components which will take much longer to complete. There is a real variety of images with some more suited to pens and others more suited to pencils and the use of blending and shading. If you get just one Christmas-themed colouring book, then I’d strongly advise this one, it’s beautiful, single-sided and therefore ideal for any medium, and packed with all of the non-religious Christmas imagery you could possibly wish for! Once you’ve finished a page you can even remove it and frame it and either gift it to someone else or hang it on your wall to add some wonderful festive cheer.

Overall, I can’t recommend this book enough, the illustrations are beautiful and perfectly Wintery and Christmassy, they’re printed single-sided so you can use any medium you wish and frame them once finished, the intricacy is a really good level so the images aren’t boring to colour but also aren’t impossible for people with normal vision. This book is pretty much perfect and it’s certainly got me looking forward to Christmas even more than I already was, it’ll be the perfect present for yourself, and your loved ones!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
UK Edition
Amazon UK – Johanna’s Christmas
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Johanns-Christmas-Johann-Basford/9780753557563/?a_aid=colouringitmom
US Edition
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Johanns-Christmas-Johann-Basford/9780143129301/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Stabilo 68 Fibre-tips. The glittery accents were added using a Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen in Stardust (Clear glitter).

Johanna’s Christmas: A Festive Coloring Book (US Edition) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Johanna’s Christmas is published by Penguin Books and is from my personal collection, it’s currently available with free Worldwide delivery from Book Depository which is where I got my copy from. I have also ordered a UK edition which will arrive next week so for my UK readers, please do read this review so you can read about the content and my mental health recommendations, I will be doing a comparison post and a separate review of the UK edition as soon as I can after my copy has arrived so that you know about the paper quality and image size, as well as the differences and similarities between the two so that you can make an informed choice about which edition is best for you and your needs. One quick thing to mention is that neither of the editions have the removable dust jacket this time so it’s likely that there are very few differences between the two editions.

The book itself is 25.4cm square, the same size as the previous US editions of Lost Ocean and Magical Jungle, ever so slightly larger than the UK editions which are all 25cm square. It’s paperback with flexible card covers with two third French flaps which open out front and back to reveal a beautiful colourable bauble design. The spine and covers are white with black text, the cover has beautiful matte red, green, and gold foiling and it looks really Christmassy and luxurious even before you open it! Upon opening the book, you find the beautiful title page, followed by the copyright page, name page, and Introduction, including colouring tips from Johanna. Unlike Johanna’s previous books, there isn’t a treasure hunt element, this has been replaced by the quest to find a flock of 63 hidden robins though you may be left scratching your head if you can’t find them all because there are no answer pages at the back. The spine is glue-bound which isn’t ideal as these aren’t overly durable and often cause the pages to fall out as the spine breaks quite easily. The paper is a pale ivory colour (it’s Johanna’s new signature paper), and is exactly the same as that found in the US edition of Magical Jungle, it’s a medium thickness and lightly textured and it’s perfect for pens and pencils; pencils are a dream to blend and shade with and pens go on really smoothly though they do spread sideways ever so slightly as the paper is a little absorbent so just mind that, they don’t bleed through unless you use alcohol markers and they only shadow if you colour too much in one spot. The images are printed single sided onto perforated pages so you really can use any medium you fancy as long as you either remove the page first or put adequate scrap paper behind the page. On the back of each image is one of 3 grey line drawn Christmas-themed patterns which you can colour or just leave blank. The majority of the images are single pages but 5 of them are double-page spreads which can easily be coloured as single images as each half is contained to a perforated single page, or paired together either in the book or for framing to create a scene or matching pair. At the back of the book is a double-sided colour palette testing page where you can test all of your mediums to see how they look and behave on the paper.

The 37 images include many of the things you’d expect a Christmassy colouring book to include though a quick note here of some of the things you may have expected that aren’t included, Nativity scenes or any religious imagery, no people including no Father Christmas, no Mrs Claus, and no elves because Johanna doesn’t like drawing people, there’s also no Christmas dinner. However, don’t despair, because she really and truly has included everything else that you could possibly wish for from Christmas trees to reindeer, Christmas puddings to sweets, gingerbread houses to robins, and presents of all shapes and sizes. There are wonderful images of a polar bear on an iceberg, a rocking horse, a Gramophone emitting Christmas-themed music, and a stunning cuckoo clock. The illustrations are unmistakable and to me this book is almost perfect, until now I’ve only purchased one Christmas-themed colouring book because all of the previous books I’ve seen have fallen short in content or not had enough detail for my liking, this book is everything I wanted and is jam-packed with holly, mistletoe, candy canes, poinsettias, wreathes, baubles, stockings, snowflakes, and nutcrackers. The images are presented in a number of forms from a beautiful two page ribbon spread, to a circular frame surrounding an arctic hare, two mandala-style squares and a snowflake shape created from repeating Christmas objects, centralised images, symmetrical patterns and my favourite, a double-page spread of a wonderful living room with a roaring fire, beautifully decorated Christmas tree, and even a carrot, cookie and hot drink left out for Father Christmas and his reindeer.

In terms of mental health, this book is fantastic, especially for those who dream of Christmas all year around like I do! If you’re wanting to get into the festive spirit then I’d suggest settling down wearing a Christmas jumper, putting on a Christmas film or festive music and even breaking out the mince pies or yule log so you can really get into the mood for your colouring. This book offers a wonderful level of escapism, it really transports you to memories of happy Christmas times and the joy of a beautifully decorated tree and perfectly wrapped presents. Those of you who are Christian will probably be disappointed by the lack of religious imagery but Johanna has suggested that she isn’t religious and a great number of us who celebrate Christmas aren’t either so she has kept away from religion and instead kept to illustrations of Winter-themed things and traditional Christmas Day celebrations. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is very thin with spindly thin details. The intricacy and detail levels are drastically reduced from Lost Ocean and are most similar to Enchanted Forest and Magical Jungle so this book will be suited to those with fairly good but not perfect vision and fine motor control (check the images below to ensure it’s suitable for you). The images mostly contain lots of different component parts which make it very easy to colour a small section on days when your concentration is poor, or a much larger section when you’re focusing well. The illustrations also have different amounts of imagery ranging from centralised images with quite large open spaces to double-page spreads with loads of detail and components which will take much longer to complete. There is a real variety of images with some more suited to pens and others more suited to pencils and the use of blending and shading. If you get just one Christmas-themed colouring book, then I’d strongly advise this one, it’s beautiful, single-sided and therefore ideal for any medium, and packed with all of the non-religious Christmas imagery you could possibly wish for! Once you’ve finished a page you can even remove it and frame it and either gift it to someone else or hang it on your wall to add some wonderful festive cheer.

Overall, I can’t recommend this book enough, the illustrations are beautiful and perfectly Wintery and Christmassy, they’re printed single-sided so you can use any medium you wish and frame them once finished, the intricacy is a really good level so the images aren’t boring to colour but also aren’t impossible for people with normal vision. This book is pretty much perfect and it’s certainly got me looking forward to Christmas even more than I already was, it’ll be the perfect present for yourself, and your loved ones!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
UK Edition
Amazon UK – Johanna’s Christmas
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Johanns-Christmas-Johann-Basford/9780753557563/?a_aid=colouringitmom
US Edition
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Johanns-Christmas-Johann-Basford/9780143129301/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Stabilo 68 Fibre-tips. The glittery accents were added using a Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen in Stardust (Clear glitter).

Blomstermandala Målarbok – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Blomstermandala Målarbok is illustrated by Maria Trolle and published and very kindly sent to me to review by Pagina Förlag. This is one of the many stunning titles that has come out of Sweden in the last year and luckily for the rest of us worldwide, the US publisher Gibbs Smith has acquired the rights to it and will be publishing an English edition in March 2017 (I know it’s a long wait but it’s definitely worth it and if you can’t wait it’s available below).

This book is just a little smaller than A4, measuring 21.6 x 25.4cm, it’s hardback with very sturdy thick covers and a green-gold tape covering the spine, the title is embossed in gold on the front and spine of the book. It is glue and string-bound and the spine is fairly tight so it’s not very possible to reach the very centre of the images though this will ease up with use. The paper is thick, cream and lightly textured and pencils work well on it, easily building up layers for blending and shading and water-based pens don’t bleed or shadow (always test somewhere inconspicuous because everyone colours differently). The illustrations are printed double-sided and consists of single and double-page spreads and a whopping 16 pages have black backgrounds. The images consist of beautiful nature-inspired pictures from garden scenes to floral mandalas, bunches of flowers to animals and whimsical scenes of slightly anthropomorphised animals and homely scenes. Heaps of flowers and animals are included: daffodils, lupins, tulips, sunflowers, roses, poppies, peonies and forget-me-nots; rabbits, hedgehogs, mice, birds, deer, cats, foxes, squirrels and even a frog. The illustrations are beautifully drawn and utterly charming, they’re really pretty and floral but also very natural and they’re an absolute joy to colour!

In terms of mental health, this book is just fantastic because it’s so centred around nature and is inherently very calming and relaxing. Even just looking through the book soothes my mind and noticeably slows it down and it really helps distract you from any negative thoughts or difficult symptoms. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is thin but not spindly thin so there is a little leeway for slight issues with vision and fine motor control though you will need a fairly high level of both of these but not perfect! The intricacy and detail levels vary throughout from large open spaces all the way down to small spaces but nothing is teeny tiny and none of the sections would be impossible to colour separately if you wish. The imagery is just beautiful and I absolutely love it, there’s a lot of variety but all centred around the same floral garden theme which makes it feel really cohesive and it’ll look incredible coloured cover to cover! The images are often made up of lots of component parts which is ideal for those of you with poor concentration or symptoms that make completing a whole page too daunting or difficult and you can easily colour one mouse, apple or daffodil and still get a sense of achievement. On better days you can tackle a whole page or even a double-page spread so this book is filled with lots of different size projects. A number of the images are centralised images with space around them where you could add your own backgrounds, there are no written hints so this is by no means obligatory but the option is there if you wish, the images do of course look finished without any additions though.

I would highly recommend this book to people who love Swedish colouring books and who love nature. The illustrations are beautiful and they’re drawn in a mostly realistic style which makes them ideal for realistic or surreal colour schemes. If you like pretty images of flowers, animals and plants then you’re sure to love this book, it’s gorgeous and utterly charming from beginning to end!

This book is currently only available to buy from The Pen Store, however, US publisher Gibbs Smith have acquired publishing rights and will be publishing it in English in March 2017, I know it’s a long wait but I promise it’s worth it and I’ll add links for pre-order as soon as they’re available!

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