Review: Unwind in the Wilds

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.


You could smooth these colours out more evenly with a blender pencil. I chose to leave mine as is as I like the slightly grainy effect.

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. 🙂


  1. Michelle Wadeson

    Thank you Peta for another interesting review. I love the grainy effect you achieved in your picture. I love trying out different coloured pencils and seeing all the different looks one can achieve. On a bad day with arthritis, Coloursoft are a breeze ?

  2. Yana

    Thank you for the review! Yesterday I bought this pencils in set of 36 and like them very much! But one thing I complain about it is a huge amount of dust leaving after coloring. Did you have such a problem and how you resolve it? Thank you again for your work, I’m a huge fan from Ukraine.

    1. Chaypeta (Post author)

      I found that it depends on the paper you are using as to how much dust they leave… but i agree they are dusty pencils.I gently brush the dust off using a large soft makeup brush or a tissue so as not to leave streaky marks on the work … or I pick up the page and give it a shake.

  3. Daniele

    Hello Peta ! I am following your Duck Pond series and coloring along with you. I have F.C. polychromos pencils. I know you are also using Derwent artist pencils and enjoy using them. My question is, could you please list all the colors that you must have in Derwent? Since they are open stock, I would like to order them. Because you are the teacher of my coloring world,I’ll take your advice anytime. I just love coloring along with you. This tutorial was a great idea.

    1. Chaypeta (Post author)

      Hi Daniele, here is a link to a colour chart showing all the colours in the Derwent Artist range. All the ones with a blue dot on the line are the 72 colours I have in my collection. I hope this helps.

  4. Chaypeta (Post author)

    Forgot to add the colour chart for the pencils received with the book. Done now.

  5. Monika

    Hi Peta,

    I have been following your blog since last Christmas when I got into adult colouring, and like everybody else here I want to say thank you for your highly useful articles and videos. I got Unwind in the Wilds after seeing your review, mainly because I wanted the Derwent pencils which are rather expensive here in Germany and the book with the pencils turned out to be a good deal. I like them too, but they seem to be more fragile than my Faber Castell pencils, two of them arrived with their tips already broken.

    I just wanted to let everyone know of my experience with water based pens in this book – I tried both my Stabilo 88s and my Pitt Artist pens on the inner title page (where there isn’t a picture on the other side) and both left a distinctive shadow on the backside. Maybe I got a different print run from yours, but I would advise people to try their pens on this page first before starting to colour a picture inside.

    The book is wonderful for coloured pencils though, even my cheap Faber Castell erasables work very well on this paper.

    Greetings from Germany,


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