Book Review: Dromenvanger

Today I have a book review on one of the most popular and exquisite books in the colouring world, Dromenvanger. It was on my wishlist for a while and after one failed attempt of acquring it, I finally got my beloved copy.

Dromenvanger is by the Croatian artist, Tomislav Tomic. Tomislav is originally from Zagreb and graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in his home town. He began illustrating books and magazines while he was still a student and has continued to be an illustrator for Croatian and UK publishers. Today he lives with his young family in Zaprešić. His artwork is known for beening exquistitly detailed and in Resnaissance engraving style. His subjects is often based on fantasy and mythology.

Dromenvanger is actually the Dutch edition to the original Croatian colouring book, Zemlja snova (2016). It translates to dreamland from Croatian and dreamcatcher from Dutch. Tomislav also brought out a second coloring book Vilin San (2017), which also came out in a Dutch edition, Sprookjesbos (Dutch edition). He work has also featured in The Offical Game of Thrones Colouring Book and the Pictura series, A Walk Through Paris, Coloring New York Jazz, and Coloring Paris.

If you live in Australia it is near impossible to get hold of the Zemlja snova, unless you spend a small fortune. It is only availale from Croatian publisher Fokus and some private sellers. However, since a Dutch publishing house acquire the rights, Dromenvanger has been more readily available. At the end of 2017 there was an issue on Book Depository, where only a small fration of the people who purchased Dromenvanger actually receive it. I was one of the unlucky people who had purchased it, but there was no copies left to sent out. Book Depository has yet to continue selling this book, which is still listed on their website. However, there are more private sellers selling this edition for a more reasonable price. I bought my copy from Ebay, when I found a price I was willing to pay.

Dromenvanger is a square shaped book, which is about 25cm by 25 cm. It has a soft cover, which features partly coloured picture, which you can find in the book. Both the inside front and back covers are blank. The paper is high quality, cream in colour and is relatively thick. Inside the book you can find 81 line art illustrations, many of which are double page spreads. The Croatian edition contains all the same images and you can see a more in depth comparsion on Colouring in the midst of madness.

So the reason this book is in such high demand is because the artwork is spectacular. As you turn the pages you will pass through cloud lands, enchanted forests, fairytale and underwater kingdoms and will come upon fairies, dragons, mermaids, unicorns and other mythical creatures. Each pages is incredibly detailed can be quite intimidating. But once you start filling in the page with colours it will come alive.

I found the artwork in this book to be quite unique, amongst the rest of my collection. There are so many creatures and sceneries, which I haven’t found in other books. Many of the single page images have large intricate borders. Most pictures include clouds in the backgroud, however there are quite a few without backgrounds at all, which you could draw in yourself. In this book I have primarly used Prismacolor pencils, which work beautifully on this paper. I found Polychromos didn’t work as well. I didn’t try watercolor, but I have heard this paper can cope quite well with waterbased media and won’t bleed through or shadow.

Below I have included a video flip through and all the pages I have coloured in order that you will find them in the book.  I have adding all these images to my Dromenvanger gallery, where I will continue to add newly coloured pictures to.

This Fairy Door is the first picture in the book after the Title and Welcome pages. Normally I would have coloured the Title page, but I wasn’t feeling very inspired the one in this book. So I coloured this first page as an introduction to this magically book.

I have seen this picture coloured by many other colourist and I wanted to do something a little different. I started colouring the building to look like it was made of sandstone and took advantage of the textured line art. I complemented the stone with purples, pinks and muted green. For the butterflies I got some inspiration from these Violette butterflies stickers. I am happy how the fairy and other objects pop out of the picture. I probably should of gone with a darker gold frame. I coloured this entirely with Prismacolor pencils and used a little bit of white gel pen for sparkly effects.

The Treehouse Palace was the first page that I stated when I returned to this book. I had no idea what colours I was going to use so I just started with the purple orange ombre sky. I tried not to rush or push too hard so that I could get a smooth texture. The white, soft pink and cream pencils really helped to blend in those more stuborn midsection in the pages. I was still stump on colour selection, so I just coloured all the trees, berries and wood. Then I was able to use colours that complemented what was already there. Gold is always an easy one for metal work and the dooms were coloured in a variety of bright colours to separate them from the sky. My last challenge was colouring the birds and I was inspired by this colourful ornamental bird. Overall I am happy with it, butI did find the large tree on the left looks a bit ashly, despite the amount of layers. I used entirely Prismacolor pencils.

This Pegafly was coloured for Octavia’s 4th Birthday back in April. She is obsessed with horses, ponies, unicorns, pegusus and pegacorns. There is one unicorn in this book, which is on a two page spread, but I prefered this pegafly because one page was do-able in a short timeframe. I coloured it entirely with Prismacolor pencils.

For the overall colour scheme I was inspired by the gorgeous artprint by Shannon Valentine. It wasn’t the easiest image to colour, and was a little intimidating as most of the images in this book are. The doted lines on the pegafly were good to know where to shade, but require many layers to cover. The flowers and plants were also very challenging because some were so simple and others very detailed. So to create more depth for the simplistic objects I added more lines for creases. For the pegafly I was inspired by the only other image of a pegafly I could find and this butterfly for wings. This is definetely my favourite of the lot that I coloured and Octavia was so happy with it.

The Princess of the hounds is another popular picture to colour. The image makes me think of a mediterranean kingdom during the Renaissance. So I used colours that inspired by that time period. I started with the sky again, so that none of the other colour pigments would get stuck in the paper. This took me the longest time to make sure the the sky appeared completely blended and smooth. Next I worked on the trees, trying to make them look textured. For the objects I was inspired by this fairytale castle, knight, and this variety of greyhoods. I wish that I used more vibrant colours for the knight, but other then that I think it looks pretty good now its all complete.

This Elf musican was the first picture that I coloured in this book back last year, which I wrote about in the post #6 Colouring Update. I don’t love it, especially since I coloured a few more in the this book and improved alot since then.

The Griffin is the only picture that I coloured entirely with Polychromos pencils. For the colour scheme I was inspired by Realm of Tranquility Card by Anne Stokes. I am really not happy with this picture. I really didn’t enjoy using Polychromos in this book and I don’t like the colour scheme I chose. The Metallic silver frame also didn’t turn out as well as I hope. I also made a big mistake with the moutains that I drew in. I probably should of done a few more layers before using a blender pencil, which really made it look scratchy. On the bright side, I am happy with the griffin and the water backgroud.

You can purchase this Dromenvanger or Zemlja snova from:

Happy Easter Colouring

Happy Easter everyone! I hope your having a great long weekend. Today I have the Easter themed pictures that I have been colouring over the past week. These pictures are from Fantasia, Sagor Och Sägner, Escape from Wonderland, and Botanicum. I haven’t reviewed all of these books yet, but you can see more completed pages in my Colouring Galleries. As for the pictures below, I used a few different mediums and I didn’t take them too seriously. It was just a bit of fun to set myself an Easter challenge to colour as many pages as I could.

The first page I coloured is from Nicholas F. Chandrawienata’s Fantasia. I have been looking forward to coming back to this book and I was saving this one for Easter. I was a bit unsure what to do. Easter colours are usually pastel, so I got out my Holbein Artists Pastel Pencils. I love these pencils because they lay down so evenly and they don’t have any streaky pigment, like some of my lighter Prismacolor pencils.

I originally left the background because I really wasn’t sure what to do. I did want to try watercolour on this paper, so I got out a set of cheap set of no-brand Water Colour paint tubes, that I bought from Eckersley. The paper didnt seem to mind the water, but it did pill a little where I put too much. I really wasn’t happy with what I was doing to my picture, so I tried to smooth the colour and add some shadows with a few Prismacolor Premier pencils pencils. If I could go back I would have used a different set of paint, because this one was more like acrylic then water colour, even with lots of water added. Anyway it looks better with a background and a lesson was learned.

The second pages is from Emelie Lidehäll Öberg’s Sagor Och Sägner. This is one of my favourite books, so I was very happy to revisit it. This isn’t a page I would usually choose but since it was Easter I’m happy I gave it a chance. I used Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils and a white Prismacolor pencil for blending. I am so happy how this one turned out. I took my time added softly blending the colours, rather then pressing too hard and rushing. I was a bit stumped on what to do for a background so I just left it.

The next two pages are side-by-side in Good Wives and Warriors’ Escape from Wonderland. I believe they are meant to be pigeon eggs, but they look like faberge eggs to me. I used both Faber-Castell Polychromos and Prismacolor Premier pencils. I much prefer the first egg, which reminded me Mexican art. I used this colour pallete as a guide. For the second one, I used this colour pallette, which probably wasn’t the best reference. Although this design was a bit difficult for me and less inspiring to colour.

This last picture is from Maria Trolle’s Botanicum. It is my favourite one in the bunch. I just found by chance when I was looking for a cute bunny picture to colour. I think this book has more themed pictures then her previous books and it also has all the flowers and plants listed in the back of the book for reference. I only used Prismacolor Premier pencils, which work really well on this paper. I thought about a pastel background but it looked so pretty on the ivory paper so I just filled in the bottom.

Well thats for Easter colouring this year. See the post below for what I coloured last year in Eriy’s Romantic Country Series.

Did you do some art or cooking for easter this year?

Book Review: World of Flowers

World of Flowers is the newest book by colouring evangelist Johanna Basford. I received this gorgeous book from Marco for Christmas and I finally started it this last month. I had been putting it off a little because sometimes I get a little sick of colouring flowers. However, I actually had quite a lot of fun with this book. It has quite a bit of variety and very different to the flowers in Johanna’s other books as you will see.

So if you have been living under a rock you may have not heard of Johanna Basford. But I doubt this would be the case if your a colourist. This is Johanna’s seven colouring book (not including all the artist edition, journals, calendars, etc). It was only published in mid December 2018 in both the UK and US. I have the UK edition, like the rest of my collection. As they are readily available in Australia and online. From what I have read in the past I do prefer the UK editions, but if you would like to see a side-by-side comparison of this book, see this video by Colouring in the Midst of Madness.

World of Flowers is the same format of most of Johanna’s other colouring books. It is a square shape, sized at 25.1 x 25.1 cm. Like all the UK editions, it has a soft cover with a dust cover over the top. The cover is bright white, with black inked flowers and some rose-gold foiling. You can find the same flowers inside the book, but not in the same formation. However, the inside cover and does have the same design that you will find in the book. Inside this book you will find 80 pages to colour with a variety of new designs. The paper is ivory in colour and medium thickness. It has the same paper that you will find in Johanna’s later colouring books ei. Magic Jungle, Johanna’s Christmas. Toward the back of the book there is a page to test your mediums and a page that extends, which is double sided.

The floral designs in this book are gorgeous and as I mentioned, is a lot different to what we have seen before from Johanna’s other colouring books. Since flowers are the subject of the book they are much more detailed and vary in shapes, sizes and design style. Flowers aren’t the only things you will find in this book. You will also find succulents and other potted plants, magic potion bottles, butterflies and other insects, household objects and furniture, fairy homes, etc. The designs range from the usually wreaths, wallpaper and mandalas, to garden scenes, busy shelving, large and small circular and square designs. There is just so much variety that you won’t feel like your colouring the same stuff that you have come across previously in her books.

So as you guessed by now I do love this book. I did find some of pages with the larger spaces a bit intimating because I don’t love doing large backgrounds. However, if your like me you can skip some of these pages or just do put in more effort to the suspended objects and they will speak for themselves on the ivory paper. Something I really loved was the last couple of pages that pull out, which I would like to return to in the future.

Below I have included a video flip through and all the pages I have coloured in order that you will find them in the book. I have only used Prismacolor Premier pencils and a couple of gel pens so far. As you will see these pencils work very beautifully on this paper. I don’t see that there would be any problems with other harder pencils or water colour, so long as you are careful. There are plenty of examples by other colourist using other pencils, so I recommend checking out Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration.

The Title pages is always a challenge for me and I usually come back to it last. I wanted it to be an explosion of bright colours, which complemented each other. I also wanted to use different techniques for each flower, so they didn’t look so similar and flat. I am quite happy how this one turned out and it makes me happy when I open this book.

The Name plate pages was also another one I was stumped on because the flowers were so tiny, so it would be difficult for them to pop out of the paper. I started with a navy and coral colour scheme and added some complementary colours as I went. I also added some gold gel pen to cover some of the little black dots and lines, which really brightened it up.

This gorgeous selection of Flower motifs are not my colour scheme, but rather the from the mind of the amazing Chris Cheng. I started following her four-part video tutorial when I started this book, but I ended up coming back to right at the end. They just took me so long, but it was well worth it. So many layers went into it, which is why they look so stunning. She also done another gorgeous tutorial of a flower wreath. Peta Hewitt also did a tutorial for the same picture, so I still have to do decide which one I will do at a later date.

This Alchemy Garden is another one of the last picture I did. I took my time adding many layers to the background, flowers and bottles to try and make the objects look more three dimensional. I am happy with most of the elements but now I’m wishing I did a stone wall for the background, as it looks a bit bare. For the magic potions I was inspire by this Chris Cheng’s Fairy Potions from Fairy Miracles. This was my first attempt at something like this, but now I think I can tackle a few more magic potions in Hanna Karlzon’s Magically Dawn, which I’m yet to start.

This Sunflower and Tulip is the first page I that completed. I started with the sunflower and I was very disappointed in it until I finished the tulip. I only wanted to use a few colours for each and with both side-by-side it has the effect that I wanted. The page beside this has another two flowers with the same frames, so I plan to do those in red and green to complement this page.

This Flower Fairy Garden is the second page I did and it took me so long. I was thinking of doing a grey purple stone frame, but by the time I got this far I just wanted to move on to something else. This picture remind me a lot of some of the double page spreads in Secret Garden. If you see some of the pages I did my Secret Garden gallery, you can definitely see an improvement in both my colouring and Johanna’s flowers. These flowers were a lot more interesting to colour and I like how oversized they are.

If you’re interested in purchasing World of Flowers you can find it from:

Book Review: Fairy Tales

Hello friends, today I have another colouring book review for you. Fairy Taleshas been on my wish list for a while, so I asked Santa to bring it for Christmas and it is just as sweet as I could of imagined.

Fairy Tales is by the freelance artist and illustrator, Emelie Lidehäll Öberg. Emelie is based Timrå, Sweden and has a background in graphic design and communications. If you want to know more about her, Color with Iris did a great interview with her. It talks of her life as an artist and how she began creating colouring books.

Fairy Tales actually the English edition of Emelie’s first book Sagolikt (2016)
and was published in April 2017 . Emelie has also published Sagor Och Sägner, En Sagolik Vinter (postcard book) and Hem ljuva hem. I actually have Sagor Och Sägner, and did a book review quite a while ago (see book review and gallery). Since Sagor Och Sägner is one of my favourite books I was sure that I would love another book by Emelie. Unfortunately for many, there is currently no English edition of Sagor Och Sägner, however Fairy Tales is alot easy to hold off (see end of post for distributors), and is quite similar in theme and style.

Fairy Tales has a soft cover that features one of the illustrations found in the book and is decorated in soft pinks and limestone green, with gold foil accents. The inside covers also have french flaps which open out to feature many of the designs found inside the book. This book is square and measures 24.9 x 24.9 cm. It contains 96 pages of gorgeous illustrations, which are printed double sided on high-quality cream paper. The pages are able to lay quite flat, which makes colouring and photographing pages quite easy. I did find that this book can handle both soft and harder pencils quite well, as well as water soluable pencils, with no bleed through.

The line art in the book is inspired by Swedish fairy tales and is whismical and true to Emelie’s unique style. There are woodland animals, sweet doll-like girls, quite an array of birds, wallpaper designs, wooden structures, teapots, tea cups and plenty of flowers and sweet foods to colour. All-in-all there is alot of variety, so you don’t feel like your fliping through she same designs throughout the book. What makes Emelie’s work unique is the that many of the elements in the pictures are quite oversized, which can be a bit intimidating if you haven’t coloured her work before. However, as you will see from pages I have worked on, the illustrations really come to life with a bit of colour and little bit of shading.

Below I have included a video flip through of Fairy Tales, which includes all the finished pictures that I did. I have also included five full sided photographs of the pictures I coloured with some details on what I used. These are in order as they are found in the book.


The Name plate page was not the first page I coloured and to be honest not one I expected to get to. There are so many elements in this page and that I was a bit overwhelmed. But I started colouring each picture in colours that came naturally and slowly I was able to use complementy colours for the pictures I wasn’t sure about. Its not perfect but I am happy overall how it turned out. I used Prismacolor Premier pencils, which work beautifully on this paper and don’t need to many layers to get a nice result.


The Princess and the Frog is one that I was really excited to bring to life because I just love everything about the design. Since I had already experiment with Derwent Inktense pencils in the book, I decided to try them out again. So I first layed down one or two colors for each element with the Inktense pencils and used a water pen to blend. Then I went over the top with Prismacolor Premier pencils to give a soft, chalky and vibrant look. I found that the Inktense pencils were also quite helpful for forming clouds, since I am really terrible at drawing them in. I also used a white gel pen to bring out some of the details and cover some of the black lines. If I could do this page again, I may give a bit more distiction to parts that are submerged in the water. But other then that I’m very happy with it.


The Storybook Mansion reminded me of a grand Swedish house. For the colour scheme I was inspired by the Korstäppan Hotel and this bright floral print. I decided not to do a background, as I just wanted to do something colouring, fun and quick. I used Faber-Castell Polychromos, which also work lovely on this paper. To blend I did use a white Prismacolor pencil and the Derwent blender. This picture wasn’t ovely complicated to do, but the large scale of the flowers really make it something special.


The Pup Prince was one of the pictures I just had to do in this book. I don’t often come across dogs in my colouring books and this one was just so regal and elegant that I had to give it some colour. This is one of the few pictures that I knew the colour scheme before I coloured it. I just wanted the background to be fairly simple so that I could make sure my pup would stand out. The hardest thing was giving the pup the furry texture. I don’t think I nailed it because I found it quite hard do a short hair. I was inspired by this Rodesian Ridgeback by EscyKane. Mine doesn’t come close to this artwork, but then again this illustration isn’t mean to be true to life. I used Prismacolor Premier pencils. I was going to use a Slate Grey Posca for the background, but changed my mine at the last minute, since the tip wasn’t thin enough to get inbetween the flowers. Initially I wasn’t happy with this picture, but once it was finished and I looked at it with fresh eyes I didn’t mind it so much.


The Mole Family was the very first picture I coloured in this book. It is definetely my favourite of the bunch. It took me a bit of seaching to work out what animal was being depicted in this picture, since I havent’ come across these furry friends in Australia. But once I realised what they were I had to makes sure they were very flurry and just as cute as the real thing.

Since this is the last page in the book I thought I was experiement with Derwent Inktense pencils. So I coloured the entire picture with with Inktense and activated it with water. I then went over it with Prismacolor Premier pencils, to add brighter colour and depth. I found this method is a hell of a lot quicker, produced vibrant colour and makes it easier do create an more interesting background. The only downside is that it can look a bit scratch in some areas where I wasn’t as careful. I found this paper really didn’t buckle much and I had no bleed through. Well actually there is one spot on the backside of this page that had a faint blue spot. However, I think I did by accident when I lift the page and it would be very easy to cover up. To cover the black lines in some aspects of the picture I used a white thin tipped Posca pen. Its not perfect but its just so magical and I love it.


If you’re interested in purchasing Fairy Tales you can find it from:

Book Review: Menuet de bonheur

Before I finish out the year I wanted to bring you my last colouring book review of the year. I have been working on this book for a little while towards the end of the year and its was one of my goals of 2018 to do a review for this beautiful book.

Menuet de bonheur (Minute of Happiness) is a Japanese colouring book by Japanese artist Kanoko Egusa. I originally bought this book sometime last year from Amazon Japan, as it was hard to get hold at the time. It was quite pricey, but I couldn’t help myself since it artwork is just spectucular and its become one of my most prized book.

The artist, Kanoko Egusa is from Sendai-shi, Miyagi prefecture (3 hours north of Tokyo). She studied design and drawing at university and became a freelance graphic designer and later an illustrator. A few years ago she was asked to create a coloring book, which lead to the release of both Menuet de bonhear and Rhapsody in the Forest in 2016. Both of these books have become very popular within the colouring community for Kanoko’s unique style and her adorable of animal illustrations. These two books have also been published in Dutch editions, however the Japanese edition is not too hard to get hold off. This year Kanoko was also featured in Colouring Heaven Magazine for the issue Secret World of Animals Special and she also published Waltzes for the Seasons Colouring Post card Book. I haven’t heard if she will be bring out another colouring book, but I’m sure it would make many of us very happy. 

This Japanese book has a soft cover, with a lite dusky pink removable dust cover, which is decorated in a collage of beautiful animal images found inside the book. It has 92 pages which are printed on both sides. The paper is white, medium quality. It is not very thick, however watercolour pencil can be used with care. The texture of the paper does take some getting use to as it is not smooth like other books.

The illustrations include cute domestic and woodland animals in both natural and human-like scenes. There is quite a bit of variety in terms of theme and style of the images. There are scenes in the home, the city, the forest, garden, mandalas and collages and there are also 18 double page spreads. There are a few themes in the book, which include the birth, market place, countryside, in the garden, summer holidays, halloween, christmas, Parisian culture, Japanese culture and marriage. Another additional extra at the back of the book are two postcards and five memory card/oraments that you can colour, which is printed on light brown paper.

I adore this book and I highly recommend it if you love colouring true to life woodland creatures in more domestic settings. My only issue with this book is the paper, but after colouring a bit in it I have gotten use to the texture.


Below are the images I have coloured in this book so far. I have included my most recently pictures as well as the others I coloured for last years for Christmas and Halloween colouring.  I have also made a video flip through, which features all the completed pictures.


This first picture is the one that brought me back to Bonheur de Menuet. I always like to colour the title page of a book, so I have something to see when I first open it. It also takes away some of the inital fear when I first go to start a new book. Since I already started this book last  year I was eager to get to this page first. 

I used Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils for this page. This pencils work well on this paper and don’t need to much layering to get a good result. I really had a nice time colouring this page and bring each element to life. Since wanted this picture to flow I coloured the fruit and animals first since I knew what colours to use. Then I coloured the rest of the elements with colours that would contrast eachother. I also tried to reuse as many of these colours to be more harmonious. I find this technique works best for me as I’m not a great planner of colour schemes. 


The next page I coloured was this adorable bunny fashionista. I switched to Prismacolor Premier pencils, which I hadn’t used in this book since Halloween. I really didn’t like how these pencils previously worked on this paper. However, I am more experienced now and have learned to colour with many light layers. So this time around I really enjoyed using Prismacolor and continued to do so as you will see below. This is another picture which I didn’t know which colours to use. So I started with the each item of clothing and slowly used contrastly colours for each to complement the last. I decided to colour the bunny with grey blue fur like adorble little guy


This next picture I did for my daughter, who is obsessed with ginger cats. I enjoyed colouring this page the most, but it probably took the most time. I modelled the background on this farmyard picture. It took me a while to find the right picture to inspire my background and the rest was easy from there. The grass however took forever. I tried not to rush it to give as much depth as possible. The stars of the page, the kitties, I left until last and although they are a tiny part they are definetly the most important and gorgeous part of the picture. I had again used Prismacolour which work like a dream on this paper and was great for layer and blending. 


This last picture is probably my least favourite of the bunch. I had high hopes for this page of goats but it just didn’t come together like I imagined. It was a bit diffcult to make all the elements cohesive and the background is a bit vanilla. So I was really happy when this page was done. Besides Prismacolor, I also used a white Posca for the fur and details. 


These last pages were done for Christmas and Halloween projects last year. The very first picture I coloured in this book was this Halloween picture. I used Prismacolor pencils and it was ok for the small details but the sky was a disaster. I really didn’t like the way the pencil had layed down on the paper, but in hindsight I was probably pressing too hard.

The next page is a very special one for me, since it was acutally my first page that made it as a daily banner for the Facebook colouring group that I am a member of. I used Faber-Castell Polychromos, a white Prismacolor Premier pencil for blending and a white gel pen for details. This page taught me about that mistletoe was white and holly was red, since I thought it was the other way around. I also found out after extensive searching that these are chipmunks, which we don’t have in Australia. I really liked using Polychromos pencils on this paper, but I tried to be careful since these pencils are quite hard and the paper is quite thin. I also coloured the adjacent page with Prismacolor and quite a bit of gel pen. I am quite happy with both.

This book can be purchased from:

Book Review: Johanna’s Christmas

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and/or happy holiday time with your family and friends. I also like to wish you a Happy New Year over the next day or so, depending where you are. Today I have finally have for you my review and finished pages from Johanna’s Christmas. This is the only other book that I worked in over the past month.

Johanna’s Christmas: A Festive Colouring Book is a Christmas themed colouring book by the great Johanna Basford. It was published back in October 2016 and its been quite popular during the last two holiday seasons. I wasn’t sure about buying it last year. However, a few months ago I found it for a really good price, so I though why not add another one of Johanna’s books to my collection and have plenty of beautiful pages to colour during the holiday season.

Johanna’s Christmas is a similar format to Johanna Basford’s other books, but it doesn’t have removable dust cover. Instead it has a soft cover with a french flap, The front and back covers are decorated with a collage of Christmas inspired drawings and has gold foil detailing on the front cover. Inside there are 80 pages, which are perforated for easy removal. The paper has a nice, soft texture, ivory in colour and is thick like Johanna’s other books. Although there are 80 pages, there are only 37 pages of illustrations, which doesn’t include the title page, name plate page or colour palette tester page. On the back side of the pages there is a pattern that has been printed in grey ink. Through out the book there are three different patterns on the back side of the pages. You could colour them, but they are more decorative or allow you to feel more free to use different mediums with ease. I know some people feel that they are getting less for their money, however it really didn’t bother me. I liked having the freedom to use wet media, which I normally don’t in Johanna’s books because I am paranoid of bleed through. I also liked that I didn’t have to worry about colour transfer onto the other page, however there are quite a few double pages spreads. I am careful to place a piece of paper on those pages to protect the facing image, even when storing the books. Just note the I have UK edition, so if you would like to see a comparison to the US edition, see this great article by Colouring in the Midst of Madness.

The images in this book undeniably Christmas inspired, however there is plenty of variety and all have Johanna’s signature style. There are drawings with wreaths, mandalas, round and full page collages, full page scenes and images with large blank backgrounds. There are plenty of Christmas trees, baubles, winter animals, presents and much more.

All in all, I am very happy that I bought this book for Christmas colouring. I love the format of the book, that gave me the freedom to experiment, I love the variety of pictures, which included many cute animals and cosy scenes. The paper is just fantastic and takes pencil and watercolour like a dream. My only criticism is the the black french flap, attached to the cover is in black, which has left black marks on both the front title page and back colour palette test page. Although this can be erased it will be constantly rubbing and I will have to protect it with paper for storage.


Below I have included a video flip through of Johanna’s Christmas and photographs of seven pages that I have coloured from the book. They are listed in order as they appear in the book, rather then when I coloured them.




The Christmas polar bear is one of the first pages I coloured for the holiday season. I have seen this page done in a variety of ways, but I wanted mine to be more unique, so I created a background, which was inspired by the northern lights and forests in Scandinavia.

I first roughly drew in the tree line and tried to mirror it the best I could for the lake. I then added in the skyline, which was also mirrored on the water. This took quite a while, but on this paper my Prismacolor pencils blended quite well. Next I coloured the polar bear and ice and added white gel pen for the fur and to go over the black ink lines. Lastly, coloured the water line, scarf and presents. I tried to reuse the same colours from the background, with an additional pop of limestone green and yellow orange. I also did some extra detailing for the stars and presents with white gel pen. This pages didn’t turn out perfect but I am happy with the pastel colours and the concept.


The Gingerbread houses is a double page spread, which I coloured last in this book. I didn’t take this one too seriously, I just wanted to do something fun and pretty.

Since there was so much to colour, I put a base of layer of Inktense pencil activated with water. I found that this worked really well with another one of the pages I coloured below and it really sped up the colouring time. Since I had to go all the way to the edges of the page, the paper did buckle a little, but over the next couple of days it did flatten out, by having the book closed. The texture of the paper was affected in anyway, so its was lovely to colour over the top with Prismacolor pencils. I quite liked how the pencil was quite chalky over the top and helped soften the black ink lines. In saying that I did still go over all the black lines with a white gel pen. I was nearly able to finish it however I did have to use a bit of white Posca pen when my gel pen ran out. This was not idea, since its just absorbs into the paper, but it was only a small section.

For the sky, I had originally just coloured it with darker pink Inktense pencil and light pink Faber-Castell Albrecht pencil. It was a little flat though, so I tried to draw in some clouds with different shades of pencil. I did end up outlining them with white gel pen and going over the sky again with pink Prismacolor, just to give a point of difference. Its not perfect but its better then having no sky and it was quite easy to do.


The Rocking horse was the first page that I had used Inktense as a base and Prismacolor pencils over the top. I found this technique really sped up the colouring time and gave a richer colour. It also softened the black lines and the pencils gave a lovely soft finish. The only thing that I am not happy with and was a learn curve was the green circle background. I originally went in with a dark green and white Inktense pencils. After activating it with water the texture looked horrible. When I tried to go over the top with light green pencils, it just looked very scratchy. I think the problem was the white Inktense pencil. Overall then the paper took the water quite well, since I didn’t have to colour to the end of the paper. So I have mixed feelings about this one.


The next double page spread is my least favourite of the bunch and was more of an experiment with Mungyo Pastels. I am a bit nervous to use pastels, since when I have used them over pencil they kinda washed out the pencil vibrancy. I know you can use a colourless blender to protect the pencil but it seems I still worry doing a rich layer of pastel. So I thought for these pages I would do a really rich layer of pastels and then go in over the top with pencil. The only thing I didn’t count on was that I was not able to erase the pastel as well as I hoped. So it was a little hard to cover the drawings with pencil and it took on some of the background colour, hence why my gold is so orange. I don’t think I would do this again but it at least now I know.

The last picture is my favourite and is the first picture I did for the Christmas season. I took quite a while filling in the background before colouring the rest of the picture. I don’t normally do this but it was well worth it because when the other colours did smudge on the background I was able to erase it. Although it looked like quite a simple design it quite a detailed picture and it took me a while, but I just love it.


I hope you like the last of my Christmas colouring for this season. If you are curious about this book and see it for a good price I really recommend buying and putting it away for next year. I think it will still be popular next year like all of Johanna’s books and it’s just a beautiful quality colouring book. At the moment, the prices are quite low but also look out price drops prior to the next Christmas season.


This book can be purchased from:

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! Some of you may be celebrating Christmas or Christmas Eve today. In Australia it’s Christmas Day, so I will be spending the day with family.

During this past month I haven’t been able to post anything on this blog, do Christmas shopping and prepare for today, as I have been very unwell. After initially getting a virus, I recovered, then my daughter got it and she recovered. However, then I got a mutated version which lead to a viral and bacterial infection. So I have been bedridden most of this week. However, today I am feeling well enough to be around people and enjoy one of my favourite days of the year.

Christmas Presents

Unfortunately for my family they won’t be getting any presents from me today. I normally start doing my Christmas shopping in November but I was a bit late to start this year and then I wasn’t able to do any. I guess I’m also not feeling as materialistic this year. In saying that Santa and Marco did leave me some presents. I got a these gorgeous two dresses from Baby Lemonade. The cookbook, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, by Samin Nosrat. I am so excited about this book after watching her series, Salt Fat Acid Heat on Netflix. As for colouring books I finally got Johanna Basford’s new book World of Flowers and Emelie Lidehall Oberg’s Fairy Tales Colouring Book. I am a big fan of both these ladies work, so I knew eventually they would be joining my collection.

Christmas Colouring

Over this past month I planned to do as much Christmas colouring as I could. I didn’t do as much as I would like to since I wasn’t feeling up it, but I did about nine pages in a few books. Today I will just share a couple page, since the rest are from Johanna’s Christmas. I will do a book review and flip through, to showcase that book in the next few days.

The very first picture I did for Christmas colouring this year is from one of my recent books that I had yet to start. This Christmas Angel is from
Creative Haven Beautiful Angels Coloring Book, by Marjorie Sarnat. I coloured her with Prismacolour and used white gel pen for some of the details and cover some of the black lines. The paper in this book is quite good, but it was a little challenging to blend too much with Prismacolor. I also find most of the pictures are quite busy, so I tried to just reuse the same colors. I am not too sure about the flowers and the pink, but I prefered not to use red. Overall I’m quite happy because the original sketch is quite flat so I think I bought a little dimension to it.

The next picture is from ESCAPE Collage Art by Marty Nobles. This is my second picture in this book and the perfect Christmas image. The paper in this book is a little different. It is thick but its closer to a old children’s colouring book. I do find that soft Prismacolor pencils work well, which is what I used. I just found it challenging when layering for animal fur. It took me a while to do this one as well, as I wanted the right colors that would be harmonious and more old fashioned rather then bright and modern. My background is a bit strange, but I had to give it a little texture. The snow dots where actually already drawn in the picture, so I just used a white gell pen to bring them out. I don’t mind this picture so much now its done. What I reallly like about this book is that you can focus on different sections, which don’t take too long to complete.

Marco’s Birthday Feast

The last thing that I will share with you today was Marco’s birthday dinner, which was a week before Christmas. If you remember last year I made him the Feast of Seven Kingdoms. Well I didn’t go that overboard this year. Octavia had just gotten better and I was on day one of my second bout of illness. I took a couple of short cuts, but I tried to make everything from scatch. We didn’t have a huge amount of guest, so there was plenty for food for that night a couple days of leftover.

So when they arrived to served this platter, which included Proscuitto di Parma, Organic Nitrate Free Legham, gerkins and Rice Croquettes. These croquettes are my Nonna’s specality, which she makes at every family event. I finally tried my hand at making them. I also made a couple gluten free for my nephew. According to Marco mine were really good, but not as good as Nonna’s since she fries hers a bit longer.

For the dinner I served homemade Papardelle with a Traditional Bolgnese sauce. I used this recipe from Food Nouveau and it was pretty good. The traditional ragu uses butter and milk, white wine and much less tomatoes. I cooked it for three hours and it was just so full of flavour. I think the secret is really pushing the meat to carmelise. Since I’m not in the habit of using milk I did use lactose free, hoping that it wouldn’t affect anyones allergies. I also made homemade Gnocchi with pesto and topped with Pecorino Romano. I normally make my own pesto but I used a good quality organic brand to save time. I also made Baked Tuna Canneloni, which had Fontina cheese in the bechemel and filling. Everyone was surprised to really enjoy this one. I also made a green salad and sauted kale with raisens (forgot the pine nuts). For bread, since Serbian’s need their bread I made Focaccia. My sister and brother in-law actually have their own Pizza restaurant, so I was able to use their dough to save time. I added lots of EVO to the dough and a salt brine and let is rise a couple of times. I should have probably split the dough in two, so that it would be more crispy and not as high. Nobody cared, they actually really liked it and there was really not much left at the end of the night.

Lastly for the birthday cake, I purchased this as an impulse buy from a the French bakery, Jocelyn’s Provisions. It was a small Chocolate Sour Cream Cake Small Round, topped with white cholate ganache and sprinkled with
candied violets.  It was extremely rich, but really delicious.

If you made it this far down let me know what you did for Christmas? Any special art projects, cooking or eating endeavours?

Halloween Colouring

Happy Halloween y’all! Did you do anything special for the All Hallows’ Eve? We had our Halloween fun over the weekend. We Trick-a-Treated at shopping centre and did some other Halloween events for kids. Tonight we have treats ready for the two lots of kids that visit our home. Halloween is really not a popular holiday in Australia, but this year there is definitely at lot more interest then previous years.

Over October I decided to just colour in Halloween inspired pictures from a variety of colouring books. I could only get done seven pictures , since I didn’t finish the university semester until mid October. It’s been really fun to colour pictures with the Halloween spirit and revisiting books that haven’t got as much love as they deserve. The books I coloured include the Romantic Country Series, Fantasia and Colouring Heaven Anime Special.

 

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Book Review: August Reverie 2: Epic

It’s been a while since I have written a colouring book review that wasn’t Colouring Heaven issue. So today I have a new review of a book from one of my most recent colouring book hauls. I decided to focus on August Reverie 2: Epic, which has the most beautiful array of artwork. I bought this book on impulse and I’m so happy I gave it a chance, since its not like an of the other books in my collection.

August Reverie II: Epic – Fantasy Art Adult Coloring Book (Volume 2) is the second colouring book illustrated by Chinthaka Herath on behalf of Vivid Publishers. I haven’t got the first book, August Reverie: Adult Coloring Bookbut just like the second one, it has been very popular among the colouring community. Both books are quite similar in style and genre. Chinthaka also has a third book coming out on behalf of Vivid Publishers. I’m not sure if it will be similar, be here is a sneak peak of one of the possible designs. I don’t know much about this artist, only that he is the owner and art director of Intense Media and resides in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Vivid Publishers is also based in Sri Lanka in Kandy, so I’m assuming they are all in the same. This publishing house has also released one other book prior to the August Reverie, which may or not be by the same artist, Wild Animals Adult Coloring: Absolutely Amazing, Stress Relieving, Wild Animals. I’m not sure if it’s very popular, since I haven’t heard much about it but has great reviews on Amazon. 

August Reverie II: Epic is a soft cover colouring book, which is glue bound. The artwork on the front and back cover gives beautiful examples of completed pictures that you can find in the book. You can also find more completed pages by the artist and colourists on the Vivid Publisher Instagram page.

Inside the book there are 24 hand-drawn fantasy illustrations (not including the name plate or contents page). Each design is assigned a name, which can be found on the contents page and there are page numbers on the back of each page. All of the pages except for one features a beautiful women adorned in jewels and most are surrounded by flowers, animals companions, or heraldic frames . There is only one page that does not feature a woman, instead it is a beautiful hummingbird surrounded by flowers. Some of animals companions you will find in the book include Butterflies, Bumble Bees, Dragonflies, Birds, Lion, Unicorn, Fish, Dragon, Bald Eagle, Jaguar, Dolphin and Squirrels. The flowers that you will find include Tulip, Rose, Aster, Peony, Dahlia, Petunia, Forget-Me-Not, Gazania Rigens, Henryi-Clematis, Zinnias and Jasmine. The theme of the book is royalty and dreams, which really comes through the fantasy and regal designs. The artwork is really stunning and is quite detailed, making it easier to know where to shadow and highlight. Additionally, at the the back of the book there are also two pages from August Reverie (first volume).

The pages are all one sided, so there is no need to worry about bleed through. However, paper is very thin and is only really appropriate for pencil, markers, gel pens and pastels. It is highly recommended in the book that you use thick paper or cardboard behind the page you are working on to protect the followings pages, especially when using markers. I assume if you use any water on this paper it would instantly buckle and would not be tolerated. The paper is bright white paper and does have a bit of a shine to it and quite a nice tooth. I recommend Prismacolor Premier Pencils or a softer pencil, just because I fear a harder pencil,  like Faber-Castell Polychromos, may ripe the paper. I do have a firm hand, so a softer hand may be more successful using harder branded pencils. Pastels are another media that are great on this paper, which I employed in one of my own completed pictures. I was able to get quite a few layers on this paper and I didn’t get to the point where the paper wouldn’t take anymore. However I did have to be careful to colour on a flat surface, as the ends of the pages tend to curly or bend if your not careful. So greater care had to be taken when colouring near the edge of pages. The pages also show great indentation from where I coloured on the other side, which is why its so important to protect the rest of the book with some at least 1-2 pages behind your work. At the back of the book there are 3 blank test pages where you can test  your art media.

Both this book and the first volume is available in PDF form, for those that prefer to print out their colouring books. You can purchase the PDF book from the Vivid Publisher’s website. Additionally if your did purchase the physical copy of either book from Amazon, you can get a free PDF copy from the website.  I bought mine from Book Depository and I am still waiting to hear back if my purchase qualifies. So I recommend sending a message to Vivid directly if you purchase yours elsewhere.

Some other bonuses on the Vivid Publisher website (via Youtube), are video flip through of both books and videos of the artist colouring his work. There are currently five videos of Chinthaka colouring pages from August Reverie 2: Epic, which are speed colouring with commentary. He also regularly does colouring contests with free PDF’s of pages from the books, as well as promotional sale prices for the books on Amazon.

Below I have included my own video of August Reverie 2: Epic flip through, which includes 4 completed pictures. You can also see these completed pictures below, with commentary on what I used and my inspiration behind my colour choices. After completing this pictures I am still very much in love with this book. My only issues with this book is that the thinness of the paper and although the tooth is lovely I was not able to cover those stray hairs with pencil. In some pictures is brought the hair to life and in others it came across a little too prominent. Other then that the tooth of the paper is lovely and the artwork is just spectacular. Any more pictures that I colour from this book in the future will be added to my gallery for August Reverie 2: Epic.

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Book Review: Colouring Heaven Fairytale Special

This months Colouring Heaven magazine released in Australia is the Fairytales Special (Issue 36). I was pretty excited about months issue, since it features the artwork of Hannah Lynn. I don’t have any of Hannah colouring books, but I have seen the beautiful coloured works by other colourist. I was considering ordering one of her most recent colouring books, Fairy Tale Princesses & Storybook Darlings Coloring. However, when I saw some of the artwork was going to be featured in this Colouring Heaven I was pretty happy to get a chance to try out her style. This edition actually came out a little later then usual, so after about three visits to BigW I finally got my copy.

Before I show you my completed work I will tell you a bit about the featuring artist, Hannah Lynn. Also if you haven’t heard about Colouring Heaven Magazine see my previous post for more information. Hannah Lynn is a self-taught artist based in Idaho Falls, in Idaho, USA. She was an avid colourist growing up and didn’t train to be an artist. However, her passion for art lead her to make her own artwork, as well as self-publishing and illustrating her own all ages colouring books since 2006.

Hannah has published about ten colouring books to date. They all have her signature style of sweet and whimsical big eyed girls with elaborate hair and costumes. Although they are quite 2D it doesn’t take much to bring these beautiful images alive, not matter your skill level. Most of the colouring  books follow different themes so they are quite unique, but there not deny who the artist is when you see any image from her books. These  books can also be purchased as PDF. Hannah also often gives away free sample PDF from her books. In fact if  you sign up to the Hannah Lynn Vip Lounge Subscription, you get a free exclusive colouring page and a few other treats.

The Fairytale Special issue, it features the 40 pages of line art, on single sided paper. All of the work has been taken from Hannah’s previous books, except for one. This exclusive page is the second page of Beauty and the Beast. The majority seem to be from the Fairy Tale Princesses & Storybook Darlings Coloring Book However, there are a couple from Mermaids, Fairies & Other Girls of Whimsy Coloring Book and Sweet & Simple Whimsy Girls: Mermaids and More Coloring Book. As with most Colouring Heaven magazine the images are named on the corresponding page, by character or theme. Something that is a advantage of purchasing her work in this magazine edition is the paper quality. I have seen from other reviews that the paper quality in Hannah’s book is Amazon Createspace paper. This is ideal for markers but not so great for pencils and not advisable for watercolour. However, if  you can’t get a hold of this magazine, but you would still love to colour her work the paper quality bothers you, you can still purchase the PDF copies of the book and print it out yourself.

For this issue I coloured three pictures and using a few different coloured pencil brands. I also made a video flip through, which is up on my Youtube channel. You can also see more Colouring Heaven Magazine book reviews and completed pictures on my Colouring Book Reviews  and Colouring Galleries pages. As well as any new pages completed from this issue on my Colouring Heaven Fairytale Special gallery. I really did love colouring Hannah’s work, so hopefully I will be able to do a few more from this book in the near future.

 

 

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8# Colouring Update: new books

Hi again, today I have another colouring book  haul. More colouring books? Yes I though I was going to stop buying anything for a while, but then was a sale and you know how it goes… I’m very excited about each and everyone of them, so I thought I would tell you about them before I get colouring.

 

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7# Colouring Update

Today I bring you another colouring update, after completing my challenge to colour in pages from my newer books. If you didn’t catch my last post, that was the first lost of completed pages and these are the rest. The majority of these books are from my colouring hauls, which I showed you in my colouring updates 4# and 5#. I am so happy that I got a chance to try these books and get excited about them again, after leaving them on my shelf for so long.

In this post I have coloured pages from Girls with Poem,   Mythomorphia,  Smyckeskrinet, Daydreams and Collage Art. I’m not sure when I will return to this books but I had really enjoyed each one of them so I hope to do a series more pictures in each one before doing a review and video flip through. All of these pictures will be in my Galleries, as well as much more.

Like I already mentioned, I just recently did another haul of colouring books (yes I know I have a problem). So I will show you guys those in my next post. I also intend on working in Colouring Heaven’s Fairytale Special, which I just got yesterday. So I will probably do a review and flip through of that one next before choosing my next book to focus on. Although I’m still mid semester I just handed in my assignment today, so I’m hoping do a lot more colouring now.

 

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