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 Stabilo’s – Shading

Once you are ready to embark on shading the Stabilo 68’s and 88’s are probably one of the simplest to learn with, there is no blending with these so don’t expect smooth transitions every time, some colours do work better than others but you will always have a darker shaded area which allows you to add that extra level of depth to your colouring.

If you haven’t read it yet I suggest reading the flat colour guide to see how I work with these pens.

Onto Colouring

Greys can be your best friend with shading, because they will work with any colour. Don’t reach for the grey that is a darker tone to the main colour though as it will end up appearing too dark. Choose a grey that is a shade lighter than you think you need. With colours though you will be using one shade darker.

When it comes to shading I do a lot of the work with the finer point 88 pens as it is easier to graduate the colour by fanning out the lines drawn the closer I get to the light source. It is achievable with the pen 68 but you will get a denser colour.

These are the colours I am working with:

  • Light green 68/33 or 88/33
  • Green 68/36 or 88/36
  • Yellow 68/44 or 88/44
  • Orange 68/54 or 88/54
  • Lilac 68/58 or 88/58
  • Purple 68/55 or 88/55
    and
  • Grey 68/96 or 88/96

I am starting with the grass again, I will be colouring this in exactly the same main colours as I did for the flat colour guide. Decide where you want shade to appear. For the grass I have opted for light shading on the blade that appears to be behind in the image and have added a “centre line” in the front blade to show the “fold” you see in grass.

You can then go over the grey with the main colour. If the paper saturates easily or is prone to loosing fibres wait until the grey has dried.

Again with the grey I have added shade to the top of the stem quite heavily as the shadow cast by the flower would be denser there. A little shading between the grass and shading that fans out on the leaf working from the stem.

Go over all the shading with the main colour (in this case light green) I realised at this point that the grey was perhaps to dark for the light green but hopefully it shows you what I mean about going a shade lighter than you think you need with greys. As the grey I am using was the lightest I had at the time it was all I could work with though there is a grey one step lighter in the range.

Next I add a little orange alongside one edge of the centre of the flower.

Colour over that with yellow. I didn’t wait for it to dry here and as you can see a little blending has occurred with this combination though it is not something I would rely on happening.

Next I use the purple and add some quick lines into one of the petals at the front of the flower, this will keep the shading fairly light as I don’t want it too dark and the lines created by the point 88 are perfect for this. Follow the lines within the drawing as if you were just adding a few more.

Do the same on the other three front petals.

Once the shading has been added and dried using the lilac in the pen 68 colour all of the front petals. I have found the combination of purple and lilac to work rather well.

You can then start on the back petals.

With the purple again but this time filling the area you want shaded (the point where it meets the front petals) with a denser bit of colouring, for this you can either use the point 88 or pen 68, though I continued to use the point 88 and used obvious lines that were just a lot closer together.

I then coloured the petal I had shaded.

Continue to add the shading on the remaining three petals.

Then,  when dry, go back to the lilac and colour the other back petals.

Finished you will have an image, with the extra depth shading provides. I use this technique in my animal kingdom book as well as on some free printables.

Experiment with different colours to find which ones work best together or give the effect you are after. Some combinations will appear seamless while others will be noticeably darker, some of course won’t work, even if you think they should.

Let me know how you get on shading with your Stabilo’s or other fineliners/fibre tips in the comments below, or show me your coloured images here, on facebook, @scarletleonard on twitter or @scarletimpressions on instagram.

Happy colouring!

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Colouring with Stabilo’s – Flat Colour

Stabilo pen 68 and 88 are a great mid range set of pens. The 68’s are described as a colour-intensive, premium fibre-tip pen there are 40 colours and 6 fluorescents, giving a great range of colour. The 88’s are a 0.4mm fineliner and boasts a range of 25 colours plus 5 fluorescents. The colours match up to so if you have the same colour in both pens they are the same colour on the paper making them brilliant for when you need to get into fine detail areas as well as larger area coverage.

Onto Colouring

wpid-wp-1431694616220.jpegGoing over the same area multiple will cause over saturation of the paper. I keep my way of working to sections but I use light stroke lines rather than circular colouring to prevent saturating the paper.

I have chosen 4 colours for the piece;

  • Light green 68/33 or 88/33
  • Green 68/36 or 88/36
  • Orange 68/54 or 88/54
    and
  • Lilac 68/58 or 88/58

As there are no really small detail in this image I haven’t used the pen 88 fineliners and just worked with the fibre tip pen 68.

Fast downward strokes fill in the grass with green.

The centre of the flower is filled with orange simply by following the line of the circle then using smaller circles towards the centre.

The stem and leaf are filled with light green by going down the full length of the stem then the edge of the leaf before using lines to fill the remaining area inside the leaf I follow the shape of the leaf as I do the fill lines.

Finally each of the petals are coloured using the same method as for the leaf.

wpid-wp-1431694651568.jpegI don’t get bleed with these pens following this method though you will sometimes see a ghost of the image on the reverse side of the paper, while it is visible it isn’t invasive, in a double sided print book once the opposite side was coloured it wouldn’t be noticeable at all.
However if you go over the same area to much and saturate the paper there will be bleed through, you can avoid this by allowing the ink already on the paper to fully dry before adding more (like when you notice a small area that didn’t get colour.)

There is more ink flowing to the paper from the pen 68’s the pen 88’s are less likely to show through but this depends on the area you are colouring as if you choose to do a larger area with the fineliner nib you risk overlapping colour more.

The good news is other than bleed through overlapping colour while wet or dry doesn’t result in variation of colour. This is great for really large areas as you can stop and resume colouring later without having to worry about the ink drying.

Using a textured paper with these pens can result in patchy colouring and of course absorbent papers will certainly end up bleeding through. As always make sure you select a decent quality paper. This piece was coloured on 135gsm smooth sketch book paper and works well with these pens.

Relax with Art

Relax with Art MagazineWhen I saw this one appear in the shops I grabbed a copy as colouring magazines have been selling out as quickly as they are coming in the shops. Relax with Art is published by Bromleigh House (who publish puzzle magazines) though there is next to no information on it around the internet. I did manage to find through newsstand that it is a monthly magazine and it has a cover price of £2.99.

There are 24 pages in the publication, more than enough for the month and the artwork is a mixture of designs so you aren’t tied to a theme. The magazine is stapled too so it opens up really easily and it is all single side printing. The inside cover has an intro, though to be honest reading it, it didn’t seem that well written. But it didn’t really matter as it is a colouring book after all.

Onto Colouring

colouring page relax with artI decided to give my Stabilo Pen 68’s a test in this one using a new type of pen I first thought that the pens were a bit dry but then I noticed that the paper is textured. The paper started to crinkle slightly with the colour. To satisfy my curiosity on the paper I did one part of the picture with my promarkers as I knew what I could expect from them. They spread on the paper quite quickly. As I wasn’t blending on this page it was completed quite quickly.

All the pens bled through to the other side but the thickness of the paper did prevent any colour from going through to the spare sheet under the page.

relax with art coloured pageYou can see some of the streaks in the colouring, I did test other papers and got a smoother finish from the pens. The pink is promarker and while the colour is smooth (due to it keeping the colour wet for a fair while) the spread makes it difficult to colour especially finer detail, which this book has a fair bit of, even with a fine point attachment.

While you could say that the promakers staying wet for so long would be an advantage to blending I wouldn’t like to know how much that would crinkle the paper when a basic water based pen did. Layering on the colour needed for a blend would probably get quite messy.

Overall

This is a book for pencils, possibly gel pens, while I love the art work it’s a little disappointing the paper lets this down and that pens (my preferred media) don’t look that great in it. The lack of information suggests this publication was rushed to print to get into the market quickly. I’ll be continuing the rest of the issue with pencils though and I will take a look at issue two when it is released to see if anything has been re-evaluated by the publisher.

Edit – 14/05/15 Today I went back to this magazine as there was a design I really liked. Instead of just getting out the pencils I tried my Stabilo pens again as they were out from the previous page I had just finished in another magazine.

I was surprised that it was a lot easier to colour this time round, there was less ink spread and I didn’t get that far before I had unclipped it from my drawing board and then spent quite a while looking at the page I had just started compared to the one I did the other day, it seemed the paper was different.

What I concluded after some inspection (honestly if anyone was watching me through the window today they must have thought I was a little strange stroking the paper on all the pages, holding it to the light and giving it a really good look over.) was just the one sheet, that happened to be the first and last images and the two I chose to try to colour first, had been printed on the “wrong” side.

So now I’m off to finish this new page with my beloved pens. Happy that everything should be fine now.

Issue two is due for release 28th May.

Edit – 29/05/15 Relax with Art now have a facebook page and a website where you can subscribe.
You can order relax with art through Unique Magazines either by subscribing or buying single issues.

How have you found colouring this magazine, any success stories or issues with pens to share?