As you maybe can guess, I love to color, and it’s something I do an awful lot of. I adore the process, from start to finish. Flipping through a book, with so many possibilities before me. Selecting a page. Tearing it out or smoothing the book open. Lovingly establishing a color palette, pulling up photos or pieces of art for inspiration. Then the hours of careful attention I pour into a page from start to finish, often while listening to an audiobook or documentary. And the calm, quiet sense of satisfaction when you’ve lain down the last colored pencil or marker and can finally declare the page complete.
That’s my ideal scenario, and I hope it’s one you know and love too! But so often, that routine looks more like this:
Flipping through a book, with so many possibilities before me. Selecting a page. Then having to clear all the markers I’ve left scattered around my work area until I actually have room to set the book down. Smoothing the book open. Going to Pinterest to get inspired by some of my favorite works of art in order to build a color palette, and getting distracted and accidentally pinning over a dozen recipes I want to try for work lunches. Finally choosing a nice Van Gogh painting for color inspiration, and feeling anxiety over whether I want to use pencils or markers. Finally starting to color, and then my documentary ends so I need to find a new one. After browsing for twenty minutes to find a new documentary I haven’t watched yet, I put one on, start coloring, and am only done with the top left corner before it’s time to bed.
I promise I don’t have ADHD, really!
So does scenario one or two sound familiar to you? If you’re like me, and the second one is sounding a little too much like you for comfort, I’ll let you in on a little secret: miniature coloring books. Sure, I love the beautiful oversize pages of Fantastic Cities as much as the next person, but during the hustle and bustle of the workweek, I don’t have the time or patience to always start and stop a larger project. Smaller coloring books, on the other hand (sometimes called “portable” coloring books), are my jam when I’m a harried mess. I can start and finish a page in anywhere from about half an hour to an hour and a half, and come out of it feeling accomplished.
With that in mind, I am so happy to announce that Cleverpedia has partnered with Color With Music to bring you an exciting new giveaway of a baker’s dozen of their fun 8 by 8 inch coloring book pads.
They just unveiled a new line of coloring books that come ready to go with a set of colored pencils and sharpener tucked right inside the book, giving new meaning to the term “portable”! They’ve also released some new kits that combine two of their books with a set of four frames so you can hang your completed artwork on your walls or sit it at your desk.
This giveaway will be accepting new entries until 11:59pm EST on Saturday, October 15th, 2016. There will be not just one winner, but THIRTEEN! Each week, we’ll be drawing three winners (four the final week), so the earlier you enter, the more chances you have to win! My review of these books can be found below, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this page, and share with your friends!
Twelve winners will receive an Amazon coupon code for a free copy of the new Color With Music title with colored pencils of their choice. One final winner will receive a coupon code for the two book and frame set of their choice. Weekly drawings will be pulled from the full pool of entrants on Sunday, September 25, October 2, 9, and 16. Winners must respond to an email within three days to claim their prize. Coupon codes must be redeemed by October 31st. Sorry, United States entrants only.
Huge thank you to the team at Color With Music for providing the review and giveaway copies for this showcase/giveaway! Also, this page contains some affiliate links. That means that if you buy anything, at no additional cost to you, you’ll be helping support Cleverpedia and my coloring book addiction. Thank you so much!
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I am so happy to be sharing Color With Music’s new line of coloring books with you again. I first showcased their books for you guys back in May, when I reviewed two books from their original line-up that included a soothing music CD.
Now they are back with a fun new line called Color Your Way to Calm that replaces the CD with a pack of 12 colored pencils and a sharpener, everything you need to start fitting coloring into a busy schedule. Plus, the books’ smaller size makes them easy to tuck into a bag and use them on a plane, in a waiting room (thanks to the card-like backing, you don’t even need a table), or anywhere where you want a few minutes to relax and fill in some calming spaces with color.
Each coloring book includes 48 illustrations, printed on just one side of medium weight, bright white paper. The pages are attached at the top, ideal for both right and left handed colorists. The impression you get of the coloring book is that it is a little like a notepad block, and that kind of “binding” makes it super easy to cleanly peel one page from anywhere in the book. The covers are like a light cardboard, with the pencils and sharpener encased in a reusable plastic holder in the front cover, and a flap that can protect the pages after the one you’re working on, if you choose to stay in the book.
There are currently ten titles in the Color Your Way to Calm series:
- Color Your Way to Calm: Mandalas
- Color Your Way to Calm: Animal Kingdom
- Color Your Way to Calm: Seasons
- Color Your Way to Calm: Botanical Garden
- Color Your Way to Calm: Island Breeze
- Color Your Way to Calm: Ocean Wonders
- Color Your Way to Calm: Escape to Calm
- Color Your Way to Calm: Beautiful Places
- Color Your Way to Calm: Butterflies
- Color Your Way to Calm: Flower Power
Keep scrolling to view sample pages and learn more about each of the books you could win!
In addition to the twelve regular winners, there will be one grand prize winner with the opportunity to choose between the three kits with frames:
- Adult Coloring Books & Picture Frames Set: Mandalas
- Adult Coloring Books & Picture Frames Set: Animals
- Adult Coloring Books & Picture Frames Set: Flowers
Now that you’re familiar with their full lineup of books, here’s a breakdown in more detail and reviews of some of the books!
Color Your Way to Calm: Mandalas (Colored Pencils + Sharpener Included)
I really enjoyed coloring the mandalas in this coloring book. This is my second Mandalas coloring book from this company (the first I reviewed in my last Color With Music post), and this book contains 48 brand new mandalas to color. There is no overlap with the other book in the series, which is fantastic.
As I noted last time, the square format really works here. It perfectly frames the mandala in the center of the square, and there is no opportunity for the mandala to print into the binding like a traditional coloring book. There is so much crafting potential here. Not only that, but the pages look great encased in the 8×8″ frames that come with the frame and book kits (reviewed below).
The lines here are smoother and more consistent than the more organic lines in the previous mandala book. Still, there is a comfortable amount of width to the lines, making it possible to color with markers, and enough variation to make the images interesting.
A greater number of the mandalas here are truly abstract, patterned mandalas, as opposed to containing real world objects. Still, many contain flower and leaf shapes as part of the design, something I enjoy.
I colored a number of pages from this book, but here is one of my favorites:
I love the full wash of color you can get on a mandala using markers. I colored this mandala using a limited color palette of five colors from my 96 color set of Tombow dual-ended brush pens. I love these pens, because the brush nib gives you a ton of flexibility in the width of the line you are coloring — if you press, you can fill a large area with color, or you can pull back to fit into tight corners without going over lines.
Fellow marker lovers, rejoice — I had absolutely no bleed-through from my Tombows on this medium weight paper. Your results may vary (especially if you are using alcohol-based markers, like Copics or Sharpies), but in all of my tests neither my Tombows nor my Staedtler Triplus Fineliners (both water-based markers) left any evidence on the reverse side of the page. Either way, test your markers first on a test sheet (there is a title page at the end of the book you can use), and if you do get some bleed-through, just be sure to use the separator card included in the book to protect the pages that follow.
I personally removed the page, because I like to be able to rotate mandalas as I color them. As I mentioned before, the book is bound sort of like a notepad block, and pages I chose from anywhere in the book peeled out cleanly. I love this style of binding!
More on the pencils in a minute, but overall I was very happy with this book, and it’s definitely going to be one of those ones I reach for often when I’m on the go or just need a quick coloring fix. I highly recommend it, whether you are a mandala fiend interested in growing your collection (if that’s the case, make sure you check out this roundup) or are in the market for your first mandala coloring book. If you have just gotta have this book, you can order it right here, and don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of the page to enter the giveaway for a chance to win another Color With Music book!
Color Your Way to Calm: Animal Kingdom (Colored Pencils + Sharpener Included)
Animal Kingdom is another book I got to check out. I actually received it as a part of the Animals coloring book and frame kit, along with Nature’s Wonders, which you can check out as a part of the frame kit review below.
This book centers around animals of all different kinds; amongst the 48 pages, you’ll discover a lion, an elephant, a swan, bears, wolves, a crocodile, giraffe, peacock, leopard, and many more. Most of the pages feature the animal alone on a white background, or just the animal’s face on a white background, though several have the suggestion of more background elements like grass, water, and trees. Every animal in the book is heavily patterned with stripes, chevron, polka dots, and more.
Most of the animals have a heavy black outline on the outside, and the patterning inside is with much thinner lines. These felt a little on the thinner side to me; coloring with markers was a very delicate affair, and even coloring with pencils I had to be quite careful. My preferences tend towards a thicker line than most of the images here, though I know that many of you prefer the lighter lines because they give you more artistic freedom to color and shade over top of them. So, it’s really a matter of personal preference!
Here is one of the pages I colored from the book:
For this page I used my Caran d’Ache Pablo colored pencils. They felt a little stiff on this paper. However, I’ve reviewed these books in the past using my Prismacolor softcore colored pencils, which really glide on this paper.
I also tried out the included colored pencils and sharpener. I love how the packaging works; it is a two part sleeve that can open up to give you access to the colored pencils, then close back up to shut them away. You don’t need to rip up your coloring book to get to the colored pencils. It’s really an ingenious design.
The sharpener worked well! Just be sure to have a trash can or a small bowl handy while sharpening, since this kind of open sharpener can be a little messy. (But you can also use it to make those Instagram-ready spirals of sharpened pencil. Just sayin’!)
The pencils do come off feeling a little bit scratchy on this paper, and twelve colors does make for a pretty limited palette, which is why I opted for my own set of pencils. However, they’re great for on the go or for coloring with your kids, plus I discovered a sort of fun trick from the Amazon reviews: if you wet the tip of the pencil, they dissolve a little and look smoother on the paper, kind of like watercolor pencils. You can see the difference between the pencils “dry” and dipped in water in the image below:
The two scales to the left were colored dry, and the two to the right I dipped in water every so often. The colors come through more vibrantly and smoothly this way, which I thought was really cool!
I also tried laying down the color and wetting with a small brush, but had to abort — the paper is a medium weight that works great with markers, but it doesn’t hold up as well to wet media and I almost immediately got ripples in the page. Oh well, worth a try!
Overall, the images in this book were fun, but I found myself enjoying them less than the mandala book or the book Nature’s Wonders, which was included in the frame bundle. (I had a LOT of fun with that book, as you’ll see below!) Part of this were matters of personal preference: I prefer coloring scenes or patterns to floating objects, and I prefer a slightly thicker line. However, the water effect with the pencils was a really fun discovery, and the “patterned animals” genre is super popular, so I think I’m a bit of an anomaly here. What do you think of patterned animal coloring books?
If you’re interested, you can check out more info about the book on Amazon!
Color Your Way to Calm: Seasons (Colored Pencils + Sharpener Included)
Color Your Way to Calm: Seasons explores the four seasons with different pages devoted to spring, summer, fall, and winter. The images you’ll discover inside run the gamut of seasonal motifs, from cascading leaves to drifting snowflakes, bright flowers and perching butterflies.
One of the funnest pages features a beachfaring woman from above, lying on a towel and surrounded by the signs of summer: a beachball, a slide of watermelon, an ice cream cone, swimming mask, camera, starfish, and more. Cute!
Unlike the previous books shown here, the colored pencils included are actually double-ended, bringing the color count up to 24 colors! Definitely a nice bonus, since it doubles your options and gives you several additional shades of orange, blue, yellow, and others to work with.Check it out on Amazon to see more sample pages!
Color Your Way to Calm: Botanical Garden (Colored Pencils + Sharpener Included)
Color Your Way to Calm: Botanical Garden zooms in on the spring and summer theme, an explosion of flowers and butterflies patterning their way across the page. The designs included are from a variety of artists, some more “organic” and hand-drawn feeling than others. This book includes the same 12 pencils as in the two books I reviewed.
To see more sample images, check it out on Amazon right here, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the page!
Color Your Way to Calm: Island Breeze (Colored Pencils + Sharpener Included)
Do you spend your workweek dreaming of the next time you can escape to the beach? Indulge in your summertime serenity anytime with Island Breeze. This book includes 12 double-ended colored pencils for a total of 24 colors. The images inside range from beach scenes to more close-up patterns of beachy motifs like seashells.
Color Your Way to Calm: Ocean Wonders (Colored Pencils + Sharpener Included)
Continuing the beachy theme is Color Your Way to Calm: Ocean Wonders. Ocean-themed coloring has been all the rage recently with the release of Johanna Basford’s Lost Ocean, and this book embraces that trend. Many of the images feature patterned fish and other marine life like seahorses and jellyfish. Other pages have more sprawling ocean-themed patterns, and some are even ocean mandalas. It’s a nice selection of aquatic artwork that is sure to keep you busy.
One thing I am a little unclear on with this book is whether it includes 12 or 24 colors. The product images show only 12 single-sided colored pencils, but customer photos show the double-ended pencils present in some of the books above.Check out more sample images over on Amazon!
Color Your Way to Calm: Escape to Calm (Colored Pencils + Sharpener Included)
NOTE: Unfortunately, since it is not available until November 1st, this book is not an option in the giveaway.
Color Your Way to Calm: Escape to Calm is a relaxing coloring book due out on November 1st but available for pre-order. It features the double-ended pencils included with some of the books on this list, and the imagery features landscapes, mountains, whimsical hot air balloons, and more.
Color Your Way to Calm: Beautiful Places (Colored Pencils + Sharpener Included)
NOTE: Unfortunately, since it is not available until November 1st, this book is not an option in the giveaway.
Beautiful Places is a travel coloring book through and through. Like the other books on this list, it is super portable and has the pencils built right in (in 24 colors!). The pages feature landmarks from around the world, including Japanese pagodas, the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, London Bridge, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Color Your Way to Calm: Butterflies (Colored Pencils + Sharpener Included)
As the name suggests, this book is full of butterflies! Some are shown in scenes with flowers and leaves, while others, like the sample image above, are alone in the center of the page. This book includes the double-ended pencils, for a total of 24 colors. If you love coloring whimsical patterned butterflies, this is the perfect book for you!
Color Your Way to Calm: Flower Power (Colored Pencils + Sharpener Included)
Flower Power is totally groovy. With peace signs, doves, flowers and more, this book channels the 70s in a perfectly portable package. Included are the double-ended pencils, bringing your color count up to 24. You’ll love peacing out and coloring this book.
Adult Coloring Books & Picture Frames Set: Mandalas
While I didn’t receive a review copy of this set from Color With Music, I was able to assemble one for the photo using pieces from the other set and the mandala book I already had! This is the ultimate coloring set for someone who loves mandalas. It contains not one, but two coloring books, each with 48 unique images for a total of 96 single-sided pages to color. There is a music CD to listen to while you color, 12 pre-sharpened color pencils, a pencil sharpener, and four frames perfectly sized to display your finished artwork.
This bundle really has everything you need to color, from the supplies you need, to the tunes to keep you going, to the frame to display the final piece. It would make a great gift in and of itself, or you can color some one of a kind masterpieces and give them away framed.
The frames are really a unique idea in the coloring world — such a great way to take a nice pack of coloring books to the next level!
P.S. My colored mandala in the frame is from Color Your Way to Calm: Mandalas! Check out my detailed review of this book, above!
Adult Coloring Books & Picture Frames Set: Animals
I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this set for this review from Color With Music. And what a great set it is! This bundle brings together Color Your Way to Calm: Animal Kingdom and Color With Music: Nature’s Wonders along with four frames.
Like the previous bundle, this includes all the goodies that come with these books individually — the pencils, sharpener, and music CD — plus the four frames. Between the two books, there are 96 unique pages to color. That’s a lot of animals!
Like my leopard? To color your own, pick up this bundle, or get a copy of Nature’s Wonders. I was really enjoying coloring pages from this book!
The linework in this book is really expressive and almost “sketchy,” which made it really fun for some quick, expressive coloring with markers! I colored this in just over an hour using my Tombow dual-ended brush pens. I layered up the colors three and sometimes four colors deep in places (letting the page dry between layers) and I think the effect was really nice! Plus, nothing at all passed through the paper.
Since I had so much fun with that page, I started another one of a llama, though I didn’t get quite as far before I had to write this review.
I decided to try out a coloring technique I’d been reading a bit about, which involves layering colored pencil with marker. Sounded crazy to me, so I just had to try it! To get the subtle shading in the leaves, I first colored a gradient from heavy to light in a dark shade of green (I used my Caran d’Ache Pablo colored pencils, shown in the picture), then colored over it with a medium shade of green. It came out really nice! I think I could have gotten an even more dramatic effect with a lighter shade of marker and/or a darker shade of pencil. Hmm, something to try!
Overall, I felt very lucky to receive this kit, and there are so many more animals I want to color here! Pick up your own copy over on Amazon, or try your luck in the giveaway below — one grand prize winner will get their choice of these three frame sets!
Adult Coloring Books & Picture Frames Set: Flowers
This final bundle brings together both of Color With Music’s “Botanical Garden” titles. One contains a garden-inspired music CD, while the other contains a set of 12 colored pencils and a small metal sharpener. And, of course, the frames!
IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME! Enter to win a free Amazon coupon code redeemable for the Color Your Way to Calm title of your choice!
In this Baker’s Dozen giveaway, 12 winners will receive Amazon.com coupon codes for a colored pencil book, and one grand prize winner will receive a coupon code for a frame bundle. Three winners will be drawn each Sunday, and the grand prize winner will be drawn at the close of the giveaway from all entries.
Now is the moment you’ve been waiting for! Click the options below to enter to win! Winners will be drawn each week, so the earlier you enter, the more chances you have to win!
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Thanks again to the Color With Music team for providing the review copies of Mandalas, Animal Kingdom, and Nature’s Wonders, plus the coupon codes for the giveaway!
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