When I travel I try to find colouring books that are unique to that country. Sometimes I don’t have any luck, however, while I was in Singapore I came across a quirky book that represents this country very well. Colouring The Lion City: A Sophisticated Activity is illustrated by the Singaporean artist William Sim.
This colouring book is full of whimsical line drawings of Singapore, portraying popular places, cultural icons, and everyday life of this island metropolis. William uses his unique style and imagination to bring these drawings to life. Each drawing features a little robot man and his cat. Some drawings include mechanical flying fish ships and others depict futurist machines fused with iconic landmarks. I imagine that the little robot man is travelling around Singapore and enjoying the sites. I also assume that the futuristic machines represent the unique combination of technology and natural beauty that Singapore has to offer.
The author and illustrator, William Sim, is known for his distinctive drawings, paintings and sculpture. His paintings are dreamscapes that explore the unique blend of nature verse mechanical objects. He artwork has been displayed and several exhibitions. One of the most recent was the Happiness Private Limited 2017: Memory Houses. You can also see his artwork on his Facebook page.
William Sim has authored a few colouring books and postcard colouring books to date. He also released Colouring the World: A Sophisticated Activity (2015) at the same time he released Colouring the Lion City. He later released Colouring Chinoiserie (2016), Colouring Singapore Postcard: Book 1 (2018) and Colouring Singapore Postcards: Book 2 (2018). I believe all the colouring books are formatted and illustrated similar in style and all feature the little robot man and futuristic machines. I assume the postcard books are images from Colouring the Lion City, but I haven’t seen them in person or seen a flip through video.
This colouring book is about A4 in size and has a soft cover displaying one of the images and gold foiling for the title. There are 96 line drawings to colour in the book that are all one-sided, so its idea other mediums such as watercolour and markers, that may bleed through. All the pages are fixed to the book, so you can’t remove any of the images unless you are very careful. The paper is high quality thick bright white, very smooth and has a bit of a shine. The selection of images really is quite a variety of landmarks and natural scenes and other manmade structures. As far as I know, all of these images are unique to this colouring book, as I didn’t come across the exact same image when looking up the artist’s other artwork.
I actually really like this book. The imagery is very different to any other books that I have and perhaps the closest book that it reminds me is Lizzie Mary Cullen’s The Magical City. So if you love colouring with Inktense and watercolour in that book, I’m sure you will appreciate this book as well. I love that the pages in this book are one-sided, as I often get a little worried about using watercolour mediums in my books. I found that that the pages didn’t buckle much at all, so I think it is ideal for this usage. I only have a couple of cons for this book. I would have loved to have the names of the places and landmarks in this book written on the page somewhere. Although my visit to Singapore is still fresh in my mind I was not able to tell exactly where all of these images were representing. I also found the paper had a shiny quality, which was a little annoying at times when using pencils. Perhaps this is because I am a harder handed colourist, and I had to be careful that I didn’t leave the images looking a little streaky. You can probably see from the images that I coloured with pencils that I did struggle with this.
The images below have been listed in the order in which I coloured them. I chose images that were quite different from each other and used different mediums for each to see how they reacted on the paper.