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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Book Review: Coloriage Wild

When I first saw these images of darling little girls with floral head dresses start to pop up in colouring community I knew I had to have this book. I found it they came from the delightful French colouring book Coloriage Wild. Unfortunately, I was unable to get hold of it in Australia. However, if you have been following me recently you know we went to Europe this year and visited Bourdeaux. I was able to purchase this book on Amazon France and have it shipped to my friends, who live there.

Coloriage Wild is by French artist and illustrator Emmanuelle Colin. She was originally an architect, however, her artistic passion led her to become an independent illustrator. She has since illustrated books and her designs have been used for puzzles, games and wall decals. This book is her first colouring book and she just recently published her second book, Coloriage Wild 2.

It includes the fourteen of her sketches from her Wild collection. These drawings have originally been done with graphite on paper and been reproduced in a 20 x 20 cm spiral bound book. The designs have been repeated twice, giving you 28 drawings to colour. The pages thick 250gr paper and all are perforated so they can be easily removed from the book.

The drawings in this book are in grayscale. This was my first time coloring grayscale images and I quite liked it. I did have to be careful not to completely color over the top of the existing shading so I could see where to go in lighter and darker. It did make it a lot easier to know where the shadows and light source are. I found I had to use a lot of care to colour the flora and this took me the longest in all the drawings. However, the skin and hair have been sketched so naturally that it was quite quick and easy to colour these details with realism. If these sketches were not done with grayscale I doubt they would look so realistic and three dimensional for an amateur like myself.

In this book, I decided to experiment with a variety of mediums. I used Prismacolor Premium pencils, Faber-Castell Polychromos, Faber-Castell Water Colour Paints, Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolour Pencils and Derwent Inktense. Surprisingly, I had very different results. Some materials really were not suited to this paper, while others worked really well. However, depending on your technique you may come to different conclusions. I did find I had to use a lot of layers and a bit of pressure to get a smooth finish on this paper. I also found that my pencils left quite a bit of dust and I had to be careful not to smudge colours all over the paper. Below I detail my experiences with each medium.

In conclusion, I do love and highly recommend Coloriage Wild. The artwork is gorgeous and would be lovely to display in their original form or with colour. The grayscale sketches prompt light and shadows, so even if you are a beginner it would not be difficult to colour. The paper is high quality and allows for many different mediums and experimentation.

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Flower Fairy: first in Coloriage Wild

I recently bought a French colouring book, when I visited France a few months ago. Coloriage Wild is by French artist and illustrator Emmanuelle Colin. Her beautiful artwork has been used in storybooks, games, paper dolls, stickers and more. I will be reviewing her book next, but first I wanted to share my first picture that I coloured.

When I first looked at this book I didn’t know where to start. The line drawings are so beautiful and delicate and styled more like grey scale, which I had never coloured before. So I thought I would see what kind of art Emmanuelle does and which kind of colours she uses for her flower girls.

These are a few of her finished pieces that can be found on Pinterest and her blog::

 

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Book Review: Sagor Och Sägner

On my recent trip to Sweden I came across a new book that I had never seen before and it was love at first sight. It was also an impulse buy and definitely one I haven’t regretted. Sagor Och Sägner is illustrated by Swedish artist Emelie Lidehäll Öberg. It was published this year and is Emelie’s second colouring book. Her first book Sagolikt (2016), was very popular in Sweden and across the world, so it was enviable she would be illustrating a new book.

Sagor Och Sägner translates to tales and legends. The book is filled with line drawings that are based on Nordic folklore and fairytales. This book has a hardcover similar to colouring books by Hanna Karlzon and Maria Trolle. It has 96 pages and drawings are printed on both sides. The paper is high-quality off-white and pencils lay down very nicely on it.

This book is currently only available from a few Swedish retailers (and one in the Czech Republic). I actually bought my book in a Swedish book store in Helsingborg. However, Amazon does carry Emelie’s first book.

I absolutely love this book. Emelie’s style is completely different to any other colouring books that I own. There is definitely a Swedish feel to this book, which is both quirky and whimsical. I was a bit intimidated by this book as it wasn’t like anything I coloured before, but once I got started I found the line art really agreed with me.

I really put a lot of love into the following pictures that I coloured from this book. Each one took me at least four evenings, once my toddler was tucked into her bed. I did a bit more planning for most of these pictures, so I thought I would share some of my thought processes. I wanted to try a variety of themed pictures, as some spoke to me than others. I also wanted to colour some of the pictures that weren’t so popular on social platforms. I used both Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils and Prismacolor Premier pencils in this book, which both lay down very well. I am really happy how my pictures turned out and hope I did Emelie’s work justice.

 


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Choosing colours for adult colouring books

Choosing colours in your adult colouring books can be both daunting and intimidating. Sometimes you will see pictures that you really love but you just don’t know how to get started. This is something that I come up against a lot in my own books.

There are a few methods of choosing colours that can give you the courage to take on any line drawing in your colouring book. I have personally used all of these methods to help me.

 

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Book Review: Vivi söker en vän

While I was away on holidays I had major colouring withdrawals. The first book that I got started with was the Swedish colouring book Vivi söker en vän by Maria Trolle. It’s taken me a little while to get some pages coloured to share with you all, as I have been sick for the past month.

It wasn’t easy getting hold of this book. There are only a couple of Swedish retailers who sell the book online and to get it sent to Australia upwards from $50. Luckily we were travelling to Sweden on our trip.  The next problem I faced was to buy the book online and get it sent to a Swedish address without a Swedish personal number. We don’t have personal numbers in Australia, so I found this odd that Swedes need one to purchase online. Luckily I was able to get Marco’s uncle to buy the book for me for 90kr ($14Aud) from the Penstore. I have seen many other colourists with this book so I’m not sure how they got hold of the book in their countries, perhaps a bulk group order.

Anyway, I am really in love with this book. It is true to Maria’s style and is similar to her other books. However, this book a collection of drawings from a children’s book that she illustrated, also called Vivi söker en vän (Sagobok). The name translates to ‘Vivi is looking for a friend‘. Unfortunately, there is no English edition of her story book. So I can only guess what is about based on the pictures. Maria did mention on her facebook page what the story is briefly about.

“When Vivi woke at dawn the walls were darker than usual and the house felt cramped. I want a friend, someone who is just mine, she thought. Vivi lives in a tree house in the woods. One day she goes on an adventure to find herself a friend.
Vivi takes a ride with a bird and flies up into the sky where she meets the Cloudbear. She goes deep into the ocean where she meets a mermaid. In the oak, she becomes friends with the tree spirit. Vivi looks into hollows in the ground where the voles live. But who can be her very own friend who is hers always…
The Miniwolf are also looking for a friend. He is curious about Vivi and wonders if she’ll ever see him …
Vivi meets a friend is about finding your place in the world and to find yourself and meet the right person. A best friend” (Maria Trolle).

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Cover of the storybook

 

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Book Review: Twilight Garden (Blomster Mandala)

After so much colouring envy I finally bought Maria Trolle’s Twilight Garden. This beautiful Swedish colouring book has been my latest obsession. I was determined to get as many pages done before I go on my trip. It was an absolute joy to colour. I was a bit intimidated at first, but after taking a few advanced tutorials I can imagine a colour scheme for every page.

Maria Trolle is a Swedish graphic designer, gardener and mother. She is a self-taught artist and does a lot of work for Swedish garden magazines and grocery chains. She draws inspiration from the flora and fauna in her garden. She lives just outside of Stockholm on a beautiful farm. She has a blog and website, called Trolle’s Garden, which is a collaboration with her husband, who is a Garden designer and Design director. Here you can find information on their current projects and images of their amazing garden.

Maria’s first colouring book was Blomstermandala, which was a 20-page poster book, filled with flower still lifes. She also made a postcard book with the similar images. After the success of these two book, she published a full-scale colouring book in 96 pages, in the same theme. This full-scale version of Blomstermandala was eventually republished in an English version,  Twilight Garden, which is the version I bought. Both versions have been incredibly popular in the colouring community. She also illustrated a children’s book,”Vivi söker en vän” (Vivi’s looking for a friend). This was also made into a colouring book under the same name. I have actually purchased this one and waiting to pick it up in Sweden in a few weeks. I’m so excited to see it!

The paper in this book is a lovely thick ivory colour. I didn’t find any bleed through using pencils and my Prismacolor blended really well on this paper. The images include flower still lifes, garden scenes with and without animals and some blacked in backgrounds.

This collection of pictures I coloured is in order of when I coloured them. As I mentioned I did use some tutorials. They were all from Chris Cheng’s Youtube channel. These were by far the most advanced tutorials I’ve ever done and I really learned a lot. So I tried to incorporate these new skills into the pictures I coloured on my own.

 

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