Thursday 30 July 2015

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Review: Creative Coloring Inspirations by Valentina Harper

Creative Coloring Inspirations by Valentina HarperCreative Coloring Inspirations by Valentina Harper (review copy) - Life is a wonderful adventure, and all of our dreams can come true! Hold on to your dreams with Creative Coloring Inspirations, the coloring book that offers hope and encouragement on every page. Inside you ll find 30 relaxing activities designed to motivate your creativity and stimulate your spirit. Team up with talented artist Valentina Harper as you personalize her exquisite line drawings. Valentina combines exhilarating words with flowing, intricate, and highly detailed patterns. Best-selling craft author Marie Browning joins in with beautifully colored examples of finished work. Printed on high quality extra-thick paper that won t bleed through, all pages are pre-perforated for easy removal and display. They're perfect for decorating with markers, gel pens, watercolors, or colored pencils. From Goodreads.

The adult colouring craze has become a big deal recently, so I thought I would see what it's all about. GMC Distributions sent me a copy of Creative Coloring Inspirations by Valentina Harper, from Design Originals, to review.

There are four colouring books in the Creative Coloring series; as well as Inspirations, there's also Flowers, Animals and Mandalas. I love a good inspirational quote, so I went with this colouring book hoping that, as well as having the calming and stress relieving affect colouring is supposed to have, the quotes would give me something additional to smile over.

The colouring book starts off with some notes and tips from Harper. Over and again she emphasises that there is no right or wrong way to colour in, and we are free to experiment and try different things with our colouring - something I was quite pleased with; having not coloured since I was a child, and seeing just how amazing some people can colour in (seriously, just look up #adultcolouring on Instagram and prepare to be amazed!), I was feeling a little disheartened, knowing I'm not that good. So I was glad to be reminded that whatever the result of my colouring, all that mattered was that I had fun with it.

Harper goes through the different media that can be used, and shows how each would turn out, to help you decide which look you want to go for, and which medium to use.

Creative Colouring Inspirations - which media?

She then discusses basic colour ideas, and different ways to colour in the shapes in her illustrations, helping you choose which you prefer.

Creative Colouring Inspirations - different ways to colour

Harper talks you through basic colour tips, going through the primary, secondary and tertiary colours, and different combinations that work together - or contrasting colours depending on the affect you're after.

Creative Colouring Inspirations - colour tips

And then we have some examples of Harper's illustrations coloured in by fellow artist and author, Marie Browning. Here are two examples

Creative Colouring Inspirations - Marie Browning example

Creative Colouring Inspirations - Marie Browning example

With each example, we're told not only what media was used, but what makes, as well as the kind of tones Browning went for.

And then it's on to choose which illustrations you would like to colour. Originally, I was a bit daunted by some of the illustrations, because they were quite detailed, busy and complicated. For me, this seemed the opposite of calming and stress-relieving, seeming a bit chaotic and the tiny shapes would do my eyes in, causing me to have trouble focusing on the image. But for those wanting to challenge themselves, they're great. Fortunately, for those of us who are newbies just starting with adult colouring, there are smaller, simpler, cleaner illustrations to get going with.

Creative Colouring Inspirations - example page

Creative Colouring Inspirations - example page

The inspirational words to colour are pretty great, a nice little reminder while you're colouring to keep you chin up and remember the good things in life. Each page is perforated, so once you're done, you can pull them out to hang up, put on your fridge or share with a friend. On the reverse of each page, there is an inspiring quote by various well known people, giving you a reason to pause, reflect, and smile.

Creative Colouring Inspirations - quote on reverse

After flicking through, I decided on an illustration to colour and got to it. I didn't realise just how long it would take! I got engrossed in what I was doing, and time flew by without me realising.

Creative Colouring Inspirations - my colouring

If you're going to colour, you really need to have a spare few hours in which to do it in. I kept thinking about how it was taking so long, and how I was hoping to do some reading, but that didn't look like it was going to happen, and so I tried to be quicker - until I decided to stop for the day, as it started to feel slightly like a chore.

Creative Colouring Inspirations - my colouring

But by the time I finished it the next day, I found I enjoyed the whole experience. I'll just have to make sure I have more time to simply colour next time.

Creative Colouring Inspirations - my colouring
Please excuse the smudges.

I used the advice Harper gave to try and see what worked for me. I both coloured individual shapes in different colours and I coloured some sections all the same colour. Some of my art lessons from school came back to me, such as things on tone and shading, though I forgot until later that it's better to start from the top left and work your way down and to the right to stop smudging what you've already coloured with your hand when colouring elsewhere. So yeah, a few mistakes there which you can see. But I'm generally quite happy with what I did, and really enjoyed it!

Despite how much I enjoyed it, while flicking through, I did feel that the illustrations where kind of samey; although the illustrations as a whole were each very different, the patterns used - especially all the circles - were repeated too often for my liking. Although I'd be colouring a different illustration, I'd still be colouring the same patterns, and I think I'd get a lit bit tired of the same thing over and over. It's great to have to dip in and out of, but I don't hink it's the kind of book I'd enjoy completing all at once.

Creative Coloring Inspirations is a great and enjoyable colouring book, with great tips and ideas to inspire and encourage experimentation as you colour.

Thank you to Design Originals and GMC Distribution for the review copy.

Add to Goodreads

Buy from:

Published: January 2015
Publisher: Design Originals
Valentina Harper's Website


  1. Very pretty! I will have to look for this series of coloring books. The first one I tried had pretty pictures but the markers bled through and it had pictures on both sides so I had to pick with side I'd color and leave the other side plain.

    It does take a long time and I actually did not find it as relaxing as I'd hoped. I don't know if it was that particular coloring book and its designs or my own perfectionist tendencies that made it a little stressful. I've read somewhere that repeating patterns are supposed to be relaxing so maybe that is why your coloring book had so many like that but I could see where it would feel like you were coloring the same things over and over.

    I really like how this coloring book helps artists choose which tools they want to use and includes tips.

    Thanks for your review!

    1. You're welcome! :) I'm just starting to experiment with markers on a different colouring book, and I have to be so careful for them not to bleed! I'm not sure I like it so much.

      Right?! I really think you need to have time to set aside for it. I think it can be relaxing, even for a perfectionist, if there's a set tme for it. I'm enjoying it more when I know "this time is colouring time", and then I can just get lost in it, no matter how long it takes to get a certain section just right.

      Aah, I didn't know that about repeating patterns. I suppose it makes some kind of sense, but if they're the same page after page, I'm not sure if it's for me. But my new ones are quite different, so it's working for me now.

      Yeah, the tips are really helpful! I'm looking forward to seeing if other colouring books are as helpful :)

  2. This seems great...I would get it for the tips!! I just ordered my first coloring book so I am excited to try it out and see what I think of it.

    1. I hope you enjoyed the colouring book you ordered! Yeah, I felt the tips were a huge plus point for this colouring book. I haven't seen anything like it in other colouring books I have. It's pretty cool.