Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom was my first colouring book that began my obsession with adult colouring. I received it as a gift from my uncle and it was exactly what I needed to relax and be creative. At the time my baby was only a few months, so this was the only outlet I had when she was sleeping.
Millie is a Welsh artist and who published her first colouring book Animal Kingdom in 2014. Her book was extremely successful. It was translated in 31 languages and reached the Amazon Top Ten list. She has since bought out three more adult colouring books, including Tropical Wonderland, Wild Savannah and Curious Creatures. Her popularity in the colouring realm has gone on to birth a product family with her distinctive style. Millie Marotta themed calendar, diary, journals, stationary, postcards, wall decals and tableware can be found on her website or from online retailers, book stores and art stores.
Animal Kingdom has a soft white cover, decorated with her line drawings and coloured with random flecks of gold, blue and pink. Inside there are 96 line drawings, which are printed back and front. The paper is high-quality and is bright white in colour. The illustrations include a range of flora and fauna but are primarily centred around animals. A few of the pictures do have suggestions on how to colour the animals. There are a few double page spreads of larger images of animals or repetitious illustrations, which are slightly different and extend onto both pages. The paper takes pencils, pastels, water-based markers and gel pens quite well. I’m not sure this is the best paper for watercolour though. This book does come in the Delux Edition, which has thicker paper and is single sided, which would be more appropriate for watercolour and alcohol markers.
After receiving this book I purchased a tin of 36 Derwent Studio pencils. I didn’t realise that these pencils were meant for sketching and I found them rather hard. They were also less vibrant than other brands, harder to blend and very scratchy. However, at the time I was ignorant and was just enjoying the process. You will probably notice the indents in the paper from pressing so hard. I found it really difficult to get much pigment out of them and it was almost impossible to layer.
The turtle was my very first picture that I coloured. It took me a while to colour all the individual sections. At the time I was really happy how it turned out and really enjoyed colouring it. Now I look back and realise how far I’ve come.
I began craving more vibrant colours, so I bought myself a 12 set of Jasart Premium Colour Pencil. These pencils are inexpensive, quite smooth and the colour is more concentrated.
This first picture was coloured with only Jasart pencils. You can probably already see a difference compared to my earlier work. The following pictures use both Jasart and Derwent Studio pencils. Although the results are still scratching, there are more pops of colour.
As I got more interested in colouring I started watching more youtube videos and I discovered the technique of using pastels for backgrounds. So next I bought a cheap set of pastels, Jasart Deluxe Soft Square Pastels. I think also by this stage I received a 24 set of Faber-Castell Polychromos Colour Pencil from Marco. I’m pretty sure I was meant to open them for Christmas 2015, but I couldn’t wait and cracked them open early. At this point I got more serious with my colouring and I was looking forward to open all my new colouring books under the Christmas tree.
I actually got a thumbs up from Millie for my Rainbow Snake on Instagram which was very exicting.
So this is were it all began. Hope it inspires you give colouring a chance. Even if you think you aren’t very creative or lack talent it does matter. You only need to colour for yourself and you can always improve with practice.
For some tips from Millie check out the video: Colouring Tips from Millie Marotta
Also check out La Artistino’s video for a flip through and some of her finished work: Colouring Book ‘Animal Kingdom’ Colouring Tips and Walk Through
Get some inspiration from other colourist work on Millie’s Colouring Gallery