I was naughty and bought myself a post Christmas present: ‘Escape To Wonderland’. This cute little book… measuring only 18cm square, is yet another Alice In Wonderland colouring book. I’ve seen three others so far. this one took my eye, though. Not only is it a nice small travel size but the style of the drawings are in that quirky, freehand style that I like so much in ‘The Magical City’. The book was drawn by ‘Good Wives and Warriors’, a creative duo powerhouse comprised of artists Becky Bolton and Louise Chappell, both known for their heavily detailed murals along with magazine and book cover art. The publisher is ‘Puffin Books’ and my particular copy was printed and bound in Victoria, Australia.
I have a very detailed video review of this book which will be up on Youtube in the next few days. But I’ll give you the short and sweet version here:
I love the art. there is a bucket of variety here with just the right amount of doodled detail to play with. The art is drawn loose and freehand which means some of the anatomy in Alice and the animals she meets looks disproportionate and amateurish BUT these artists are not amateurs and the wonderful variation and playfulness of the pictures more than makes up for this. I particularly like the later marine based pictures and the wonderful over grown gardens.
Now for the bad parts: the paper is not so great. Although nice and bright and feels fairly sturdy the paper has, I believe, a weak ‘tooth’ which flattens quickly when the first layer of colour is applied, making it hard to lay down a second colour over the first. If you want to layer in this book you will have to go gently. Secondly the binding is the worst I’ve come across so far in a colouring book. Although the pages feel secure the glue used has dried outside the centre folds meaning that the signatures have glued creeping up in between them with some of the glue, still tacky, leaking a little onto the very middle margins of the page. I was wondering why my hand was feeling sticky while colouring until I worked it. It’s not a major issue but it is annoying.
The white rabbit picture above was a lot of fun to colour. Note the colour scheme used here is not entirely my own. While looking up this book I came across this picture coloured similar to the one you see above. I loved the bright,psychedelic result so much that I employed a lot of the same elements into this piece (namely the leaves in the tree and the colours of the rabbit.). I do not know this artists name so I apologize to her for not giving her the recognition she deserves here. If anyone finds her name please let me know so that I can add it here.
I love gryphons. The style of this book was begging for some Inktense action so I broke out my Derwent Inktense pencils to see how they would perform. And I was quite surprised. The weak tooth isn’t an issue for the water activated Inktense pencils. And the paper allowed the pencils to almost fully dissolve leaving just a little texture. As you can see the colours came out nice and bright. BUT there was some bleed through. :(. Fortunately for the most part it was minimal and faint and only a worry if I really saturated the paper. Still, something to be mindful about although it won’t stop me from using more Inktense in this book.
Lastly I wanted to test water based markers in the book so next came my Tombows. Again the results were nice and bright but again there was faint bleed through in some spots. Not enough to stop me colouring the pages one the opposite side of the paper but still a little annoying. If you are going to use water based markers I suggest you choose soft tipped ones as they are less likely to drive the ink through the page. And work fairly quickly using only a single layer, don’t try to smooth over with a second layer. I will limit my marker use in this book to smaller sections. Also I used a gold gel pen to give the cards an authentic look. No problems with these and no bleed through that I can see but it will need a more thorough test before I’m satisfied that gel pens are safe to play with in here.
On the whole I’m pleased with this book and will be colouring a lot more in it, so expect to see more pages from it in the near future. My video review of this book has been filmed and should go live on my YouTube channel in the next few days… I’ll keep you posted.