Book review – Bon Voyage! by Lizzie Mary Cullen

Whoop, first video with my new camera! Excitement! Anyway, the first book with it that we’ll look at will be Bon Voyage! by Lizzie Mary Cullen.

Details: Paperback, John Murray Learning, 2016
Pages: 249 x 252 x 9mm, 96 pages, good smooth paper, double-sided
ISBN10: 1473640180
ISBN13: 9781473640184
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

This book is a bit different then other coloring books since this will also help you learn a bit of French, every page has an expression or saying in French and in the end, there’s a translation to all of them. All the pages are numbered for easier finding for the translations, which is something also not common in coloring books.
There are a lot of different images here, mostly quotes and words of all kinds but also some cities and buildings which you all know I love.
The paper is nice, smooth and good for pencils, will probably take a tiny bit of water as well without much drama. The images are on both sides of the page so take care with markers.
There are a few double page spreads and it’s a bit tricky to get into the binding but most are single page images, which is always a plus in my eyes. I do wish there were more buildings and cityscapes in general and not so many words but that’s just my opinion.
Now there’s also a Spanish themed book, I don’t own that but if you like this one, you should check that out as well.

Disclaimer: all of the above opinions are mine, you might have a different experience and opinions

Frog prince, Sommarnatt

Once upon a time in a country far far away, there lived a golden blessed frog prince. He was smart and just and loved by all his subjects, near and far. When he came of age, the king sent out messengers to kingdoms near and far, searching for the perfect princess for his beloved son. Princesses arrived day after day, beautiful and wise, small and big, in all the colors of the rainbow. The king saw them all and pondered for a long time. Finally, his choice was narrowed down to two princesses, one the smartest and the other the prettiest. The king decided to let his son choose. Little did he know, the prince had already talked to both girls in secret and fallen in love with the smartest, a tiny little dusky purple princess with eyes like stars. Sure, she didn’t have much of a dowry and her kingdom was small and poor but she was wise and love made her the most beautiful to the princes eyes.

Everyone gathered in the grand hall to hear the declaration of the engagement and learn who their future queen will be. The frog prince greeted his subjects and the two princesses curtly and declared his truest and deepest feelings towards the smartest princess from a kingdom far far away. To everyones amazement, the prettiest princess, her skin the color of morning dew, rose and with great anger cursed the prince to a life of worry, confusion, cruelty and fear, a life without stars in the water, glass mushroom forests and his love from far far away. The prince was struck by her words and his lifeless body fell to the ground. He woke again in a foreign place, cold and dark, his heart filled with fear and pain. The prince walked the night in the forest in a strange body, no longer golden, no longer happy for the princess had cursed her to a life of a human.

Years passed and the prince could not find solace and comfort, he longed for home and his love, the human world was strange to him and he could not learn to love all that was cruel and unkind in this world, all that was so foreign to him. One day, he met a young woman, smart and quite plain but beautiful to his eyes for she was kind and good with stars in her eyes. The prince found peace and happiness again. He slept at ease now, with his love at his side and their children close by, happily ever after. But still, every now and again, he dreamt of stars in the water, glass mushroom forests and his mother and father, friends and home.

So that’s my story about this frog from Sommarnatt by Hanna Karlzon 🙂
Colored with Marco Raffine pencils and a little Posca. It was a test page for the Raffines, I’ll tell you all about what I thought quite soon so stay tuned for that review. I’m not 100% happy with how it turned out, I think I’m not liking the color choices much. But well, it did inspire a fairy tale!

Book review – Brillante Myth by Kim Miso, Wishingstar

So, this has got to win the medal for the most confusing title of all times – Brillante Myth Time of Fantasy, Rest of Goddess, Rainbow Story Coloring Book. Told you so. It’s by Kim Miso, Wishingstar and for simplicity, lets call it Brillante Myth.

Details: Hardback, BookEdda, 2015
Pages: 190*240*6mm, 32 pages, amazing smooth thick paper, single-sided
ISBN13: 9791195489404
Buy it: Ebay

So this is an interesting Korean coloring book. First of all, the title is confusing as we already established 😀 But it’s quite different to anything I own, I must say. The difference starts at the covers already, I love the hardcover binding and the gold foil on the cover, it makes it look very cool indeed. The content is mythology-themed, the images are on a single side and the opposite page has information about the goddess depicted. This part has also been translated into English which is very nice.
The style of the illustrations is quite interesting, it’s a mix between sort of manga-ish and art deco, definitely something I haven’t seen before.
The paper is brilliant, it’s absolutely gorgeous, I wish more books would be like this, it’s thick and creamy and beautiful. Thumbs up!
The downside is that you’ll have to scour Ebay for this, Amazon has some but they’re insanely overpriced so stick with Ebay. I’m enchanted by this. I haven’t had a revelation as to how to color something from it yet, I’ve been waiting for a few weeks but keep getting distracted. But I really wanted to show this to you guys so no example picture this time. Rather look at the cover, isn’t it beautiful? Sad the gold doesn’t seem like foil on the photo though but I promise you, it is:

Overall, very interesting find, I’ll definitely be thinking about this some more, eventually I do hope for a flash of inspiration on this one. If you liked it, definitely get it, try the paper, seriously, it’s divine.

Disclaimer: all of the above opinions are mine, you might have a different experience and opinions

In other news, I know I’ve been delaying the next color with me, I’m soooo close to the new camera, I can almost taste it. I want you guys to see it better next time. I also have a bunch of reviews lined up which I’ll probably be refilming. So stay tuned!

How to choose open stock colored pencils from scratch

Right off the bat, a disclaimer that this is MY way of going about this, you may go a completely different route and have a great success, there is no one set way to do this.

That said, lets get to it! Quite a few of you have written to me on different social media platforms, asking about pencils on a budget, you can’t afford the full set but still want high quality artist grade pencils. So what to do? One option is to buy the Marco Renoir pencils you can find on Ebay easily. I’ll have a review on those up at a later date. But for now, we’ll talk about choosing pencils from open stock, creating your own custom little set that will get you through most coloring pages without leaving you feeling like you want to scream your head off from frustration. This requires a bit of planning and thinking ahead but the great news is, you can always get more pencils later if you feel you are missing something and as a bonus you’ll gain experience as you go along.

To simplify the logic behind the choices, the basic gist of it is that you’ll need the most variety you can get from the least amount of pencils and that’s why you need to plan ahead and know some things about color in general. Note that today I’m using Prismacolor Premier but there will be a separate post later with lists and charts to other popular brands so you can choose your poison. I just don’t want to make this too long 🙂 I’ll link it here as well when it’s up.

So back to the variety issue. Lets talk about color and mixing in general. Meet the handsome mister Color Wheel:


This is a great thing to own as well, even better if you make it yourself. But lets start by explaining what this all is to those who have never seen one and don’t know.
So the outer ring is the hue itself, we’ll come back to it in a second. The next ring shows tint, meaning the hue mixed with white. Then the next one is tone, that is mixed with grey and the last, inner ring is shade, which means the hue mixed with black.
Lets start with primary colors. There are three primary colors, red, yellow and blue. Those three are colors you can not create by mixing other colors and they are the basis of all other hues. On the color wheel, they are shown in the middle as the triad.
Skipping one space, smacked in the middle space between the primaries are the secondary colors. These are colors that you create by mixing the respective primaries. Red+blue results in violet for instance.
In the space between the primary and the secondary colors are the tertiary colors, those are the result of the primary and secondary mixed. It sounds way more complicated then it is. Look at the wheel and it will be pretty obvious what all this is.

All this is useful to know for mixing purposes, obviously but also how to create contrast and such but that I can explain later if anyone is interested. Lets stick to the mixing for now. Pencils are a different medium then paints, they do not mix as well since they’re solid, not liquid. So while you could get away with just a few pencils, as long as they contain the primary three, plus white and black, you’re better off thinking this thing through a bit more.
With Prismacolor Premier, the closest to the primaries are Canary Yellow, Crimson Red and in my opinion, Denim Blue. They don’t have to be 100% exact in matching but the closer you get, the better. That is because when you choose a different yellow for instance, it contains red or blue to some extent already and then you’ll have a harder time predicting the mixing results. Something you should know is that when you mix all three primaries in a certain way, you’ll get brown. But stray a little and you’ll get an unattractive mud shade. So when your yellow is not a primary yellow but leans towards blue, then trying to mix orange with adding red, you’re likely to end up with mud, not orange. Hope that wasn’t too confusing.

So when mixing the primaries, you get secondaries, as said earlier. The second row here shows the result with pencils. While the orange is decent, the other two mixes really aren’t. And you don’t really want to go through this every single time you want to color a leaf, right? So I’d say secondaries are really good to get as ready-made mixes instead of trying to mix them every time. With Prismacolor Premier, these are Cadmium Orange Hue, Grass Green and Violet. As you can see, the tertiaries with these are pretty okay so you can stop there if you wish.

So the very bare bones of a start to your new custom set is the basic six plus black and white that are optional but a great addition.

These are some great additions to any set you choose. Slate Grey or any other greyish blue from other sets is great for shadow work, Sepia is a dark cool brown that will work as any brown, you can warm it up with yellow/orange or use it as a darkening pencil for warm tones. Cream I find to be great with some highlighting, plus blending warm tones with adding a bit of extra zing to it. Indigo Blue is great for darkening cool tones but you can replace this with a cool dark grey, such as Payne’s Grey (though this is not an option with Prismacolor since they don’t have this grey).

If you also want to do skin tones, you will want to add Light Peach and Nectar to the mix. These two will not be the only pencils you use for skin but they’ll be the ones missing otherwise. You’ll also probably use Sepia, a red of some sort and a blue of some sort.

Now, before we go any further, you’ll need to now stop and think about what you like to color. Write down the answers to these questions:

  • What do I love to color? (people, foliage, animals, buildings, trees? List everything you can think of that you might want to color)
  • What colors would I need for those? (not specific pencil names, in general. Like “I love coloring trees” would continue with “I’d need natural brown and green”)

Why is this important? If you like to do nature and foliage, you’ll probably want to use warmer natural greens a lot. That means you probably don’t want to start trying to mix the primary green with yellow every time you color a leaf. When you know what you’ll be trying to do, you can pick the best tools for the task. This is also the time to decide how many pencils you’ll be willing to buy. You do NOT have to stick to the basic six. For example, here’s what I would choose as the smallest possible set I’d buy:
As you can see, I’m skipping the primary yellow altogether because I would never use it, not even for mixing, I always use warm ochres instead, also for mixing. My palette is pretty warm in general, I’d keep the primary red and blue but skip the secondary green as well and replace with two warm greens, again, because I rarely ever use cooler greens and I can cool these two a bit if necessary. Also I’d be annoyed if I’d have to lighter/darken the warm green all the time, so I just go with two. I also tend to use beige and it’s a bastard to mix for me so I’d get that in a pencil form. I’m here replacing the dark blue with a cool grey and skipping white altogether though you might want to add a white to lighten up some of the hues and possibly even blend (though please don’t, just get a blender pencil). I just don’t like the chalky look, I don’t use white. But I do recommend you add it just in case, you might need it.
This is a very very skeletal set, I’d happily add at least a handful more to it but I tried to pick the least amount possible for the sake of simplicity. I’d suggest you get as many as you can afford, it will be a whole lot easier then and focus on the colors you’ll be using most. I rarely ever use blue by itself, I use it to cool down shadows and thus I don’t really need more. If you love to color with blue, be it water or anything else, you’ll definitely want more of them and so on. I’m mostly into people, metals and foliage so I choose accordingly.

Hope that helps and I know it’s a huge and confusing topic and I can remember thinking I can never EVER choose just a few, what would I choose? Don’t worry. The great thing about open stock pencils is that you can always add to your existing set if you feel something is missing. You do not have to get it perfect the first time. But I do hope this saves you some money, you really shouldn’t be buying five blues you will never use when you really need greens to color leaves 🙂

Any questions? Comment below or drop me an e-mail:

Another spider, Sommarnatt

Finally felt like continuing with Sommarnatt by Hanna Karlzon. The in-progress-owls double spread is killing my buzz completely, I’ve decided to put that aside for now and just go on. So another spider it is! Still not a fan of them, can recall the bite I got from one all too well 😀
_dsc3893Done with Prismacolor Premier pencils, some white and black Posca and Sennelier soft pastels for the background.

Still picking the image for the next video. I really want to do the double spread girls from Dagdrömmar but I’m hoping to get a new camera someday and I’d rather save it for a better quality video. But for now… don’t know. Any requests?

Dagdrömmar love

This one I fully intended to do a video on and well, actually I did start. But then, my camera decided to stop filming without letting me know and I have about 30 minutes of footage missing. So I figured, what the hell, I’ll just finish the picture and move on to the next video project. No fun when parts are missing.

But anyway, this is one of my favorite images from Dagdrömmar by Hanna Karlzon:
_dsc3892I thought about doing the outer part of the background black but nah, it’s light and airy as is I think. Not everything in life needs a black background 😀 This is done with Faber-Castell Polychromos and some white Posca as always.

In other news, I am lining up some interesting topics for you such as a blender pencil comparison and as a big project, trying to compile a list of what I think would be a great start to sets when buying open stock, like pencils you’d be great off with if you can only afford 12 or 24 of them. Something like that.


Book review – Imagimorphia by Kerby Rosanes

With surprise, I realized I haven’t actually done a proper review for Imagimorphia by Kerby Rosanes. So.. well, here’s me fixing that.

Details: Paperback, Michael O’Mara Books Ltd, 2016
Pages: 250 x 250 x 9mm, 96 pages, good thick paper, double-sided
ISBN10: 1910552143
ISBN13: 9781910552148
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

I bet you’ve all seen this book but if you haven’t, lets look at it now. Imagimorphia follows Kerby Rosanes’ previous coloring book, Animorphia. The two are very similar, Imagimorphia feels like the next episode of the same series. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your expectations. To me, it’s a good thing. I loved Animorphia and I also love Imagimorphia. There are differences though, Imagimorphia to me feels a bit more varied and thought through, also there are more single page pictures which I love and paired images that don’t enter the spine. Double page spreads still suffer from the same problem that Animorphia had, they enter the spine and are hard to reach.
I might be wrong but I feel there are less of those alien-like creatures in Imagimorphia. And there’s definitely a sway towards steampunk in this one with clogs and gears and such. Also a definite upgrade from Animorphia to me is that this book has a lot less of those draw-it-yourself pages. I don’t like those and don’t really know many people who do.
Many people are intimidated by the wild amount of detail in these pictures. My suggestion on first starting with these is to pick out a rather limited palette, choose a handful of pencils and work with those, you won’t get overwhelmed with choices and the end result will look cohesive. And you’ll build up courage to do more from these awesome books 🙂
The paper is very nice, thick and smooth, can also take a bit of water so Inktense would be fun to try on these pictures as well, I’d imagine.

Example image:
Done with Derwent Drawing pencils.

Overall I would definitely suggest getting this book if you like these doodle-type pages. And I for one am excited for his next book, Mythomorphia, announced for May 2017.

Disclaimer: all of the above opinions are mine, you might have a different experience and opinions