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: Secret Garden

I’ve been addicted to adult colouring books ever since I received my first book after I had given birth to my baby. I only wish I had taken up this hobby while I was pregnant, when I had so much time up my sleeve. Since Octavia was 8 months she was able to pull her self up to the couch, steal my pencils and empty my pencil sharping all over the floor. So I usually have to wait until she is napping or finally down for the night to get down to some serious colouring.

One of the first adult colouring books I bought was Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden. Johanna is a Scottish illustrated that pioneered the adult colouring boom with the Secret Garden. She has since gone on to release four more colouring book that have also gained much popularity. I current own her first four books and I am hoping someone buys me her last book, Johanna’s Christmas, but I’m not holding my breath. My family already think I have enough colouring books, so not counting on getting anymore this Christmas. But I am definitely getting colour envy seeing all the amazing work other colourist have put up.
I thought for my first post on colouring I would share some of my early work from this book. As you can see I am not the best colourist, but I have come a long way learning new techniques that are more evident in some of the other books I have worked.
When I first started I had bought Derwent Studio Pencils, which I soon realised were not the best for colouring. They are very hard and I often ruined the tooth in the paper. I soon upgraded to Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils which were so much softer and easier to blend. So you will probably notice some variation in these images.

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