by Lucy Fyles
Today, I’m very pleased to welcome Lucy, a member of my Facebook group, to my blog as a guest reviewer. Lucy reviews books specifically for those suffering from mental illness. Lucy is able to bring a unique viewpoint to this target group, as both a person who suffers from her own severe anxiety disorder, and as someone who has worked with psychiatric inpatients. You can read Lucy’s blog for more information, or connect with her through Facebook.
To start us out, Lucy brings us her thoughts on two books specifically written with a therapy focus: Color me Calm and Color Me Happy by art therapist Lacy Mucklow and artist Angela Porter. Let’s hear it, Lucy!
Color Me Calm and Color Me Happy are part of the Color Me.… series published by Race Point Publishing and kindly sent to me by Quarto Publishing. They are lovely square books with nice sized borders around each picture to avoid losing any of the image into the spine. Each of the 100 images are printed on one side only so you don’t need to worry about bleeding from pens and a lovely repeating image is printed on the reverse of each page which you could colour if you really fancied.
I would recommend these books as a great purchase for those of you who like simpler, less intricate images to colour, those of you using pens that bleed easily, and those of you that maybe don’t have the patience or desire to sit colouring one image for days in order to get it finished.
These books are each split into 6 chapters of images that fall into the following categories:
Color Me Calm:
- Water Scenes,
- Wooded Scenes,
- Geometric Patterns,
- Floral & Fauna,
- Natural Patterns;
Color Me Happy:
- Animals & Babies,
- Food & Drink,
- Whimsical Imagery and
- Art & Architecture.
Unlike with many series of books, none of the images in these were repeated between the books and the categories are different in each too.
In terms of mental health, these books certainly made me feel happier and calmer with Color Me Happy’s sunny yellow cover and light-hearted, positive images and Color Me Calm’s peaceful cover, soothing patterns and natural scenes. The pictures are calming and not too intricate meaning they are perfect for using pencils, felt-tips or even paints or watercolours on, just slip a sheet of scrap paper underneath to protect the subsequent pages. The nature scenes are lovely and very varied with some looking quite realistic and others more surreal.
I found that my Stabilo 88 fineliners worked well for some of the more intricate details (see the hot air balloons,) but these and my felt-tips did bleed through. However, as mentioned before, this doesn’t damage any of the images as they’re printed one-sided. These are great books for those of you who find intricate images fiddly or too difficult and frustrating to colour. They’re also great for inspiration because at the beginning of each chapter a couple of the pictures are shown coloured in so you can follow their colour schemes or brave it and add your own funky colour combinations.
- Publisher: Race Point Publishing
- Copyright: 2014
- Number of designs: 100
- ISBN10: 1937994775 (Calm), 1937994767 (Happy)
- ISBN13: 978-1937994778 (Calm), 978-1937994761 (Happy)
- Complexity: Beginner to Intermediate
- Book Size: 9 x 10 inches
- Design Borders: plenty of margin
- Design Lines: varies, hand drawn
- Paper: smooth, average thickness
- Printing: single-sided
- Binding: glue-bound
The books are a nice size and you get a good sense of satisfaction because each image is small enough that it doesn’t take hours or even days to complete meaning these books are perfect if you don’t have a great attention span or high level of concentration. Don’t worry though, these books are also good for those of you who can sit and colour all day, it just means you’ll get plenty of pictures completed!
Sadly, there are a couple of downsides to these books to make you aware of. A few of the images are not printed well and are fuzzy and look out of focus, pencil lines from the illustrator are also visible in a few though mostly these get hidden if the colours you add are vibrant enough. It certainly shouldn’t put you off purchasing these books but personally I would want to be aware of it before buying it and expecting a perfect book and receiving one that’s not 100% there.
I would recommend these books as a great purchase for those of you who like simpler, less intricate images to colour, those of you using pens that bleed easily, and those of you that maybe don’t have the patience or desire to sit colouring one image for days in order to get it finished. They’re great starter books and contain really good images for practicing shading with coloured pencils. (I am teaching myself new techniques with these books – note the hills above.) These books are lovely and work well on their own or as companions and I look forward to seeing Color Me Stress-Free when it’s released in September – watch out for my review as I’m already signed up to write one when it comes out.
[Editor’s note: You can see more sample images from the books on Lucy’s blog post.]