Monday, October 5, 2015

Coloring Books from HarperCollins

Recently, HarperCollins asked me to review two of their new coloring books for grown-ups, Color Your Own Van Gogh and Color Manga. I happily agreed and ordered a new box of Prismacolors so I could attempt to do the books justice. They arrived a couple of weeks ago, which worked out perfectly since I just met a big deadline and finally have a little free time.

As you can see, both books are gorgeous. The Van Gogh in particular looks like it could sit out as a coffee table book. I sat down the other day to color and chose my first illustration from the Manga book. This particular image happens to look almost exactly the way I envision Akira from WINTERSOUL, so I was really excited to color it.

I am clearly no expert colorer, but this was fun. At first the paper seemed like it might be too thin, but the Prismacolors worked really well for this book. If I have one complaint about both books, it's that tearing out the pages isn't easy. Perforations would be a huge help. I accidentally ripped this one, in fact. But I could easily trim the page if I wanted to. Jack was so inspired by my coloring that he decided to make his own "Culrin Book" with a manga-inspired drawing:

Before I attempt to color any more of the manga illustrations, I really want to learn some proper coloring and shading techniques. I've got a coloring date with the teenage daughter of a friend who happens to be an artist and also has the really expensive art markers I couldn't justify buying. 

The Van Gogh was a little trickier for me. The drawings are almost set up like paint-by-numbers, without the benefit of numbers. This book is perfect for someone with a lot of patience, and possibly fine-tip or gel markers, because the colored pencils didn't work quite as well for all those teeny tiny details. I'm partially finished with "Sunflowers," but this is the kind of coloring I'll come back to in small bursts, most likely, when I'm watching TV or the baby is napping.

I haven't done any coloring since I was pregnant with Will, when I worked on the Enchanted Garden coloring book, but seeing the detail in the Van Gogh paintings was really inspiring. There's a house down the street with a little sign offering painting classes, and despite the language barrier, I think I'm going to sign up for some. It would be nice to have a creative outlet outside of writing.

In the meantime, I've got these coloring books to keep me busy!

(HarperCollins provided these books for review purposes; all opinions are my own!)


Shari Green said...

I'd love to flip through that Van Gogh one -- looks amazing! But I'm not sure I'd have the patience to colour it... ;)

Amanda said...

Beautiful colouring Mara :) I bought a similar book in the Paris airport on my long trip home a couple of months ago - thinking it would help me fill in some of my travel time.. I still haven't been able to bring myself to do any colouring, the pictures are just so pretty how they are!