Book Review: Colouring Heaven Mystical Beauties Special

This review today is actually not from a colouring book, but rather an issue from the colouring magazine, Colouring Heaven. I recently discovered that Colouring Heaven is available in Australia from a select retailers. I have actually never purchased a colouring magazine before. I have so many great artist colouring books that I never felt a need. Plus I had no idea Colouring Heaven was available in Australia. However, when I saw that Colouring Heaven was dedicating a special issue to the artist Zan Von Zed, I had to get it. It took a couple of months for this issue to arrive in Australia. So this purchase was only very recent. I have done a little review, coloured a few pictures from it and done a flip through. If your in Australia and interested in this book, I recommend getting out to find out asap, while stocks are still available. If your elsewhere in the world you may be able to still get a copy online (see end of this post).

First I thought I would tell you a bit about Colouring Heaven. This colouring magazine is one of many great magazines by British magazine publisher, Anthem Publishing. They offer a wide range of magazines, such as Vegan Food & Living, Music Tech, Italia!, and Ultimate Dot2Dot. Colouring Heaven is one of their newer editions, which has been running since 2015. Each issue is delivered monthly, offering different themes, and presents 40 images on good quality single sided paper. Previous editions have included themes of fairies, dragons, Halloween and showcased artists such as Kanoko Egusa, Jasmine Beckett-Griffin and Selina Fenech. The issue that I will be reviewing today is Issue 32, which I was able to get in May 2018, however in the UK you can currently order Issue 35. I’m looking forward to upcoming issues dedicated to artists Kanoko Egusa (Menuet de Bonheur), Desti (of Collateral Damage Studios), White Stag (Misfits) and Hannah Lynn (Whimsy Girls).

Zan Von Zed is an multidisciplinary artist, based in Australia. She was originally from Poland and spent much of her youth visiting medieval castles and museums with her art historian parents. Her drawings, paintings and clay work primarily features beautiful strong women with distinctive noses, often wearing elaborate medieval gowns. If your interested in reading the best and only interview with her, see Beautiful Bizarre’s The Royals of Zan Von Zed: Interview or check out her artwork on Instagram.

Zan Von Zed has already illustrated three colouring books that are available on Amazon. These include Ladies of Leisure: A Coloring Quest, Ladies of Leisure II: The Quest Continues and Ladies of Leisure III: This time it’s personal. Each book features 20 greyscale and line art drawings on single sided pages. Flip throughs a of all three books were recently uploaded on the YouTube channel Les coloriages de Gribouilleuse. So if you miss this Colouring Heaven issue, you still have the opportunity to colour some of Zan Von Zed’s amazing art.

The Colouring Heaven Mystical Beauties Special issue, features 40 line art, on single sided paper. There is also a code given in the inside cover of the book that gives you access to 5 greyscale images that you can print at home. Only a few of these drawings are the same design as the line art in the magazine. The majority of the artwork in this issue have been taken from her first and second colouring books and only two from her third colouring book. However, these draws are not all completely the same as some were originally greyscale and were only replicated as line art in the magazines.

When I first looked at a Colouring Heaven magazine I wasn’t impressed with the paper, which is quite thin. However, I bought it anyway because I was already had Zan Von Zed colouring books on my Amazon Wishlist. Once I started colouring in this magazine I was quite surprised how much I enjoyed the paper. Although it is a bright white thin paper, it has quite a nice tooth to it and takes pencils extremely well. It is good thing that the images are on single sided though, because it the pencil does leave some shadowing, so of course markers would bleed through. I doubt that watercolour would work on this paper. I assume that it would become quite wrinkled. That didn’t bother me though, since I prefer to work with coloured pencils and pastels. Just note that this magazine doesn’t offer a title page or a tester page to test your mediums.

Below are I have included a flip through of this magazine issue, which includes the five printed greyscale images and four pictures that I coloured. I have also included all of these completed pictures in this post with some commentary on what I coloured them with and my thoughts.

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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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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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Review: Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencils

During the Black Friday sales, I bought a full set of Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencils from Amazon. I had never seen them in art stores and sale sparked my curiosity to try another product from one of my favourite brands. I recently got these pencils out to experiment, so I thought I’d let you guys know what I think of them.

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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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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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Serbian Wild Flowers

When we were visiting Marco’s hometown of Aleksinac, I went on a walk one day in a village with the rest of the young cousins. We walked down this long dirt road through the farmland and we found the most amazing array of wildflowers. I couldn’t believe how many different varieties of brightly coloured flowers I found amongst the grass and crops.

When I travel I always like to take photos interesting native flowers and plants. I like to add them to my photo diaries to the record the unique beauty of a place. I also like to find inspiration for colouring books and art projects.

Do you take photos of flora when you travel?

Do you use them for inspiration for adult colouring or other art projects?

How do you inspire your artistic side?

Do you like to walk through nature, flip through books or peruse sites like Pinterest?

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Happy Halloween

I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween. This year was Octavia’s first time out trick-or-treating. She was dressed as her favourite Disney Princess, Rapunzel. It was so nice to share this with her and my little niece. They had so much fun.

We didn’t  do too many doors, since most didn’t answer. We are in Australia so it’s not that popular. Most of our neighbours are elderly Italians. A few we know and the rest we got to know, which was nice. Since most weren’t expecting us we got a variety of treats including some delicious italian biscuits. They were the first thing O devoured as soon as we got home and will be the only thing. I’m thinking we trade her chocolates and lollies for a toy. She is only two and a half all.

 

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Book Review: Jasmine Beckett Griffith Coloring Book

This beautiful book is one that I wanted for a while and I finally got it. It has quickly become one of my favourites. If you like colouring fantasy and you looking for something gorgeous and dark then you must add Jasmine Beckett Griffith Coloring Book: A Fantasy Art Adventure to your colouring collection.

This is the first colouring book that has been published American free-lance artist Jasmine Beckett-Griffith. She also since published Jasmine Becket-Griffith Halloween Coloring Book: A Spine-Tingling Fantasy Art Adventure and most recently Mermaids Coloring Book: An Aquatic Art Adventure. Both this book are on my Christmas list as I just fell in love with her style.

 

 

The drawings in this book have all been replicated from her original artwork. Jasmine is known for her amazing paintings of big-eyed girls. They are beautiful, quirky and often a bit dark. She based them in themes of fairies, vampires, Disney princess, mermaids, mythology, animals and holidays.  Her artwork has also been used for art prints, books, oracle desk, games, clothing, dolls and more. All of these products can be purchased from her website, Strangling. Many of the items purchased from the website will be signed by Jasmine herself.

This book has 96 pages, which contains 55 drawings. The pages are one-sided and the backside of the paper just has text giving the name and description of the original artwork across on the following page. The paper is high quality and is printed on 150gsm paper, which can handle a variety of mediums. Most of the drawings are one whole page, however, there are a few pages that have 4 smaller drawings. The line art is really a variety of Jasmine’s work. There are fairies, mermaids, fairytale characters and much more.

What I love about this book is that all of the drawings are based on her original works. The paintings are easy to find on her website. They are a great resource if you want to use the same colours or get some guidance on shading and lighting. I also loved that she has included those mini drawings, as I did start with a couple of those before I moved on to a whole page.

Below I have included all of the line art that I have coloured so far. I intend on coming back to this book. So to see up-to-date coloured work, without the commentary, see my Gallery for this book. If you want to see these pictures as I colour them step-by-step, see my Instagram.

 

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3# Colouring Update

It’s been a little while since my last colouring update. So today I wanted to show you some of my new books, colouring materials and other purchases. These were bought over the past couple of months and I intend on making some reviews of them soon.

 

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Book Review: Disney Lovely Coloring Lesson Book

Besides being a compulsive colourist, I am also a big Disney fan. So my colouring collection wouldn’t be complete without a Disney colouring book. When I visited Disney Paris I didn’t find any colouring books that I really liked. The ones that I saw were more aimed towards children. However, I saw a couple of book reviews of these wonderful Japanese colouring books, which are more for adult colourists.

Disney Lovely Coloring Lesson Book (07/16) is by Japanese illustrator and knitting artist, Inko Kotoriyama. This book is part of a series of Japanese Disney colouring books that include lessons on how to colour the characters and scenes in a variety of styles.

This is actually the first of three books of the series. The other books have very similar names, but the front cover and the line art inside are all unique from each other. The other books in the series are Adult Disney Lovely Painting Lesson Book to the world of dreams (12/16) and Adult Disney Love’s gift Lovely painting lesson book (Full of love scenes) (04/17). Inko had previously illustrated two more Japanese colouring books, which are very different to the Disney themed books. They are Romantic Journey (09/15) and Happy Birthday (02/16).  According to Amazon Japan, she also has another colouring book due this November, called Nice dream of beautiful Coloring ruby with a storyColoring Queen has done fantastic reviews and flip-throughs of all of Inko Kotoriyama’s colouring books, except for the book I am reviewing for you. Her reviews were actually the reason I bought this book. So if your interested in Inko’s books I recommend checking them out on Coloring Queens website or youtube channel.

The book has a soft cover with a dust jacket. The cover art is an evening scene of Mickey and Minnie, which is included in the book with tips on how to colour it. The back of the book gives you some examples of the kinds of lessons you will find in the book.

Once you get inside the book you will find examples of three chapters layout and recommended colouring material. The book is in Japanese, but it does show photos of the materials, which are Faber-Castell Classic Watercolor pencils 24 set, Faber-Castell Studio Oil Pastels 24 set, Black fine liners; white, gold and silver Uniball Signo gel pens, and Tombow Light Touch Eraser. There is also a colour chart for the pencils, which include the pencil numbers.

 

The book is then split up into three chapters. In Chapter one there are simple little lessons on how to colour the some of the Disney characters. You are invited to try to colour them using detailed Japanese instructions. These images are not reused later in the book. They are great to get a feel for how to colour the characters and the kind of colours and shading you will need to do to bring them to life. Although this is all written in Japanese, except for the pencil numbers, they are pretty self-explanatory. Chapter two gives you tips on how to colour elements that you will find in line art later in the book. These tips also give you the pencil numbers for the Faber-Castell Classic Watercolor pencils. In Chapter three are all the one page and two-page spreads of Disney characters. There are a variety of different styles from classic to more modern imagery. The thickness and the density of the colour of the line really varies. The kind of characters you will find include Mickey and Friends, Snow White and the Evil Queen, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Tinkerbelle, Ariel, Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, Rapunzel, Aristocats, Bambi, Nemo and Dory.

When I first got the book I tried to find the similar colours in my Faber-Castell Polychromos. However, it was difficult to figure out some of them, as the colour printing in the book is not accurate.  So the next day I went out and bought the Faber-Castell Classic Watercolor pencils 24 set from Office Works. These pencils are very cheap as they are student grade. The brush that is included is pretty cheap quality, so I prefer to use them with my  Pental Aquash Brushes.

 

 


Here are some of the Lessons that I did in Chapter one. I only did the Mickey and Friends lessons, since I intended on colouring similar pictures in Chapter three. However, there are lessons to colour Belle, Cinderella and more. The first picture below I did with my Faber-Castell Polychromos. The following two were doing with Faber-Castell Watercolour pencils and black fine liner. The paper quality is wonderful and I had no bleed through or shadowing with any of these materials.

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