Who doesn’t love Johanna Basford’s work. So many colourists have rendered such beautiful finished works in her books I have to admit I was intimidated to even try these. I may never have except my husband brought me home a copy of ‘Enchanted Forest’, along with Millie Marotta’s ‘Animal Kingdom’ to make video reviews of. As I want to demonstrate how different colouring mediums work in my colouring book reviews I knew I had to take the plunge and attempt to colour these books in the manner they deserved. The title page saw me breaking out my old, gorgeous set of Derwent Artist pencils, bought for me by my husband way back. I love my Derwents and the page above is coloured completely in them. For the owners name plate page I started with Derwents and switched to Faber-Castell Polychromos simply because they are softer and i can work faster with them. As you can see, though, there is no real difference in the quality of colouring between the two pencils.
I haven’t added my name yet. I want to do it using the same leafy style of text but I’ll do some practice attempts first. Another thing to note… leaves do not have to be green! With this is mind my leaves in this book will span all the colours of the rainbow. (Oops about the blurry bit on the right hand sode of this pic… must have had a smudge on my camera lens.) For the next pic I decided to challenge myself to a limited colour palette.
I wanted this page to look like an old map where the brighter colours have faded. I started with a cool brown ( caput mortuum in Polychromos pencils for the curious ) and some pale peach colours but quickly decided that the picture would end up looking a bit dull. So after some colour testing on a separate piece of paper I settled on a bright ultramarine and two lighter shades of ultramarine. I think this worked well and saved me from becoming bogged down in colour selection while working on this piece. I particularly enjoyed shading the border and experiemnting with mixing the blues and peaches to get an interesting stone gray.
Still working in order I next started the compass picture. Originally I was planning to colour the metal compass using gold gel pens. But after some experimenting I decided I didn’t like how that might turn out and switched to attempting to create a soft glowy gold with pencil. Apart from that I had no plan for colouring this and did whatever felt right at the time. Lots of fun to colour. The paper is superb! The best I’ve found in any colouring book. I’ve tested multiple media on a back page and nothing bleeds through (besides alcohol based makers of course.) This paper could even take a light wash without too much buckling. I may have to try a future page with my Inktense pencils.
I had plans for the shield picture. I knew from the first time I looked at it that I wanted to colour it in fiery reds and bright yellows. I’m not a great fan of those colours, tending more to the cool blue, green and purple end of the spectrum, so this was another personal challenge. Soon after i started this pic I came across another version of this picture online which was beautifully coloured in a way very similar to my plan. And there I almost stopped, disappointing that I wasn’t being original after all. But after some thought I decided that, with ‘X’ number of these books sold, the chances of having a picture coloured in a completely unique way was pretty remote. So I pressed on and I’m happy I did. Very pleased with this result.
This brings me to the second double page spread in the book. I’m feeling both keen to try and intimidated by the size and complexity of it. This is going to take a few weeks I think. Wish me luck.