Book Review: World of Flowers

World of Flowers is the newest book by colouring evangelist Johanna Basford. I received this gorgeous book from Marco for Christmas and I finally started it this last month. I had been putting it off a little because sometimes I get a little sick of colouring flowers. However, I actually had quite a lot of fun with this book. It has quite a bit of variety and very different to the flowers in Johanna’s other books as you will see.

So if you have been living under a rock you may have not heard of Johanna Basford. But I doubt this would be the case if your a colourist. This is Johanna’s seven colouring book (not including all the artist edition, journals, calendars, etc). It was only published in mid December 2018 in both the UK and US. I have the UK edition, like the rest of my collection. As they are readily available in Australia and online. From what I have read in the past I do prefer the UK editions, but if you would like to see a side-by-side comparison of this book, see this video by Colouring in the Midst of Madness.

World of Flowers is the same format of most of Johanna’s other colouring books. It is a square shape, sized at 25.1 x 25.1 cm. Like all the UK editions, it has a soft cover with a dust cover over the top. The cover is bright white, with black inked flowers and some rose-gold foiling. You can find the same flowers inside the book, but not in the same formation. However, the inside cover and does have the same design that you will find in the book. Inside this book you will find 80 pages to colour with a variety of new designs. The paper is ivory in colour and medium thickness. It has the same paper that you will find in Johanna’s later colouring books ei. Magic Jungle, Johanna’s Christmas. Toward the back of the book there is a page to test your mediums and a page that extends, which is double sided.

The floral designs in this book are gorgeous and as I mentioned, is a lot different to what we have seen before from Johanna’s other colouring books. Since flowers are the subject of the book they are much more detailed and vary in shapes, sizes and design style. Flowers aren’t the only things you will find in this book. You will also find succulents and other potted plants, magic potion bottles, butterflies and other insects, household objects and furniture, fairy homes, etc. The designs range from the usually wreaths, wallpaper and mandalas, to garden scenes, busy shelving, large and small circular and square designs. There is just so much variety that you won’t feel like your colouring the same stuff that you have come across previously in her books.

So as you guessed by now I do love this book. I did find some of pages with the larger spaces a bit intimating because I don’t love doing large backgrounds. However, if your like me you can skip some of these pages or just do put in more effort to the suspended objects and they will speak for themselves on the ivory paper. Something I really loved was the last couple of pages that pull out, which I would like to return to in the future.

Below I have included a video flip through and all the pages I have coloured in order that you will find them in the book. I have only used Prismacolor Premier pencils and a couple of gel pens so far. As you will see these pencils work very beautifully on this paper. I don’t see that there would be any problems with other harder pencils or water colour, so long as you are careful. There are plenty of examples by other colourist using other pencils, so I recommend checking out Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration.

The Title pages is always a challenge for me and I usually come back to it last. I wanted it to be an explosion of bright colours, which complemented each other. I also wanted to use different techniques for each flower, so they didn’t look so similar and flat. I am quite happy how this one turned out and it makes me happy when I open this book.

The Name plate pages was also another one I was stumped on because the flowers were so tiny, so it would be difficult for them to pop out of the paper. I started with a navy and coral colour scheme and added some complementary colours as I went. I also added some gold gel pen to cover some of the little black dots and lines, which really brightened it up.

This gorgeous selection of Flower motifs are not my colour scheme, but rather the from the mind of the amazing Chris Cheng. I started following her four-part video tutorial when I started this book, but I ended up coming back to right at the end. They just took me so long, but it was well worth it. So many layers went into it, which is why they look so stunning. She also done another gorgeous tutorial of a flower wreath. Peta Hewitt also did a tutorial for the same picture, so I still have to do decide which one I will do at a later date.

This Alchemy Garden is another one of the last picture I did. I took my time adding many layers to the background, flowers and bottles to try and make the objects look more three dimensional. I am happy with most of the elements but now I’m wishing I did a stone wall for the background, as it looks a bit bare. For the magic potions I was inspire by this Chris Cheng’s Fairy Potions from Fairy Miracles. This was my first attempt at something like this, but now I think I can tackle a few more magic potions in Hanna Karlzon’s Magically Dawn, which I’m yet to start.

This Sunflower and Tulip is the first page I that completed. I started with the sunflower and I was very disappointed in it until I finished the tulip. I only wanted to use a few colours for each and with both side-by-side it has the effect that I wanted. The page beside this has another two flowers with the same frames, so I plan to do those in red and green to complement this page.

This Flower Fairy Garden is the second page I did and it took me so long. I was thinking of doing a grey purple stone frame, but by the time I got this far I just wanted to move on to something else. This picture remind me a lot of some of the double page spreads in Secret Garden. If you see some of the pages I did my Secret Garden gallery, you can definitely see an improvement in both my colouring and Johanna’s flowers. These flowers were a lot more interesting to colour and I like how oversized they are.

If you’re interested in purchasing World of Flowers you can find it from:

Book Review: Johanna’s Christmas

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and/or happy holiday time with your family and friends. I also like to wish you a Happy New Year over the next day or so, depending where you are. Today I have finally have for you my review and finished pages from Johanna’s Christmas. This is the only other book that I worked in over the past month.

Johanna’s Christmas: A Festive Colouring Book is a Christmas themed colouring book by the great Johanna Basford. It was published back in October 2016 and its been quite popular during the last two holiday seasons. I wasn’t sure about buying it last year. However, a few months ago I found it for a really good price, so I though why not add another one of Johanna’s books to my collection and have plenty of beautiful pages to colour during the holiday season.

Johanna’s Christmas is a similar format to Johanna Basford’s other books, but it doesn’t have removable dust cover. Instead it has a soft cover with a french flap, The front and back covers are decorated with a collage of Christmas inspired drawings and has gold foil detailing on the front cover. Inside there are 80 pages, which are perforated for easy removal. The paper has a nice, soft texture, ivory in colour and is thick like Johanna’s other books. Although there are 80 pages, there are only 37 pages of illustrations, which doesn’t include the title page, name plate page or colour palette tester page. On the back side of the pages there is a pattern that has been printed in grey ink. Through out the book there are three different patterns on the back side of the pages. You could colour them, but they are more decorative or allow you to feel more free to use different mediums with ease. I know some people feel that they are getting less for their money, however it really didn’t bother me. I liked having the freedom to use wet media, which I normally don’t in Johanna’s books because I am paranoid of bleed through. I also liked that I didn’t have to worry about colour transfer onto the other page, however there are quite a few double pages spreads. I am careful to place a piece of paper on those pages to protect the facing image, even when storing the books. Just note the I have UK edition, so if you would like to see a comparison to the US edition, see this great article by Colouring in the Midst of Madness.

The images in this book undeniably Christmas inspired, however there is plenty of variety and all have Johanna’s signature style. There are drawings with wreaths, mandalas, round and full page collages, full page scenes and images with large blank backgrounds. There are plenty of Christmas trees, baubles, winter animals, presents and much more.

All in all, I am very happy that I bought this book for Christmas colouring. I love the format of the book, that gave me the freedom to experiment, I love the variety of pictures, which included many cute animals and cosy scenes. The paper is just fantastic and takes pencil and watercolour like a dream. My only criticism is the the black french flap, attached to the cover is in black, which has left black marks on both the front title page and back colour palette test page. Although this can be erased it will be constantly rubbing and I will have to protect it with paper for storage.


Below I have included a video flip through of Johanna’s Christmas and photographs of seven pages that I have coloured from the book. They are listed in order as they appear in the book, rather then when I coloured them.




The Christmas polar bear is one of the first pages I coloured for the holiday season. I have seen this page done in a variety of ways, but I wanted mine to be more unique, so I created a background, which was inspired by the northern lights and forests in Scandinavia.

I first roughly drew in the tree line and tried to mirror it the best I could for the lake. I then added in the skyline, which was also mirrored on the water. This took quite a while, but on this paper my Prismacolor pencils blended quite well. Next I coloured the polar bear and ice and added white gel pen for the fur and to go over the black ink lines. Lastly, coloured the water line, scarf and presents. I tried to reuse the same colours from the background, with an additional pop of limestone green and yellow orange. I also did some extra detailing for the stars and presents with white gel pen. This pages didn’t turn out perfect but I am happy with the pastel colours and the concept.


The Gingerbread houses is a double page spread, which I coloured last in this book. I didn’t take this one too seriously, I just wanted to do something fun and pretty.

Since there was so much to colour, I put a base of layer of Inktense pencil activated with water. I found that this worked really well with another one of the pages I coloured below and it really sped up the colouring time. Since I had to go all the way to the edges of the page, the paper did buckle a little, but over the next couple of days it did flatten out, by having the book closed. The texture of the paper was affected in anyway, so its was lovely to colour over the top with Prismacolor pencils. I quite liked how the pencil was quite chalky over the top and helped soften the black ink lines. In saying that I did still go over all the black lines with a white gel pen. I was nearly able to finish it however I did have to use a bit of white Posca pen when my gel pen ran out. This was not idea, since its just absorbs into the paper, but it was only a small section.

For the sky, I had originally just coloured it with darker pink Inktense pencil and light pink Faber-Castell Albrecht pencil. It was a little flat though, so I tried to draw in some clouds with different shades of pencil. I did end up outlining them with white gel pen and going over the sky again with pink Prismacolor, just to give a point of difference. Its not perfect but its better then having no sky and it was quite easy to do.


The Rocking horse was the first page that I had used Inktense as a base and Prismacolor pencils over the top. I found this technique really sped up the colouring time and gave a richer colour. It also softened the black lines and the pencils gave a lovely soft finish. The only thing that I am not happy with and was a learn curve was the green circle background. I originally went in with a dark green and white Inktense pencils. After activating it with water the texture looked horrible. When I tried to go over the top with light green pencils, it just looked very scratchy. I think the problem was the white Inktense pencil. Overall then the paper took the water quite well, since I didn’t have to colour to the end of the paper. So I have mixed feelings about this one.


The next double page spread is my least favourite of the bunch and was more of an experiment with Mungyo Pastels. I am a bit nervous to use pastels, since when I have used them over pencil they kinda washed out the pencil vibrancy. I know you can use a colourless blender to protect the pencil but it seems I still worry doing a rich layer of pastel. So I thought for these pages I would do a really rich layer of pastels and then go in over the top with pencil. The only thing I didn’t count on was that I was not able to erase the pastel as well as I hoped. So it was a little hard to cover the drawings with pencil and it took on some of the background colour, hence why my gold is so orange. I don’t think I would do this again but it at least now I know.

The last picture is my favourite and is the first picture I did for the Christmas season. I took quite a while filling in the background before colouring the rest of the picture. I don’t normally do this but it was well worth it because when the other colours did smudge on the background I was able to erase it. Although it looked like quite a simple design it quite a detailed picture and it took me a while, but I just love it.


I hope you like the last of my Christmas colouring for this season. If you are curious about this book and see it for a good price I really recommend buying and putting it away for next year. I think it will still be popular next year like all of Johanna’s books and it’s just a beautiful quality colouring book. At the moment, the prices are quite low but also look out price drops prior to the next Christmas season.


This book can be purchased from:

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.

 

Continue reading “Book Review: Ivy and the Inky Butterfly”

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.

Continue reading “Book Review: Secret Garden”