ruth-heller-flowersDesigns for Coloring: Flowers
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
Copyright: 1990
Number of designs: 11 (31)
ISBN10: 0448031477
ISBN13: 978-0448031477

Ruth Heller’s Designs for Coloring series is a bit of a different take on coloring books. This book – Flowers – was originally published in 1978, which may explain the difference. It has since been re-issued twice, with the 1990 edition being the most recent. I’m guessing here, but I suspect this series was created more as a series of learning workbooks for art classes, rather than as a coloring book for relaxation.

Before I discuss the contents, I want to mention the paper. The back of the cover says:

The high-quality paper is suitable for use with crayons, felt-tipped pens, water paints, pencils, or pastels

While having the designs printed on only one side of the page makes it easier to not worry about your medium, I tested the paper with my Staedtler felt-tipped markers. It only took 2 layers of marker for the color to start to show through on the back side of the paper. So if you are planning to color this book without removing the pages, you’ll want to add a sheet of thick paper or plastic underneath to prevent the next page from getting marked by the bleed-through.

Review Breakdown

  • Complexity: Beginner to Advanced
  • Book Size: 8 x 11 inches
  • Design Borders: margins from 1/4 – 3/4 inch, no border
  • Design Lines: generally fairly thin, although the full page lines are fairly thick
  • Paper: average thickness
  • Printing:  printed on one side
  • Binding: glue binding

The reason I suspect the book was designed for a classroom is indicated by the somewhat confusing notation I had to use for the number of designs – 11 (31). There are 11 flower designs depicted in this book. Each flower starts with a single bloom, filling the entire page. The next page is the same flower, but reduced by 1/4, so there are four flowers filling the page. The third page reduces the flower further, with up to 9 repetitions. Some of the reduced versions are simple rows and columns identical to the original, while others play with the placement – mirroring or overlapping the original. Why then, aren’t there 33 pages of design? A couple of the flowers are shown in both silhouette and face on, and the reduced versions combine the two.

I could easily see this book as a learning tool in an art class, or for an artist to experiment with different color combinations. You can use the reduced versions to test different blending and shading options before working on your final, full-size version. You can see this in the book’s cover photo. [Note: The one other book I have from this series (Birds) also has the same format with each design repeated at reduced size, but I can’t say for certain that all the books in the series are like that.]

So if you’re looking for a book with lots of different designs, then Designs for Coloring: Flowers isn’t for you. But if you want to experiment or practice different shading techniques, it might be a worthwhile option.

Other books in the Designs for Coloring series:

Do you have this book? What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments!

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