I’ve become enamored with color-by-number coloring books this year. I’ve tried a a few different brands, and one of my favorites so far is Belba Family. Their newest holiday book is a treat!
Christmas & Travel Mosaics lives up to its name. From religious to secular, you can celebrate winter holidays from around the world as you color.
I’m super impressed by the advances that Belba Family is making to their coloring books. In their first book, the only way to check the color/number key was on the back cover. Now, they have it printed on the edge of each page, and I cannot tell you how much nicer and easier it is.
I love the accessibility of this book. The price is affordable, and the color key is filled with colors that can be found with ease no matter what your favorite media; crayons, colored pencils, gel pens, markers or watercolors.
Disability Notes: I found the coloring book has designs large enough to accommodate nearly any coloring age group. Some designs are more complex than others, but all are delightful! If you have eye issues, you may have difficulty seeing the numbers as they are printed in a charcoal ink that is designed to blend into the colored page.
Where to buy:Christmas &Travel Mosaics is available at Amazon. The book’s MSRP is $9.99 USD. There is also a non-color by number version of the book available.
I’ve been traveling a lot this summer. While none of my destinations have been super exotic, I enjoy being new places and seeing new people. This week I’m in Atlanta, Georgia for DragonCon and I thought I’d share a new coloring book that’s been keeping me busy.
Travel Mosaic is a Color by Number coloring book by Belba Family, who also created the Animal Mosaic Book. This coloring book is fantastic!
There are 24 images of places and people from all over the world, done in a pop art sort of style.My sister, Little-Big really enjoyed this book. She did the majority of the coloring on some of the pages!
We both enjoyed the range of images and colors. I’ve found color by number books to be incredibly relaxing. All the colors are ones easily found in most crayon and colored pencil sets, and most marker sets as well.
Disability Notes: I found the coloring areas large enough to accommodate nearly any coloring age group, through a few pages have a higher level of difficulty than others. If you have eye issues, you may have difficulty seeing the numbers as they are printed in a charcoal ink that is designed to blend into the colored page.
Where to buy: Travel Mosaic is available at Amazon. The book’s MSRP is $7.99 USD.
This episode was both interesting and problematic for me. I understand that reunion Island is having a higher than normal spike of fatal shark encounters; but at the same time, humans are in the water, which is where sharks live. The CRA Shark Protection Program is a great idea, as previously the government had sanctioned shark culling. CRA and Dr. Craig O’Connell implemented a new shark deterrent system, so we will most likely have another Shark island episode in next year’s Shark Week. This episode highlights the fact that it takes TIME to find solutions to problems.
Great White Kill Zone: Guadalupe –
I won’t lie, I’ve been a huge fan of Melissa Marquez’s ever since last year’s Shark Week. Lady got bitten by a crocodile doing shark research and kept going! This episode shows the fact that Great Whites can and do adapt their hunting strategies to their environment. While the title of the show is sensationalist, it is interesting that due to the unique geography of Guadalupe Island the sharks have to change their usual behavior in order to be successful. Dr. Yannis Papastamatiou has a wonderful way of explaining things to the layman shark enthusiast.
Monster Mako: Perfect Predator –
Another slightly problematic episode for me. I dislike the use of the term of “grander” Mako to describe the larger end of the Mako shark size spectrum. No other shark species has this designation. Some of the behavior of the crew is incredibly dangerous and immature when filming the Mako’s behavior. I honestly can’t tell what is natural behavior and what is baited behavior. I did like seeing Spinner Sharks and the cinematography was excellent. Focusing on a species other than Great Whites and Bull Sharks was gratifying.
Want a chance to win your own Shark puzzle? Giveaway Link:Here!
Today’s review is MindWare’s Color by Number Color Counts: Glitter Under the Sea. This is the other side to MindWare’s Mystery Mosaic Series of color by number books. Color Counts are done in a stained glass style, with larger coloring areas and an easy to see design. Like the Mystery Mosaics, Color counts features both 22 8×11 pictures as well as 8 double-fold 15×11 pages.
All of the pages are perforated, which makes removal easy. But, the best part, in my mind, is the fact that unlike Mystery Mosaics, Color Counts has duplicate images without the numbers! It is absolutely possible to color the same image twice, once using the numbers, and once by using your imagination!
While you will get excellent results using MindWare’s Colored Pencil Set, if you like Markers or crayons, it is totally possible to make great art! Every colorist has their preferences, and all are good, so long as you enjoy what you are doing!
You did see that the title of the book is Glitter Under the Sea? The other nifty thing about this coloring book is that it comes with a tube of sparkle glitter glue. You can choose to use it or not on your images, but all of the numbered pages have sections where the number is followed by an asterisk(*). These let you know where to add sparkle!
I really think adding the glue made my pictures pop!
Disability Notes: Color Counts is a fantastic coloring book series to add to any colorist’s collection. The thick lines of the stained glass styling are forgiving of erroneous lines due to hand or eye issues. The larger coloring areas are just the right size for comfortable coloring, without over-stressing my hands. I find coloring CBN reduces my anxiety and relaxes me.
Last year I started this Blog on July 28th by watching Shark Week and assembling a Shark Puzzle by EuroGraphics. It started as a way to write about my hobbies as I battle my chronic illness; but has morphed into a way to fight for the much needed recognition for people with invisable illnesses amongst the big names in the toy/hobby industries.
I’m watching Shark Week via Amazon Video this year, so each day’s post will include my thoughts on the episodes from the previous night. Each day’s post will also feature a different shark or ocean themed review!
For my first every Blogiversary, I reached out to Eurographics. They sent me two puzzles to give away to my followers!
Prize 1 is a copy of my first ever review puzzle, 1000 piece Sharks!
Prize 2 is is a copy of the same Sharks puzzle in 100 pieces, along with a copy of Mindware’s Color Counts Glitter Under the Sea.
I saw a lot of awesome stuff at Toy Fair last winter, and the MindWare booth was right up there as one of my favorites. You see, MindWare specializes in “brainy toys for all ages”.
They have a ton of great activity and coloring books in their collection, and today I’m reviewing Color by Number Mystery Mosaics : Book 13. This book has 18 separate images, including 4 double-sized ones.
Bonus, unlike most color by number books, MindWare has created their own matched set of color pencils!! I won’t lie, this really is what excited me about the brand. I like color by number things, but hate digging out coloring supplies to match, much less trying to remember which number is what color! This 36 color pencil set not only comes in a sturdy tin travel box, but each pencil is labeled with both its color and the corresponding number! And! All the MindWare CBN books are standardized!
At first glance the pages looked super hard and I wasn’t sure I was up for this challenge!
But I decided to start small and focused on a single number and took it one row at a time.
Slowly but surely, my pattern grew!
I really love these pencils! The colors are nice and bright( with the exception of #31 White Peach, which is too pale for my eyes); and they lay down smoothly. Having the prematched numbers took away all the stress, so I was able to fully enjoy coloring.
The above photo showing the camper is one of the 4 extra long coloring pages in the book. These 10 by 15 inch folded double spreads allows you to explore a larger image with great detail.
If you want to color with something other than the MindWare pencils, I colored this sunflower with basic Sharpies and it turned out great!
Disability Notes: I will admit that Mystery Mosaics is an advanced book, and may not be for everyone. You may not like it if you have eyesight issues or problems with fine motor skills. If you are a colorist who has anxiety about choosing colors, this set may be something to try! However, MindWare does have a set of color by number books called Color Counts that feature larger coloring areas. I’ll be reviewing one of those during my Shark Week special.
Where to buy: Mystery Mosaics: Book 13 and the 36 Colored Pencils Tin are available on the Mindware website. The book is $7.95 USD and the pencils are $19.99 USD. MindWare has tons of other Mystery Mosaic books are well as other coloring and activity books, so you’re sure to find something for nearly every taste!
If you are not familiar with MerMay, let me direct you here, and then note that while I am not an artist, I am a colorist. And I love mermaids, the odder the better! Finding a non-Disney type mermaid coloring book was a treat!
Mom found this glorious coloring book back in April, and I fell in love with it so badly that I hunted through every local Barnes & Noble store until I found my own copy. It is not often I feel the need to own a coloring book that badly!
Mermaids in Wonderland is a 10 by 10 inch book, with 96 pages of beautiful images of mermaids and other sea life. The paper is a really nice smooth midweight, that takes color with ease without too much bleed through. The pages are double-sided, so bleed-through was something of a worry until I experimented a little.
The first half of the book has white pages, while the second half is done with black pages. These make for some stunning pictures!
Mermaids in Wonderland isn’t just another coloring book, it is a puzzle-solving adventure! Throughout the pages, cleverly woven in are clues to riddles that need to be solved. These riddles work in concert, creating a story that you can be a part of. The only other coloring book I can compare this to is Johanna Basford’s Ivy and The Inky Butterfly.
I think the best parts of this book are the mermaids doing nonstandard mermaid things. There are mermaid (and mermen!) adventurers, acrobats, and warriors. There are salons, restaurants, and amusement parks! There are mermaids from almost every possible culture, from a Chinese Dragon Dance to Native American hunters to European nobility. Unlike most mermaids drawn, there are almost no clamshell bras! It seems to be a function of fashion rather than a statement of sexuality, which is refreshing! The Mermaids of Wonderland have amazingly details on both their clothing and their scales.
Marcos Chin is a new artist to me, Mermaids is one of his three coloring books so far. He has also drawn Fairies in Wonderland and Elves in Wonderland. If they are as good as Mermaids, I’ll be adding them to my collection at some point soon!
Disability Notes: Other than noting that some designs have more complicated linework than others, I have no complaints. Those pages are being set aside for a day when my hands don’t shake.
Where to buy: Mermaids in Wonderland is available on at the HarperCollins Publishers website, as well as Barnes & Noble and Amazon. The book’s MSRP is $15.99 but some locations are selling it for less.
It’s raining today. Not surprising, being the tail end of April in Virginia. But the rain is not unwelcome, it is warm, and will intermittently stop to let the sun shine through. I’ve always been a pluviophile. Rainy days are peaceful, so long as my body doesn’t protest; and I spend them happily curled up reading a book or coloring.
Today’s treat is on loan from Mom. I inherited my coloring habit from her, and I tend to suggest coloring books and artists to her that I think she’d like. I’ve been following Molly Harrison on Facebook for a year or so now. When she released Whimsical World #4 – Fairies, Mermaids, Animals, Flowers and Cuteness Galore!: Fantasy themed Adult Coloring Book for the Young at Heart! (That’s a mouthful! I’m calling it WhimWorld4 from now on.)I poked it at Mom. She bought the book and brought it down when she visited this last week for Easter.
The only complaint I have with this coloring book is that the pages, which are single-sided, are not perforated. I can understand why, perforated pages add to printing costs. I just dislike the page wrinkling that happens when I use my craft knife to cut pages out. Other than that, the pages are lightweight, good quality paper. I colored with watercolor markers and fineline markers with no bleed through. Alcohol markers require a cardstock backing page.
The reason I recommended WhimWorld4 for Mom was that Molly makes sure there is a nice mix of simple and complex images. All are cute, but their differing complexities lends to differing coloring styles. Mom likes colored pencils and gel pens, I prefer markers. Every once in a while, I like to break out the crayons.
Molly has a great Facebook page where her fans can post their coloring and she does freebie pages for download. Molly Harrison does watercolors that are amazing, but that I’m not at a skill level to attempt. I have to remind myself that I color for stress relief and that my level of coloring cannot be compared to others. As SC tells me, “Everyone who colors is a colorist.”
Disability Notes: Other than needing a craft knife if you want to remove pages, I can’t think of any negatives. The images in Whimsical World 4 are all G-rated, and at the simplest, can be colored with crayons. I can recommend this book for people with both eye and coordination issues that are mild to moderate, depending on your ability. I had horrible eye strain while working my tree-fairy and was still able to keep to my lines.
Where to buy: Whimsical World #4 is available on Amazon, and currently on sale for $8.99 USD. Molly Harrison has coloring books in a multitude of styles, all are affordable, and there is bound to be something for everyone’s interest!