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Book Review: Enchanted Forest

This week's book is by Johanna Basford again! I've reviewed another one of her books earlier and you can read about it here. This book is the second one her series and it's called Enchanted Forest. I love Johanna's artwork and this book is one of my favorites!

Book - Enchanted Forest
Author - Johanna Basford

Description

Like most coloring books, Enchanted Forest is available on Amazon. Johanna's books always include a hidden object type of game where she includes certain small objects in various stages and you have to find them. There is a list of objects that you can find and a key at the back of the book with the solutions. You can totally ignore it if you don't like that sort of thing but it's a fun activity while coloring.

This book contains many double-page spreads that will take quite some time to finish. Most of them do not go into the spine of the book but there are a few that will give you trouble. On the other hand, the book lays relatively flat so it's not too much trouble to get into the spine. Like all of her books, it is printed on both sides on thick cream colored paper. As always, test your mediums in one of the pages at the back for shadowing and bleed through.

Artwork

In Enchanted Forest, the pages are laid out to tell a story or rather a journey. You will find a detailed map on one of the first pages that shows all the locations you will be visiting throughout the book. As you color the pages one by one, you see each of the locations come to life. At the end of the book, you reach the castle gates that is your destination. There is a surprise waiting for you at the end! I won't spoil it for you though.

As the title of the book suggests, the pictures are all about forest images. So there are plenty of leaves to color! Some people may get tired of coloring trees and leaves all the time but remember, leaves don't always have to be green. Try out different combinations like fall leaves (reds, browns, yellows and oranges) or even dreamlike/fantasy colors. I've seen some pictures where the leaves are colored with blues, pinks or purples and they look very beautiful.

The artwork in this book is less intricate than in Lost Ocean. There are wide open spaces that you can color with abandon and create amazing backgrounds for each image. Even within the objects you have plenty of space to practice different techniques like layering, shading and blending. I haven't had to use my pens to get into really small spaces although you still need a sharp point on your pencils.

Paper Quality

The paper in this book is lovely. It is cream-colored and not a bright white like the paper in Lost Ocean. All the pictures are printed double-sided and there are many double-page spreads to enjoy. The paper has plenty of tooth and to me, it has the perfect balance between smooth and coarse. The paper is medium thickness and weight. It is not as thick as card stock but still quite heavy to withstand most mediums.

Suitable Mediums
I haven't colored a page from this book yet so I don't have a completed picture to show you. However I have tested out the mediums I have at the back. Colored pencils – no matter the brand – will work well in this book. Wet media like watercolors or markers may bleed through depending on how heavy handed you are. Just don't use too much water and you should be fine. If you are one of those people who doesn't like buckling or even slight bending, you'd want to avoid water based mediums altogether.

You might have read plenty of reviews about suitable mediums but always do your own test. This is because shadowing and bleed through will depend on how much pressure you use, if you go over the same image multiple times or if you like using many layers on the page. If you do find that your markers or pens bleed through, put down a layer of pencil (same color) underneath. It will reduce shadowing, at least for water based mediums. Alcohol markers WILL bleed no matter what you do, so use them only if you don't mind sacrificing the image behind it.

Value

Enchanted Forest sells for less than $10 on Amazon and is a steal at that price. I like this one much better than Secret Garden (paper quality) and Lost Ocean (intricacy). It's a great book for beginners and experts alike. Even if you just fill the pages with solid color, the designs are so enchanting that the end result will look beautiful. Experts can take their time with shading and blending to create exquisite pieces. This is the book I would recommend for anyone who loves nature and animals. So grab yourself a copy and color away!

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