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Imagimorphia: An Extreme Colouring and Search Challenge – A Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beautiful Creatures – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Beautiful Creatures is compiled and very kindly sent to me to review by Nicole Stocker AKA Huelish. This book is unlike any other colouring book that I’ve reviewed and is filled with greyscale images which is one of the latest crazes within the colouring community. Greyscale colouring usually involves taking a photograph and removing all of the colour so that the whole image shows shades of grey, this is done with the purpose of being able to create very realistically coloured images and it is also a really helpful tool for learning about light and shade for your regular colouring. You colour straight over the grey which partially shows through the pens or pencils you use and the image looks photo-realistic when you’re finished.

This book is slightly smaller than A4, paperback with card covers and it’s very thick! The images are printed single-sided onto beautifully thick paper which is bright white and lightly textured so it’s perfect for almost any medium you can throw at it. Bleeding isn’t an issue so just pop a protective sheet behind if you’re using particularly heavy mediums and you’ll be good to go. The images are all surrounded by a thick white border and none of them enter the spine which is glue-bound and does require a fair bit of bending to get it to lie flat. The images are all perforated and have a section on the back where you can write who completed the image and on what date. The book contains 48 photographs of animals which are very cohesive because of the greyscale nature of them. The images are of a huge range of animals from horses to dolphins, spiders to squirrels, cows to dogs and loads more.

In terms of mental health, this book is quite niche because greyscale colouring isn’t something that everyone will be interested in. However, as someone that had no interest in greyscale colouring until I was sent this book to review, I have to say, it’s worth giving it a go, because it’s a pretty different experience from what I expected. I really didn’t know where to start or how to do it and eventually bit the bullet and started with the blue and it was actually much easier than I expected and you really do what the cover says and colour over the grey and it brings your image to life. The image I chose didn’t require lots of blending or shading and each section is coloured with just one pencil and the shading is all from the original grey image behind. I’m surprised about how well it came out and it was surprisingly calming so I would definitely recommend greyscale colouring for those of you who suffer from anxiety disorders or other conditions that require relaxation and calming effects. Line thickness and intricacy aren’t really applicable in greyscale colouring books because they’re as intricate as you make them, you can colour over the images in blocks or you can individually draw on each hair, scale or feather, it’s entirely up to you. Difficulty level is also quite difficult to assess because again, it’s entirely up to you how difficult you make it, you could colour the images in shades of one colour, lots of different colours, realistic colour schemes or outlandish and what I might struggle with, another colourist might find easy when working out how to colour a greyscale image. One really handy aspect of greyscale colouring is that because the images start off as full colour images you can often have access to the original, full colour image, or it’ll be of a real animal, as is the case in this book which means you can use a ready-made colour scheme after having a quick google of the animal itself which is exactly how I chose the colour scheme for my red-knobbed hornbill pictured below. This is ideal for mentally ill colourers because you don’t have to dream up colour schemes if you don’t want to and can instead use the colours nature has inspired. Being a book filled with natural images, it is inherently calming and the different textures of fur, scales, wet, dry, shiny, rough and more of the animals means that it’s very interesting to look at and interesting to colour. I’ve heard from a lot of greyscale colourers and the general consensus is that this book is the best greyscale colouring book currently on the market and I would have to agree that this is an ideal book to get you in to greyscale colouring.  If you need any inspiration for colouring, Nicole has created a wonderful gallery on her website of coloured images which can be found here.

I would recommend this book to anyone who already loves or wants to venture into the world of greyscale colouring. The paper is wonderfully thick, the images printed single-sided and the perforations make it easy to remove your page for easier colouring or for framing.

If you’d like to start greyscale colouring then this book is available below, it’s very expensive on UK Amazon currently and isn’t available on Book Depository but you can get it for a decent price on Amazon.com.
Amazon UK – Beautiful Creatures: A Boundless Coloring Book Adventure
Amazon.com – http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Creatures-Grayscale-Coloring-Adults/dp/099486230X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1459801832&sr=8-1&keywords=beautiful+creatures+coloring+book

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils, Marco Raffine pencils and Zest It Blending Solution.

The Garden of Earthly Delights – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Garden of Earthly Delights:an Exotic Colouring Book for Grown Ups (Colouring Books) is published by Hardie Grant Books, illustrated by Adriana Picker, and is from my personal collection. This is a beautiful book, quite different from most other nature-themed books because it doesn’t have pictures of scenes but rather random collections and groupings of nature that would be commonly found in an Australian garden (this is originally published in Australia). The book is square, the same size as the other best sellers, paperback with a beautiful black card cover with copper foiling accents and the insides of the covers are illustrated in a beautiful black and white leafy design. The spine is glue and stitch-bound and the images are borderless so a little of each is lost into it though this will reduce over time as the spine eases up with use. The paper is off-white (not cream or yellow) with a little texture making it ideal for use with pencils, though the outline ink isn’t permanent and does transfer when coloured over hard so always put a scrap piece of paper behind your work to prevent this. Water-based fineliners shadow and bleed through a little so I’d avoid these in this book as the images are printed double-sided and you’ll ruin the reverse image. Alcohol markers are a definite no-go! The book contains 96 pages and the majority of the images are double-pages spreads either with the design mirrored on both sides, continued on spreading over the two pages, or with two similar images with a large beetle on one side and lots of small beetles on the opposite page, or an orchid and lots of orchids (pictures of this are below). The illustrations contain a wide variety of flowers, plants, leaves and garden creatures including heaps of worms, snails, lizards, frogs, beetles and more. There are pages of eggs and feathers, flocks of birds, mushrooms and fairy rings, butterflies and moths and all of them are drawn in Adriana’s distinctive style which is quite black and heavily shaded. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea because her drawings are not just outlines, she has added shading and pattern to some of them and this does lead some of the pages to be quite dark and black, especially those containing a lot of illustration but I personally really like it and the use of bright colours will liven and brighten the pages a huge amount with very little effort. The shading is also ideal for those of you who are just learning to shade because Adriana has added a little for you so you can easily work out where the light source is and where the darker colours should be placed.

In terms of mental health, this book is ideal because it’s nature-themed and the illustrations are beautifully drawn and very calming. There are lots of open spaces where you could add your own drawings or backgrounds which would really add to the garden feel of the book. Most of the images are collections of creatures and plants rather than scenes or landscapes and for me this makes the book feel less formal and somehow, less intimidating because you can colour each section rather than a whole page which feels more easy to mess up and go wrong somehow. This book is absolutely ideal for those of you with poor or fluctuating concentration because there are so many small sections that you can colour separately, whether it be one worm, one snail, or one group of mushrooms there’s something you can spend 5 minutes working on or hours if you want to on your better days. The line thickness is consistent throughout and ranges between thin and medium/thin so you don’t need perfect vision of fine motor control but you’ll struggle with the book if either of these are poor. There is a lot of detail added to the illustrations and a fair bit of intricacy but most of this you’ll be likely to want to colour over to keep it as texture rather than colour between small spaces. The large spaces that are left within the images don’t have any written hints or instructions so if you want to just leave those areas blank, this can easily be done without looking unfinished. I really love this book and despite it being nature-themed, it’s quite different from most others within this genre. The illustrations remind me of the old-fashioned field guides to nature and flowers, they’re very realistically drawn and aren’t prettified, the majority are very representative of how they’d look in the wild and this means they’re easy to identify and easy to search for accurate colour schemes if you need a bit of help choosing. You could colour the images however you like, but it’s always nice to have a colour scheme handed to you by Mother Nature to help on the days where your symptoms are through the roof and decision-making is one challenge too far. As you’ll see below, I went off piste and coloured my snails in fantastical colours so you really can colour them however you like, realistic, unusual or downright crazy would all look equally beautiful on these gorgeous illustrations.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone needing to feel calmer, who loves colouring images of nature and would like something a little different and a little less intimidating. The illustrations are beautiful, very realistic and have added shading which is ideal for learning about light sources and shading.

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Garden of Earthly Delights:an Exotic Colouring Book for Grown Ups (Colouring Books)
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Garden-Earthly-Delights-Adriana-Picker/9781743790953/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and blended using Zest-It blending solution and paper stumps.