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?

Colouring with Promarkers – Flat Colour

wpid-wp-1430228815296.jpegBefore we look at blending it’s best to look at flat colour.

Promarkers are a great pen for flat colour because you can layer the colour to give slightly darker tones. This allows you to go back to areas you do want darker if you feel extra depth is needed without the complication of blending. Of course flat colour is easily achievable with any pen.

Onto Colouring

When you colour with promarkers you have to remember that if you do go over the same area twice you will have lines of darker colour. This doesn’t happen though while the ink is still wet so because of this we break down the image to minimise getting unwanted lines. Look at the different sections in this tutorial image we have two blades of grass, the stem, the leaf, the centre of the flower four petals at the front and four petals at the back. Each of these will be coloured separately.

I will be using four colours;

wpid-wp-1430228824544.jpegWhen colouring follow the line of the drawing, this way your strokes follow the natural line of the section you are colouring, you will get the most coverage in a single stroke and the paper won’t get as wet which will minimise any bleeding. To fill in larger areas circular colouring motions will minimise colour overlay with promarkers. Also by following the shape of the section if you do experience any colour overlay it will be in the right direction and not look out of place. (something you can use to your advantage in certain colourings.)

To begin with I will start with using the leaf green a couple of downward strokes starting from the tip of the blades of grass is enough to fill this small area.

With grass a single stroke going down the stem, then work around the edges and the line down the centre of the leaf, this then leaves a couple of small gaps which because of the size of this image are able to be filled with quick strokes. If they had been larger I would have used a circular motion.

Using sunflower colouring in a circle is the best way to fill the centre of the flower. As it is round this goes around the edge and fills the centre, if there are any gaps just dot the pen into them.

With the purple do each petal individually, working in the same way as you did the leaf. (The outer edges, up the centre, fill the gaps.) I start with the front most petals before working on the petals at the back.

wpid-wp-1430228859626.jpegOnce you have filled all the petals you could leave it there, though for extra depth once the ink has dried you can go back to areas that would be in shadow and re-colour them.

The right blade of grass has had a second layer of leaf green and also the four petals towards the back have had a second layer of purple.

Alcohol markers, no matter what the brand do bleed they will pretty much always show up on the opposite side of the paper. Don’t use them in two sided print colouring books unless you are willing to sacrifice the image on the other side and always insert a blank sheet to prevent any ink going on to the page below.

Be careful with your choice of paper too. Some papers are very absorbent and will dry the ink up really quickly, it is difficult to achieve even colour on papers like that. Others keep the ink wet for a very long time and this can cause the colour to spread so you end up with colour outside the lines. When you print a colouring page or draw your own images you can use a specific marker pad or a decent paper. (I used a 140gsm medium texture cartridge paper for this tutorial, though as you can see I did get a little ink spread from not being careful enough on one of the flowers.)

 

Promarkers: Colour Blends – Leaves Midtone

Leaves are perhaps my favourite thing to colour. It certainly didn’t take long for me to figure this blend out.

This blend will work for midtone green leaves

The blend in use;

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Zen Colouring – Advanced Art Therapy

zen colouring publication coverI frequent a few colouring groups on facebook and this new magazine came up. A bi-monthly publication from the GMC Group (A company that produces many well known titles.) entitled Zen Colouring Advanced Art Therapy the first issue is Flowers and has a cover price of £5.99.

The publication has 48 pages and they are all gorgeous floral pictures to colour. The paper is a decent quality and all the pages are single sided so there’s no worry if you like markers of them bleeding through onto the other side and ruining a picture. About half of the pages do have a small corner detail on the reverse but they are no loss if you use markers and if you use pencils they are a great place to practice how you want to colour the main detail of the page.

zen colouring art therapy book, inside coverOpening it up and on the inside cover there are some lovely detail images showing possible ways you could colour, then all the way through to the back it’s all colouring for you. No part coloured pages (becoming a pet hate with a few colourists after getting books to find some colours printed in.) The inside of the back cover has a few more detail examples and all the publication details as well as information on the next release date.

Onto the Colouring

It’s no secret now that promarkers are my weapon of choice when it comes to colouring.  As I am pretty sure they will bleed through and I don’t want to cut the images out I will use a sheet inserted under the page I am colouring to absorb any colour and protect the page below.

I will be starting with the first page as it is very pretty. I like the style, how it doesn’t take up the whole page, it has a lovely quote and a mixture of different things to colour all in one image.

Putting the first bits of colour down and I am very impressed with the paper, a lot of the time, when using promarkers, when the paper absorbs the ink it spreads, not just the bleed through to the back but also on the top. There is virtually no spread of the colour. This does mean that the ink is drying pretty fast on contact with the paper which would be slightly problematic for blending purposes but as most parts are small details that can easily be broken down into various sections it shouldn’t become too much of an issue to blend colours.

colouring a page in the zen colouring, colouring bookChecking the extra sheet I slotted in to “catch” any colour that wanted to go onto my next page and there is some ink on it but not huge amounts. Even the reverse side of the paper looks pretty neat because of the lack of spread.

After getting over the need to check everything was all right and I was sure that with that sheet of card under the page I really set to with the colouring. Four hours later I was informed it was 11pm! I guess I really did zen out, I was only just half way through the picture.

finished first page from zen colouring art threapy magazineI wasn’t calling it a night there though. I was enjoying this, a lot. Two hours later, I was nearly finished. One little voice was saying; “Come on, so close, just that little bit left.” However there was a much louder voice now saying; “It’s 1am! If you carry on you will make a mistake, go to bed woman.”

So I did and I laid in bed thinking about what blends I would use to finish it off…

In the morning armed with a few ideas I did some tests on a separate sheet and an hour or so later the page was finished. I was really happy with the final result as I don’t usually colour in books because of paper quality issues it was fantastic to see what a difference it makes keeping a sheet in the book. It felt like my colouring was in print!

Overall

Yes, the publishers have done their homework. They have produced a lovely magazine/book that is suitable for colouring in most mediums thanks to a good choice of paper. So far all they could do to make it perfect for some, is to make the pages perforated so they could easily be removed from the binding for easier colouring as when you get further through the book it can become difficult to keep the page you are working on flat. But I will find a way because I love how it looks in the book.

It’s not a picture every day for the whole two months but they are going to take longer than a day to complete. This will easily last you until the next edition and you will have things still left to colour in this once issue two is in your hands.

If you were on the fence about this one I urge you to go out and get it, unless of course flowers aren’t your thing which is perhaps another good point to this magazine, if you don’t like the subject there is always the next one.

The next issue is due out on 2nd June and is themed around animals.

Final Note

That little flower on the back of the page? I took the coloured pencils to that. While I couldn’t cover any of the colour that had come through from the markers there wasn’t a whole lot of colour in that area but it was a great just to play with the pencils as they aren’t something I use very often. I might have to test fine liners on the paper for bleed because if they don’t bleed through they might be a great way to cover the bleed and have a lovely little flower coloured in.

Colouring My Line Art

wpid-wp-1427665808066.jpegThis line art was my project the other day. A lovely floral ACEO.

The next step was to colour it with my promarkers, now I do occasionally get asked what I colour with and how I colour as I add shading.

So this prompted a video, I set up the camera to record the whole colouring of the ACEO.

I had planned and prepared all the colours in advance as I wanted to just colour and not spend time thinking about what colours I needed next. wpid-wp-1427819032919.jpegI chose a dark mossy green blend for the vines, a couple of green leaf blends, a blend of browns for the tree branch, yellows and oranges for the flower centres and purples and pinks for the flowers.

In total I had 17 colours, the entire colouring took around 50 minutes (the video has been sped up) I haven’t provided a colour list but keep an eye on the library as I upload some of my blend combinations there.

Watch the video below, or pop on over to my YouTube channel.

A Bit of Doodling

Since the beginning of March I have been doing a lot of doodling, mostly Zentangle art but more recently because of the influence of grown up colouring I have started doing some small drawings to colour with my promarkers and cut out as ACEO’s (Art Card Editions and Originals)

wpid-wp-1427665909994.jpegFirstly I did a small one, this was because I had been asked about my drawing and so I quickly doodled a little potted flower and coloured it to show them. It was after that I thought it was just the right size for an ACEO.

This one only took a few minutes to draw and a couple more to lay in the colour.

Next I thought it would be interesting to try something a little more detailed. Of course detail takes a little longer. I really do enjoy floral themes as there is a whole variety of shapes and they offer a lot of scope for colour.

wpid-wp-1427665808066.jpegOver the course of a couple of evenings I drew this piece, again at ACEO scale (2 1/2” x 3 1/2“) It was a delight to draw and I am really pleased with the result. (If you have been keeping up it was only a few months ago that I felt I couldn’t draw at all for anyone other than my own personal scribbles of designs.)

Using some of the methods I have picked up through Zentangle it has become a lot easier to construct a drawing.

Tomorrow I will be starting to colour, after it has been scanned because I don’t want to loose the line art all together but I also want to work on the original for the card.

To answer the question of why work on such a small scale, simply because I enjoy it more. I find drawing and colouring at a smaller scale more challenging but also easier to work to the space so I see a piece emerge sooner.

Have a creative day and I will see you soon with the final coloured piece.

 

Promarkers: Colour Blends – Skin Tone

It took a while to get a skin tone blend I was happy with, I had tried a few that resulted in dark streaks rather than a nice blend.

three promarker pensThis is a blend for a light skin tone with a hint of pink undertone.

And here is the blend in use;

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First Experience: Promarkers

promarkers2One of the things on my Christmas list was a set of Promarkers, Santa, of course delivered. (well I do buy most of the presents.) I had wanted them because of some rather nifty effects it’s possible to get with them and I thought they would make an interesting addition to the paper for cuts or backgrounds.

Supplies

  • Promarkers or any other alcohol based marker
  • Marker pad

Of course when I started looking for how to do some of these great effects I also ran into tutorials on colouring as alcohol markers are very popular with manga artists.
I had had experience with colouring pages before as I had ran into one that I simply had to cut.

victorian ladyWell that sent me off on a tangent, I found a lovely image that looked fairly simple and went ahead and coloured it in.
All the colour was flat, I used layers of colour to get different depths in areas obviously in the shade but it still looked flat, so I hunted out a few other tutorials and learnt that you should blend different colours together. So I had a go at that, but it looked horribly wrong.

Then someone said, dark to light never light to dark. Completely backwards from what I had first seen.

Back to the tutorials and I ended up on YouTube watching Kimberly Brown I became enthralled by the process, I was really far way from what I originally wanted to do with these pens, but it didn’t matter I was having fun.
Artist - coloursTime to find another picture to colour, this is where I discovered Yampuff a manga artist specialising on chibis (This leads to another tangent but that’s another story.) I fell in love with her style and tried colouring following the new tutorials I had found.

It worked, some of my colour choices weren’t perfect but the next stage is to learn more about blending combinations and what works best.

Colouring is addictive. I might eventually get round to trying what I want to with these fantastic pens.