When I started on Instagram a couple of months ago, I followed a lot of people. I also responded to their posts, with reactions in return. With some of them it resulted in more contact. Like with Michelle M. Johnson. In one of her earliest messages she asked me if I had already seen her coloring book, Doodled Blooms.
I’ve already got quite a nice collection of coloring books and I’m especially fond of supporting the smaller initiatives. So I checked it out and found her book. On Amazon. Back then I had never heard of Createspace, but now I know this is a POD-publisher. ‘POD’ meaning ‘Printing on demand’. In other words: they only print books when they’re ordered. And Createspace markets those books, for example on Amazon. Super easy, because I like buying on Amazon. I ordered this book in the blink of an eye and I received it pretty fast.
Information about Doodled Blooms
The first impression was that it’s a rather thin booklet in A4-size. It contains sixteen drawings, of which the first and last are identical, so fifteen unique drawings. The artist took the time to write a very nice prologue in which she explains the reason for the amount of drawings. She wanted the center fold to be as flat as possible, to be able to color right up to the edges of the page. With thicker books that often is a challenge. She also wanted to make a coloring book that one could easily finish, with every drawing colored. With a lot of coloring books there is such an overwhelming amount of detailed drawings, which makes it nearly impossible to complete it and color every single drawing. With only sixteen designs it’s much easier to complete the book .
One huge advantage of Doodled Blooms is the single sided printing. This allows you to use any material, without the risk of bleeding through to a drawing on the back when using markers or felt tip pens. The paper is a bit on the thin side in my opinion. I think it’s slightly thinner than regular 80gsm paper.
I’ve made a short video to show the book, to get an impression of the drawings. Unfortunately I didn’t make a video when I had just received it while it was still empty. So you’ll see a couple of already colored designs. I’ll tell you more about those later on in this review. Another advantage of this book is the test page in the back. Of course I was pigheaded and used the very last empty page to test and note a couple of colors. I didn’t want to ruin the test page hahaha.
All pictures below can be clicked on to enlarge
The drawing I started with was the one with the fan palms. I like to color fan palms, because you can put in some nice effects by using lighter and darker tints that rapidly result in ‘shadow’ effects. For this drawing I’ve used the Tombow Dual Brush Abt water base markers and for the tiny leaves I’ve used Maped Graph’ Peps fineliners.
Of the Tombow markers I mainly used the greens and an orange yellow one. I figured they would give a nice effect when used together. Tombow, as well as the Maped, worked very nice on the paper and I didn’t experience any bleeding.
For the second Doodled Blooms-design I chose to color with a combination of felt tip pens and fineliners. I’ve used the Maped Graph’ Peps and Stabilo 88 fineliners for the smallest parts and the Stabilo 68 felt tip pens for the larger areas. With a Tombow blender I’ve tried to blend the colors a bit while they were still wet, which resulted in a kind of gradient effect. Ah well, sometimes you’ve got to try things 🙂
Another nice thing of this coloring book is, that Michelle provided a list in the back with descriptions of the drawings. She gives details about every drawing. She tells what inspired her, how she felt while she designed it, where she was and what happened around her. Every drawing has its own story. To me that was very inspirational.
Like the story about the second one I colored. She made this drawing when a tornado warning was given for her town (she lives in Texas). This inspired me to make it a cheerful flower, a flower of hope… so it became a rainbow flower. I called this one ‘Tornado rainbow flower’.
Working with pastel pencil
After coloring two drawings with fineliners, markers and felt tip pens, I received a new set of pencils. The CarbOthello pastel pencils made by Stabilo. So I immediately took those to start coloring the next drawing. Because Michelle and I also connected on Facebook, I saw her posting a picture of the flower that inspired her drawing: an enormous Hardy hibiscus flower. That flower was so amazing, that I wanted to try and use similar colors. And because some people in our Dutch ‘Coloring for adults’ group wanted to know more about the CarbOthello pencils and how they would blend, I used this drawing to make a video.
The drawing seemed quite simple when I started. But after I colored the flowers and stalks I suddenly lost my inspiration. I just didn’t know what to do with the kind of circle waves Michelle drew for the background. What should I do with it? I wanted to finish this drawing. And then I thought of the cloud templates provided by Karin’s Kleurplaten!
Last but not least
For the final drawing I wanted to color with colored pencil. So I chose to work with the Faber Castell Polychromos. This drawing took me a loooong time. I colored the ribbons in the background and when I was finished with that I didn’t have a clue on how to continue.
So the drawing rested and waited. Eventually I picked it up again and chose colors that I had never used before. A couple of my Polychromos are a lot shorter than others, so when you open my pencil case it’s quite obvious what my favorite colors are. Therefore I deliberately chose a couple of never used colors. When I colored the flowers with red and dark pink, they started to look a lot like Poinsettias. Not exactly what I had in mind, so for the inner leaves I chose lighter colors. And to prevent this coloring from becoming dull, with all of the same flowers, I decided to give the larger center flower different, lighter colors. I’ve given the smallest inner leaves tints of green and blue.
I colored the waved areas in the background with light green and soft yellow, to give more contrast to the total picture. When all was done, I felt the large cream colored triangles were way too boring. I’ve been looking at it for a long time, questioning myself what I could add…
Then I covered all the lines with glitter gel pens. With the right light it gives a nice shimmer to the picture. And in the end I came up with musical notes. I drew the musical notes in the triangles with a black gel fineliner and with that done I had finally completed the drawing. Looking at it now I really like the end result.
Well, there’s still some technical stuff to share about Doodled blooms, that’s what a review is for, right? Coloring with felt tip pens, fineliners and water base markers was easy. Working with the Polychromos was a lot less easy. The paper is a bit thin for working with colored pencil. And even after blending with a blender pencil, or with a lighter color, there would still remain tiny white spots. With the naked eye it seems alright, but when the picture is scanned these white spots are clearly visible on the screen.
Blending the colors went fairly well, but not as good as in some other coloring books I’ve got. All in all I felt a bit disappointed in how the Polychromos performed on this paper. Another thing is that the edges of the sheets started to curl when I covered it with colored pencil. Probably because the paper is a bit too thin. Could be that other pencils would perform better, I haven’t tried, I wanted to finish this review haha.
- Contains nice drawings, different than other books
- Only sixteen drawings, so it’s an easy to complete coloring book
- Single sided printed, so you can use any material, even alcohol markers (in that case you’d have to protect the next drawing with a sheet of paper!)
- The book is slightly different from A4 size, but still a good size when using an A4 scanner (most of the page will fit onto A4 size)
- The book has a test page
- There’s enough space to fill in blanks with your own doodles and creations
- This book is definitely fit for all ages, exactly what Michelle intended
- The paper is perfect for working with felt tip pens, fineliners, pastel pencils and pastel crayons. For working with colored pencils, at least the FC Polychromos, the results are a bit disappointing in my opinion, but it’s doable.
- The paper is a bit thin and when using colored pencil, especially when working in several layers, it becomes a bit ‘bumpy’.
- The personal information in the prologue, the descriptions of every drawing and the Acknowledgement page give Doodled Blooms an extra charm, which I’m very sensitive to. To me this was very inspirational and because of this it felt like a collaboration between Michelle the drawing artist and me the colorist.
Added all together I’m very happy with Doodled Blooms as an addition to my collection. I’m definitely going to complete all the drawings! The minor negative points are in my opinion largely compensated by all the positive things I could say about this coloring book.
Are you eager to start coloring Michelle’s fantastical flowers yourself? Then you can order your own copy of Doodled Blooms by clicking here.
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With kind permission this review is also published on kleurvolwassen.nl.