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Book Review: Tropical Wonderland

Wow, it's been a long time since we had a post around here! I do apologize for the long gap but the job search is taking up quite a bit of my time. The rest of it is filled with frustration at not finding one, so yeah. This means while I have all the time in the world for coloring, I'm too anxious or depressed to pick up my pencils sometimes. And I don't quite have the energy to blog about it. Anyway onto today's book review.

Book - Tropical Wonderland
Author - Millie Marotta
Artists like Johanna Basford and Hanna Karlzon have special editions of their popular books. These books have better paper – often card stock, are printed on one side and can be removed from the book for putting up on your walls. My only issue with these books is that they have only a handful of pages from the original book.

Millie Marotta's deluxe editions are very different. So far there have been three deluxe editions of her early books and they are exquisite. They are printed on thick 180 GSM paper, on only one side of the page. Double-page spreads are included as a foldout so you won't find it hard to color. Best of all, each deluxe edition has every single picture from the original book! There are even a few pictures on card stock included at the back of the book. So you don't have to detach any page from the book if you want to frame one and put it up on the walls.

Millie Marotta's artwork is well known in the adult coloring world. Each book follows a theme such as animals, the savanna, the tropics, birds etc. As you might have guessed, this book contains illustrations of animals and plants you can find in the tropical regions. So everything from birds and animals to insects and colorful plants.

Millie's art is quite different from my other favorite artists. I resisted buying any of her books for a long time because I didn't quite like the line art. But the deluxe additions are simply wonderful and I had to have at least one. As I have colored a few pages, the artwork has grown on me. I find it quite refreshing from the whimsical and fantastic that is typical of adult coloring books. I've found that the line art becomes much more beautiful once you add color to it!

Paper Quality
As I've said before, the book features extremely thick 180 GSM paper that is bright white. It's not exactly my favorite paper but it is quite good. I much prefer the cream or ivory colored in Daydreams or Magical Jungle. On the other hand, this paper handles water extremely well. There is very little warping and the paper flattens out after a while. The paper is quite smooth to the touch and doesn't have much of a tooth.

The book is hardbound and covered with a linen type fabric. It feels very nice to the touch although it is a magnet for lint, hair and animal fur! The double-page spreads are included as foldouts, so you don't lose any of the images to the binding. There are quite a few of the double-page spreads although most of the images are contained within a single page.

Suitable Mediums
My favorite medium to use in coloring books is colored pencils. However the paper here works well with water based mediums, so I decided to use my watercolor pencils throughout. The paper feels quite smooth and it doesn't have much of a tooth. I don't think it'll take a lot of layers. But colored pencils go on nicely and blend very well.

Since the book is single sided, you can actually use any medium you want including alcohol markers! The illustrations are highly suited for marker coloring actually. You don't even have to blend or use advanced coloring techniques to make them look pretty. There is a testing page included at the end, so use it to test out any pen or pencil first!

The book is available on Amazon for about $25. It might seem steep compared to $10 or $5 books but believe me when I say the quality is worth it. If I had enough space on my table and in my budget, I would buy every single one of the deluxe editions! But for now I'm happy with Tropical Wonderland. If you're looking for a high-quality coloring book that will take water-based mediums and alcohol markers, look no further. Happy coloring everyone!


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