Half way September the coloring book by Johanna Ans was released. It has the theme ‘wood’. The title, Wood you color me?, is a bit tongue in cheek, playing with language. Obviously ‘wood’ replaces ‘would’ and I love this kind of joking with words.
I’ve said before that I like to support people that I’ve met (IRL or online). So I’ve bought this new book by Johanna Ans. And to be able to write a review about it, i’ve colored four designs.
About Wood you color me?
First about the book itself. It’s a book in A5 size, about 15 x 23 cm. The front and back covers are colored by Wendy Hofstee. The book contains 40 designs, all on the theme wood. And in some drawings there are words added, of course in the same theme and in a very playful manner.
In the following video you can see a flip-through of Wood you color me? by Johanna Ans:
The first design that I’ve colored, is also the first page of Wood you color me? and it contains a foreword by Johanna Ans. I’ve used this drawing to also test the Lyra Art Pens (click here for the review on those pens). And in this design I already discovered that the Lyra Art Pens will never become my favorites.
Especially the golden star in the middle turned out splotchy. The paper isn’t per se bad for fibre tip pens, the Lyra’s are hard to color with anyway since their tips are pretty rough, but in my opinion the paper is kind of thin. When you’d like to color with fibre tip pens, you really need to put an extra piece of paper between the drawing you’re coloring and the next page, to prevent bleeding through on the next design.
For the second design that I’ve colored, I’ve used a set of Maped Color Peps pencils that I received as a gift to try them out. I really like the designs in the book. They’re refreshing, something different. While coloring this design I, again, ran into the problem of the paper being too thin in my opinion. I’ve used several layers of pencil, but the paper soon became ‘bumpy’ (is this a correct word to use for paper? If not, please correct me in the comments! Thank you!) After all I am happy with the way this one worked out. Ik like the colors and the design very much.
The third drawing was colored with the Faber Castell Pitt Brush pens. Normally I’m really enthusiastic about these pens, but in this design I wasn’t too happy with the result. I felt they performed splotchy and streaky, but I’m afraid this is due to the paper. In other coloring books I hardly have any problem with these pens. Again, I really liked the design, I love clefs and the patterns behind it were also very nice to colorize.
Wooden Easter egg
Finally I’ve picked a fourth design from Wood you color me? and I colored it with four Tombow Irojiten pencils. I used light blue, dark blue, light green and dark green. Blending and mixing of the colors went quite well, provided that I colored in thin layers. When the wooden ‘slats’ were finished, I felt something was still missing. So I took the Faber Castell Creative Studio soft pastel crayons and two stencils, and added a background. The pastel attached very well onto the paper. Too well actually, because once applied I couldn’t smudge it very well… it stayed where I’d put it. So I had to be careful to apply it more subtle.
Pros and cons
All in all I think Wood you color me? is a very nice book, but mainly because of its content. The designs are playful and really invite you to start coloring. The size is another advantage, it makes it easy to do a quick one in a short time. No need to think, just keep coloring. Added to that is the single-sided printing. No worries about bleed-through to designs on the back of a page. You’ll only have to be careful when using pens of markers, always protect the design on the next page. The paper is really thin, so with pens or markers they can quite easily bleed-through after all and ruin your next drawing.
The quality and thickness (or should I say thinness) of the paper is a bit of a shame. Like I said before, in my opinion it’s too thin. And that makes it less nice to color, because it easily gets ‘bumpy’ when you’re working on a design. But who knows, maybe that’s to blame on my coloring technique, I don’t know.
My final conclusion about Wood you color me?
I really like having this coloring book in my collection. And I will most certainly color more designs in it, especially because I feel that the drawings are very useful to silence your thoughts. The size is very convenient as well, it takes less time to finish a page. Sometimes you just don’t want to be working hours on end on a design.
All pictures from this review can be seen here, or through the photogallery in the top menu, in a larger size.
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UPDATE: I’ve had contact with Johanna Ans in response to this review, mainly about the paper quality. She dove into the matter and discovered that each Amazon department uses their own printing channels for POD (Printing On Demand) books. The paper that’s been used in the U.S.A. is great, but with the European Amazon departments (Amazon.de, Amazon.es, Amazon.co.uk etc.) it’s possible that you get paper which doesn’t perform, or at least not good enough, for coloring. Especially when Amazon outsources to a third party. Therefore it’s not a problem of the author or publisher of the books, but the problem is obviously the printer and the paper used by the printer. Hopefully there will be a solution for this issue in the future.