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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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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