Relaxing Patterns and Mandala Designs

relaxing patterns and mandala designs by lilt kidsI was sent this book from Lilt Kids to review. All I had seen was the cover and I eagerly awaited the delivery coming over from America.

Lilt kids are an independent publisher, something that I thought was good to see, no major cooperation. All their colouring books are quite cheap (£2 to £4)

Here’s a quote from their website

THANKS FOR STOPPING BY..

and supporting a small, independent business like Lilt Kids Coloring Books. All our coloring books are made right here in the USA by talented artists and printed on the highest quality paper with beautiful, bright covers. Should you ever have any kind of problem with an order or just a question for us, we have great customer service: just email

Sounds very exciting doesn’t it…

the internal cover of relaxing patterns and mandala designsThen the book arrived

Truthfully I was disappointed. Firstly The cover of this book appealed to me the most out of the small selection I was shown to choose from, after looking at their site with the book in my hand I see three other books at least with the same cover, just different titles. The one thing I had to go on to choose a book and it wasn’t unique, nor was it anywhere in the book. The Amazon page also said that there were 40 pages in the book, there were only 22 design pages, 24 if you count the small images in the title page and the back page. Yes it’s over 40 pages if you count the blank back side of every design but I think that’s stretching things a little.

showing the quality of the line work within the bookThe Artwork

Something else that didn’t meet my expectation. It is just my opinion but I don’t expect thick lines in an adult colouring book, the thinnest lines are at least 1mm thick. Now this could be seen as a benefit for those using art therapy who have motor function problems so I’m not going to rule things out just because the line thickness isn’t to my liking.

Looking at the images again on most of them the lines aren’t smooth, and there are areas, on the mandalas especially, where you can tell images have been joined together to create the design.

So, I’m disappointed again.

The Paper

It’s about 100gsm and very lightly textured. Nothing like any of the other colouring books I own . It’s somewhere in between the paper from Zen Colouring and Relax with Art so maybe it wouldn’t be that bad to colour on.

The book is printed single sided though so at least any media goes.

stabilo colour testOnto Colouring

I tried three different media in this book. Firstly Stabilo Pen 68, my all rounder pens because there aren’t many books out there there these can’t be used in. I chose to do the first page and went with a pallet of yellows, oranges and reds. They worked rather well.

The first image took me less than an hour to colour. I didn’t really get the satisfaction from the colouring that I would on pages I spend hours or even days on, but it was nice to do something a bit quicker.

promarkers colour testOnto the second and I went with my promarkers and a purple/blue combination, while it was possible to colour with them on the paper (sheet of card under the page required) it did seem to really suck the ink in. This is where I was perhaps thankful the lines in the artwork were quite thick as the colour really did spread (even with the thick lines though the first bit of colour I added did go over.) The other thing I noticed was that the colours became rather muted, the usual vibrancy of the colours was dulled and that was a little disheartening as the final image didn’t end up as I had planned it.

example of using inktense in the bookI spent about an hour and a half on that one.

Finally I got my inktense pencils out and went with reds and greens as you can see I didn’t finish this one, the coloured pencil didn’t really go well on the page and while the water wash looked good to begin with, once it dried though it looked awful and I had a rather wrinkly page.

I didn’t want to finish it, and this is the only time I have ever left an image unfinished.

A Second Opinion

I decided to get a second opinion on the book, I showed it to my 8 year old son. He did think it looked “pretty cool.” So now the book is his, though he hasn’t actually done any colouring yet.

In Conclusion

Pretty disappointing if you are a more advanced colourist, though I will give credit that these might be a good, inexpensive, introduction to colouring for anyone that wants to embark on art therapy but is either daunted by the detail of some books or needs the thicker lines to compensate for motor function problems. They are probably better for children wanting different types of designs.

A children’s book billed for adults.

If the book does interest you though I would say you would be better off using water based pens over any other media as they do give the best colour results.

Did I just get very unlucky with my choice of book, has anyone else tried books from this publisher?

Personalising Enchanted Forest

wpid-wp-1433275975628.jpegThe other day I bought a copy of Enchanted Forest. After the title page there is a this book belongs to… page

So, write your name in, it can’t be that hard. Oh but it is, I wanted it to look pretty, I started pouring through my calligraphy and typography books looking for the perfect way to add my name onto this page.

My husband did suggest that I did an illuminated starting letter. In my sketch book I started playing with a few ideas but nothing looked right.

Then it all made sense, if I wanted it to look right I needed to write my name so it was in keeping with the book. Luckily for me practically every letter in my name appeared in the books title so it was quite easy to mimic exactly the right look.

wpid-wp-1433277972510.jpegWhile I had the pleasure of being able to reference each of my letters from the cover of the book, not everyone will have that luxury, after a few people asked about it I have written this as a mini how to draw your own enchanted forest style name.

Firstly you will need:

  • A Pencil (I use a mechanical purely out of preference)
  • An Eraser
  • A Ruler
  • Drawing Pens (I used 0.05 and 0.1)

I’m working on a blank sheet of paper as I have already done my book, you can practice on paper first or go straight into the book. Either way you will need three guide lines. (The bottom line is the dotted line in the book) The top line is where the highest point of your letters will go and the middle line is about 2/3 up from the bottom and will be the height for lower case letters. If you have a name where letters extend below the writing line, add a fourth line that is the same distance from the bottom as the middle line is from the top.

Next write in the basic shapes of the letters, the font in the book is quite rounded so I have used a rounded style of writing.

Now have some fun, the letters are all decorated with different styles of leaves and leaves are very simple. Nearly all of them follow a teardrop shape just with different parts inside. You can “shake” a little as you draw some to give the the edge of the leaves texture for others start with the tear drop and then take parts away to give more of an oak leaf style. Make the teardrops all look different by adding different styles of line inside.

As you add leaves make most of them follow the line of the letters, some can go off at angles or curve more than the line of the letter. Leave some spaces where it is just the letter though.

Where you have multiples of one letter, they don’t have to be the same. it can be hard to directly copy one you have already drawn and if they are different it will just make it more interesting to colour.

Once you have added leaves to all your letters it’s time to ink it, using the fine liner pens I did some of the smaller internal details with the 0.05 nib, all the other lines are with the 0.1 nib. Wait a moment for the ink to totally dry then erase all the pencil lines and sit back to admire your handy work.

Show me what your name page looks like, over on facebook, @ScarletLeonard on twitter or in the comments below.