Last week I received a new coloring book that I wanted to buy since the day it was released. Somehow it never came to ordering, until recently. I decided that I could not wait any longer, this book was calling my name – loud! And last week Masja’s Fairy Tales finally arrived and found a place on my desk, waiting for the colors to come.
I could hardly wait, I was so eager to start coloring. Masja has been part of my coloring experience fairly from te beginning. My 9th, 10th and 11th coloring books were from her ‘My Wondrous World’ series, parts one, two and three. Later I’ve also bought parts four and five, as well as her Christmas coloring book.
She has also drawn several mandala coloring books, all but one in my collection. But this new book, Masja’s Fairy Tales, was so very much appealing to me! Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved fairy tales. I had a large, thick book with fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen (e.g. The little mermaid and The little match girl), a book with the Puss in Boots and many other books containing well known fairy tales.
Because I could read independently from age four, I started reading books with fairy tales from an early age on and actually I’ve never really stopped. As a toddler I even had curtains with Disney’s Snow White in my bedroom! And these days I enjoy watching movies like Maleficent and Cinderella, to name just a few.
Now back to Masja’s Fairy Tales! I guess you get the idea why I so badly wanted to have this coloring book. First some details about the book.
The book measures 24 cm x 32 cm, which equals 9.45 inch x 12.60 inch. It contains 16 pages. The first page is a title page with some colorable flowery garlands. Then there are fifteen pages with beautiful and enchanting hand drawn designs, that portray various fairy tale characters and scenes.
The paper is exceptionally thick: 250 gsm! All pages are single sided printed, which means that you can use any medium you want, and all pages are perforated. So you can take your work out, without damaging your book. Nice if you’d want to frame your beautiful coloring work and hang it in your house for everyone to see. The thickness of the paper makes sure that you’ll never have to worry about bleed through with alcohol markers or pens (more on that later on!).
And last but not least, it’s noteworthy that the used paper is environment friendly.
The first drawing I’ve colored was the Snow Queen. I hadn’t really used my Karin Brush Markers yet (I’ve got both the Pro Markers and the Deco Brush metallic), so I decided to start off with those. These markers are very wet, as in nearly dripping wet! But with the paper of this coloring book it wasn’t a problem. The paper absorbed the ink. I expected the ink to spread more, outside the lines, but that didn’t really happen. Good to know!
After the Karin markers, I switched to my good old gel pens. They’re still my favorites when I want glitters in my coloring work. The gel pens worked heavenly on this paper! I also used metallic gel pens, and they too did a perfect job. They were specifically great to use for tiny bits and pieces, that were impossible to color with the wet Karin metallic brush markers.
Adding details to the first drawing
To highlight some areas I used a white Posca pen. I’m a fan of highlighting. Too bad that my favorite highlighting pen, the Sharpie water based white pen with a fine tip, is empty 🙁 . But luckily there’s Posca. Only problem I have with white Posca: it doesn’t stay white on water based ink or paint. Maybe I should search again for a new Sharpie (last year they were no longer available).
Well, to finish this piece, I used PanPastel and a stencil to add snowflakes and a fixative to fixate the pastel.
The wolf and the seven little goats
As a child I was always fascinated by the fairy tale of the wolf and the seven little goats. I vividly pictured that big, bad wolf lying in the forest, snoring, with all those six tiny, innocent little goats trapped in his belly, while their mother goat was out getting food for them. I could feel the fear of that one little goat that hid in the antique clock, waiting for its mama to return home.
The best part to me was always when mama goat would go after the wolf, finding him sleeping in the woods, while her little ones were still moving in his stomach. She didn’t think twice! She told her little escapee to find as many big rocks as possible and bring them to her. Meanwhile she cut the wolf’s belly open, and saved her brood. They immediately started helping in the search for big rocks, and as soon as they had enough, mama goat put all the rocks in the wolf’s stomach and sewed him back up! Of course the wolf never noticed anything, he was vast asleep… to never wake up again. And mama goat and her little ones lived happily ever after… hahahaha.
I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist, I had to tell at least ONE short part of a fairy tale!
I was happy to see that Masja included a drawing dedicated to this story, so I didn’t have to think long before I decided that I would color the clock, the wolf and the little escaping goat. But the more I colored, the more I felt that there were things missing. One thing led to the next, and before I knew it, I was not only coloring but drawing as well!
I started out with the clock, coloring it in with Derwent Inktense pencils and a water brush. (I’ve made a video of this, to show you how to use the Inktense pencils, and how you can add layering. My plan is to edit and upload this soon, in the ‘Techniques’ category). I first finished the clock, then the little goat, followed by the wolf.
For the wolf and the goat I used Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils, which were a delight to color with on this paper.
After all was colored, I drew a chair, a baseboard and floorboards. For this I used a Micron fineliner. I colored my drawn parts in with Inktense pencils again, using several browns. To add wood grain in it I took a darker color. This made a lot of difference already, but it wasn’t enough to my liking. I wanted more!
I felt that the rear end of the wolf was missing. A wolf is a large animal, too big to see only his front coming from behind the clock. So I drew his rear end and a tail!
Then I looked at the wall… totally empty. That needed a window to see that it really is a house in the forest. So I took my Helix angle and circle maker and drew two circles for a window frame, and added a horizontal plus vertical muntin. This kind of window reminds me of the windows in stairwells in the apartment buildings in my hometown. I liked to do something different than just a square window frame.
Now I had to draw what you would see when looking outside. Since this house is in the forest, I drew trees and gave them all different green colors.
After that I figured that the wall needed wallpaper and a photo frame. This drawing by Masja totally triggered my inspiration and led me into a flow I haven’t been in for months! I started coloring the wall using a green yellow Copic Sketch marker. Hmm… here I discovered that using alcohol markers on this paper isn’t a very good idea. The paper can handle it perfectly. Just a tiny bit bleeding through, not enough to damage the next page (I did use an extra sheet of copy paper to protect the next page though, better safe than sorry, right?).
But my marker didn’t like it! The paper absorbed a lot of ink from the marker, making blending and getting the color evenly spread everywhere impossible. And the nib didn’t exactly ‘glide’ over the paper. For Copic brush nibs this paper is in my experience a bit too textured, which could damage your nib. So I won’t use my Copics again in this book. But that’s really the only downside I experienced with this book!
Mama goat in a frame
On the now greenish yellow wall I drew flowers and colored those in with a blue Inktense pencil and a white Posca dot (not to confuse with POLKA dot 😛 ) in the center of every flower. But before drawing the flowers, I also drew a photo frame with scalloped edges. Again I made it look like wood with a bit of wood grain, using the Inktense pencils.
For the photo frame I wanted to draw a picture of mama goat. But that didn’t really work out the way I wanted it to. So instead I searched online for a picture of a goat, scaled it and printed it with my Sprocket on sticker photo paper. Then I cut it out and added it to the photo frame, after giving it a green background. The effect of a real picture in a drawing is really funny. At least I think it is.
All I had to do now was add some white Posca highlights on the clock, and a shine to the window pane, to make sure it looks like a window instead of a strange painting on the wall!
Do I really have to say more than I already did? I just LOVE this book. The drawings are beautiful, recognizable as to which fairy tale they belong to, and the paper is superb for many coloring materials, like colored pencil and watercolor techniques. Not so much for alcohol markers, but there are so many other materials to use, that I don’t consider this a real downside.
I think Masja has done a great job with her Fairy Tales book. Her style is one of my favorites to color, very inspiring and giving me exactly the relaxation and fun I expect and want from coloring in a coloring book. Her drawings take me out of the daily hassle and lead me to different imaginative realms, where anything can happen and everything is possible!
Get your own copy of Masja’s Fairy Tales
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Well, that’s it for now. I’ve got nothing other to say than ’till the next one!’.
Disclosure: I’ve bought this coloring book myself. I am not affiliated with Masja van den Berg nor Etsy. The Bol.com link to Masja’s Fairy Tales is an affiliate link. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. For more information please read my Disclosure Promos page!