Goodies in the post today :-)

So….I think I may have spent a bit….

Today’s post brought me a gorgeous colouring book from AnneStokes which I will be reviewing at a later date. At first glance it is stunning so we will wait to see how good it actually is!

I have also ordered two other books…one with a German name, “Exotischer Urwald” by Good Wives and Warriors (the ladies that brought us “Escape to Wonderland”),

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…..and a glorious looking book by a gentleman named Bennett Klein called ¬†” Colour my Sketchbook”, which is a greyscale book. I look forward to receiving both! Bennett has allowed me to use the latest image to show you all ūüôā

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Also on order are some Marco Raffine oil based pencils, so we can see what they are like.

At the moment I am colouring a page from Escape to Wonderland with the vague hope of maybe winning an original sketch! I will let you know how I get on!

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Nikki Burnette “Spellbinding Images”

It seems that artists who produce colouring books are very keen to interact with their purchasers or fans which is really lovely, and goes a long way to make people feel good about their colourings.

On my personal Facebook page, I have a folder where I put my colouring efforts, and yesterday I tagged Nikki Burnette in three I had coloured from her “Spellbinding Images” series of books. Nikki responded by posting¬†a complimentary comment on each of them. I, for one, appreciate the time she took to do this as I am sure others would.

I have all four of the “Spellbinding Images” books because I admit to being a fan of fantasy art ! The following photo is taken from Nikki’s site, so I hope she doesn’t mind my using it for this review.

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The images in these books are line drawings although there is a new greyscale book on the cards which I will be looking out for (I LOVE greyscale!!). Each book contains 20 single sided images which is good because if you use markers or paints you can avoid the problem of ruining any picture on the reverse.

The first is a book of rather pretty witches, where as the others contain witches, fairies, gothic and even a bit of steampunk. ¬†Nikki has her own sweet, fun style, and her pictures are unlike other fantasy artists who produce cute images because she has not gone for the ¬†‘big eye’ look.

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From Volume 1 coloured by Wendy Starr

I found the pictures fun to colour, and if there is one criticism it would be the paper, which I found difficult to layer colour on….a little smooth maybe? I had to press really hard to get any depth to the shading even with my Faber Castell Polychromos, but it made highlighting quite easy. That said, I DID manage it, so it is a minor criticism. The paper quality allowed the use of a Sharpie pen to colour the black without any problem, and there was very little bleed through to the back of the paper.

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Volume 1 coloured by Wendy Starr

Some images have detailed backgrounds, and some don’t, which allows scope for you to add your own ‘extras’ if you wish.

All in all these are fun books and deserve to be in your stash!!

Linda Ravenscroft Review

I was delighted to be asked by the lovely Linda Ravenscroft to review her new colouring book “Fairy and Fantasy Art 2″. I have worked my way through book 1 already, so a new book was welcomed.

Linda is a fairy and fantasy artist living in Glastonbury in the UK where she has a shop and gallery called ” The Mystic Garden”. Although she has painted since she was young, she did not become a professional artist until 1994 after giving birth to her daughter.

She is featured in many books and magazines, and has also produced her own, all available on her website Linda Ravencroft

Linda’s colouring books are an absolute joy. Printed in greyscale on 300gsm watercolour paper, the quality is astounding. The books are designed to encourage people to have a try at working with watercolour, although colouring in pencil or markers is an option.

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Front of Book 2

Because of the high quality of the paper, it is not always easy to use pencils, so a suggestion would be removing and photocopying the pages onto a good quality sketch paper, for your own use only of course!

The book contains fourteen one sided images so that they can be framed if you wish. I completed one of the pictures using watercolour, and copied the image onto sketch paper to colour with pencil.

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¬† Watercolour “The Morning Rose Fairy”
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Coloured pencil version

I love Linda’s artwork and books, and I love the fact that she wants to encourage people to try their hand at producing art.

All in all, both books one and two are well worth the money for a high quality and beautiful product. Linda also hand signs each book sold which a lovely and personal touch.

Highly recommended.

Where to begin….PENCILS!

I honestly do not know where to start today. Colouring, books, pencils, techniques etc is such an enormous subject! If you get hooked, you really get hooked.

At the moment I have amassed over 200 pencils and want more. You can never have too many pencils, right? At the very cheapest end of the market you will find the core extremely hard and difficult to lay down a colour with. The colour will seem very pale, and however hard you press you will get no depth. The other problem is breakage and crumbling which happens when the cores are very dry and chalky. Very cheap pencils also tend to be made with cheap wood which breaks off as it is sharpened leaving the core exposed to breakage.

A good beginners pencil if you live in the UK is from WH Smith. They do a range called ‘The Spectrum Sings’, and whilst the depth of colour may not be the equal of an expensive brand, they are creamy to use and perfectly good pencils. I use them if I want a softer look, and the picture on my first blog post from Millie Marotta’s Tropical Wonderland is coloured using solely WH Smith pencils. They blend well and you can get a good point.

ALWAYS COLOUR WITH A SHARP POINT!

If you have a really good point on your pencil, you will find that you actually do not need to press as hard to get colour laydown. If you want to colour in a larger area, use the point on it’s side.

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Image From Johanna Basford’s ‘Enchanted Forest’

Other pencils I own include watercolour pencils, both WH Smith and Derwent, Staedtler Noris and Staedtler Ergosoft, Derwent Coloursoft and my pride and joy, my Faber Castell Polychromos! I am using Polychromos in the image above….BUT….back to Smiths. I believe the biggest colour range they do is 36, and the Spectrum Sings range are grey with a coloured top depicting the core colour. They have silver writing on the side.

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WH Smith Spectrum Sings

These pencils are currently on offer at just £4.96 for 36 pencils.Spectrum Sings

The blending of these pencils is very good, especially for the price.

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Quick, rough example of WH Smith blending

 

 

 

Colouring Magic

Something amazing happens when you colour. You take a black and white image or line drawing and bring it to life with colour, and that is magic!

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Picture coloured from Millie Marotta’s Tropical Wonderland

I have been colouring now for about ten months. It kept me sane after losing my Dad last Christmas.

I started like most people, simple, flat colouring but found even staying within the lines challenging. This is something that we gave up as children, grew out of it and saw as a childish thing to do. How many adults would admit to enjoying colouring in before this recent craze?

Now suddenly, it is acceptable and fun and amazingly good for you. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are or what level of colouring you are at, it is all good.

There is no right or wrong way to colour, and the only competition is with yourself if you choose to learn new techniques. It is meant to be an enjoyable, relaxing pastime and that is the most important thing. You colour in the way that gives you the most enjoyment.

On this blog, what I want to do is to share colourings from different books, reviewing the ones I can afford to buy, and also giving my opinion on different pencils (again, those that I can afford!). I will give examples of how each of these blend and shade so that you can get an idea of what they can do.

So….this is me….just starting out in the blogging world and hoping for a few readers who will be interested in some of the things I have to share.