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Book Review: Jasmine Becket-Griffith Coloring Book

The subject of today's review is the Jasmine Becket Griffith coloring book. It's a bit different from most of the other books in my collection. Unlike the Johanna Basford books which have original artwork created specifically for adult coloring, this book contains line work that was adapted from the paintings created by the artist. It is quite similar to the Discworld coloring book I reviewed last week in that respect.

Book - Jasmine Becket-Griffith Coloring Book
Author - Jasmine Beckett-Griffith
Description
Jasmine Becket Griffith is an American artist with decades of painting fantasy and Gothic artwork in acrylic. This book contains 55 of her original paintings adapted as line work for coloring in. The book has a dust jacket with a half completed image printed on it. The actual cover of the book is a plain brown card. I actually like this better than other illustrated covers since I don't have to worry about getting the book dirty. There are 96 pages inside providing a lot of coloring time for her fans and adult colorists alike.

Artwork
I will confess that I had not heard of the artist until I saw some of my favorite YouTube colorists show her book on their channel. Even though I didn't know who she was and wasn't familiar with her work, I immediately fell in love with the illustrations. This is not a book meant specifically for her fans, anyone who loves coloring fantasy type images will love this book. The characters in the book range from mermaids, warriors, werewolves to pirates and fairies. Each illustration is a fantastic mix of cute and Gothic elements that works really well.

Most pages contain a single illustration that fills the entire page with a black outline where the image ends. There are a few pages that contain 4 smaller illustrations which are great for times when you don't have the patience to complete a full picture or for practice. The illustrations feature the character front and center with appropriate background elements. 

The artist has also included detailed descriptions about each page, so you can get some ideas for how to color each illustration. Some people like to look up her original paintings and re-create them as accurately as possible. Others avoid looking at her original artwork so that they're not influenced by her color choices or style. How you want to color these pictures is entirely up to you!


Paper Quality
The paper quality in this book is really good. The images are printed single-sided on 150 GSM off white or ivory paper. I like this kind of paper much better than the bright white in other books. The pictures are printed on the right with detailed descriptions and the characters' names on the left. The book lies quite flat and since each page is bounded by a black outline, you don't have to worry about cracking the spine to complete them. There are no pictures that go into the spine of the book itself. Some of the images have intricate details while others offer wide-open spaces for flat washes or other shading/blending techniques.


Suitable Mediums
I have colored only a single page from this book but I did select one that had four smaller pictures. This way I could test out all my mediums to see what worked and what doesn't. I tried out my Prismacolors, Polychromos, Inktense and Albrecht Durer pencils on each girl. Colored pencils – whether wax or oil-based – work really well on this paper. Although I did prefer my Polychromos, it may just be my general liking for those pencils rather than anything to do with the paper itself.

What really surprised me was that the paper took water really well, especially for something that is not specifically meant for watercolors. The paper does absorb water quite fast, so you have to be quick with blending and pulling colors around. But the paper doesn't really buckle much, even after I added multiple layers (allowing each to dry before adding more). I think the only reason I couldn't get better results is because I'm really just a beginner when it comes to water-based media. 

There was no shadowing with watercolors, Inktense or color pencils. There was extensive bleed through with my Copic pens but that is expected with alcohol-based markers. This should not be a problem for most people since there is no artwork behind to ruin! Overall I'd say you can use any medium you like in this book as long as you don't mind slight buckling and bleed through to the next page. Just keep a few sheets of copy paper or some thick card behind your image and you should have no problem.

Value
This book sells for around $12 on Amazon which is certainly not very expensive for a coloring book of this caliber. It offers high-quality paper with beautiful illustrations that are a joy to color. I generally like books that don't depend on your artistic skills to create beautiful finished pieces and it certainly falls in that category. Even a beginner who does nothing more than fill each space with a single color without any blending or shading can get striking results. It is also good practice if you want to improve your skills at coloring skin, hair, fur etc. Overall I would consider this book a must buy for most colorists, regardless of skill level.

Comments

  1. Wow, your reveiws are fantastic! Well written, thoughtful and informative! Should you ever wish to, I invite you to check and see if you would like to review any of my own Coloring Books. I am CLAldridgeArt pretty much everywhere. FB, G+, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Etsy... and C. L. Aldridge on Amazon. I currently have 5 books out with a 6th in the works, all hand-drawn original art and doing well in the market, but always in need of that extra boost a well done review can give. THANK YOU. Now, I need to go check out Jasmine's latest book :-)

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