Title: Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest and Colouring Book
Author: Johanna Basford
Publisher and year: Laurence King Publishing Ltd, 2015
ISBN Number: 978-0-78067-487-2
As long as I can remember colouring is the one part of art I’m not that into, by the time I’ve drawn something I get bored colouring the big sections and move on. With the recent fashion for adult colouring books I didn’t think I’d really get into it but some of them are so pretty I couldn’t resist. I bought two different books one of them is a present, this was a sort of fall back in case the first wasn’t ok and I’d have kept that one instead. I like the fact that the pictures for colouring in are very intricate, they don’t have huge expanses of colour that need to be done.
This is the second book by Johanna Basford, the first was Secret Garden, and in the little blurb thing at the end says she draws flora and fauna from the area in Scotland where she lives. It does feel a bit weird to review a book before reading it but as it’s a colouring book rather than with words there isn’t much more I can do besides actually colour it.
The front cover of this is gorgeous, it’s got a dustcover that’s a thick paper and could be coloured in itself if you wanted. It has some parts of the design filled in with gold already which gives it nice accents. This gold is also along the spine of the dust cover, with the blank ink of the title and author makes this stand out on a bookshelf. When I looked under the cover the front of the book itself is pretty too, it has a nice design going along the middle of it, also just the outlines so could be coloured, on a drown paper coloured card cover. The underneath of the dustcover is printed on too, it’s got a lot of leaves on it and goes well with the forest theme and is simple enough you can add your own patterns into the leaves.
All the pages inside are thick paper, it reminds me of watercolour paper, and have nice crisp printing on them. Because it’s the sort of high grade paper that looks like it might bleed when using pens or water based colouring products I thought I’d give them a bit of a try with some pens and my Staedler fineliners didn’t run at all. They also didn’t go through to the other side so I’d say most pens would be safe, I’m not sure about watercolour as I don’t have any to test on but I do have some watercolour pencils I might try if I can find them and edit that in later if I do.
I like the fact that you can use different media if you want to on this book, even going over the same area multiple times didn’t go through to the other side and the fact it didn’t bleed means pens can give a brighter finish than pencils. Also, as it’s a colouring book, you can use any colour you want, you can have bright purple foxes or stick with the natural colours. I’ll probably use a mix of media and colours in the whole thing, I’m tempted to try some acrylic paints on some pages, I’ll just have to see if I have to patience to stay inside the lines with that, brushes are harder to control and get the precise lines than sharp pencils and fine pens.
There are a great range of designs inside, all based around the enchanted forest theme, some of them are a page with a single animal made of leaves and other things to colour in and others are a page full of colouring to make a landscape. At the end of the book there’s a pair of fold out pages that show what’s inside the enchanted castle, I think of all the pictures they’re the most detailed and I can’t wait to get to them.
Alongside the colouring book side of this book there’s a kind of hide and seek of objects and animals to find in all of the pictures. At the beginning of the book they’ve got a page that shows how many of each animal should be found throughout the book. At the end of the book there’s a few pages that make a key and say how many of each should be in each of the pictures. I’m probably going to end up using this at the end, it doesn’t tell you where they are just what’s in each though there’s probably someone who’s made a list of where they are somewhere online. There are also nine symbols hidden throughout the book that you need to ‘unlock’ the door to the castle at the end. You can obviously get past it without this but I’ll probably try to find them all anyway, adds a bit of a different challenge.
I have done a small amount of colouring with this, mainly testing the different media on it, and I can definitely see how this would be relaxing, which is the main reason for a lot of people buying these adult colouring books. The amount of detail and the flowing design of the art means it’s somehow something that you both concentrate on and relaxes you when you do it, at least it does for me.
I would definitely recommend adult colouring books as something to relax to, whether it’s this or one of the others out there. I think the woodland theme and the hide and seek part does make this one a bit different, the artwork itself stood out for me as well. This one is available in a lot of places, I bought it off Amazon for £4.99 though the RRP says it’s £9.95 and the price seems to be changing all the time when I was looking. I would recommend waiting for a sale for one of these, there’s a few different ones out there that are under £5, especially in places like the Works.
Have any of you got a favourite adult colouring book? There are so many out there and I think I’ll be looking for more when I’ve done this one so would love some recommendations.
All images in this post are copyright Johanna Basford, I’m just using photographs I took of them for a review.