As promised in yesterday’s blog, today I am going to review Johanna Basford’s Enchanted Forest (See Johanna Basford’s site here and the book on Amazon Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest and Colouring Book
This was the first colouring book I’ve ever bought and has held its own as one of my favourites. It ticks a lot of boxes for me, woodland images – check. Cute/elegant animals – check. Fantasy landscapes/buildings – check. It does what it’s meant to do very well and bridges the gap between children’s colouring books and adults well. There’s a whimsy to it that feels nostalgic, but with enough detail and scope for adding details that it can appeal to a more mature audience.
This book came out in 2015 and I bought it in mid 2016. It’s a beautiful book, with a cardboard front and back page and a removable dust sleeve in white and gold. The paper is thick and excellent quality. Gone are the faded, almost translucent, colouring pages I remember from my childhood. The paper does have a slight colouration to it, and is more cream than white, but I find that this helps colours blend in and makes them feel less harsh.
Below are some pictures from the colouring book. I am far from the best colourer in the world but I think they nicely illustrate the style of the colouring book. The backgrounds have not yet been filled in as I like to complete a book before doing the backgrounds with watercolours and pastels that may make the reverse side a bit odd to colour on. I’ve included details on the media I have used for each picture too so you can get a feel for what they look like (in the hands of an amateur!)
The below image was coloured using Staedtler Norris pencils as above.
The rabbit was coloured using Derwent Inktense pencils (Found here on Amazon) It was my first time using these pencils and I still have a lot to learn!
Both trees were coloured using Marco Raffine (as above) and Bic kids Tropicolors pencils, found on Amazon here.
The wolf and the treasure chest were coloured using a combination of Staedter TriPlus pens and Stabilo .88 (here) pens
Finally, the below forest scape was a combination of Staedtler, Bic Kids Tropicolors and Marco Raffine pencils.
In using multiple media colouring, none of these have bled through the page to the other side. The paper has never torn or become unmanageable.
The only criticism I have is that if you want to display your work, it is not made easy for you. The two page spreads obviously go into the creases making it impossible to pull these out to display (and pretty tricky to colour as well!) and there is a picture either side of each sheet of paper, meaning sacrificing one image to display another. This is rectified somewhat in the artists edition (review to come) but this is at an extra cost many won’t want to pay (and the artist edition has less pictures).
Another minor criticism is that many of the features of the images become repetitive (the same leaves used in multiple pictures, etc). I like to mix things up by having multiple colouring books on the go at the same time and by colouring them new and unusual colours so this doesn’t bother me, but if that isn’t for you then this book may become a bit repetitive.
That said, it’s a beautiful book that will always have a place on my bookshelf!