Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Adult Coloring Books Review

A few years back, when I first started seeing more adult coloring books popping up in both local stores and online, I didn't pay much attention to them. Since I find sketching and drawing both enjoyable and relaxing, the books didn't appeal to me at the time. Plus the my inner art snob was dismissive of them I admit. However, I have become a big fan of certain coloring books over the past 18 months, and that is because I have found many that are filled with absolutely astounding art. Even in blank form, the pages of these books are inspiring, and coloring them makes me feel part of the works themselves. That is why I chose four of my favorites to share with you below.

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Colour My Sketchbook by Bennett Klein

This is the first of many coloring books that classically trained artist Bennett Klein has published over the past few years. What is special about the illustrations is that they are in grayscale rather than just black and white. The texture and shadows create a grisaille effect, so when you color these images you can create pieces with more depth and interest. The artwork itself is so detailed and imaginative that you may want to buy two of the same title to keep one pristine. Each page has one image on the front side and no repeats.

image of cover of Colour My Sketchbook by Bennett Klein from Amazon
Image from Amazon.com

 Image of Uncolored page from Colour My Sketchbook
Art by Bennett Klein,
photo by blog owner
Image of Uncolored page from Colour My Sketchbook
Art by Bennett Klein,
photo by blog owner

I think the paper is a nice texture for dry media like colored pencil or crayon, but it can handle a bit of ballpoint or jelly pen as well. I would not use truly wet media with this book. You also will not be able to apply heavy layers of coloring pencil as the pages are thinner than typical drawing paper meant for layering. The 25 images are printed on one side only, so you can remove a page and frame it if you want.

Color My Art: Japanese Girls; Grayscale & Underpainting Coloring Book by Ikuko

This is another grayscale style coloring book, this time by Japanese artist Ikuko. The surreal fantasy images inside this book will appeal to anyone who is a fan of  modern and classical Japanese art including manga and anime imagery. One should be aware that there are two sets of the same 22 images. You may want to color the duplicates with contrasting color themes or leave one set blank for preservation. The paper is best suited to dry media, so markers and paint will make it buckle.

I wanted to show you some images from the book without violating any copyrights, so I included two photos I took from my book as well as the cover image from Amazon. Reviewers also include photos, so check those out and be sure to visit the artist's Etsy shop.

Image of a partially colored page from book
Art by Ikuko(colored)
Photo by blog owner
       Image of uncolored page with copyright watermark,
Art by Ikuko, photo
 by blog owner
Image of cover of Color My Art Japanese Girls by Ikuko
Cover image from Amazon.com

Pop Manga Coloring Book: A surreal journey through a cute, curious, and beautiful world, by Camilla d'Errico

If you are a fan of comic book and pop surrealist artist Camilla d'Errico, you will undoubtedly enjoy her coloring books filled with some of her most beloved characters. If you like cute animals and children and fanciful fantasy motifs, this book will appeal to you even if you are not familiar with Camilla's work. The paper is smooth and a bit thicker than what was used in the grayscale books I have covered, but be aware that there are coloring images on both sides of each page. That said, this book has about 80 outstanding images to color.

Image of Pop Manga Coloring Book cover from Amazon.com
Cover image from Amazon.com
     Image of Random sample coloring page from Amazon.com
         Random sample page (Amazon.com)

      Image of random sample coloring page 2 from Amazon.com
           Random sample page (Amazon.com)

Magical Dawn Coloring Book by Hanna Karlzon

This is the first hardcover coloring book I have ever owned, and I really like the extra support it provides while coloring in bed or on the couch. The title of this book is on point as Hanna Karlzon's fantasy illustrations can only be described as "magical". Every page offers a new detailed piece of line art that begs you to bring it fully to life with your coloring skills. As with the Pop Manga book, images are printed on both sides of each page, so you don't want to use any media that will bleed through the paper, which is smooth but textured enough for colored pencil work. There are about 95 images to color, including a beautiful name plate at the beginning. 

Image of cover of Magical Dawn By Hanna Karlzon
Cover image from Amazon.com
Image of random coloring page from Magical Dawn by Hanna Karlzon
Random coloring page (Amazon.com)

Image of random coloring page from Magical Dawn by Hanna Karlzon
Random coloring page (Amazon.com)

I hope these beautiful books have inspired you as much as they do me. As I mentioned already, all four are most suited to dry media such as crayon or coloring pencil. However, I have used fine tip metallic and gel pens on them with no bleeding. What are your favorite coloring books? let me know what you love about them in the comments!

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