Sharpie Fine Point Markers

Press Out and Colour: Butterflies – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Press Out and Colour: Butterflies, is published and very kindly sent to me to review by Nosy Crow. This book is aimed at children but actually, it’s ideal for anyone who’s young at heart and I really enjoyed colouring my butterfly ready for the review. This book is hardback, a little larger than A5 and spiral-bound. The covers are bright blue and the spine is pink with silver foiling on the spine and the front cover. On the inside covers are white line drawings on a pink background showing 5 of the butterflies fully assembled and named on each. The book contains 10 models of butterflies which you can press out (before or after colouring), colour and assemble and then hang around the house. The pages are made of very thick card/hardboard and are covered in silver foil throughout. The butterflies are white with silver line-drawn patterns all over them which you colour within and these catch the light beautifully when you hang up your assembled butterfly and it moves against the light. The butterflies are printed double-sided, they’re designed to look like real butterflies so some have the same design printed on the top and underside and others have different tops and undersides like their real counterparts thus making them look more realistic when hung up. The cuts around the little sections that need to be removed in order to slot the butterfly together and hang it up are really well cut so that you can push the unneeded bits out with your fingers or something a bit pointier if needed. The pieces slot together really well and are very sturdy and will remain so if you don’t disassemble and reassemble them a lot so they won’t fall apart by accident and they shouldn’t need gluing. Each butterfly has a small hole in the centre of each wing so that you can tie some thread through (the hole is a little small for string) and you could either hang the butterflies separately or together, or even create a mobile or ceiling centrepiece. If you don’t want to keep the butterflies hung up then they can be disassembled and the pieces can be popped back into the guides in the book for safekeeping. The guides can also be used as stencils to draw within (or you could draw around the pieces but be careful to only use pencil so you don’t accidentally damage your finished butterfly) so that you can create kaleidoscopes more than the original 10 you’re getting. Simply draw within the slots and holes on the pieces to make sure it’ll slot together just like the original or, if you’re using thinner card, make them thinner and adjust with scissors as you go if it’s a bit too tight a fit! The butterflies included are: Blue Morpho, Buckeye, Lime, Monarch, Painted Lady, Peacock, Pearl-Bordered Fritillary, Red Admiral, Tiger Swallowtail, and Zebra Longwing.

As mentioned before, the card is very thick hardboard and therefore you can use whatever mediums you fancy. I used alcohol markers on mine as they’re much more fade-resistant than water-based pens and they didn’t shadow at all. The patterns are quite detailed so you may struggle with pencils and little people almost certainly would so I’d stick to pens for this (do put down some protective stuff on the table if letting your child loose with Sharpies or it may not just be the butterfly that gets permanently subjected to their creative flair). These butterflies would make a perfect family project, you could do one each or even do a piece each and see what you come out with, I’m sure you could create some stunning butterflies! It would be a lovely activity to do for or with your children and once you’ve completed all 10 you could hang them at different heights in their bedroom so that you and they are constantly reminded of the fun you had creating them together. The hardboard is really durable and will hold up to a fair bit of bashing, scrubbing, and over-colouring (children can get a little over-enthusiastic with pens sometimes) so these butterflies would be ideal for children of almost any age, if they can hold a pen and colour, they can colour these butterflies! The parts are all fairly big so it’s advised on the book that you don’t give it to a child under the age of 36 months but above that you’ll be good to go!

In terms of mental health, what could be better than an activity that you can share with your children? The process of colouring them together will be sure to lift your mood and if you’re ever having a bad day or feeling anxious, go and check out your handiwork and lie on the floor gazing up at the masterpieces you and your children have created and imagine you’re a butterfly fluttering through the sky and away from your problems; it can’t just be me who’s always wished they could fly?! The intricacy and detail level is surprisingly high for a book that’s aimed at children but the silver lines can either be coloured within by adults, or over by children, it really won’t matter either way and you’ll get some very unique butterflies regardless of the way you colour them. If you want the butterflies to look realistic then you could find some images of the butterfly to show your child so they can have a go at matching it or you can let their creativity loose and have a multitude of rainbow butterflies. All of the butterflies are made of 2 pieces so they’re really easy to assemble and they don’t take hours and hours to colour, even if you do colour each section separately (like I did) so they’re a great quick project to create something beautiful and displayable for your home!

I would highly recommend this book to those with children, or the young at heart. These butterflies are super cute and great fun to colour and they look even better once assembled, a fully coloured kaleidoscope of them hung up in a room will look fabulous and be sure to delight your child and brighten up the darkest of days be those due to weather or mental health. Get colouring yourself a kaleidoscope of butterflies!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available to pre-order here:
Amazon UK – Press Out and Colour: Butterflies
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Press-Out-and-Colour–Butterflies/9780857638755/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The butterfly below was coloured using Sharpies.

Press Out and Colour: Easter Eggs – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Press Out and Colour: Easter Eggs, is published and very kindly sent to me to review by Nosy Crow. This book is aimed at children but actually, it’s ideal for anyone who’s young at heart and I really enjoyed colouring my Easter Eggs ready for the review. This book is hardback, a little larger than A5 and spiral-bound. The covers are bright yellow and the spine is pale blue with gold foiling on the spine and the front cover. On the inside covers are white line drawings on a bright blue background of Easter egg decorations hung on branches. The book contains 20 different sizes of Easter eggs, some of which are flat and some of which slot together to make a 3D shape all of which you can press out (before or after colouring), colour and assemble and then hang around the house. The pages are made of very thick card/hardboard and are covered in gold foil throughout. The Easter eggs are white with gold line-drawn patterns all over them which you colour within and these catch the light beautifully when you hang up your assembled egg and it moves against the light. The eggs are printed double-sided with the same design on both sides so that you can colour it identically and have a 3D egg at the end. The cuts around the little sections that need to be removed in order to slot the egg shapes together and hang it up are really well cut so that you can push the unneeded bits out with your fingers or something a bit pointier if needed. The pieces slot together really well and are very sturdy and will remain so if you don’t disassemble and reassemble them a lot so they won’t fall apart by accident and they shouldn’t need gluing. Each egg has small holes that you can tie some thread through (the holes are a little small for string) and you could either hang the eggs separately or together, or even create an Easter tree out of foraged branches. You may not want to keep these egg decorations up all year round and if that’s the case then they can be disassembled and the pieces can be popped back into the guides in the book for safekeeping. The guides can also be used as stencils to draw within (or you could draw around the pieces but be careful to only use pencil so you don’t accidentally damage your finished piece) so that you can create lots more eggs than the original 20 you’re getting. Simply draw within the slots and holes on the pieces to make sure it’ll slot together just like the original or, if you’re using thinner card, make them thinner and adjust with scissors as you go if it’s a bit too tight a fit! The eggs are in 4 different sizes: 6 of the largest which are all 3D; 2 of the second largest which are also both 3D; 8 of the second smallest which are flat in design and 4 of the smallest which are also flat in design. Once they’re all coloured, assembled, and displayed together they’ll look fabulous and you’ll be all set for the Easter Bunny’s arrival in April.

As mentioned before, the card is very thick hardboard and therefore you can use whatever mediums you fancy. I used alcohol markers on mine as they’re much more fade-resistant than water-based pens and they didn’t shadow at all. The patterns are quite detailed so you may struggle with pencils and little people almost certainly would so I’d stick to pens for this (do put down some protective stuff on the table if letting your child loose with Sharpies or it may not just be the egg that gets permanently subjected to their creative flair). These egg decorations would make a perfect family project, you could do one each or even do a piece each and see what you come out with, I’m sure you could create some really wonderful decorations! It would be a lovely activity to do for or with your children and once you’ve completed all 20, or just a few, you could hang them around the house or on an Easter tree in pride of place so that you and they are constantly reminded of the fun you had creating them together. The hardboard is really durable and will hold up to a fair bit of bashing, scrubbing, and over-colouring (children can get a little over-enthusiastic with pens sometimes) so these eggs would be ideal for children of almost any age, if they can hold a pen and colour, they can colour these decorations! The parts are all fairly big so it’s advised on the book that you don’t give it to a child under the age of 36 months but above that you’ll be good to go!

In terms of mental health, what could be better than an activity that you can share with your children? The process of colouring them together will be sure to lift your mood and if you’re ever having a bad day or feeling anxious, go and check out your handiwork and marvel at the gorgeous colours and look forward to the chocolate treats you’ll be sharing with each other soon! The intricacy and detail level is surprisingly high for a book that’s aimed at children but the gold lines can either be coloured within by adults, or over by children, it really won’t matter either way and you’ll get some very unique egg decorations regardless of the way you colour them. Each egg either has a pattern or Spring-themed scene on it so none of it needs to be coloured realistically and you could either theme them all with a Spring palette or just let loose with ALL the colours! Each egg is either made of one or two pieces so some need no assembly and those that do just require slotting one piece into the other so they’re really easy to assemble and they don’t take hours and hours to colour, even if you do colour each section separately (like I did) so they’re a great quick project to create something beautiful and displayable for your home!

I would highly recommend this book to those with children, or the young at heart. These egg decorations are super cute and great fun to colour and they look even better once assembled, a fully coloured set will look “eggcellent” (not even sorry!) hung up in a room or adorning an Easter tree and they’ll be sure to delight your child and brighten up the darkest of days be those due to weather or mental health. Get colouring yourself some “eggstra”-special egg decorations!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Press Out and Colour: Easter Eggs
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Press-Out-and-Colour–Easter-Eggs/9780857638694/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The eggs below were coloured using Sharpies.

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.

Fåglar & Fjärilar (Birds and Butterflies) – A Review

Fåglar & Fjärilar is illustrated by Nadja Wedin, and published and kindly sent to me to review by Pagina Förlag. This is another beautiful Swedish offering which is currently only available from international websites (links below, directly above the photos). This book is landscape, measuring 29x20cm, paperback, with thick flexible card covers with partially coloured images on the front and back covers which are featured within the book. It has gold foiling on the title and matte gold tape covering the spine which has a lay-flat binding meaning the book will lie completely flat and that the pages can be removed if you wish, this also means you need to be careful not to twist the spine to avoid pages accidentally falling out. The book contains 20 single-sided images and every other one has a black background, the last 6 pages are the same 3 images printed first with a black background and second with a white background, the other 14 pages in the book are all different images. The pages are a pale cream colour, made of thick card and are lightly textured, water-based pens don’t bleed or shadow, alcohol markers do bleed to the back of the page but not through onto the next as the card is so thick. Pencils apply smoothly but are a tad tricky to layer at points due to lack of tooth, it is manageable though and I’ve seen some beautiful finished pages done in pencil so do persevere. The images themselves are exactly as you’d expect given the translation of the title, the pages are filled with birds and butterflies, as well as berries, flowers, leaves, trees, cats, hedgehogs, pine martens, and heaps more. Some of the images are scenes and others are a bit more like a random collection of items all pictured on the same page. 7 of the images are portrait, the other 13 are landscape. A few elements of some of the images are drawn in a greyscale style where they’re not just black and white line drawings, they have lots of shading and texture added in the form of fur on a few of the animals, this is quite unobtrusive and is fantastic for those of us who’ve not yet mastered colouring realistic fur!

In terms of mental health, this is a lovely book and because it’s nature-based it’s great for calming you down. The imagery is almost like walking through a garden and this is great for those who are housebound like I am, one of the things I miss most is being outside watching the birds and looking at flowers and this book really offers up a sense of those things. The line thickness is consistent throughout the book with thin lines and some spindly thin details. The intricacy and detail levels are varied within each image and range from very small details all the way up to much larger open spaces, the majority are small so you will need reasonable vision and fine motor control to enjoy this book. The images are all made of lots of component parts which is ideal for those of you with concentration problems of fluctuating conditions, you can colour just one or two items at once or colour all of one type of flower, or berry, or more on a better day. There is plenty to look at on each page so it’s very absorbing and you do need to focus well in order to decipher what each section is to ensure you’re colouring things the correct colour. These illustrations look truly stunning when they’re completed in a number of mediums and they are absolutely worthy of framing which means the removable pages are ideal. You could display your completed creations in your home to brighten things up and remind you on bad days of exactly how much you can achieve, or they would make a stunning and very personal gift, if you can bear to part with any!

Overall, this is a beautiful nature-themed book which really does take you on a walk through a garden of birds and butterflies. The black and white background pages are lovely and the card is great for just about any medium and when you’re done you can frame your creations and show off all your beautiful hard work. What could be better?!

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s currently only published in Swedish and available for International delivery from the following stores:
Pen Store – https://www.penstore.com/art-design/faglar-fjarilar-tavelbok-artist-edition
Bokus – http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163612947/birds-butterflies-20-ark-att-farglagga-riva-ut-och-rama-in/

If you need some inspiration or want to see some more coloured pages then check out this lovely Facebook Fan Group.

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

Pukka Pad A4 Colour In and Personalise Project Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Pukka Pad A4 Colour In and Personalise Project Book is part of the Pukka Pad stationery range and was kindly sent to me to review. This notebook is A4 in size and exactly the same size, shape and format as their standard project notebooks with spiral-binding, thick flexible card covers, and 5 differently coloured plastic pocket divider pages with tabs that can be written on to label each section (the colours of these are black, bright pink, yellowy-green, pale pink and lilac). All of the pages are lined with the usual thickness lines of this style of notebook. What makes this project book different is the 6 sides of covers that you can colour. At the front of the book are two double-sided card covers each with a different design on, the front of each has the Pukka Pad logo on, coloured in pink on the first, and left blank on the second, the inside covers of each are still uniquely designed and these don’t have the wording on them. The back cover is identical to the two designs on the first of the front covers so you get 6 A4 sides to colour with a total of 4 unique designs. The card the covers are printed on is very thick and one side is quite shiny and the other matte, both textures are equally easy to colour on with alcohol markers and I experienced no bleed-through or shadowing when using either side so you’ll be able to colour all 6 covers using alcohol markers if you wish. The matte sides will be fine to use water-based pens on or pencils if you wish, but the shiny sides are only really suitable for alcohol markers as the surface repels water-based inks. At the bottom of each notebook page is a doodle bar with the same pattern repeating throughout the book, I personally found this a shame because I’m not overly keen on colouring the same pattern 200 times, it would have been better to have them all different if possible or at least alternating between a few designs. The paper is standard notebook paper so it’s relatively thin at 80gsm and sadly, water-based pens do noticeably shadow when colouring the doodle bar on each page. When writing, there is a little shadowing but this is standard throughout most notebooks of this type. The doodle bar itself is a simple mosaic style floral pattern which certainly has lots of scope for different colour palettes, you could challenge yourself to do a different one for each of the 200 copies! The covers are a good variety of images with one being butterflies (2 copies), one repeated flower designs, one the mosaic style floral pattern shown much larger and in full (2 copies), and one a floral, circular, scaly type pattern.

In terms of mental health, this notebook doesn’t offer a huge amount of colouring so as a specific colouring product it’s not ideal, however, as a notebook, that you might need to be using anyway, with added colouring to do, it’s a really nice product and it’ll be really handy for giving you a quick colouring fix. When I was at uni and sat in lectures I’d often draw heaps of simple shapes and then colour them in, it helped me concentrate and stay focused, I wish colouring notebooks had existed at the time because not only would I have had space to write lecture notes but I could also have coloured in without having to look like a teenager with a ridiculous crush by drawing and colouring in hearts all over my book because I couldn’t draw anything else. The line thickness varies across and throughout the images from spindly thin to medium thickness, the intricacy and detail levels vary hugely too from teeny tiny spaces to larger open spaces, you will need pretty good vision and fine motor control but it doesn’t need to be perfect and you could easily do what I did and colour over some of the small sections or background patterns. The doodle strips on each page won’t take you long to colour at all which is ideal for colouring on the go and colouring on bad days, you could colour all of the covers ready for using the notebook for a new term or semester, or you could colour as you go and just fill in sections when you fancy. This notebook once finished will look fabulous and be really personal and it’s sure to brighten up your day and make dull lecture notes a bit more exciting.

Overall, I would highly recommend this project book. There’s not a huge amount of different imagery to colour which is a bit of a shame but it’s nicely produced and the images included are very nice, the project book itself is great as always from Pukka Pad!

If you’d like to purchase one, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Pukka Pad A4 Colour In and Personalise Project Book

The cover below was coloured using Sharpie Fine Point Alcohol Markers, the notebook page was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.

Inka Shade: The Lampshade you can Color – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Inka Shade is a new company and concept which is bringing a wonderful new product to the colouring market – lampshades! Like many of you, now I’ve started adult colouring, I’m always on the lookout for new things I can colour, as soon as I see something black and white I instantly start imagining colour schemes so I was very excited when I discovered that colouring lampshades were a reality! These lampshades come in two styles and each style can be either a main ceiling light or a lamp, some designs are only available in one style but each listing clearly states if this is the case. The kit contains your colouring lampshade strip which is a surprisingly long piece of plastic-backed material with the design printed on the outside. Many of the designs can be ordered in plain black and white or as a partially coloured option with the background printed in a specific colour. I requested the beautiful Dragonfly Pool design from Tangle Wood by Jessica Palmer with a pale blue background. The kit also contains two large metal rings, one for the bottom to hold the shade in the correct shape, and one for the top so that it can be fixed to your ceiling light. It also contains a self-adhesive Velcro strip so that the lampshade strip can be fastened around the metal rings and a long self-adhesive strip with rubber grooved material to place the metal rings into on the inside of the lampshade. It also contains a very well-written instruction booklet including diagrams and clear step-by-step instructions, while it’s easy to follow these, it’s a bit fiddly putting the whole thing together so I’d advise roping someone else in to help you, I did mine this weekend with my mum which made it much easier. I found that mine was a little loose around the metal rings but it’s possible to adjust it with the help of another person by undoing the Velcro and tightening or loosening it around the metal rings. Another quick note is that the metal ring at the top that fastens on to your ceiling light fixing is very large and you’re likely to need a silicone ring to make this ring smaller so that it fits, a link to the ones we purchased for this can be found below, just above the photos. All parts of the lampshade are made really well and are good quality, nothing feels cheap or poorly made or fitted.

The lampshade itself is either entirely white or has a coloured background, these are clearly marked on the website so there’s no confusion, they’re not currently available in a range of colours, each is available plain or in one colour of their choosing. There is a huge range of designs and many are from artists you’ll recognise including Chris Garver, Jessica Palmer, Valentina Harper and Kludo White. The content of the designs is also really wide-ranging from mandalas to campervans, animals to plants, patterns to quotes and so much more. I’m a huge fan of Jessica Palmer’s work so when I saw that some of the lampshades had her designs on, I had to choose one of those and I’m so glad I did. The linework is printed really crisply onto the lampshade and the background is also printed faultlessly, one small criticism I have is that some small sections of the background haven’t been filled in and colour-matching to fill these in was pretty difficult, however there were only about 5 small sections on the whole lampshade so it’s not that noticeable and this may not be the case in other designs and obviously wouldn’t be in the case in any of the plain styles. I was sent the barrel lampshade without a lamp kit so that I could use it on a ceiling light and it’s huge, much larger than most lampshades I’ve seen so do check out my photos below and the measurements on the website before ordering. The barrel shades are significantly larger than the pedestal shades. The lampshade strip is really long so you’ll need a good clear space on the floor or a large table to be able to colour it easily. Pencils and water-based markers won’t work on this material so this is definitely a project for those of you who like to use alcohol markers. It is possible to blend on this material if you wish, I’ve not got a lot of experience of doing this so I played it safe and block coloured everything which I thought might look a bit rubbish but I’m honestly in love with the finished piece. I would suggest thinking through your colour choices quite carefully, very dark colours like the darkest green and dark purple I used don’t work so well as the light doesn’t shine through it enough so slightly brighter or paler colours are best to stick to and then they give an almost stained glass effect. The lampshade material is quite strange to colour on and does seem to use up quite a lot of ink so make sure you’ve got new pens or spares so you don’t run out half way through, it doesn’t feel absorbent and I really can’t describe it properly as it’s not paper, it has no texture and seems to be shiny but not totally plastic. If you’re careful you only get minimal striping in your colouring but this doesn’t totally disappear like it does when using alcohol markers on paper. According to my contact at Inka Shade you can also use crayons, or oil pastels, even if you’re able to get pencils or water-based pens to work on the material which I think would be a struggle, they don’t have enough colour pigment to illuminate well so I’d strongly advise sticking to alcohol markers so you get a nice vibrant finish.

In terms of mental health, I would highly recommend these lampshades. They take hours to colour and provide a very good project to work through, they also give you a huge sense of achievement and satisfaction when they’re finished. While they’re a bit fiddly to assemble and you may need help from another person, once they’re assembled and up, you’ll be instantly cheered up, I honestly smile every time I see mine whether the light is on or off because I’m just so pleased with how it turned out and proud of how lovely it looks. They’re a bit addictive too, now I’ve done one I keep looking at the other designs and thinking about how good they’d look in all of the rooms in my flat and even as gifts for people! The line thickness varies across the designs but there are lots of photos on the website of each one as well as dimensions so you’ll be able to pick one out that will suit you. The intricacy and detail level also varies hugely between shade designs with some being extremely detailed and others being much more open designs with larger spaces to colour. The design I chose has a variety of line thicknesses and sections sizes and instead of colouring within each tiny space on the dragonfly wings, I decided to block colour over them and use the lines as texture underneath which I’m really pleased with. You also don’t have to colour each section and could easily leave some white as the light still shines through, I drew turquoise lines on each of the bubbles to indicate shape and left the background of each white and I love the effect it’s given. The sheer number of designs offered means there’s something suitable for everyone with themes ranging from nature to patterns to vehicles, there’s sure to be something that will help your mental health, and suit your home décor and once finished it makes a great talking point too!

Overall, I would highly recommend these lampshades. They’re great fun to colour, really varied in content and they’re a lovely reminder of all you can achieve!

If you’d like to purchase one, all of the designs can be found here, they currently only offer delivery to the USA but you can contact them on the website to arrange shipping elsewhere in the world where they will provide you with a quote once you’ve provided your address.

The lampshade below was coloured using a mixture of Promarkers and Sharpie Fine Point Markers.

Matthew Williamson: Fashion, Print & Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Matthew Williamson: Fashion, Print & Colouring Book is published and very kindly sent to me to review by Laurence King Publishing. This book is really unusual and different from any other I’ve seen which after reviewing over 200 colouring books is quite a feat! It combines colouring, fashion and creative inspiration all into one book so it has far less colouring in than usual, but you also get loads of added extras.  This book is an absolute whopper at 33.1 x 25.3cm. It’s paperback with a beautiful partially coloured image which combines aspects from many of the patterns found inside the book. The spine is a glowing pink colour and the book is very thick and fairly heavy with a medium thickness card back and a thinner front cover. The spine is lay-flat meaning you can access the whole image and can easily remove pages from the book if you wish. You could create your own fashion-filled room by removing some or even all of the pages and putting them up on the wall or framing them for future inspiration and to add wonderful splashes of colour to your surroundings. The paper varies throughout the book, the non-colouring pages are medium thickness, smooth, slightly shiny paper which almost feels like the pages of a fashion magazine; the colouring pages are printed single-sided onto medium thickness card with a coloured back so there are no blank pages in the book but you can use whatever mediums you like on the colouring pages without fear of ruining anything on the reverse. The card the colouring pages are printed on is very lightly textured and while you can layer with pencils a little, it does burnish quickly, it’s perfect for pens, both water-based and alcohol-based and the patterns really lend themselves to bright popping colour which pens will bring fabulously! All of the pages within the book are single-pages and each chapter consists of 5 themed pages followed by one block coloured page which is the back of the colouring page each time. The book only contains 16 colourable images (plus a repeat on the back cover and another printed on paper at the back too), so if you’re wanting this just as a colouring book then it’s probably not for you as it’s a pretty pricey book for just 16 usable pages; however, if you’re interested in fashion, particularly Matthew Williamson’s work, then you’ll love this and it’ll be a must-have for your collection as it shows his creative process from the conception mood board all the way through to the finished print being strutted down the catwalk cut into a stunning and eye-catching garment.

The content of the book is split into themed chapters, each has a title page with the real life inspiration for the print, following this are full single-page spreads of the mood board used as well as a short piece of written commentary from Matthew, the studio drawing, photograph of the catwalk/illustration of a model in the outfit, and finally the colouring page so you can become a fashion designer yourself and splash your colours in whatever way you see fit. The patterns and prints are very varied and most are nature-inspired, the content includes heaps of animals including butterflies, dragonflies, leopards, parrots, flamingos and more, plants, flowers and even fruit! There are also patterns inspired by places Matthew’s travelled to including Ibiza, the Bahamas, India, Costa Rica, Morocco and even the English countryside. This book contains something for everyone and if you’re a fan of Matthew Williamson’s work then you’ll love it because he’s chosen these prints himself due to each of them being most iconic of his brand or a personal favourite.

In terms of mental health, this book offers heaps of distraction and is packed full with bright colours which are great for lifting the mood and cheering up the darkest of days. There isn’t a lot of colouring to do though each pages is huge and therefore does take a long while to colour, even when block colouring with pens! The line thickness is consistent throughout and is spindly thin, the intricacy and detail levels vary hugely but there are intricate sections on the majority of the images so you’ll need very good vision and fine motor control to get the most out of this book and not keep colouring over the lines. The size of the spaces does vary throughout so you can pick out some of the larger spaced designs for days when your concentration is poor and you want to colour larger sections, or on better days you can colour the more detailed illustrations and patterns. There is huge variety of content but most of the artwork is grounded in nature so it feels quite calming though it’ll be pretty energising too if you colour it in your brightest shades! While this book isn’t ideal just as a colouring book, as a one-stop-shop for fans of Matthew Williamson’s work, it’s fantastic; it’s fascinating to see and read about his creative process and the chapter layout works really well for showing the development of ideas and colour schemes from the mood board to the finished fabric. This is a must-have for any fashionistas!

Overall, I would highly recommend this book for fashion-lovers and specifically fans of Matthew Williamson’s work. There aren’t a huge number of colouring pages for such a long book, but this is so much more than a colouring book and is much more like a guide to fashion with added colouring pages to customise yourself.

You can purchase a copy of this book here:
Amazon UK – Matthew Williamson: Fashion, Print & Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Matthew-Williamson-Matthew-Williamson/9781780678979/?a_aid=colouringitmom

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

If you’d like to see more or Matthew Williamson’s work, as well as download a free colouring page, click here.

Press Out and Colour: Birds – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Press Out and Colour: Birds, is published and very kindly sent to me to review by Nosy Crow. This book is aimed at children but actually, it’s ideal for anyone who’s young at heart and I really enjoyed colouring my bird ready for the review. This book is hardback, a little larger than A5 and spiral-bound. The covers are a bright glowing red and the spine is pale blue with silver foiling on the spine and the front cover. On the inside covers are white line drawings on a gorgeous turquoise colour background showing 5 of the birds fully assembled and named on each. The book contains 10 models of birds which you can press out (before or after colouring), colour and assemble and then hang around the house. The pages are made of very thick card/hardboard and are covered in silver foil throughout. The birds are white with silver line-drawn patterns all over them which you colour within and these catch the light beautifully when you hang up your assembled bird and it moves against the light. The birds are printed double-sided with the same design on both sides so that you can colour it identically and have a 3D bird at the end. The cuts around the little sections that need to be removed in order to slot the bird together and hang it up are really well cut so that you can push the unneeded bits out with your fingers or something a bit pointier if needed. The pieces slot together really well and are very sturdy and will remain so if you don’t disassemble and reassemble them a lot so they won’t fall apart by accident and they shouldn’t need gluing. Each bird has a small hole that you can tie some thread through (the hole is a little small for string) and you could either hang the birds separately or together, or even create a mobile or ceiling centrepiece. If you don’t want to keep the birds hung up then they can be disassembled and the pieces can be popped back into the guides in the book for safekeeping. The guides can also be used as stencils to draw within (or you could draw around the pieces but be careful to only use pencil so you don’t accidentally damage your finished bird) so that you can create flocks more than the original 10 you’re getting. Simply draw within the slots and holes on the pieces to make sure it’ll slot together just like the original or, if you’re using thinner card, make them thinner and adjust with scissors as you go if it’s a bit too tight a fit! The birds included are: dove, blue tit, cardinal, cockatoo, goldfinch, hummingbird, owl, peacock, robin and swallow.

As mentioned before, the card is very thick hardboard and therefore you can use whatever mediums you fancy. I used alcohol markers on mine as they’re much more fade-resistant than water-based pens and they didn’t shadow at all. The patterns are quite detailed so you may struggle with pencils and little people almost certainly would so I’d stick to pens for this (do put down some protective stuff on the table if letting your child loose with Sharpies or it may not just be the bird that gets permanently subjected to their creative flair). These birds would make a perfect family project, you could do one each or even do a piece each and see what you come out with, I’m sure you could create some very tropical birds! It would be a lovely activity to do for or with your children and once you’ve completed all 10 you could hang them at different heights in their bedroom so that you and they are constantly reminded of the fun you had creating them together. The hardboard is really durable and will hold up to a fair bit of bashing, scrubbing, and over-colouring (children can get a little over-enthusiastic with pens sometimes) so these birds would be ideal for children of almost any age, if they can hold a pen and colour, they can colour these birds! The parts are all fairly big so it’s advised on the book that you don’t give it to a child under the age of 3 but above that you’ll be good to go!

In terms of mental health, what could be better than an activity that you can share with your children? The process of colouring them together will be sure to lift your mood and if you’re ever having a bad day or feeling anxious, go and check out your handiwork and lie on the floor gazing up at the masterpieces you and your children have created and imagine you’re a bird soaring through the sky and away from your problems; it can’t just be me who’s always wished they could fly?! The intricacy and detail level is surprisingly high for a book that’s aimed at children but the silver lines can either be coloured within by adults, or over by children, it really won’t matter either way and you’ll get some very unique birds regardless of the way you colour them. If you want the birds to look realistic then you could find some images of the bird to show your child so they can have a go at matching it or you can let their creativity loose and have a rainbow robin, pink peacock, or green goldfinch. All of the birds are made of 3 or 4 pieces so they’re really easy to assemble and they don’t take hours and hours to colour, even if you do colour each section separately (like I did) so they’re a great quick project to create something beautiful and displayable for your home!

I would highly recommend this book to those with children, or the young at heart. These birds are super cute and great fun to colour and they look even better once assembled, a fully coloured flock hung up in a room will look fabulous and be sure to delight your child and brighten up the darkest of days be those due to weather or mental health. Get colouring yourself a flock of brightly coloured birds!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Press Out and Colour: Birds
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Press-Out-and-Colour-No1-Zoe-Ingram/9780857637673/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The bird below was coloured using Sharpies.