Category Archives: Reviews

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

Stress Less Coloring Cats
stress less cats
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.

cat collage

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.

‘Stress Less Coloring – Fantasy’ Will Convince the Men in Your Life to Color with You

stress less coloring fantasy

I’m still annoyed that I have to wait a whole week between episodes of Game of Thrones, but luckily I can get my fantasy fix with Stress Less Coloring – Fantasy. This collection of over 100 images is perfect for anyone who loves dragons, mermaids, and other mythological creatures.

fantasy book coverIf you’re looking for a book that will encourage the men in your life to color with you, I think this title is a good choice. The Celtic patterns, tattoo inspired pages, and designs inspired by Greek mythology seem to appeal to more masculine tastes. When my husband was flipping through this book after I received it, he said it was his favorite of all the Stress Less Coloring books. My 11-year-old son was also quite fond of the dragon images, even though he dislikes almost all of the other coloring books in my collection.

As with all the other Stress Less Coloring books, the designs in this title are printed one sided. They’re easy to color with colored pencils, although I personally think the nature of the title calls out for glittery or metallic gel pens. Nothing says fantasy like a dragon with metallic scales or a mermaid with flecks of glitter in her hair!

You can purchase Stress Less Coloring – Fantasy on Amazon for $12.20. The list price for the book is $14.99.

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher.

fantasy heart

fantasy collage

Enter to Win Your Own Set of Art-n-Fly Gel Pens

Every Day

When I’m having a bad day, nothing makes me smile quite like a new set of gel pens. If you’re looking for a similar pick-me-up, why not try out the Art-n-Fly set of 40 gel pens?

Art-n-Flyart n fly pens is a new manufacturer on the adult coloring book scene and recently contacted me to review their pens. The photo below shows color swatches from all of the pens in the set that I received. Even though my set accidentally included two yellow glitter pens, I was pleased with the wide range of colors. I particularly liked that there were lots of different greens and blues to choose from, since these colors are helpful when you’re doing nature pages.  

If you can’t tell from my photo, the set includes several different types of gel pens.

  • Glitter: The glitter ink is quite subtle in this set, but a nice option for embellishing your pages with a touch of sparkle.
  • Metallic: These were my favorite colors by far. They add a touch of sophistication to any coloring page. The mandala image at the bottom of this post was colored with the metallic pens.
  • Pastel: I personally don’t use pastel pens very often, but I tried them out with the green and yellow glitter pens to do the notecard at the top of this post. 
  • Neon: Neon pens are a little too bright for my taste, but I do use them occasionally for highlights or on black background pages.
  • Classic: Combining classic colors with glitter or metallic pens creates interesting special effects.

color swatches

The ink in these pens seems to dry fairly quickly, which is good if you tend to have problems smudging your work or if you often color with your kids and don’t want them leaving ink smears all over your table. However, if you want to try blending gel pens, the fast drying ink will be a bit of a challenge. In this case, I’d recommend combining the pens in this set with a wetter ink pen like the Sakura Gelly Rolls. Alternating between wet and dry ink gives you room for more creative effects.

The barrels of the pens are on the thinner side, which means the set takes up minimal storage space. I decided to keep my pens in my favorite Wonder Woman coffee mug, stored with the tips down to reduce the risk of the ink drying out. All 40 pens fit in the mug with room to spare!

One aspect of this set that I really like is how the pen caps and ends are a fairly accurate representation of the color of ink. It drives me crazy to purchase gel pens where you can’t distinguish the glitter or metallic pens from the basic colors.

Art-n-Fly gel pens are available for purchase via Amazon.  At $17.99 for a set of 40 pens, these are the one of the cheapest sets of gel pens I’ve personally used. However, I feel like they perform comparably to brands that are considerably more expensive.  If you use gel pens frequently for coloring, you’ll run out of ink quickly regardless of the brand you choose. Therefore, this is one area where you can save money without scrimping on quality.

Would you like to try a set for yourself? Art-n-Fly has generously offered to giveaway a set of pens to one lucky reader. To enter this drawing, leave a comment below telling me what your favorite color is and why. I’ll choose one winner at random on May 30.

6Disclaimer: Product samples were provided by the manufacturer.

UPDATE: (6-2) My apologies for being so late in picking a winner. It’s the first week of summer vacation for my son and adjusting to the changed schedule is more effort than I anticipated. Our lucky winner is #6.

gold mandala


Color for Change Encourages You to Help Kids in Need



If you’re looking for a unique coloring book to add to your collection, Color for Change can help. This unique coloring book is helping to raise money for the children of the Lost & Found Orphanage in Cambodia. With each $20 book that is sold, a child receives enough money to pay for two weeks of food or two months of schooling.

Your purchase contributes a 70% donation to the orphanage. The remaining price is split as follows: 5% for the artist, 15% for manufacturing cost, 5% for shipping costs, and 5% for Start Something Good.

The book is primarily mandala designs of a beginner to intermediate level. If you don’t want this title for yourself, I can see the images being appealing to an older child who still enjoys coloring.

Visit the Start Something Good website for details.

AmazingColors Gel Pens Are Great for Adding Glitter to Your Adult Coloring Books

gel pen free coloring book

So many people seem to have a love/hate relationship with gel pens, but the AmazingColors gel pen set is well worth the money if you’re a gel pen fan.  The barrels feel sturdy in your hand, the ink colors are very vibrant, and there’s no annoying skipping when you’re coloring or writing.

The set includes 12 glitter pens, 6 neon pens, and 6 pastel pens. Glitter gel pens are my favorite, but finding a set with a good assortment of glitter pens is surprisingly challenging. I love the colors in this set, as well as the fact that the ink dries quickly and doesn’t smear or leave glitter all over my hands. The neon and pastel options aren’t what I’d describe as neon or pastel, but I actually like them better that way. Overall, I’m really enjoying using them in my adult coloring books.

gel pensAlthough the product description states you can use the case the pens come in for storage, I wouldn’t recommend it. The plastic is flimsy and prone to ripping. I ended up moving my pens into a decorated candy tin for a sturdier storage option. Not a big deal, but something to consider if you’re still working on organizing your supplies.

As an added bonus, you’ll receive a free printable mini coloring book with six different designs when you purchase your gel pens. The designs are cute, but very similar in style to many of those found in the more popular coloring books. (The picture at the top of this post is one of the pages from the book I was emailed shortly after purchasing my pens.)

You can purchase the AmazingColors gel pen set on Amazon. Regular retail price is $22.90, although the set seems to go on sale periodically. If you’re on a tight budget and want to try out these pens, I’d suggest adding them to your Amazon wish list and keeping an eye on the price.

gel pen color swatchesDisclaimer: I received a discounted product in exchange for my honest opinion.


A Relaxing Way to Enjoy Adult Coloring

bow photo

colroing books for adultsIf you’re a frequent Amazon shopper, you’ll probably notice that the site has several adult coloring books from lesser known publishers in addition to the heavy hitters like Secret Garden. Coloring Books for Adults Relaxation has a nice variety of illustrations, including flowers, mandalas, animals, people, and geometric patterns. Some are fairly simple, but others are quite complex. Expect to spend anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours coloring your picture.

Overall, if you’re just starting out and looking for a budget-friendly way to build your coloring collection, this title is a worthy addition to your library. Since the book includes a little of everything, it’s a helpful way to figure out what subjects you enjoy coloring the most without buying an entire coloring book devoted to just one style of artwork. It would also be a good gift purchase if you want to introduce a friend to the joys of adult coloring but don’t have a whole lot to spend.

You can purchase Coloring Books for Adults Relaxation on Amazon for $6.29.

oriental design

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this title in exchange for my review.

Should You Add Koh-I-Noor Tri-Tone Pencils to Your Stash?


tri tone butterflyAs I wrote a few months ago, I love the idea of using tri-tone pencils to get a blended effect without all the work. So, I was thrilled when I came into a little extra money and had a chance to purchase the Koh-I-Noor tri-tone pencil set from Amazon.

tritoneThe quality of these pencils is right on par with my Prismacolors, which are my favorites for working with adult coloring books. I also really love that they come in a sturdy tin for easy storage. However, I was a little disappointed that many of the pencils didn’t have as much of a variation in shades as I’d hoped. I was expecting more of a multicolor effect, but the overall result is very subtle for most of the pencils. Only four pencils really have the obvious multi-color effect I was expecting. The rest require you to look closely to see the difference, which is probably more of an asset when you’re coloring realistic looking images as opposed to the mandalas and pretty patterns I tend to gravitate towards.

Another issue that bothers me is that it’s hard to tell the different colors apart when you’re working on a picture. The tri-tone color strips at the bottom aren’t a real accurate reflection of the color. I have to keep scratch paper nearby to test each pencil before using it, although I’m thinking maybe it would be better to create a color chart and tape it inside my storage tin.

I’ve included some sample color swatches to give you an idea of what the different pencils look like. The image at the top of this post was colored using nothing but the red, orange, and yellow toned pencils in the set.

tri tone swatches

Chalkboard Art Coloring Book Is Creative Haven’s Best Title Yet

chalkboard art adult coloring bookOf all the Creative Haven adult coloring books I’ve seen so far, the Chalkboard Art Coloring Book is my absolute favorite. Published last November, this book features a collection of 31 chalkboard style designs with inspirational sayings like:

  • chalkboard artFriends Are the Best Therapy
  • Do What You Love
  • Stay Positive
  • Have an Awesome Day
  • Spread Joy
  • Make Today an Adventure

What I love about this book is that it’s completely different than anything else in my collection. There’s a wide variety of sayings, font choices, and artistic embellishments on each chalkboard style drawing. All of the pages would be lovely as framed inspirational wall art for your home.

Coloring the chalkboard art designs has proven to be a little challenging. I did a few with colored pencils, but found I liked the effect of coloring them with chalk pastels better. Perhaps this is because the pastels mimic the look of an actual chalkboard drawing? I’m thinking I may dig out my watercolor pencils and experiment with those at a later date to see what the difference looks like.

You can purchase Creative Haven’s Chalkboard Art Coloring Book: Inspirational Designs on a Dramatic Black Background on Amazon for $5.99.


live well

Take a Break from Mandalas and Try Coloring Your Favorite Animals

animals 02

Animals aren’t normally my first choice of things to color. For me, trying to make a picture look realistic is rather stressful. When I’m coloring to relax, I like to stick to pretty patterns and simpler designs. That being said, sometimes you need to step outside your comfort zone and try new things.

animalsIf you’re looking for a budget-friendly collection of animal pictures, Stress Less Coloring: Animals offers over 100 different animal designs for you to color. This book of single sided coloring pages features everything from birds and butterflies to exotic zoo animals like pandas, giraffes, lizards, elephants, and panda bears. Some are very realistic in nature, but others are more open ended — like the picture of the blue bird at the bottom of this post.

Although this isn’t my favorite book in the Stress Less Coloring series, it’s one I turn to when I want to experiment with new techniques or take a break after coloring 20 mandalas in a row.

You can purchase Stress Less Coloring: Animal Designs on Amazon for $13.35.

animals 01

animals 03

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher. 

A Joyful Coloring Experience for the Young at Heart

joyful patterns 04With over 100 patterns per book, the Stress Less Coloring series from Adams Media offers a budget-friendly way to build your collection of pages to color. One of the newest additions in the series, Joyful Patterns is the perfect book to color when you’re searching for a touch of whimsy. There are hot air balloons, flip flops, cupcakes, sunglasses, bicycle, lollipops, and more.

As with the other books in this series, Joyful Patterns has single sided pages with stress lessan image credit on the back side. The pages are not perforated. Colored pencils and gel pens will work just fine to color on the paper, but markers will bleed through. If you want to use markers on a design, you’ll need to have a sheet of paper or cardboard in between to protect the other pages.

Aside from the whimsical collection of patterns, one thing I like about this book is that most of the designs are fairly quick to complete. They’re not as detailed as many of the other adult coloring designs on the market, which makes them ideal for the times when you want to do something fun without spending hours on one picture.

You can purchase Stress Less Coloring: Joyful Patterns on Amazon for $14.99.

joyful patterns 02

joyful patterns 03

joyful patterns 01

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher.