Book Review: Mermaids, Fairies and Other Girls of Whimsy.

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.


Image from the larger book. So many colouring possibilities.

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!


Image from the larger book.



I love this one from the smaller book ‘Fanciful Faces.’

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.


Another Fanciful Faces page.

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:



  1. Lo

    Oh these are so gorgeous Peta.You did a magnificent job with the colouring. Fairies and dragons are my favourite and these fairies are just so cute.
    I’ll be on the lookout for the YouTube video. Can’t wait, just adore your work?

  2. Lo

    BTW booktopia and UK Book Depository have Hanna’s books and BD is cheaper and no postage.

    1. Chaypeta (Post author)

      Great tip. Thanks Lo. 🙂

    2. Maree Friend

      I have ordered books from the Book Depository. There prices are very comparable to NZ prices (most cases cheaper) and they freight free anywhere in the world.

      I’ve gone a bit mad actually on coloring books the last month 🙂

  3. Carrie

    Love these whimsical pictures to colour but I would be disappointed in the thin paper. I have a tendency to push hard on my pencils and I like to use a lot of inktense and watercolour. Love the pictures though. So pretty…. and your coloured ones are gorgeous! Love the colour scheme you chose on each. As always, you make them look beautiful.

  4. Wren

    Not my cup of tea.

  5. Elizabeth Wright

    I simply love how you’ve coloured these two delightful pictures. I have the Enchanted Faces which I love and the other book is on order and I’m excitedly awaiting it’s arrival.

  6. BigT

    Hi Peta,

    So incredibly cute.

    I’m going to order the larger book and break out my Spectrum Noir markers and Fantasia pencils. In case you are not familiar, Spectrum Noir are refillable, double ended alcohol markers, and Fantasia pencils are a fairly economical (about $20 US) hard cored set of 36 colors. The markers are something I normally use for making greeting cards and I have a good range of colors, especially skin tones, in them. The Fantasia pencils come only as a set of 36 in a tin, are very nice, vivid colors and hard enough to cope with grainy paper, they will take quite a bit of pressure without breaking.

    I can’t wait to try out the technique you used.


    1. Chaypeta (Post author)

      I’ve heard of Spectrum Noirs, not available where I am though, and they look very comparable with Copics. (Back fill lighter spots as you move across bigger areas like the sky as you go… I found I could completely prevent blotching and have a nice, even finish by doing that.) I LOVE this technique for colouring, I hope you do to.

      1. marilyn brown

        Can you explain this technique a little bit more…do not understand, and would like to!!

      2. BigT

        Spectrum Noir markers big advantage over Copic for me is that they are about half the price. That was a bit consideration since I was using them in making cards that would likely end up in the trash bin a couple of weeks after they were received.

  7. BigT

    Hi Peta,

    Oops! Meant to say, if you like this book, you should check out Molly Harrison’s work, if you haven’t already.


    1. Chaypeta (Post author)

      Ah… not heard of hers. i’ll shall go do some research. Thank you. 🙂

  8. Elizabeth Whistance

    Peta, What are your thoughts on Light fastness of pencils…seems a pity to spend many hours on colouring if the colours are going to fade

    1. Chaypeta (Post author)

      Hi Elizabeth. I can certainly understand your concern. This is what i know… If you pictures are all going to remain inside of their books, and therefore be protected from the light most of the time, then fading, if any, should be minimal. I have not noticed any fading in work that I have done over twenty years ago (with Artist quality pencils) that has been kept inside a book. I cannot say for sure but i believe that student and child grade pencils, which often use inferior pigments and dyes, may not last the test of time so well but still being kept away from light will greatly prolong their lifespan. If you are going to display your work where it will be exposed to the light then you might like to invest in a set of pencils that have a high light fastness rating. the highest light rating of all pencils, and unfortunately the most expensive, are the Caran D’Ache Luminence pencils. In many artist quality sets the manufacturers have light rating charts for their sets as individual colours can be stronger or weaker in this respect. You will find them through googling.

      1. BigT

        I would like to add to what Peta said. For display, frame your work behind UV protective glass and take care to display it where it will not receive direct sun.

  9. Ysabel Art

    I have the little book, the drawing are marvellous but the quality paper is no good, but i using only pencil color with it

    i saw your coloring, I am in admiration!!

    your are using the copic and the pencil color for your colouring? the effect it’s fantastic!!

  10. Jo Wood

    Hi PETA, I bought the smaller book a couple of weeks ago to practice colouring hair and faces with the techniques from your Dagdrommar tutorials, I think I’m getting the hang of hair now!. I really wanted to ask if you are going to finish the picture in dagdrommar on video either as a tutorial (which would be super great) or as a speed drawing or if not at least a picture of the finished piece. I’m too scared to try the rest on my own in case I ruin it with being so new to colouring and with very little talent, I love the way it looks so far and I have learnt so much from your different tutorials. I would also love to learn how to colour fur and feathers, guess I’m hoping you will do a tutorial on those too but I know you have a long list of requests so I will just have to be patient. I would rather learn from you as you explain so well, not just what your doing but why, which a lot of the other tutorials from other artists don’t really do.
    Thanks so much for all your tutorials and the time you and your husband take making them.
    Jo from the UK

    1. Chaypeta (Post author)

      Hi Jo. These books are perfect to practice in. 🙂 I intend to continue the Dagdrommar tutorial but at the moment we are having software issues with our editing program with bigger files but we’re working on getting everything back up and running so i can continue with these longer tutorials.

  11. golightly

    Hi Peta. This looks amazing. I love it! I’m hoping you will do a tutorial in which you will explain how to use this technique. Unfortunately, I have no experience in using alcohol markers and how to add some colour interest with pencils. Thank you so much for your time and all the great tutorials. I learned so much from you.

    A huge fan from Germany.


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