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The Monster Manga Coloring Book - A Review

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About two months ago publisher Harper Design contacted me with the request to review one of their new colouring books.

The last couple of weeks I have been doing a lot of testing with different types of media, such as coloured pencils, felt tip pens and markers.



I have to put a disclaimer here, because I am not experienced in the drawing and colouring techniques that are often used in styles like Manga, Fantasy, and other Japanese drawing styles.
So I tested and coloured in my own way.





The Monster Manga Coloring Book is 24cm x 22cm  or 9.5inches x 8.5 inches.
It has almost 90 pages to colour.
There are different styles in the book, like manga, fantasy, monsters, robots, and other Japanese drawing styles, so the book can be fun for a wide range of colouring enthousiasts.
The quality of the drawings is pretty high. The artists who made these drawings are well trained and put both very detailed drawings and more sketchy drawings in the book.

The paper is pretty thick, smooth and white. …

A green leaf twice on different types of paper

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My Enchanted Forest copy has a very smooth paper. I was wondering what the exact difference would be if I would duplicate a leaf on a different type of paper.  I made two videos about colouring a green leaf in my Enchanted Forest copy and on sketching paper. I started with colouring in Enchanted Forest.
I used 10 different colours, all Faber Castell Polychromos:


168 Earth Green Yellowish 167 Permanent Green Olive 158 Deep Cobalt Green 184 Dark Naples Ochre 266 Permanent Green 165 Juniper Green 171 Light Green 112 Leaf Green 267 Pine Green 157 Dark Indigo
In the videos I use the pencils in the same order as in the listed here.









I find it really interesting to colour the same leaf on two different types of paper.
The smoother the paper, the more difficult it is to layer and blend. You need a really light touch to blend and layer on smooth paper. In the first video you can see that.

In the second video I'm using sketching paper. This is a cheap paper. It i…

Colouring Secret Garden - A garland in pastels

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One of my favourite double pages I'm currently colouring is a drawing from Secret Garden which I call "A garland in pastels". It is a double page drawing and I have been working on this drawing while being on vacation in England.
I thought I would have more time to colour but there were so many things to see and do that I mainly coloured a little while at night.
But we had a wonderful vacation, and I did manage to colour on the shores of Lake Windermere in the beautiful Lake District National Park!






Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils are available in the Passion for Pencils Webshops.


Since many people have asked me which colours I am using I will give you a list of the colours I use in the video below.
Take into account that Faber Castell recently changed names of some colours. So the numbers correspond to your Polychromos set, but the names may not! They are the same colours though.


The colours I used for the leaves:

266 Permanent Green
158 Deep Cobalt Green
112 Leaf Green

The Tree Trunk, blending to create more colours

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My beloved Bruynzeel Design Fullcolor Pencils are 17 years old, and they are wearing down rapidly. Although I love my Bruynzeel pencils I decided to switch brands.
Bruynzeel doesn't sell the 100 pencils set I have anymore, only a 48 pencils set, and I would love to have more than 48 colours.
I went to an art store and tried all the pencils they sell and eventually decided to buy 5 Faber Castell Polychromos pencils.
The last two months I have been testing these pencils. I wanted to be sure that these pencils fit me.
It took me some time to learn how to handle these oil based pencils. Bruynzeel is wax based and there is definitely a difference between the two. But now that I'm used to Polychromos I can't wait to buy a set of 60 pencils.
In the video below I'm testing how many colours and shades you can make by blending only 5 pencils. I think it is pretty impressive!
With little pressure I layered different colours on top of each other to cre…

Nature's little treasures in aquarel

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Besides coloured pencil I also love painting with aquarel paint.
I don't paint as often as I colour with pencils but I do it on a regular basis.

I love taking my little aquarel set with me when I'm on vacation and sketch and paint a little after finding little treasures in nature.



I'm using Winsor & Newton Cotman paint. It is a watercolour paint of pretty good quality and it is affordable. This paint is not a professional quality but it is good enough for me. The colours are vibrant and strong.




Cotman paint is available in both small pans and tubes.
I bought tubes but pans work very well too.

I always start with a sketch. I use a 2H graphite pencil for sketching.
Then I mix the paints to get the right colours and then I use very little paint to colour the sketch.
Most of the time I use a very small red sable brush and a small filbert brush. I have larger brushes but I like the little ones more.



A couple of years ago I also started to paint …

Colouring Secret Garden - Approaching thunderstorm on a summer's afternoon

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My parents have a large garden, at least for Dutch standards. When I was still living with my parents, there were two giant poplar trees standing in the back of the garden.
When a thunderstorm was approaching the leaves of the trees seemed glowing with colour against the dark clouds of the storm. It was so beautiful! Unfortunately one of the trees has been taken down by a neighbour who was afraid that the tree would fall down in a storm. So my parents agreed to have it removed. The other one is still standing strong!

A couple of weeks ago we had many thunderstorms in The Netherlands and I was able to make a picture with vibrant leaves on a tree and a beautiful dark coloured sky:




This picture was the start of another page in Secret Garden. This is the page so far. I have started to give the sky some colour. I want to give the leaves vibrant colours, mostly yellows and greens.


I build colour like I'm used too: layering a lot of colours on top of each oth…

Enchanted Forest, the first page, part 2

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In april of this year I continued colouring the first page of Enchanted Forest during a trip to the UK.
I sing in a chamber choir and we went to Chichester to perform in the beautiful Chichester Cathedral.  We went by bus/coach and in the hours driving I sat with my colouring book and enjoyed many happy hours of colouring!
The next few months I coloured this drawing mainly before bedtime. But there are other pages in Johanna Basford's books I've been colouring as well. So progress was slow...



Buy Enchanted Forest/Het Betoverde Woud at BOL.COM!
I have now come to the point that the fun is really going to begin!
The first layers of colour I put on a colouring page are just to give me an idea which way I want to go.
The next stage is to add some shading to the drawing and to think about cooler and warmer tones.
As you may know, cooler tones will make your brain think they are more in the back ground of a drawing and warmer tones will appear to be close…

Bruynzeel-Sakura Design Pencils, a review

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My set of Bruynzeel Design coloured pencils is more than 17 years old.
The 100 colours I have in my set are not being sold anymore but Bruynzeel, now Bruynzeel - Sakura, still sells a set of 48 colours.
I really like colouring with my old set but I was curious about the new set. Are the new pencils of the same quality or did Bruynzeel change something?

Bruynzeel is a Dutch company that merged with the Japanese Sakura about 15 years ago.
The question many people have is whether this change had any negative effect on the products Bruynzeel makes.
It is quite obvious that there was a change, because the largest set of coloured pencils being sold by Bruynzeel - Sakura nowadays is only 48 colours. But if the pencils are of great quality and you can blend and layer with them, this limited range of colours may not be a problem.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to do a quick test with a set of 48 Bruynzeel - Sakura Design Pencils.
I read somewhere on the intern…

Illustrating with coloured pencils

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As you may know, I work as a voice teacher. I have my own studio at home where I teach students about breathing and singing techniques. Besides my work with the students I also have a website about vocal technique and I wrote an e-book about singing.

Because I'm rewriting this e-book and my website is having a make-over I decided to draw my own pictures for both the book and the website.
I already have everything it takes to make nice pictures: paper, pens and pencils!

Before I started working as a vocal coach, I worked as a architectural engineer. As you may know, architects use a lot of tracing paper and I still have a lot of the stuff from the time I worked with it.

In this case, tracing paper is very handy because it will take some sketching and tracing to make the drawings look good enough.
I also use a lot of reference pictures because I wouldn't be able to draw parts of the human body by heart and in the right proportions.

Here is a video about the proceure of drawing …

My favourite artists - Rien Poortvliet

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I've always loved nature. I grew up in a house with a large garden. There were a lot of trees, flowers and grass.
As a child I liked catching bees and other insects with a glass jar, looking at them and them letting them go again.
I loved playing in the garden, I spent many hours there.

My father was a horticulturist, growing vegetables in his greenhouses and on his fields.
I spent a lot of time there too, helping taking care of the vegetables, searching for salamanders in the greenhouses, watching pheasants and hares in the fields, etc.

As a child, I also loved drawing and colouring. My mother, a teacher, knew that proper pencils were needed to help me and my siblings develop our creative skills. So from day one, we had good pencil brands to draw and colour with: Caran d'Ache and Bruynzeel.
During my childhood, Rien Poortvliet, a famous Dutch wildlife artist became very popular with his books full of paintings and drawings.
You may know him from his books about gnomes.




Rien …