Tag Archives: Coloring

It’s MerMay! Let’s have Mermaids in Wonderland!

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.

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Colored with Tombow Dual Brush Markers

The first half of the book has white pages, while the second half is done with black pages. These make for some stunning pictures!

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Such a pretty turtle!!

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.

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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.

Marcos Chin : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I bought this coloring book to use for this review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright ©Marcos Chin and Harper Design 2017. The coloring is mine. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

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Rainy Days, Whimsical Worlds, and Spring, So Much Spring!

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.

Molly Harrison has a rather distinctive style. It’s a little Precious Moments©, and a little Selena Fenech, and a bit of adorable magic all her own. Honestly, I loved all 26 images in WhimWorld4, and choosing a handful to color was hard.

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Such a sweet fairy!

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.

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Colored with Staedtler finelinerpens and UBrands gel pens.

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.

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Colored with Hoolanda watercolor pens, Windsor&Newton Promarkers and Gelly Roll gel pens.

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!

Molly Harrison Art : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: My Mom bought this coloring book and allowed me several pages to use for this review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright ©Molly Harrison 2019. The coloring is mine. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Pilot FriXion Pens and Markers – Erasable Coloring?

Early this year, Pilot came out with a new line of pens and markers. They’re called FriXion, and are a new approach to an age-old problem for  anyone who uses an ink instrument. “How do I fix a mistake?” Erasable pens aren’t new, but most are either not effective, nor marketed towards colorists.

I like many colorists, love to try new mediums. I originally reached out to Pilot regarding their gel pens, and my Rep instead recommended I try both their FriXion Color Sticks and FriXion Colors Markers.

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FriXion Colors Erasable Marker Pens
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FriXion Color Sticks Erasable Gel Pens

Pretty, aren’t they? I’m going to tackle these separately. Pilot FriXion Colors Erasable Marker Pens is a mouthful, so from here on, they’ll be refered to as Markers. The set I received is a set of 12 colors.  Each marker has a smooth white body with a colored cap and eraser. The company states it is a bold line, but I found it to be comparable to a Sharpie® Fine Line Marker.

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When coloring, I found that the markers were smooth, so long as I didn’t try to cover large areas quickly. The ink is quick-drying and does not smear. While the color is not as vibrant as some of the other Pilot products, it comes out a really pleasing chalk-like matte.

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Colored with FriXion Markers, art by Johanna Basford

Now the FriXion Color Sticks Erasable Gel Pens, AKA Color Sticks, were really exciting for me. The set I received included 16 Color Sticks, and are a thin rigid plastic in the color of the ink, with a clear cap and color matched eraser.  IMG_5306

The pens are amazingly smooth and the ink is nicely pigmented. The color lays down nicely and has the same matte finish as the markers. It’s been years since I’ve colored with gel pens, and I can’t deny that the Color Sticks have reawakened my love of the coloring medium.

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Colored with FriXion Color Sticks, art by Celtic Mandalas

Now, the important thing about the FriXions….Do they really erase?

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Top row is markers, bottom row is Color Sticks

YES!!! They erase like a dream! FriXions use a thermosensitive ink that disappears with the friction of the eraser. Now, the darker colors may leave a slight tint behind on the paper, and the more you erase on the same spot, the harder it is to deposit ink on that spot.

Overall, I think both the Color Sticks and Markers are a great addition to any colorist’s collection.

Disability Note: Because of the fact that FriXions are erasable, I can highly recommend them for people who may want to transition from pencils to ink-based coloring. These are great if you have a problem with hand tremors or seeing fine detail. If you do make a mistake, the eraser can clean up your edges.

Where to buy: All of Pilot’s many FriXion product lines are available on their website. Over the last few months, I’ve been seeing FriXion Color Sticks and FriXion Markers at my local art and mass market stores. The prices vary by store, but neither set is more than $20 USD.

Pilot : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received these markers and pens for free in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright ©Johanna Basford and ©Celtic Mandalas. The coloring is mine. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

One Color Arts – A Different Way to Color!

Hey gang, I’m home finally! I had fun at ZenkaiCon, and while I had to stay a few more days than I originally planned in Massachusetts; I was far from bored! Smart me had packed this coloring book and a couple of markers. My boss was beyond amused to see me pull a coloring book out of my bag, a fineline Sharpie, and color while exhausted.

 

Sunlife Drawing has done it again! They took a really interesting idea, how to color if I only had one or two colors and made a coloring book! Animals – One Color Arts is made of dots and lines that by only using one color, creates the image. The images are single sided, with the back of the page being black. This keeps the pens/markers/colored pencils from bleeding through. The paper quality is smooth and light, great for pencils, pens or markers.

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I see a kitty, do you?

It looks intimidating, doesn’t it? It’s not, really. When you look closely, the lines and dots become clear, and you can guess what animal you are creating.

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Frog!

I got curious, I wanted to know what the image would look like if I did the coloring in reverse. That is, What if I only colored the background?

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Boom! It’s a Bull!

Honestly, the images are excellent either way they are colored. While it is a bit harder to color the background, it is just as rewarding as coloring the foreground.

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Zebra!

I will note that I colored all these images with either Sharpies or watercolor markers. While the back of the page is blacked to prevent bleeding, I did also use a sheet of plain computer paper to assist. The only negative I have for this book is that the pages are not perforated, and I needed a craft knife to remove them from the book. However, I am aware that removing pages is my personal preference, and that not everyone does so.

Disability Notes: This book is great for someone who may be suffering from brain-fog, or have problems making decisions. Because of the dots and lines that make up the images, I warn that people with vertigo issues may not enjoy this coloring book. I fully plan to place this book in my travel bag, as with it, I won’t need to haul my full marker set with me!

Where to buy: Animals One Color Arts is available on Amazon, and currently on sale for $7.56 USD. Sunlife Drawing has coloring books in a multitude of styles, all are affordable, and there is bound to be something for everyone’s interest!

Sunlife Drawing : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received this coloring book for free in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright ©Sunlife Drawing. The coloring is mine. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Hoolanda Watercolor Brush Pens Make My Coloring Pop!

Just before Christmas I received a package from Amazon. Inside was this lovely set of watercolor brush pens. I’d been following Hoolanda on Facebook, and was more than mildly interested in trying a new coloring medium. The package had no note, so I’m working under the assumption that it came from Hoolanda itself.

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Photo Copyright Hoolanda 2018

I’d never tried watercolor pens before, but curiosity is one of my personality quirks/flaws. At first blush, I found the 20 colors in this set to be a nice mix of light and dark shades. The two included water pens confused me until I researched tutorials online.IMG_5205

The nylon brush tips make for smooth color saturation; allowing fine, medium, and bold strokes. I experimented with different papers and styles of coloring books.

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I learned that the flexible brush tips could fit into the tiniest, narrow places, and that multiple applications would layer color, adding depth and shadow.  The only downsides I found were the water based ink would bleed if it got wet after drying, and that you can’t let the brush pens sit in direct Virginia sunshine. When the pens get over warm the water condenses out of the ink. IMG_5197

Disability Notes:  I really can’t think of any major issues with these brush pens. The price is affordable, Amazon delivers, and the caps both fit on the back end of the markers and have a Cap Nub. Much like all markers, they will bleed if left uncapped.

Where to buy: You can buy Hoolanda 20 Watercolor Brush Pens at their website on Amazon. The set I received retails for $15.99 usd.

Hoolanda: Website / FaceBook

The art I colored for this post came from Creative Haven® Butterflies & Blossoms Stained Glass Coloring Bookand Johanna Basford’s World of Flowers.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary set of markers from the manufacturer in exchange for review.  I purchased the coloring book used on this post. The opinions are my own.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Spring is Coming, and World of Flowers is Here!

I don’t know about you folks, but I’ve officially had my fill of winter. Gray days and cold weather, nasty colds and aching bones; I’m sick of the lot! But! The first day of Spring is coming soon, and one coloring book has been my mainstay through this whole rotten winter.

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Last October, Johanna Basford put out a new coloring book. I hadn’t tried any of her coloring books before, having been intimidated by the level of detail in both Secret Garden and Lost Ocean. However, I can’t grow as a colorist if I don’t test my limits, and Johanna’s Colouring Gallery on her website is a safe, welcoming haven for all colorists of all skill levels. I have to say, I love this woman. Johanna describes herself as an “Inky Evangelist” and her tutorials for coloring are upbeat and encouraging.  So I reached out to Johanna and her publisher in the US, Penguin Random House for a copy for the blog.  

World of Flowers is a good deal larger than the coloring books I usually use. It has 40 pages of double-sided images, giving you 80 pages of coloring adventures to have. The pages are 10 inches by 10 inches on a fantastic medium heavyweight paper. The pages are not perforated for removal, this style of coloring book is meant to be kept whole. Johanna’s books include  a color palette test page, so that you can not only see how your pencils/pens/markers look, you can also check for bleed through. This saved my bacon! My sharpies are a no-go in this book, but colored pencils, Hoolanda watercolor brush pens, fineliner markers, and Pilot Frixion markers all performed well.

I think my favorite thing about this book is the diversity of images. Johanna dedicated World of Flowers to her grandmother, an avid gardener. There is a multitude of plants, lots of tiny insects, a full gardening shed interior, a work truck and even a koi pond! Each page is different, and I found my inky journey being not sure where to go next!

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Disability Notes: This is really a great coloring book if you have a wish to color on a low spoon/low energy day. The mix of simple/intermediate/ complex designs means that people with visual and fine motor control issues can all enjoy. The large size of the book means that it is a little unwieldy to use with a standard sized clipboard, if you are like me and color on the couch. However! It works beautifully on my lap desk.

Where to buy: The suggested retail price for World of Flowers is $16.95 USD. It can be found at Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and online at Amazon. 

Johanna Basford: Website / Facebook 

Disclosure: I received this coloring book for free in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright ©Johanna Basford. The coloring is mine.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

25 Days of XMAS – Day 3

Hi guys! It’s Day 3 and a Monday, which is typically SC’s designated day off. Mondays are when I get house stuff done. However, I’m not feeling so hot (winter weather making my body ache), so today is about one of my favorite low-key activities.

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I found Sunlife Drawing Company through a Facebook ad, of all things. It’s a small coloring book publisher who focuses on a particular type of coloring. All of us have done color by number at some point in our lives, and most adult colorists tend to ignore this style.

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What could this be??

The Christmas Animal Quest and Animal Quest books are definitely NOT child’s play! The full-page single sided book has images made of thousands of tiny numbered hexagons on the coloring side, while the back is a white text on black background list of the colors needed for the opposite page.  I have to admit, I loved this book!

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Birds? Maybe??

I enjoyed the level of focus needed to match colors to numbers, and the freedom that not having to decide which color went where gave me. Also, each new color unveiled more of the image, keeping me guessing as to the subject matter for quite a while!

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It’s a set of turtledoves and an angel! Super cute!

The reveal at the end was well worth it! Now, this is not a coloring project that goes quickly; and I did find out about halfway through that my progress would have went faster if I had chosen my colors ahead of time. Still, a perfect low impact activity for listening to Christmas carols on the radio and having a hot cup of tea.

Disability Notes: Due to the small size of the hexagons that make up the images, I can’t in good conscience recommend this coloring book for people with vision impairments or fine motor control issues. However! Sunlife Drawing does have a few books in their Mosaic series that have larger coloring areas!

Where to buy: Christmas Animal Quest Color by Number is available on Amazon for $8.99 USD.

Sunlife Drawing : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received this coloring book for free in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright ©Sunlife Drawing. The coloring is mine.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!