Book Review: Colouring Heaven Misfits Special

This months Colouring Heaven magazine released in Australia is the Misfits Special (issue 35).  It showcases the art of White Stag aka Terra Bidlespacher. I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep buying this magazine every month, but when I saw this issue I really liked the quirky artwork and wanted to see how I would go colouring this style. I really enjoyed it, so I have brought you another colouring book review for today.

White Stag aka Terra Bidlespacher is an American artists, based in Pennsylvania. She is known for her lowbrow, pop surreal, gothic fantasy art.  Her unique style is characterised by the strange and cute girls and creatures, in scenes that are both intriguing, creepy and sometimes humorous. Her artwork mainly features she misfits characters painted in acrylic, but she also does drawings using ink and graphite. She has produced a series of Misfits colouring books with featured her original artworks. There are currently 10 full size colouring books and two mini colouring books. Most of these colouring books explore different themes, including aliens, zombies, unicorns and halloween. For more information of where to purchase White Stag’s colouring books see the end of this post.

I don’t currently have any of White Stag’s colouring books in my collection, so I was very happy to see her work featured in this months Colouring Heaven magazine. The issue features a compilation of 40 designs taken from White Stag’s colouring books, so there is quite a variety in themes of themes, styles and characters. The issue itself is the same format as always, matt cover (that you can colour), 40 line drawings on single sided thin-medium paper, with titles for each picture. This issue only has the names of the artworks and no other information about each work. I appreciate this anyway, as I  can google the original artwork to glean inspiration for backgrounds, colours, textures and light sources. This issue also features some Christmas themed pictures, so I will be sure to return to this book in the future.

For this issue I coloured three pictures and used a varieties of mediums, including water soluble materials.  I also made a video flip through, which is up on my Youtube channel, along with more video of colouring book flip through with completed pictures. You can also see more Colouring Book Reviews and my Colouring Galleries and my Misfits Special Gallery on this blog.

 

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Book Review: Colouring Heaven Anime Special

The most recent Colouring Heaven magazine issue to be released in Australia was the Anime Special. I really loved the artwork in this book and after colouring a few images I thought I may as well do a little review as well.

Colouring Heaven Anime Special is Issue 34 and it was released in Australia at the beginning of July this year. In the UK it came out a couple of months ago, so I was already looking forward to this one. The artwork in this issue is exclusive designs by the  Singaporean artist Desti from Collateral Damage Studios (Singaporean based studio).  According to Colouring Heaven, she is a self taught artist and was influenced growing up by Japanese anime and manga. She was recruited by CDS and was commissioned to create designs for Colouring Heaven, which feature both traditional themes of manga and some recurring characters from the studio. You can find Desti’s artwork on her Instagram, Pixiv and  Deviantart accounts.

This issue is the same format as the other Colouring Heaven magazine issues. There are 40 line drawings on single sided paper, with titles for each and a little blurb for most. The paper is white thin-medium quality, which takes pencils very well. So as for this issue, it features beautiful anime girls and explores a variety of themes. The designs feature Japanese iconic styles (ei. Lolita), special occasions and festivals (e.i. Valentines day, Tsukimi ), folklore characters  (ei. Yuko-onna, Kitsune), Anime archetypes (Meido) and there is even an anime Alice in Wonderland. Typical of Colouring Heaven, most of the pictures have a little blurb explaining the concepts behind the line art. I really appreciated this in this issue, since I am not well verse in anime or Japanese culture. It was not just educational to learn about the festivals, fashion and folklore, but helpful to identify different characters.

All in all I am very happy with the Anime Special issue. The art work is gorgeous and well thought out. I did find it challenging to colour anime but it was fun to try something new and learn about a different cultural genre. I only coloured three pictures so far from this issue, but I see myself coming back to this book for Christmas, Valentines and Easter or just add some colour to this beautiful pictures.

I have made a flip through video of this book and have included below large photos of each of the three images I coloured.

 

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5# Colouring Update

Today I have to show you all my new books that I have accumulated since my recent holiday. I knew I was going to be coming back with at least a few books, but I didn’t expect to pick up a few more since I got back. Nevertheless I am very excited to start colouring these ones as well as the last from my last colouring book haul.

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Book Review: Skymningstimman (Nightfall)

This beautiful book is the third colouring book is by Swedish artist Maria Trolle. I bought it when last year on our Euro Trip 2017, when making a Quick stop in Heisenberg. I am ashamed to say its taken me nearly a year start colouring in this book. I am currently back in Scandinavia and on the look out for her next book, Botanicum.

This book is the same format at Twilight Garden/ Blomstermandala and Hanna Karlzon’s colouring books, since they are all published by Pagina Förlags. It has a hard cover and 96 pages, which are printed on double sided ivory pages. This book is also available in the English edition, called Nightfall, which is identical except for English titles, blurb and copyright. I have already reviewed Maria’s first two colouring books Twilight Garden (Blomstermandala) and Vivi söker en vän. Check them out if your interested in Maria’s colouring books and a bit more information about the artist herself and the format of the books, as well as my completed coloured pages.

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Book Review: Escape to Wonderland

For Christmas, I had a fair few books on my wishlist and Escape from Wonderland was one of the books I received from my partner. It’s taken me four months but I finally got it out to colour a couple of pictures. I enjoyed this book so much that I just keep colouring my way through.

Escape from Wonderland: A Colouring Book Adventure is illustrated by the Good Wives and Warriors. They are a collaboration between two English artists, Becky Bolton and Louise Chappell, who have been working together since 2007. They have illustrated numerous colouring books, including Escape to OZ, Escape to Christmas Past, Escape to Shakespeare, Exotische Urwald and To the Ends of the Earth and Back Again: The Longest Colouring Book in the World.

Escape to Wonderland is very small in comparison to other colouring books and it is the same format as the other Escape to..colouring books by Good Wives and Warriors. This book is only 18.4 cm square, so its perfect to travel with. The soft cover has a collage of line art, which can be found inside the book and is decorated with blues and bronze-gold foil. The inside cover folds out revealing a blue and white line art of an intricately decorated garden. Inside the book, there are 96 pages to colour which are double-sided. There are many double-page spreads, which do creep into the spine but can be pushed down with a little pressure. The paper is light cream in colour and is a medium quality. In my experience, it takes pencils very well, as well as water-based pencils. I will discuss this more below.

This book offers a beautiful array of line art that varies between classical, quirky, realistic, fanciful and intricate. The artwork is also in chronological order that the original story takes and many pages offer a quote from the book. In this book, you will see many different depictions familiar characters, such as Alice, the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar, the Queen and King of Hearts and more.

I am not a huge fan of storybook colouring books, where you are colouring the same characters on every page, just in different positions. What I love about this book is that each image is been drawn so differently. There’s no need to use the same style and colours schemes on every page since the style of the illustrations differ so much. This is actually my first Alice in Wonderland colouring book, other than a few images of Alice in my Disney books. Although I’ve been a huge fan of the Disney movie and the original book since I was little, I had little interest in other Alice inspired colouring books. This one is so different though and I am now yearning to get some more of the Good Wives and Warriors colouring books. Another great aspect is the small size because you can work quicker and of course take it on the go. In regards to the paper, I have heard mixed reviews about it, but I am very happy with it. My pencils blended beautifully on it and as you can see below I tried a few different brands.

Below is a video flip through of my book, which includes my completed pictures. If you have trouble viewing it I have another video on my Instagram. My YouTube video had some issues so hopefully it will be available soon. I have also included each completed picture in this post, with more details on my thoughts and what I used. I will also update the gallery, Escape to Wonderland with new pictures as I colour them in the future.

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Book Review: Sèrene

Today I bring you another book review from one of my favourite colouring books of all time. This is Sèrene by Indonesian artist, Nicholas F. Chandrawienata. I first saw completed coloured pictures from this book a little while back on Instagram and I was intrigued by the uniqueness and intricately of the artwork. Unfortunately by the time I seriously looked into buying this book it was completely sold out. However, the artist did do a reprint not long ago, which is how I got my beloved copy of Sèrene.

Nicholas F. Chandrawienata is a freelanced illustrator, based in Jakarta, Indonesia. His artwork is so intense, yet delicate and mostly based on figures with intricate clothing or backgrounds. The majority of his work is black and white, with plenty of detailed shading and cross-hatching, which is a dream for any colourist.  You can see his amazing artwork on his Instagram account.

So far, Nicholas has released three colouring books. I am not sure what came first since there are been a few reprints. These include Sèrene, Fantasia (US and Chinese editions) and Eirene. Although they are all very much true to Nicholas’s style, they are quite different.

Sèrene is quite a large book in comparison to others, measuring 34 x 24 centimetres. It has a soft cover, featuring one of the illustrations found in the book. It is bound at the top of the book, which allows the book to lay down flat. There are 32 black and white illustrations which mostly landscape, but there are a few in portrait. The paper is just fantastic. It is thick, white, single sided, so you can really use any medium you like. Most of the pictures are of a single woman, but there are a couple with two or three women. Each woman has a unique face, expression, clothing, jewellery and embellishments. There is also a variety of close-ups, busts, half body and full bodies images. Each picture is also named and this is printed on the back of each image.

I have made a video flip through of this book which includes all of the pictures I have coloured. Below you can see all these completed pictures and find out how I coloured them. I  am very proud of what I have coloured so far. I really think this book has brought out the best in me and I look forward to colouring more from it. Any more completed pictures from this book will be added to my Serene Gallery.

 

 

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Easter Colouring in Romantic Country

Happy Easter all! This past week I wanted to do some colouring to get into the spirit of Easter. I went through my colouring book collection, looking for Easter pictures and I found a couple in my Romantic Country series by the Japanese illustrator, Eriy. I got these books for Christmas and hadn’t had a chance to colour in them yet. So this was a great opportunity to try them out. They are such beautiful books and I can’t wait to do a bit more in them.

I don’t want to do a review of these books but I will tell you impressions of these books. All three books in the series are part of the same adorable story, which is split up into chapters. The paper is great quality and the line art is just gorgeous. I believe it has all been hand-drawn using a toothpick. The print isn’t very dark but the lines vary in width.

The two pages I have coloured are from the first two books, Romantic Country: A Fantasy Coloring Book and Romantic Country: The Second Tale: A Fantasy Coloring Book. These were the only dedicated Easter pictures. There was nothing in the third tale related to Easter. While colouring these pages I did find the line art a little hard to cover, so I tried to use blend gel pens with a pencil. I am not sure I did the best job. I was a little rushed to finish them, so I’m not really happy with my results. I intend to do a couple of tutorials in these books to get the hang of being the best method to colour in them. Chris Cheng has some beautiful finished pictures that she filmed videos on, so I will probably do a couple in the near future.

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Book review: Summer Nights (Sommarnatt)

Hi there, I have another colouring book review today from a gorgeous book, which I have been working in off and on for a while. I have also released my first Youtube video, which is a flip through of Summer Nights and includes all the completed pictures I have coloured so far. I intend making more videos in the future, for the rest of my colouring books. So stay tuned for more and bare with me as I am still learning how to make videos.

This book is by the Swedish colouring book illustrator and artist, Hanna Karlzon. This book is the English edition of Sommarnatt, which was her second colouring book. If you’re a long time colourist I’m sure you are very familiar with this book and Hanna’s others books, which are very much a favourite in the colouring community.

I have previously done a book review of her first colouring book Daydreams (Dagdrommar) so I will try not repeat myself too much. If you want to know a bit more about the artist, my impressions of that book and my completed coloured pictures, please check out it.

The format of this book is the same as the rest of her colouring books. It has a hardcover with gold foiling details. The paper inside is a high-quality off-white paper and has 96 double-sided pages, with 85 illustrations to colour. The art in this book was inspired by the summer Scandinavian evenings. It features starry night scenes, whimsical gardens, sea creatures, beautiful girls, bejewelled insects, ornate birds and more.

I really cherish this book, as I do all of my Hanna Karlzon books. It just has a great range of art in Hanna’s signature style, with plenty of variety so you don’t feel like your colouring the same kind of images. Since this is a summer themed book, it really inspired me to go bit crazy with brighter colours then I would normally choose. I took a few risks, trying different techniques and colours that I normally wouldn’t use and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Below is my video flip through and all my finished coloured pages in the order in which  I coloured them. I used a variety of mediums that I have detailed below. All of these coloured pictures, plus any extra I do in the future can also be seen in my Summer Nights Gallery. If you are interested in where to purchase this book, see the end of this post.

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Book Review: Colouring The Lion City

When I travel I try to find colouring books that are unique to that country. Sometimes I  don’t have any luck, however, while I was in Singapore I came across a quirky book that represents this country very well. Colouring The Lion City: A Sophisticated Activity is illustrated by the Singaporean artist William Sim.

This colouring book is full of whimsical line drawings of Singapore, portraying popular places, cultural icons, and everyday life of this island metropolis. William uses his unique style and imagination to bring these drawings to life. Each drawing features a little robot man and his cat. Some drawings include mechanical flying fish ships and others depict futurist machines fused with iconic landmarks. I imagine that the little robot man is travelling around Singapore and enjoying the sites. I also assume that the futuristic machines represent the unique combination of technology and natural beauty that Singapore has to offer.

The author and illustrator, William Sim, is known for his distinctive drawings, paintings and sculpture. His paintings are dreamscapes that explore the unique blend of nature verse mechanical objects. He artwork has been displayed and several exhibitions. One of the most recent was the Happiness Private Limited 2017: Memory Houses. You can also see his artwork on his Facebook page.

William Sim has authored a few colouring books and postcard colouring books to date.  He also released Colouring the World: A Sophisticated Activity (2015) at the same time he released Colouring the Lion City. He later released Colouring Chinoiserie (2016), Colouring Singapore Postcard: Book 1 (2018) anColouring Singapore Postcards: Book 2 (2018). I believe all the colouring books are formatted and illustrated similar in style and all feature the little robot man and futuristic machines. I assume the postcard books are images from Colouring the Lion City, but I haven’t seen them in person or seen a flip through video.

This colouring book is about A4 in size and has a soft cover displaying one of the images and gold foiling for the title. There are 96 line drawings to colour in the book that are all one-sided, so its idea other mediums such as watercolour and markers, that may bleed through. All the pages are fixed to the book, so you can’t remove any of the images unless you are very careful. The paper is high quality thick bright white, very smooth and has a bit of a shine. The selection of images really is quite a variety of landmarks and natural scenes and other manmade structures. As far as I know, all of these images are unique to this colouring book, as I didn’t come across the exact same image when looking up the artist’s other artwork.

I actually really like this book. The imagery is very different to any other books that I have and perhaps the closest book that it reminds me is Lizzie Mary Cullen’s The Magical City. So if you love colouring with Inktense and watercolour in that book, I’m sure you will appreciate this book as well.  I love that the pages in this book are one-sided, as I often get a little worried about using watercolour mediums in my books. I found that that the pages didn’t buckle much at all, so I think it is ideal for this usage. I only have a couple of cons for this book. I would have loved to have the names of the places and landmarks in this book written on the page somewhere. Although my visit to Singapore is still fresh in my mind I was not able to tell exactly where all of these images were representing. I also found the paper had a shiny quality, which was a little annoying at times when using pencils. Perhaps this is because I am a harder handed colourist, and I had to be careful that I didn’t leave the images looking a little streaky. You can probably see from the images that I coloured with pencils that I did struggle with this.

The images below have been listed in the order in which I coloured them. I chose images that were quite different from each other and used different mediums for each to see how they reacted on the paper.


 

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Book Review: Tanya Bond’s Inklings (Artist Edition)

I have been admiring Tanya Bond’s Inkling colouring books series for a while. As soon as Christmas rolled around I had to add some of these books to my Christmas List. My mum was all too happy for me to buy something for myself on her behalf, so I purchased Inklings and Inklings 2 colouring books. This review is for the first and original colouring book in the Artist Edition.

Before I tell you about this book I will give you a bit of insight into the illustrator. Tanya Bond is a self-taught artist from the Irish Midlands. She has been painting professionally for several years and considers her art-style Pop Surrealism. She is known for her signature style of big-eyed girls with adorable companions. The amazing artworks she has created were turned into a colouring book via the KickStarter in 2015. After the success of that campaign, she continued to publish Inklings and then also published four more colouring books,  Inklings 2Astro-ZodiacMini-Inklings and Inklings 3.

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Christmas Colouring Project

During the holiday season, I committed to colouring as many Christmas themed pages I could from my colouring book collection. I started at the end of November and just finished my last one yesterday. I managed to do nine pages (including two double pages spreads) from five different colouring books. Most of these books are Japanese colouring that I hadn’t started yet. The first thought is one of my Swedish colouring books, which I was happy to revisit.

To colour these images I used a variety of mediums, including Derwent Inktense pencils, Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils, Prismacolor Premier pencils, Touch Nice Watercolor Markers, Mungyo pastels, white Posca pen and a variety of gel pens.

This was a really fun project, that really got me into the Christmas spirit. I liked to imagine it’s snowing outside while sweating it out in the heat of summer.

Did you do any Christmas colouring or Christmas inspired art during the holiday season?


 

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Book Review: Ivy and the Inky Butterfly

I recently got my hands on Johanna Basford’s new colouring book, Ivy and the Inky Butterfly. I always knew I had to get this book eventually but I didn’t preorder it. I have so many books to start that I was putting off this purchase. However, as soon as I saw others colourists work from this book I got online straight away to get a copy.

Unlike Johanna’s other colouring books this one is actually a storybook as well. This story was inspired by Johanna’s own little daughter, who the book was named after. It tells a magical tale of a little girl named Ivy, who finds a secret door that leads her to the land of Enchantia. As she chases an inky butterfly, she comes across many interesting characters and wondrous things along her journey. The story is very cute and imaginative. It is also quite long, so it’s probably not a bedtime story I can get through in one night with my toddler. This is in no way a negative, as it will keep me entertained as I am reading as I colour through this book. I’m sure by the time I finish it Octavia can read it to herself.

There are actually two versions of this book, the US and the UK. In Australia, the bookstores are only selling the UK edition and I figure that would be the best copy. I often noted that colouring books that have been printed for the US market never have a good paper as the original country. However, I found this book is an exception. Lucy from the blog Colouring in the Midst of Madness wrote the fantastic article Inky Butterfly: A Comparision between the UK and the US Editions (also see video). Based on her comparison I decided to purchase the US edition. Although both versions have high-quality paper, Lucy found that the “US paper is much easier to use pencils on and is less likely to bleed with water-based pens”. The other big noticeable difference is the cover. UK edition is white with gold foil detailing. The US edition is an off-white with gold foil and some mint green detailing. Both are pretty but I do prefer the splash of green on the cover.

Something else that is special about both versions of this colouring book is that the paper on the cover is ideal for colouring in. I don’t think I own any other colouring books that have been designed with this in mind. I will probably leave mine as is, but I have seen other colourists cover and they are all very unique and special.

I can only speak for the paper in my US edition. It has to be the best paper I have ever coloured on and is unique to this book. The paper has a bit of a shine and takes pencils very well. You don’t need to do much layering at all get to cover the white speckling in the paper, yet you can keep layering and the paper will take it. I think so far I have only done up to 7 layers and I could of keep adding. So far I have only coloured with Prismacolor pencils, black Faber-Castell Artist Pitt pen and gel pens. I think this paper would great most colouring materials, with the exception of alcohol markers. I have seen other colourist using other materials, such as Polychromos pencils, Staedtler Ergosoft pencils, Derwent Inktense pencils,  Winsor and Newton Watercolor, soft pastels and more. Everyone seems to have fantastic results with all of their materials. Johannah has also included a testing page in the back if you want to try before you apply a certain art material to a page.


 

These are the first pages that I have completed this book. If it wasn’t so close to Christmas I would have loved to keep colouring through this book. However, I have many Christmas themed pages to do in my other books. These pages are in ordered by page rather than which order I coloured them.

 

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