Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"Whimsical Gardens" Coloring Book by Alexandra Cowell

Yes, it's true:  I am an Adult Coloring Enthusiast (ACE).  And I've decided to start reviewing my adult coloring books, sharing what I do and don't like about them and so on.  Today, I'm going to review the very first adult coloring book I ever bought, Whimsical Gardens, artwork by Alexandra Cowell.

I bought this sometime in 2015.  I'd been intrigued by the adult coloring books I kept seeing in the bookstores, but never found one that really made me want to color it.  Finally, I found this one, and knew it would be fun.  I love gardening and flowers, and so many pictures in this one were cute without being tedious.  Here is the very first picture I colored in it:

I was using the colored pencils I've had since I was a teen, when I took art classes for several years, and I wasn't very happy with how faint they were -- I wanted my coloring to be bright and vibrant!  So I invested in a new set of 24 colored pencils.

I've been pretty happy with these Prismacolor pencils.  The next page I colored was more vibrant:

But I came to the conclusion that the paper in this book isn't going to give me really bright colors with colored pencils -- it doesn't take the color especially well.  So I tried using fine-tipped markers:

Vibrancy at last!  However... markers bleed through the paper, so it's a good thing that there's only one picture per sheet in this book.  I have to be sure to have a sheet of other paper between the one I'm markering and the next picture.

I've gone back to colored pencils for this book, now that I've gotten more new colors.  After trying out a smaller pack of the Sargent Art colored pencils, I splurged on a set of 50, and now have plenty of different shades to choose from!

I've colored a few more pages in this book, but still have lots of fun ones to come, like these:  

I'm not a huge fan of "mandalas" and the purely pattern-oriented sorts of coloring images.  I want to color pictures of people and things, not just patterns.  This does have a few pages like that, such a this garden:

For the most part, though, this book has pretty pictures of plants and birds and flowers and various garden settings.  The paper doesn't take all brands of colored pencils very well, but overall I really like this book.

That's it for today!  Are you an ACE too?  Do you have any favorite books you'd like to recommend?  I've got several, and will definitely review more soon.


  1. Ooh, I like Adult Coloring books too! Since I was a kid I've always liked Dover coloring books, especially the historical fashion ones. Now I've just received both a Jane Austen and a Pride and Prejudice themed book, and I like both!

    1. Abby, great to find another fan! I've got a Jane Austen book and a Persuasion-themed book too, though I like the former much better than the latter, alas.

    2. And just yesterday I found a Dover book of dragons to color -- what a coincidence!

  2. I've just started in the word of Adult Colouring. I bought an Art Nouveau colouring book for my sabbatical, because I would be at a place with no tv and limited internet. I did use the book a little bit and I did like it, but I find I don't really have enough patience to really colour a whole page full. Which is somewhat weird, because I have endless patience for 1000 (or more) piece puzzles.

    1. Birdie, I tend to color either when I'm watching something to unwind in the evening that doesn't need my full attention (like Castle), or else when my kids want me to hang out with them and color a while. It's really never the only thing I'm doing, hee! I know some people do this for meditation and relaxation, but that's not really my style.

    2. Sounds like really fun to do it together with your kids!

    3. It is! And it's great for when I want to do something fun with them, but I'm too tired to play energetic things.


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