Category Archives: Reviews

Colore Colored Pencils Review: A Budget-Friendly Prismacolor Alternative

I had heard fairly positive reviews of Colore brand colored pencils in the various coloring groups I participate in on Facebook, so I was eager to try this set out for myself.

I have several different sets of colored pencils in my collection, but I was interested in this particular product because I loved the cute tin they came in. I received a 72-count Prismacolor set for my birthday last year and I’m obsessed with how convenient this makes storage after you’re done coloring.  Since I know not everyone is willing or able to splurge on Prsimacolors, I was intrigued by the idea of a more affordable alternative.

What I love:

  • The colors are intensely pigmented. You don’t need to press hard at all to get a nice coverage on the paper.
  • Every color has a unique identifying number so you can easily keep track of your favorite color palettes.
  • There is a particularly nice selection of greens, which is great if you enjoy coloring lots of nature themed images.
  • There are multiple shades of the same color that are very close together, which lets you create some interesting ombre effects on your pages.

What I’m not thrilled with:

  • There are no good skin tones in this set.
  • You have to be careful if you tend to press hard when you color. You’ll snap the lead if you press too hard.
  • I had some trouble finding a handheld sharpener that would sharpen these to a suitable point. I ended up getting the best results with my trusty electric sharpener.

Overall, I think this is a respectable buy for the colorist on a tight budget or someone who wants to buy pencils for an older child who enjoys art. They’re currently $19.88 on Amazon, which makes them a little over $20 cheaper than a comparable set of Prismacolors. If you don’t care about the fancy storage tin or would be happy with a smaller set, you can pick them up for $10 to $15.  They seem to go on sale fairly regularly too.

Even if you already have several sets of pencils at your disposal, these may still be worth the money. There actually aren’t too many duplicate colors in the Colore set vs. my current set of Prismacolors, so I can myself regularly using both in the future.

[Top photo is a page from the free Happy Coloring PDF adult coloring book. Bottom photo is from Stress Less Coloring: Butterfly Gardens.]

Indulge Your Love of All That Glitters with Doodle Art Pro

If you love glitter gel pens, Doodle Art Pro’s set of 40 unique glitter colors is an amazing must-have. Since glitter colors are always the first ones I used up whenever I buy a new set of gel pens, I’m in love with this product. The glitter is a little hard to photograph, but it’s gorgeous in person.

Check out my review on the SuziQCreations website or head directly to Amazon to pick yourself up a set.

OrnaMENTALS Gets a New Twist

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lights-out-cover-front-600x777If you love how black backgrounds make adult coloring pages pop, you’ll love Sue Chastain’s newest book OrnaMENTALS: Lights Out. The 8 1/2″ x 11″ book includes 40 single sided pages with original illustrations on dramatic black backgrounds. Subjects include patterns, flowers, butterflies, hearts, leaves, snowflakes, and more with simple to moderately intricate levels of difficulty. Some of the illustrations in OrnaMENTALS: Lights Out are slightly remixed versions of the designs found in Sue’s earlier books, but the majority are completely new.

I’ve been using colored pencils on my pages, but glitter gel pens would be fabulous with this book. Using neon highlighters on the patterned images so they glow under a black night would be another fun technique to try.

You can purchase OrnaMENTALS: Lights Out on Amazon for $8.99.  To see sample pages and a gallery of colored images, visit SuziQ Creations.

 

100+ Butterfly Gardens in One Book: What’s Not to Love?

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91e5s37s-6lOne reason why I haven’t been blogging much lately is that I recently experienced quite a few health problems. After multiple trips to the doctor and a hastily scheduled surgery, I’m on the mend. However, I was stuck in bed and rather miserable for several weeks.

During my time recuperating, Stress Less Coloring: Butterfly Gardens was my favorite book to color in. There’s just something about butterflies that makes me happy. Maybe it’s because they symbolize the ability to cope with change and come through stronger. Or perhaps it’s just that they’re bright and colorful. Either way, this book has over 100 different images of gorgeous butterflies for you to enjoy. Large butterflies, small butterflies, abstract butterflies, realistic butterflies — you’ll find it all in this title. Some of the pages even have butterflies hoovering over flower gardens for an added coloring challenge.

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Shareable Coloring Fun for You and Your Child

color togetherLet’s Color Together: A Shareable Coloring Book for Parents and Kids brings a new level of engagement to the coloring book craze by featuring beautiful spreads designed for two people to color and enjoy at once. If you’re struggling to find screen-free activities you’ll both enjoy, this is the perfect opportunity to sit down, connect, and share some fun!

let's color togetherFeaturing 10″ x 10″ images of flowers, birds, fish, teapots, houses, and more, Let’s Color Together is designed to be shared by an adult and a child at the same time. The pages are top bound so you can sit on opposing sides of the table, place the book in between you, and color simultaneously. The image on the left side is the more intricate “adult” version, while the image on the right side is the simpler “child” version.

The pages are perforated for easy removal. However, since the images are printed double sided, removing your finished pages one by one throws off the alignments of the “sharable” aspect of the book.

This is the first time I’ve ever seen a coloring book like this and I love the concept. Unfortunately, it works best if you have a fairly patient child. Otherwise, you’ll find that your little one is ready to move on to the next picture well before you’ve finished the first section of your side of the page!

Here are some sample parent and child spreads from the book:

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Margaret Peot is an artist, writer, and costume painter. Her books include Inkblot: Drip, Splat and Squish Your Way to Creativity, which was awarded the Eureka! silver Medal for non-fiction children’s books, Alternative Art Journals, and Make Your Mark. Visit her at http://www.margaretpeot.com.

Let’s Color Together: A Shareable Coloring Book for Parents and Kids can currently be purchased on Amazon for $11.81. List price is $14.99.

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher. 

Indulge Your Love of All Things Vintage with ‘The Curiosity Shoppe’

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Published August 1, The Curiosity Shoppe features a collection of 40 illustrations by Chris Price covering a wide range of vintage oddities, novelties, and bric-a-brac.  Many of the images would be suitable for framing as beautiful wall art if you are a fan of vintage home decor.

curiousity shoppeThe publishers did a lovely job with the presentation of this new adult coloring book. The gold foil embossing on the title and the textured linen cardstock cover definitely give it an “upscale” feel. If I was looking for a book to give as a gift for a friend who likes to color, this one would be at the top of my list for those reasons alone. What better way is there to convince a newbie that coloring isn’t just for kids than to give them a title that looks like a collector’s item?

Printed single sided, Price’s beautiful illustrations can be colored with a wide range of media. I used watercolor pencils on my first picture from the book, which is something I don’t normally do. I had a little trouble removing the page from the book to add my water, but overall I was fairly pleased with the result. However, I’ll probably go back to my trusty colored pencils for the remaining pages.

The book itself is top bound and the pages measure 11″ x 10″. This unique size and binding makes it different than all the other titles in my collection. I’m not a huge fan of the top binding, but I do think the larger size works well considering the level of detail in the images.

You can purchase The Curiosity Shoppe on Amazon for $10.59. List price is $15.99.

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher. 

Art-n-Fly’s Brush Tip Markers Give You a Painted Look Without the Mess

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Art-n-Fly’s new soft brush markers let you experience the joy of painting with watercolors without the mess. This gives you an entirely new way to enjoy your favorite adult coloring books!

If you’re used to working with regular fine tip markers, this product can be be a bit tricky at first. It helps to think of them like a paintbrush, so you’re holding them with a lighter touch and at a bit of an angle. Unless you’re already an experienced painter, I’d suggest practicing with a free printable coloring page or two so you can get a feel for how they work. For me, figuring out how to use them for smaller areas and finer details was the trickiest part.

The brush tips are a flexible nylon and will bend to whatever direction you push them. This lets you vary your strokes and layer or blend different colors together. I had a blast coloring the flowers shown in this post, which are from Stress Less Coloring: Flower Patterns by Adams Media.

art-n-fly brush markersOne of the things I found most interesting about these markers was that they had minimal bleed through in my coloring books. There was some bleed through in the areas where I’d blended the colors together, but this was still less than I typically get using Sharpies or Bic Mark-its. I’d still suggest putting a sheet behind the page you’re coloring as a precautionary measure, however.

Although there are only 12 colors in the set, they represent a broad enough range to make these markers useful for a wide variety of projects for both children and adults. They’re especially well suited to calligraphy and hand lettering, which is awesome if you’re a scrapbooker, a card maker, or really into bullet journaling.

There are no refills currently available, but the company is working on adding a refill option for future purchase. So, this would be a plus if you’re concerned about being as eco-friendly as possible with your coloring.

Purchase your Art-n-Fly brush tip markers on Amazon for $18.99.

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Having a Bad Day? ‘Feel Good Words’ Will Put a Smile on Your Face

feel good words breatheSue Chastain’s Feel Good Words is the book to reach for when you’re having a terrible day and in need of a little coloring inspiration. The collection of 30 positive and uplifting words is sure to bring a smile to your face.

feel good words coverOne thing that makes this title different from other coloring books on the market is that all the images are included twice. The first copy is a full page design and the second is a smaller half page design that you can remove from your book and use to embellish a handmade greeting card. As a crafter at heart, I personally love this idea. Plus, it gives me two chances to perfect my technique with each design! 

As an added bonus, the back of the book includes sample pages from Sue’s other titles as well as a few color test sheets you can use to make reference swatches for your favorite colored pencil, gel pen, or marker sets. (I know I need to be better about doing this consistently, since I’m always grabbing the wrong pen or marker from my sets that don’t have color names listed!)

You can purchase Feel Good Words on Amazon for $9.85.  If you want to learn more, you can download a few sample pages, purchase a digital edition, and see a large gallery of colored pages on the SuziQ Creations website. 

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the author.

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If You Love Colored Pencils, a Quality Pencil Sharpener Is Your Most Important Coloring Tool

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If you regularly use colored pencils in your adult coloring books, you know how important it is to have access to a decent pencil sharpener. The wrong sharpener will chew up your precious pencils in no time at all.

xacto sharpenerIt’s a little embarrassing to admit, but I generally hate sharpening pencils by hand. With my less expensive colored pencils, I will use an X-Acto electric pencil sharpener. This sharpener is a little louder than I’d prefer, but it’s quick to use and creates a nice sharp point on every brand I’ve tried it with.

Of course, I can’t exactly to my electric sharpener to a friend’s house to color. If I’m on the go or I want to be extra careful sharpening my more expensive pencils, my top pick is the Prismacolor Scholar hand sharpener. I first tried this sharpener at a coloring club event at my public library. It’s just as high quality as you’d expect from the Prismacolor brand. I love it so much I picked up a second one to send to school with my son in the fall so he doesn’t have to use their outdated sharpeners that shred your pencil instead of giving it a decent point.

prismacolor sharpenerRegardless of your preferred pencil sharpener, one important tip I’ve learned since I started coloring is to be careful you don’t accidentally drop your pencils. If they drop with enough force, you can break the lead inside the pencil. This will make them difficult to sharpen properly no matter what brand of sharpener you select.

If You’re a Cat Lover, You Need This New Adult Coloring Book

Stress Less Coloring Cats
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I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely a cat person. There’s nothing more relaxing than coloring with my kitty by my side — especially if I’m coloring a page from Stress Less Coloring – Cats.

This collection of over 100 cat pictures features whimsical images of cats filled with lots of intricate patterns and details for you to color. It’s not the best book to pick up if you want realistic pictures of cats, but it’s perfect if you want to experiment with blending techniques or making your kitty every crazy color of the rainbow.

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If you have a short attention span and don’t want to take the time to color in all the details individually, use colored pencils and break the patterned areas into larger sections. This is the technique I used on the picture at the top of this post. It gives you a funky tonal effect without all the extra effort on your part. (I will occasionally color the super detailed images like I’m supposed to, but I use this shortcut quite a bit. When I’m coloring, there are no rules!)

Stress Less Coloring – Cats is currently available on Amazon for $10.90. The list price for the book is $14.99.

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher.