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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Happy New Year!

I hope you all had amazing New Years celebrations. My evening was pretty quiet. I was going to let O stay up but she was getting cranky, so put her early to bed. I had a relaxing night colouring and drinking Rekorderlig.

I was able to finish my only New Years themed picture. I was hoping would be done in time for today. It is from the Japanese Disney Coloring to decorate the four seasons (Boutique Mook no.1255). I used Prismacolor Premier pencils, Mungyo Pastels and gel pens. I was a fun one to do, but after colouring so many Mickey pictures for my Christmas Colouring, I’m excited to start some of my new books. I can’t wait to start Serene, Inklings 1 and 2, the Romantic Country series. If you would like to see more pictures from this book, see my gallery Disney Coloring to decorate the four seasons.

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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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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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Derwent Products Review

I recently bought a couple of Derwent products to add to my Adult Colouring Materials, and I thought I would do a little review of them. These include Burnisher and Blender set and Super Point Mini Manual Sharpener. I also have the Derwent Artist Pencils 72 Pack and a Derwent Electric Eraser, which I would like to show you as well.

 

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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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