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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
Apparently, I’m not the only one in my house climbing the walls in anticipation of this Wednesday. the decorations are all up, the cats that will tolerate clothing have been dressed, and I’ve been binging on Halloween makeup tutorials.
With all the birthday and decorating insanity behind me, I needed a quiet day to color. For me, coloring is twofold, it relaxes me and on a bad day, it makes me feel as if I’ve gotten something accomplished.
I met with Jasmine Becket-Griffith’s husband, Matt at DragonCon. Unfortunately, due to both of us having incredibly busy schedules, we never crossed paths. But! Matt was amazingly helpful, had remembered the email I’d sent Jasmine about the blog and offered a coloring book for review. I ended up buying a second one because the best way to love an artist is to buy their stuff! (I couldn’t decide, and her art really is that good!)
I’ve followed Jasmine’s art for years, and this coloring book blows me away! There’s a great mix of adult and child level difficulty and with the Halloween theme, the subject matters ranges from creepy to almost…cute.
The book is full of 96 images on 55 pages of a smooth, heavy artist’s paper. While the pages are not perforated, the book can and does lay flat. Or, if you are like me and prefer to work on a clipboard, excising the pages with a craft knife is simple since the back of each page holds only text describing the picture next to it.
How does that math add up? The 96 images on 55 pages? It’s easy! Jasmine added some of her images in small quartets for a quick color session.
I did manage to finish my chosen page, The Queen of Halloween. Which was colored while listening to an audiobook and talking to the cats.
My Halloween Helpers, Zoomie and Pandemonium.
I wish everyone a safe, and Happy Halloween!
Where to buy: You can buy Jasmine Becket-Griffith’s Halloween Coloring Book (SIGNED) at her website for $29.99 USD. You can also buy her other coloring books there as well. You can also find Jasmine’s coloring books on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, for a little less, but they won’t be signed! If you aren’t sure you want to invest in a full coloring book, Jasmine also has a $5 USD Coloring Tier on her Patreon.
I meet a bunch of talented and artistic people at DragonCon every year, and this year was no exception! I got to talk with local artist Annie Stegg Gerard about the blog and my goals for it. She completely understood, having had her own trials with the boredom that is bed rest. She gifted me one of her coloring books, The Moonlit Vale.
Annie also included this beautiful pencil-case, which I’ve been using for holding the spare markers that don’t fit in my coloring case.
I’ll admit that I’ve been dithering over this coloring book. It’s a LOT more complex than my usual fare, and I’ve been afraid that my coloring skills wouldn’t be able to do it justice. Today I sat down and simply TRIED. It was harder than it sounds.
Look at this beautiful art!
The book is small, only 8″by 8″ inches, and has 78 perforated pages. Now, I can’t say that they are single-sided pages, as on the back of each one is a little illustration that you can also color, which is great for people who prefer colored pencils.
For the marker and gel pen colorists, Annie includes a thick vellum sheet to place behind your artwork to prevent bleed through.
I absolutely surprised myself! Can’t believe that I managed to make something that pretty…it must be because of Annie’s amazing art. Yup.
Now that I’ve done one piece, I can’t wait to color another! Not only has Annie made Moonlit Vale, which features mythical animals and ladies; but she has also drawn a coloring book called The WildWood Soiree, which features animals in outfits that remind me of both Beatrix Potter illustrations and Brian Jacques’s Redwall series.
Where to buy: You can buy The Moonlit Vale and pencil-case at Annie Stegg Gerard’s website for $30 USD. You can also buy her other lovely coloring book, The WildWood Soiree there for $20 USD
I’ve been a fan of Selina Fenech’s since 2001. Yeah, I’m ancient, I know. I spent entirely too many hours in my college’s computer lab hunting down art to color for my weekly D&D group. When I started PuzzlePaws, I knew I wanted to try to contact some of those artists I fell in love with seventeen years ago.
I got lucky, Selina sent me two of her coloring books to review, and both are very different from the mermaids and fairies that are the backbone of her style.
Firstly is Victorian Romance. Now, there are actually two different versions of this coloring book, one in line art, the other in grayscale. This coloring book is based off of illustrations that Selina did for her Young Adult Fantasy Trilogy, The books are Memory’s Wake, Hope’s Reign, and Providence Unveiled. I haven’t read them (yet!), but all are available through Selina’s website and Amazon.
I think I love this coloring book because you don’t have to have read the source material to get a sense of the characters, and the level of detail feeds my desire to color intricate outfits. Both sexes are given great scenes to color, and the romance is sweet, not tawdry.
The really cool thing in the Victorian Romance Coloring book is that while there are only 25 images; the book is split into halves, and the second half is a set of duplicate images so that you can do each image twice! So if you have a cat-induced coffee accident, or want to see the same image done in a different medium, you can! Each image is single-sided, but if you want to use a wet medium like markers or watercolors, I and Selina both recommend using a protective backing of cardstock.
Now, for the second little book I got!
Selina has a line of what she calls “Minis”, coloring books that measure 5 by 7.8 inches. These are meant to be a more portable version of her standard 8.5 by 11 inches coloring books. I’ll admit, I was leery of these minis. I know her art is good, but how would it look or color when shrunk down?
The Faedorable series is meant to be a mix of simple, sweet art with some tricky details, enough to appeal to a range of colorists of all ages. The book I have is actually all 50 images of both the Faedorables:Sweet and Simple and Faedorables:Cute and Creepy books. The images are single-sided and with a cardstock backing took both marker and crayon really well!
I was skeptical, I was worried, I was wrong! The mini-books are fantastic! I’m going to keep mine in my Go-Bag, which is my backpack full of entertainment gear for traveling. If you have a love of coloring and either a Go-Bag or a hospital bag, you might want a Mini coloring book and a pack of whatever your coloring medium of choice is.
Honestly, the last few days have been full of fatigue for me, my CFS was flaring, I thought…until SC and I found out that while at DragonCon we were exposed to a Vendor who came down with Chicken Pox. I’ve had Chicken Pox, but SC hasn’t. SC thinks that due to busting my rump at DragonCon, then dealing with Hurricane Florence, and all the resulting stress, that I’ve managed to have a Mononucleosis relapse. It’s possible, I’ve been sleeping tons, but waking to feel more tired. I’m hydrating and resting (coloring is resting, right?).
I’m home again, after a few days away due to the Hurricane Florence Evacuation. I’m glad to be home. I’m thrilled to say that our home is untouched and the cats are back to their usual shenanigans. Unfortunately, Florence is making my life minorly miserable due to barometric pressure. The fatigue and brain fog are strong, which is why today’s post is running so late.
Aside from that, while I was at DragonCon, I got to meet Matt Hughes. He’s a really talented artist that does illustrations in the Art Nouveau style. He’s funded most of his projects through Kickstarters, which is really awesome. Right now, Ethereal Visions Publishing, the company Matt’s wife Hope founded and runs; has pre-orders up for an illuminated edition of the works of Edgar Allen Poe and Matt is currently working on illuminating pages for a project based on Mozart’s Requiem.
The tarot is a pack of playing cards, used from the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe to play games. Many of these tarot card games are still played today. In the late 18th century, it began to be used in parallel for divination in the form of cartomancy and specialist packs were developed for this occult purpose. The Major Arcana that this coloring book focuses on is definitely influenced by one of the original occult decks, the Rider-Waite deck. I find the art to be beautiful and to have a hidden complexity.
This coloring book is amazing! It’s rather large, measuring 12″ by 9″. The paper is heavyweight, but really smooth. I was shocked how good my markers and colored pencils looked when coloring. While I usually use a piece of cardstock under my works-in-progress, I found I really didn’t need it.
The only issue I found was that due to my book lover’s habit of not wanting to break the spine of any book, I needed to use a craft knife to cut my pages free. Once I reread the lovely note that Matt wrote as a preface, it was much easier. Coloring books are meant to be USED. In fact, this one is meant to be used as a meditation exercise.
I’m not sure my coloring stacks up to this amazing art, but I’m having fun doing it. While I know Matt is up to his eyeballs in work, I really hope he’ll do another coloring book! I recommend following the FaceBook page because Matt posts all sort of beautiful works-in-progress.
I’ve gotten a bunch of new coloring books to review on my docket, which means I find myself craving new shiny art supplies to color with. I reached out to Winsor and Newton, a British company that’s been around since 1832. They had just released a new marker line called ProMarker™; and I was madly curious about them. I received a sample of 6 markers in rich tones, and I have to say, I’m hooked! These colors are SO pretty!! These are dual tipped markers, having both a bullet tip and a chisel tip. ProMarkers™ have an alcohol based ink, which is classed as a permanent ink, but can be blended.
Okay, the outside is nice, but how do they color??
Oh, my goodness! I’m in love, I really am. The ProMarkers™ are round, thick and fit well in my hand. The bullet nib moves smoothly over the paper with minimal bleeding. The chisel tip covers large areas well; though, since I hadn’t used chisel tips before, it took a little time to get the hang of. I’m new to professional grade coloring markers, as my default is usually a Sharpie®.
I think that out of the six colors, the Marine and the Maroon are my favorites. All the colors are amazingly rich and each layer I put down just added depth. While the different size caps for the two tips mean that you can’t place one cap upon the other when working, I do love the little Cap Nub (my phrase). The Cap Nub makes it so that the round marker doesn’t roll off of your work surface, which is super important if you color in bed or using a lapdesk.
Disability Notes: These are great for marker lovers with mild to moderate arthritis (don’t overdo!), and can be used on the couch or in bed since the Cap Nub keeps them from rolling. Warning!: If you have brain-fog or a short-term memory issue – Remember where you put the cap down!
Where to buy: You can buy Winsor & Newton ProMarkers™ in sets or individually at their website or a high-end art supply store. The Rich Tones set I received retail for $24.99 usd.
I’m on my way to DragonCon in Atlanta. Since I’m still building content, I’m cheating a little bit . I found this awesome picture in a coloring book my mom had given me a few years back. The majority of the coloring was done with Bic® Brand Markit Markers.
Since this is such a perfect page for my cats, I figured I’d do a brief intro to the furballs that end up photo-bombing my posts. I’ll be doing in-depth interviews with each cat on my Patreon when I get back home in early September.
Pandemonium: Pan is my shadow, my therapy-cat when my disease makes life miserable and an all-around sweetheart. She is 13 years old and starting to show her age. Don’t let her fool you…her fangs are still sharp!
Teedle: This picture doesn’t do Teedle justice. He’s a 25 pound orange marshmallow. Teedle is 9 years old and sweet, but dumb. He has a bad habit of drinking water with his paws, which makes the other cats cranky because it makes their water dirty.
Zoomie: SC calls her PuzzlePaws, due to her tortoiseshell coloring. Zoomie is also 9, about 6 months younger than Teedle. Zoomie is shy, but can be demanding. She loves playing indoor soccer with hard jingleballs, and is learning fetch.
Zane: SC brought Zane into our marriage. As you can see from his dapper tux, he is a consummate ladies man. As Zane was adopted when full-grown, we think he’s between 9-11 years old. He’s not much for treats, but he likes to steal Hurricane’s wet food. Zane is freely affectionate with headbutts and cuddles.
Hurricane: This is our baby. Hurricane Enlil was teeny kitten barely 2 weeks old when she and her sister were given to me to hand-rear last September. She’ll be 1 on Sept 14, (estimated). While her sister found a good home, Hurricane bonded to me. She loves to play fetch and grooms my hair. She is taking therapy-cat lessons from Pandemonium.
Disclosure: I received this coloring book as a gift from my mother. The opinions are my own.
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I love coloring, have for years. I used to drive both my college professors and my D&D groups crazy. I’ve always found coloring a way to destress, even before the Adult Coloring craze caught on.
Unfortunately for me, today it rained for the umpteenth time. Seriously, its been raining everyday for the last two weeks! I’m ready to build an ark. That being said, while my hands feel like they’ve swollen into paws, it was National Coloring Book Day. I had to color.
I decided to highlight the awesome art of Hannah Lynn Art and Design. She has a ton of coloring books out and one in production that I’m lusting over. I like Hannah’s art style because each book has pages of varying difficulty and an iconic BESM style. If you don’t know what BESM is, either you don’t watch anime, play tabletop games or need to go here.
I chose the above images to color because they have similar composition. I wanted to contrast different coloring media.
Crayola® crayons. There’s a reason these are where everyone starts out. I’m happy with my final result, the coloring went quickly and my hands didn’t hate me.
Crayola® colored pencils. Most coloring books for adults recommend these, but my hands reminded me why mine had been gathering dust in the drawer. Ouch!
Rikota® Brush Marker and Prismacolor Premier® Brush Marker. I loved this. The colors popped and my hands didn’t hate me. I was reminded that I really need to invest in more brush-style markers. There’s a little curling on the edges due to the wetness of the medium, but it will go away after a few hours under a heavy book.
Overall…I call today a success! If you like the art featured, I suggest either following Hannah Lynn’s FaceBook or visiting her website.