For Christmas my dear hubby bought me this lovely book by British wild life artist Sarah Taylor. This beautifully presented book has been printed through Derwent and comes complete with a starter set of coloured pencils from their Colour Soft range. New pencils to try are always an exciting prospect for me! And it is lovely to find a colouring book that comes with artist quality pencils.
The production values of this book are VERY high. The pages are wonderfully thick with good tooth… you would expect no less from a respected company that prides itself in creating quality art supplies. The binding is sturdy… perhaps my only real criticism… it’s a little too sturdy and with the thick paper it is a little difficult to get the pages to lie flat for colouring. If you are a fan of having your books spiral bound at an office supplies store this one would be a good candidate for that. I prefer to keep the original binding so I’ll continue to wrestle the pages to get them flat. I guess it’s the price of having the excellent quality thick paper.
The art work is quite lovely. It is both realistic and stylized with a lot of doodling and patterns. The line work is quite thick in many of the larger prints, good with those who have problems with precision. Although most of the art work is unique there are quite a number of pages which feature multiple reprints of the larger pieces on a smaller scale as collage type pieces for those who want a bit more of a challenge. There are also a number of pattern pages of the type a refer to as wall paper art. there are also a number of curious puzzle pages, a couple in particular ask you to draw your own mazes on top of a pre-drawn dash outline. Included in the book are several pages giving a brief explanation of the colour wheel and instructions on layering and blending with a blender pencil, all very useful to the beginner.
Now on to the pencils. This is not my first experience with Colour Soft pencils. I previously purchased four of them because I liked the colours. The book comes with ten pencils in a nice range of colours which all work well together. the range invites you to experiment with colours. If you did not purchase any other colours to use in this book I think you would be quite happy with these and the variations you can mix from them. The colours blend quite well and work best when applied in multiple light layers. The cores are VERY soft and feel waxy to use. They lay down dense colour but, as with Prismacolors, the effect is grainy on light applications similar to pastel pencils. I like them, though, and have filled out my selection with 6 more pencils from the range since acquiring these.
The first picture I coloured I limited my palette to the reds, oranges and greens to test their blend-ability. I am quite happy with the very dense, bright delivery these pencils give. They blend nicely with even, pleasing colour transitions.
Next i tried out a little colour creativity with this owl sticking with a palette of purple, orange and lime. The brown was achieved by mixing orange with purple to create a colour that would naturally harmonize with the others. I used a black Faber Castell Pitt pen to colour the background. The colour went on as smooth as you can expect from an Indian ink marker and there was no bleed through or even shadowing on the following page! This book would be ideal for people who like to work with markers and gel pens. I did not test alcohol markers (Copic, Sharpies etc.) as they will bleed through almost anything and I don’t recommend them except in single sided books.
On the whole I enjoyed this book. I love the idea of going a bit wild with colour choices and experimenting with different combinations. The paper quality makes applying colour effortless and satisfying. I will be working in this one again. 🙂