Back again. it has been a busy fortnight for me. I have gone back to work after my annual leave break… always a bit of a shock to the system re-adjusting to night shifts and the constant jet lag. Bleh! Also we have a guest down from interstate so all that has cut into my colouring time. Still I’ve managed to scrap some time to myself to colour. Where there’s a will there’s a way!
A little while ago I received two books kindly sent to me by the well established U.S. artist Hanna Lynn, famous for her cute fantasy art work themed around girls both real and magical. Hanna sells her artwork from her websites as prints and emblazoned on licensed material. She has made her artwork available to colour in loose leaf sets and now, picking a large number of her most popular pieces, she has rendered them to bare line art in the form of two colouring books for you to colour. She very kindly sent me sample books in exchange for an honest review. I’ve coloured a few pages and you’ll find them towards the bottom of this post.
The books come in two different sizes. The larger of the two ‘Mermaids, Fairies and Other Girls of Whimsy’ is 28 by 21.5 cm or 11 by 8.5 inches, the standard size for many of the colouring books published through Amazon. The smaller book ‘Enchanted faces’ is it’s little sister at 20 by 13 cm or 8 by 5 inches and is perfect for a travel colouring fix. Both books feature 50 colouring pages a piece but a different 50 in each one… there are no doubles that I could detect. The larger book has full sized pieces of her art while the smaller ones are cut down to head and torso pictures. There is no disputing Hanna’s talent as an artist. Each picture is professionally finished in her own distinctive style. Sweet looking girls and ladies pose daintily in forests and seashores often accompanied by cute otters, unicorns and a host of other animal companions. If you want to practice pretty cartoon girl faces and loads of wild, wavy, curly hair then this is the book for you!
Now a word about the paper. As I stated this looks like an Amazon published book and that means it has the thinner photocopy style paper. The print is visible through to the other side of the page but as each page is only printed on one side this isn’t such a problem. Unfortunately this paper won’t tolerate water based mediums without a marked degree of buckling so watercolours are not a good medium and watercolour pencils should be used with caution with only minimal water use. Alternately you can scan and print the images on better quality paper if you want to use these mediums. The paper has a noticeable tooth which will leave your pencil work looking a bit grainy with white speckles showing through. You can use this as a feature or be prepared to burnish to press the colour into all the little crevices. I find with paper like this I prefer to colour with harder cored, student grade pencils such as Faber Castell Classics. You can, of course use any pencils you like and I recommend that you try out what you have on one of the blank back pages supplied in the book to see what you prefer.
If you are going to use markers or gel pens I strongly recommend that you have a protective piece of paper or card underneath the page as this paper will bleed right through. The paper is quite thirsty and water based marker ink quickly sinks into the paper so you’ll have to work fast and confine yourself to smaller areas to get smooth results. I had much better luck with alcohol based markers such as Copic and Promarkers. The page is very bleedy so be careful near the border of the line art as it will bleed over the thinner lines. I didn’t try Sharpie markers but I think you could achieve smooth results if you work fast and back fill uneven areas quickly before the ink has time to set.
I wanted smooth, solid looking colours on my pages so I pulled out my collection of Copic markers to lay the ground work of colour on each section. I added colour interest, shadows and highlights with my set of 24 Koh-I-Noor Progresso woodless pencils. With the colour already even I wanted the grainy look as a texture feature in the work. I used a white Prismacolor for the highlights… nothing is quite as opaque for this kind of work as a Prismacolor or a white Luminance pencil if you have them. Finally sparkles were added with my old faithful Uniball Signo white gel pen.
I am really happy with how this fairy lady came out. This technique works well on this paper and subject matter and I will be using it again in these books.
Of course I HAD to colour the Aussie girl with her cute little koala and wallaby friends. :). (Note the red sandy ground… Aussie deserts have a high iron content making them look rusty red… fun fact!) I used the same technique as above. Each picture took me about 2 to 3 hours… a record for me. (My big pieces can take 2 to 3 weeks!) This book is perfect for a lazy colouring afternoon when I feel like doing something pretty with lots of fun colours.
I have filmed a complete walk through of these two books and it is currently queued for editing so keep an eye out for it on my YouTube channel.
Hanna displays much of her work through her web site. A handy tool if you want a little colour inspiration. You can also purchase loose leaf packs of her work on higher grade paper to colour on from there. there is also a third book available titled ‘Sweet and Simple Whimsy Girls’ if you need a bigger fix of Hanna Lynn colouring.
If ‘Mermaids, Fairies and Other Girls of Whimsy’ or it’s little sister ‘Enchanted Faces’ interest you and you want to see more of Hanna’s work you can visit her web page here: