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:

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everybody! I hope you had or having an amazing time celebrating the end of 2018 and a new start to new year. I am actually really excited about the upcoming year. So many exciting things are going to happen and so many possibilities.

I don’t intend starting the new year with any resolutions. But this year is hopefully going to be fresh start for my health. Once I am feeling 100% I intend to grow my family by one more, followed by my dream Disney wedding in Hawaii. So there is lots to look forward to and prepare for.

This year for this blog I’m hoping to continue to write about travel and colouring. I will also focus more on food and tell you about my new found passion for genealogy.

Before I completely move into the new year, I thought I would take a look back over the last year.


Live

So this year I did quite a bit of spontaneous travel. We visited Singapore and Nordic Europe. I am still in the process of writing about my trip through Sweden and Finland. We saw so muchand I have been a bit lazy in getting it all written up. If you planning I trip to either of these place do check out my posts to see some of the amazing places that you can visit and eat.


Eat

I didn’t post that many recipes this year, but these are the ones that made it onto the blog. As you can see its mostly pasta, since thats a big part of our diet. You can find all these recipes and more in my Recipe Index. Probably my favourite recipes for this year were the:


Colour

Adult colouring still remains a big part of my life. I find it to be a great creative outlet and I don’t see myself giving it up any time soon. I know its not trending so much for regular folks, but the colouring community is still alive and well. This year I review quite a few book reviews, including:

I also did a few of themed colouring projects:

Here are a few of my favourites from this year:

All the best for your new year and I look forward to bring you more travel adventures, delicious eats and colouring inspriation this year!

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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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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6# Colouring Update

I haven’t been sharing my colouring work for a while. So I thought I would show you what I’ve been up to. In my last colouring update (5#)  in July, I mentioned that I bought quite a few new books on my holiday, plus I had a few more from my last colouring book haul that I hadn’t started. So I challenged myself to colouring one page in all (or most) of my new books before I do anymore book reviews.

These pages are not in order from when I coloured them, just what I have photographed so far. These first four are from Fantasia, Forest Girl’s Coloring Book, Dromenvanger and Botanicum. I still have more pages from Mythomorphia, Smyckeskrinet and Momo Girl coming up in a future post. I haven’ t decided what book I will focus on after completing this challenge, since I actually bought a few more books recently, which I will also show in a future post. I wish I had more time for colouring and blogging, but this last month has been hectic with uni assignments and a potent respiratory virus. I’m hoping to get back on track in the next couple of weeks when everything calms down.

By the way, I have recently reorganised my Colouring Book Galleries and Colouring Book Reviews. They are now easier to see and access and are under my Colour tab on the menu bar. All new completed pages will be place in gallery of the book they come from, which may not appear in previous book reviews  you may of seen.

 

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Book Review: Colouring Heaven Misfits Special

This months Colouring Heaven magazine released in Australia is the Misfits Special (issue 35).  It showcases the art of White Stag aka Terra Bidlespacher. I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep buying this magazine every month, but when I saw this issue I really liked the quirky artwork and wanted to see how I would go colouring this style. I really enjoyed it, so I have brought you another colouring book review for today.

White Stag aka Terra Bidlespacher is an American artists, based in Pennsylvania. She is known for her lowbrow, pop surreal, gothic fantasy art.  Her unique style is characterised by the strange and cute girls and creatures, in scenes that are both intriguing, creepy and sometimes humorous. Her artwork mainly features she misfits characters painted in acrylic, but she also does drawings using ink and graphite. She has produced a series of Misfits colouring books with featured her original artworks. There are currently 10 full size colouring books and two mini colouring books. Most of these colouring books explore different themes, including aliens, zombies, unicorns and halloween. For more information of where to purchase White Stag’s colouring books see the end of this post.

I don’t currently have any of White Stag’s colouring books in my collection, so I was very happy to see her work featured in this months Colouring Heaven magazine. The issue features a compilation of 40 designs taken from White Stag’s colouring books, so there is quite a variety in themes of themes, styles and characters. The issue itself is the same format as always, matt cover (that you can colour), 40 line drawings on single sided thin-medium paper, with titles for each picture. This issue only has the names of the artworks and no other information about each work. I appreciate this anyway, as I  can google the original artwork to glean inspiration for backgrounds, colours, textures and light sources. This issue also features some Christmas themed pictures, so I will be sure to return to this book in the future.

For this issue I coloured three pictures and used a varieties of mediums, including water soluble materials.  I also made a video flip through, which is up on my Youtube channel, along with more video of colouring book flip through with completed pictures. You can also see more Colouring Book Reviews and my Colouring Galleries and my Misfits Special Gallery on this blog.

 

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5# Life Update: Scandi Trip

I haven’t given an update in a while and now is probably the best time to let you know what we are up to. We are currently on another trip in Scandinavia for 3 weeks. We actually left a couple of weeks ago, but since I didn’t think I would have time to travel and blog simultaneously, I am writing this in advance.

So how did this happen? Long-story-short there was amazing short study trip to Italy for my school of Museum studies. I really wanted to go, but it the logistics didn’t pan out with a 3 year old and an intensive schedule. Next thing Marco found some super cheap tickets to Finland, which we booked immediately for  between semester and here we are.

So our travel plan begins with our flight into Helsinki, then the we fly within a few hours to Oslo, Norway. We will spend a few days there and then catch a train to Bergen and from there we will do a road trip visiting Flam and Balestrand. After returning to Bergen we will fly to Stockholm, Sweden and do some site seeing and visit family. From there we take a overnight cruise ship to Helesinki, Finland. We have a few days in Helesinki, including a day trip in Tallinn, Estonia. Then we take another road trip in Finland, visiting Turku, Tampere, Ähtäri Zoo, Jyväskylä, Kuopio, Savonlinna, Porvoo and return to Helsinki to fly home. So I spent the week before making this itinerary, which includes all the sites and places to eat. Marco organised the Airbnb’s, car hire, flights etc. It was a very ambitious trip to organise with a toddler, which we hoping will be a happy traveller.

So while I have been away and until I returned I had schedule the rest of my posts. I have finally finished my Singapore Trip, which you would have already seen. Over the next week I have upcoming posts, including a book review and video for the Swedish colouring book Skymningstimman (Nightfall) by Maria Trolle, a review of Holbein Artists’ Pastel Tone Pencils and a recipe for Chocolate Chip Banana bread.

When I get back I hope to share with you some of my new colouring books. I’m hoping to get Maria Trolle’s Botanicum and Hanna Karlzon’s Smyckeskrinet, as well as a few others Scandinavian colouring books. Just before I left I bought the most recent Australian release of Colouring Heaven Issue 33: Secret World of Animals Special. This features the work of Japanese artist Kanko Egusa. It’s so adorable and I can’t wait to get back to colour it.

So until I get back you won’t see anything about this trip. But I hope you enjoy my upcoming posts and I look forward to sharing this travel adventure when I return.

Book Review: Sèrene

Today I bring you another book review from one of my favourite colouring books of all time. This is Sèrene by Indonesian artist, Nicholas F. Chandrawienata. I first saw completed coloured pictures from this book a little while back on Instagram and I was intrigued by the uniqueness and intricately of the artwork. Unfortunately by the time I seriously looked into buying this book it was completely sold out. However, the artist did do a reprint not long ago, which is how I got my beloved copy of Sèrene.

Nicholas F. Chandrawienata is a freelanced illustrator, based in Jakarta, Indonesia. His artwork is so intense, yet delicate and mostly based on figures with intricate clothing or backgrounds. The majority of his work is black and white, with plenty of detailed shading and cross-hatching, which is a dream for any colourist.  You can see his amazing artwork on his Instagram account.

So far, Nicholas has released three colouring books. I am not sure what came first since there are been a few reprints. These include Sèrene, Fantasia (US and Chinese editions) and Eirene. Although they are all very much true to Nicholas’s style, they are quite different.

Sèrene is quite a large book in comparison to others, measuring 34 x 24 centimetres. It has a soft cover, featuring one of the illustrations found in the book. It is bound at the top of the book, which allows the book to lay down flat. There are 32 black and white illustrations which mostly landscape, but there are a few in portrait. The paper is just fantastic. It is thick, white, single sided, so you can really use any medium you like. Most of the pictures are of a single woman, but there are a couple with two or three women. Each woman has a unique face, expression, clothing, jewellery and embellishments. There is also a variety of close-ups, busts, half body and full bodies images. Each picture is also named and this is printed on the back of each image.

I have made a video flip through of this book which includes all of the pictures I have coloured. Below you can see all these completed pictures and find out how I coloured them. I  am very proud of what I have coloured so far. I really think this book has brought out the best in me and I look forward to colouring more from it. Any more completed pictures from this book will be added to my Serene Gallery.

 

 

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Book Review: Colouring The Lion City

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) anColouring 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.


 

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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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