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:

Review: Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencils

During the Black Friday sales, I bought a full set of Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencils from Amazon. I had never seen them in art stores and sale sparked my curiosity to try another product from one of my favourite brands. I recently got these pencils out to experiment, so I thought I’d let you guys know what I think of 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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Adult Colouring Materials

Hi all, I have recently been updating my blog to make it more user-friendly and I finally purchased my own domain! I have been thinking about it for a while and finally committed to this blog. I’m really happy with the kind of content I am able to put out as it covers all my passions for travel, food and colouring of course. I have been a bit slow to get more content out the past couple of months, due to holidays and illness. But I have a few projects in the works to share with you all soon.

I thought I’d share with my colouring enthusiast and curious friends what kind of materials I use for adult colouring. Since I started colouring I have slowing been upgrading and adding to my art supplies. Back when I first started I wish I knew the pros and cons of these brands. Although it was probably better to start with cheaper supplies before I committed to more expensive ones.

There are so many more art supplies I wish could buy if I had unlimited time and money. I would love a set of Faber-Castel Albrecht Dürer Watercolour Pencils, or to experiment with different types of markers like Tombow or Copic. I am also really curious about Tombow Irojiten Colored Pencils. However, I am always mindful about buying pencils that have open stock available and not doubling up too much on materials that are very similar. Who knows maybe Santa will bring me something new later this year.

The latest pencils I purchased were the Prismacolor Premiers, which I can’t live without now. Although I love to go back to my Faber-Castell Polychromos for a different experience and when doing tutorials that use them. I also love my Inktense pencils, which are water-soluble. The technique for Inktense is completely different, so it’s nice to have a break and go crazy with them sometimes. I don’t have a lot of additional materials, but I’m happy with the brands I have bought.

What are your favourite pencils?

Do you have any art supplies you can’t live without for adult colouring books?

 

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Book Review: Twilight Garden (Blomster Mandala)

After so much colouring envy I finally bought Maria Trolle’s Twilight Garden. This beautiful Swedish colouring book has been my latest obsession. I was determined to get as many pages done before I go on my trip. It was an absolute joy to colour. I was a bit intimidated at first, but after taking a few advanced tutorials I can imagine a colour scheme for every page.

Maria Trolle is a Swedish graphic designer, gardener and mother. She is a self-taught artist and does a lot of work for Swedish garden magazines and grocery chains. She draws inspiration from the flora and fauna in her garden. She lives just outside of Stockholm on a beautiful farm. She has a blog and website, called Trolle’s Garden, which is a collaboration with her husband, who is a Garden designer and Design director. Here you can find information on their current projects and images of their amazing garden.

Maria’s first colouring book was Blomstermandala, which was a 20-page poster book, filled with flower still lifes. She also made a postcard book with the similar images. After the success of these two book, she published a full-scale colouring book in 96 pages, in the same theme. This full-scale version of Blomstermandala was eventually republished in an English version,  Twilight Garden, which is the version I bought. Both versions have been incredibly popular in the colouring community. She also illustrated a children’s book,”Vivi söker en vän” (Vivi’s looking for a friend). This was also made into a colouring book under the same name. I have actually purchased this one and waiting to pick it up in Sweden in a few weeks. I’m so excited to see it!

The paper in this book is a lovely thick ivory colour. I didn’t find any bleed through using pencils and my Prismacolor blended really well on this paper. The images include flower still lifes, garden scenes with and without animals and some blacked in backgrounds.

This collection of pictures I coloured is in order of when I coloured them. As I mentioned I did use some tutorials. They were all from Chris Cheng’s Youtube channel. These were by far the most advanced tutorials I’ve ever done and I really learned a lot. So I tried to incorporate these new skills into the pictures I coloured on my own.

 

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Book Review: Daydreams (Dagdrommar)

I finally started colouring a book that I had for a while but I was a bit intimidated to really start. Now that I’ve coloured a few pages I’m a bit more confident and hooked on this amazing colouring book by Hanna Karlzon.

Hanna is a Swedish freelance designer living in Umeå, Sweden. Everything she draws is by hand with pen and ink.  She designs patterns for interior design, wallpaper and textiles and also does commissions for magazines and other companies. Her work is quite unique and is inspired by nature, art nouveau, punk rock and 70’s design.

Hanna’s first colouring book, Daydreams was originally published in Sweden entitled Dagdrommar in May 2015. It has a hardback cover and contains 96 beautifully illustrated pages to colour. The images are printed on both sides and the paper is high quality and off-white in colour.

This book has been incredibly successful and is well known in the colourist world as a must-have book to add to your collection. Originally it was only available through the Swedish Pen Store, but now it is readily available outside of Europe from local online stores (see below).

Daydreams features Hanna’s signature whimsical artwork of delicate flowers, beautiful girls, birds and small animals, interesting insects and forest homes. There is some repetition in her style of birds and insects, but each page is still unique and gorgeous.

Hanna has since released a two more colouring books, Summer Nights (Sommarnatt) and Magical Dawn (Magisk Gryning). She is also about to release a new colouring book Seasons (Tidevarv) in August 2017. Each of her colouring books has also been published in Artist Editions books and Postcards. Both formats feature 20 images from the books, on single-sided, oversized art card (Artist Edition) or postcard sized art card. Seasons will also be released in as 20 Postcard. Winter Dreams (Vinterdrömmar) is the Postcard book that hasn’t been released as a companion to a colouring book. Each of these books is authentic but keep within her style.

I absolutely love this book. The pictures are unlike any of the colouring books I already own and the paper is just heaven to colour on. I first saw a review of Daydreams by La Artistino and feel in love, but the postage from Sweden was too high. Once it became available on Book Depository I ordered it so I could do La Artistino’s tutorials on Colouring a face and Colouring Shiny Hair. I left this book for ages, feeling really intimated by it, but continually admiring other colourists work. So I finally picked it up again, did a few tutorials and then a few more pages on my own.

I have recently ordered Summer Nights (Sommarnatt) and Magical Dawn (Magisk Gryning) and Maria Trolle’s The Twilight Garden (Blomstermandala) I can’t wait to start colouring them, so stay tuned.

 

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Book Review: Kuwi’s Creative Colouring Book 

Last year on my trip to New Zealand I bought a colouring book as a memento of my trip. I’ve only recently started colouring in Kuwi’s Creative Colouring Book: For Big and Small People. This was not the only New Zealand themed colouring book I saw, but definitely the only one I had to buy.

This colouring book is by award-winning author and illustrated Kat Merewether. She is best known for her Kuwi the Kiwi series. The books are centered around a mother kiwi bird, which was inspired by the fragile populated of the endangered brown Kiwi. The illustrations are so cute and the use of colour is quite bright and vibrant.

Kuwi’s Creative Colouring Book is design to teach its audience about native kiwis and features many of New Zealand’s native fauna and flora. They are many fun kiwi facts throughout, as well as many little cute Kuwi’s to colour. In the back there is an index of all the native fauna and flora labeled in both English Te Reo Māori. New Zealand has such an amazing and unique array of bird life and this book showcases them beautifully.

This book can be coloured alone or together with a little person. There are 60 pages, most of which have drawings that have been printed twice, with one containing less detail. This can either be added to or left as a more simplified version for kids. The pages are also perforated, so that they can be easily removed to display work. The paper is white and thick and is perfect for blending coloured pens, pastels backgrounds and adding gel pens details. I’m not sure about using water colour, which I assume would warp the paper at the very least.

I have only completed a handful of pages out of this book using Prismacolor pencils, Mungyo Pastels and Uniball gel pens. I love the quirky, detailed drawings, which look great with a vibrant splash of colour. I tried to colour most of the creatures in their proper colours, but changed it up for some variety. For more information on this book and where to purchase it, view the links below.

 

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This colouring book can be purchased through:

Flip through and Reviews:

 

There are more beautiful New Zealand themed colouring books that you can buy in New Zealand and online. Here a  few I came across when I visited last year:

Moana

I am in love with the new Disney movie, Moana. I recently took my daughter to see it in the cinemas and we have been singing the songs ever since. Our favourite is “Your Welcome”, sung by Dwayne Johnson. Octavia favourite word at the moment is ‘welcome’, which isn’t to be polite but rather demand we play it again and again and again.

What I love most about this movie is that there is no love interest for Moana and that she reflects a realistic body type. Don’t get me wrong, I love the classic princesses and I don’t begrudge the role of the prince and the slim figures of the princess. However, it is refreshing to see a change in the way woman are portrayed. I also love the amazingly, beautiful imagery. So much care was given to each scene to depict a realistic image of the Polynesian culture and gorgeous island landscape.

So many artists have paid homage to Moana in their own style. Here are a few of my favourites:

Kalisami (@karsallam), Yuduki (Yudukichi)Promise Tamang (@promisetamang), Ma xx S t e p h e n °o° (@maxxstephen)Activistic Artist (@activistic.artist)Julianna Maston (@juliannamaston)Elisa G.B. (@asilee_art), Daniel Kordek (@danielkordek)Linnéa (@pastel.ette)David Dias (@daviddias_arts)

I really wanted to also pay homage my new favourite Disney princess. I haven’t drawn anything other than doodles for years. When I was younger I was always drawing and painting. In my youth, I wanted to be an artist. although I was good in comparison to the other student I never felt I was really good enough. But since the adult colouring craze, I feel inspired to be creative again without any pressure.

I usually sketch by sight and never use any technique when I draw. So sometimes my drawings are a bit unsymmetrical. So I decided to get some help from a professional artist to sketch out Moana. There are so many videos tutorials to choose from on how to draw Moana on YouTube. I choose a video by Ellie Holt on her YouTube channel, Spilled the paint.

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Ellie Holt, Spilled the paint

I really enjoyed this tutorial. Ellie gave clear step-by-step instructions and her techniques can be easily replicated again for Moana or another princess. For the drawing  she uses a brown pencil to sketch it out, then went over in it with a black pencil and then again with a thick black marker. Lastly, she roughly coloured her with some coloured pencils and markers.

For my drawing I used pencil to sketch her out, then a black fine tip to go over the outline. After that I coloured her in Prismacolor pencils. For the background and texture of the hair I used this movie still (below). The paper I used was watercolour paper, that’s why it is a bit grainy as well. It took alot more layering to get the colour smooth on the paper.

image_f6e45c87.png So here you are. It’s not an exact replica but I’m happy with it. I feel more confident since doing this drawing and perhaps Moana will pop up again in one of my colouring books or I in a watercolour painting. I think next time I won’t do such harsh black lines as she looks more comic rather than realisitc. It’s was also hard to cover up or alter those lines once they were drawn in.

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If you love art but don’t feel like you can draw, I recommend you try out an online tutorial. You may be surprised what you can produce when you use some artist techniques.

Book Review: Imagimorphia

The current object of my colouring obsession at the moment is Imagimorphia: An Extreme Coloring and Search Challenge by Kerby Rosanes. Since I bought this book I haven’t really coloured in anything else. Just flipping through this book I can find inspiration and can’t wait to unlock all the intricate doodles which can be hard to decipher until you start colouring them.

Kerby is a Philippines-based illustrator with a very distinct artistic style of using doodles to create intricate, quirky images. He originally collaborated  with other authors and illustrated Doodle Invasion: Zifflin’s Coloring Book (Volume 1) and Never Quit Drawing: Sketch Your Way to an Everyday Art HabitBut it wasn’t long until he brought out two of his own colouring books,  Animorphia, Imagimorphia and Sketchy Stories: The Sketchbook Art of Kerby Rosanes. He also has a third colouring book coming out in the new year, Mythomorphia

His first two colouring books are very similar in style. Animorphia features animals morphing into doodles, whereas Imagimorphia also features animals morphing or surrounded by buildings, travel devices, and machines. I was more attracted to Imagimorphia, because I liked the variety of images and I was not as keen on adding to the doodling.  Animorphia offers many images to add to, but I am not very confident in doing this.

For a great review of both of these colouring books I recommend La Artistino’s website and Youtube videos. In her videos she includes finished pages and tips on how to colour Kerby’s work. She also did an amazing job completing the wave ponies picture in Animorphia, which has plenty of space to add additional doodles. When looking at the completed work its hard to know where Kerby’s work ends and La Artistino’s begins. I will post some more links below of some videos and info.

Now for my completed pictures. Nearly all have been coloured with my new favourite pencils, Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Colored Pencils. The first two are coloured with Faber Castell Polychromos Artists‘ Colour Pencils. For sparkles and other details I used a White Uniball Signo Broud Gell Pen. For the black background I used a black Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen. For the backgrounds of the last two pictures I used Mungyo Non Toxic Square Chalk Soft Pastel

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Title Page – This was my very first page and I love it. I used Polychomos pencils and stuck to a very limited colour scheme. The colours used in the doodle are the same ones used for the leopard.

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