Do you enjoy coloring? Sketching? Drawing? Spending time outside observing nature?
Would you be interested in getting your hands on a book that is part botanical-themed coloring book, part drawing instruction manual, part sketch book and part art journal?
I don’t know about you, but that’s actually a description of what my ideal art book would be like — and that’s also the description of an actual, existing book by Lindsay Hopkins, published by Leisure Arts. The book is called The Colors of Nature: A Color, Draw & Sketch Book For All Things Wild and Free.
Let me show you why I love this book so much.
First of all, the coloring pages are absolutely gorgeous. If you choose to pick up a copy of this book for yourself, you’ll have the opportunity to color images of artistically but simply drawn flowers and other plants. Each section of the book also includes a drawing lesson, so you can learn, step-by-step, how to draw each flower or plant. There are also sections included for sketching, journaling and observation. In these spots, you have the opportunity to practice your own drawings plus make your own notes about where and when you saw each plant, plus make whatever other important notes you might want to make.
Here’s a listing of the plants and flowers discussed in this book:
I once took a botanical illustration class at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, and it was a wonderful experience. In hindsight, how I wish I had had my copy of this book at that time! This book would be the perfect companion for anyone who’s enrolled in botanical illustration — or anyone who wants to learn some of the basics of botanical drawing, without paying for a $300+ class like I did.
Let’s take a look at some of the lovely pages you’ll find in this book — and discuss some of the coloring instruments you might want to use (or not) if you pick up your own copy of this book.
The pages in this book have bunches of intricate details, which means that crayons aren’t ideal. That leaves you with a choice between colored pencils, markers, gel pens or some combination thereof. I wouldn’t recommend this book for use with water media; while the pages are substantial and high quality, they don’t seem sturdy enough to withstand gouache or watercolor.
For the purposes of this review, I tried coloring in this book with 2 different kinds of markers — Leisure Arts double-ended markers, and Leisure Arts brush-tipped markers. In the photo below, I’m using the double-ended markers:
The double-ended markers work beautifully on the fronts of these pages, and I love the results — so colorful and soooooooooo pretty! The only downside is that there is a bit of bleed-through onto the backs of the pages.
Some coloring books are designed with line art on only one side, so you don’t lose out on any images if your markers bleed through. But this book has illustrations on both sides — so if you plan to use markers, I recommend planning carefully which side of the page you want to use. You might not get to use them both if your markers bleed through.
To entirely avoid the bleed-through issue, my opinion is that colored pencils and gel pens are the safest coloring instruments to use with this coloring book. I also think regular old graphite pencils are totally ideal for executing the drawing lessons. Graphite is fantastic for doing your underlying sketching; it’s easy to erase if you make a mistake, whereas marker is not. Then once you’ve got your basic sketch down, you can color in details with your colored pencils or gel pens if you like.
But if you do decide to use markers, the results are totally gorgeous. Take a look at the following picture, which I colored using Leisure Arts brush-tipped markers:
Just look at those colors! Aren’t they beautiful? That’s one thing markers really have going for them — they are soooo bright and colorful and eye catching.
I think this book is a definite winner, whatever coloring instrument you decide to use with it. I find these pages to be beautiful, inspiring and appealing — and I think others are likely to find them so, too.
I recommend this book to artists and aspiring artists of all ages — particularly to those who are interested in coloring botanical drawings or learning to draw flowers and plants.
This is supposed to be an adult coloring book — but, honestly, I think children, ‘tweens and teens would be enchanted by it, too.
If you’re the parent of a budding young artist who is old enough to read, write and follow simple step-by-step instructions, and s/he has shown an interest in coloring or learning to draw, I think your child is likely to enjoy this book. Get yourself a copy — and get a copy for each child, too. Then you can take the kids outside to the garden, to the park, to the local botanic gardens, to the woods or to wherever your likeliest observation spot is for flowers and plants. You can all have some fun together drawing, sketching and journaling your observations.
More Important Details About This Book:
Author: Lindsay Hopkins
Publisher: Leisure Arts
Copyright Date: 2019
ISBN 13: 978-1464777707
ISBN 10: 1464777705
Number of Pages: 128
Skill Level: Easy / Beginner. This book is suitable for artists and crafters of all skill levels. You do not need any experience or any special genius whatsoever to enjoy success with this book.
Country of Origin: This book was made in the USA.
Where to Buy The Colors of Nature: A Color, Draw & Sketch Book For All Things Wild & Free:
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Posted By: Amy Solovay
About Your Book Reviewer: Amy Solovay is a freelance writer with a background in textile manufacturing. She holds a bachelor’s degree with a studio art minor; and she has also obtained another degree in textile design.
This page was last updated on 7-23-2021.