Cover Reveal for Johanna Basford’s Magical Jungle and a few thoughts…

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Magical Jungle is Johanna Basford’s newest coloring book, which will be released August 9, 2016.

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Maybe by then I will be halfway finished with the Lost Ocean, which I love.

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I have spent the afternoon coloring this panoramic page because it is indeed restorative to color. When electronics become an encroachment instead of an amusement, there is something to be said for my childhood pleasures: coloring, reading, being still.

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Yet it occurred to me that perhaps my place in life is to be the color-er and not the artist; the reader and not the writer. This is a rather humbling thought for someone who once saw herself as capable of creating almost anything.

Now I am more realistic. I am finding contentment in being the person who enjoys what others have produced, for if there were none of us, who would enjoy the fruit of their labors?

Someone has to be in the audience, clapping at the end of the performance.

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33 thoughts on “Cover Reveal for Johanna Basford’s Magical Jungle and a few thoughts…

    • I have all three of hers, although I gave Secret Garden to a colleague who has been under terrible strain with her class this year. She loves to color, and I thought it would give her joy. I’m not sure if there is such a thing about being behind; I hope you would feel joy, or not, but not any pressure to get something done. It’s not good when we turn our pleasures into “pain”.

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  1. I feel the same about being the colorer. I have to admit that even the pages where she wants you to continue the drawing intimidate me. I am still going to collect my courage and try one of them one day though!

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    • Once you abandon yourself to being less than perfect (a life-long lesson for me!) it becomes a lot more fun to color in her pages. I’ve been enjoying some videos on YouTube of artists, colorers, and it gives me some good ideas to implement. But, I don’t expect to produce something as beautiful as Peta I-forget-her-last-name’s. Don’t collect courage, just collect your colored pencils.

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  2. Lost Ocean looks beautiful. A friend gifted me a colouring book (and pencils) for Christmas, so I’ve been dabbling with it every now again. Even though I’m not the world’s greatest artist, I do find it quite relaxing – a welcome break from all the stresses and strains of life 🙂

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    • I like your perspective: it is still a creative act to color as everyone’s is unique to them. Johanna said in one of her videos that no one’so completed product comes out exactly the same. How nice to be able to leave our individual mark in whatever it is that we touch.

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  3. Lovely! Do you use colored pencils, gel pens or markers typically. I use ex fine sharpies, or gel pens but just purchased some colored pencils as well.

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    • I saw that Johanna’s favorite pens and colored pencils are those made by Staedtler, so of course I had to go buy the pens yesterday. (Which you can see in one of the photos; they are Staedtler triples fine liner pens in 0.3 mm so they are really good for tiny places.) But, I like colored pencils the best because you can shade them, and blend them, much better than with a marker. It would be fun to color with you!

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  4. What a lovely picture you’ve created! Yes, even though you didn’t draw the original work, your choice of colors and shading are yours, and thus, your creation. I’m glad you find pleasure in coloring. I tried to do some coloring with my granddaughter when we flew from Nebraska to Oregon last summer, but my hand tired far too quickly. My job involves handling a lot of new merchandise every day, so I use a handheld commuter (PDT – Personal Data Transmitter? I don’t recall exactly what it’s called.) to scan the barcode on each book that needs to be shelved, in order to place it in its proper location. I don’t think I have carpel tunnel syndrome, but I do believe my thumb and index finger are weary at the end of the day and holding a pencil or pen for any length of time is not relaxing. Perhaps gel markers or sharpies would be easier, but I haven’t tried those yet. I do like the idea of unplugging and relaxing with a beautiful coloring book, although what free time I do find, I prefer to read. Or ride my bike, which I did yesterday for the first time in 2016!!!

    Happy Sunday, dear friend.

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    • I have the same issue, Les: a tired hand and wrist. I write an awful lot at school, and my hand wearies easily. I can only color in small increments. If you do get into it, you may like the triangular shaped pencils which are quite comfortable to hold. However, I think cycling would be a much better way to be healthy and relaxed at the same time! So glad spring is here, basically, and you can continue your fine sport. Which I dabble in. 😉

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  5. I love the idea of being the audience not the creator, the one who encourages and applauds the artist. Like Watson to Sherlock, the genius is better because there is someone who appreciates it.
    Also, was tools do you use for coloring? Are those pens? What type or brand? ~ L

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    • What a wonderful comparison you used by bringing in Watson and Sherlock; surely each of them benefitted the other.

      As for the “tools” I use Staedtler fineliner pens and a variety of colored pencils. I have very expensive ones such as Derwent and Prismacolor, but I’m almost too afraid to use them which is really dumb. These pages are colored in with a box from the drugstore until I get more comfortable with my shading, etc. But, they are working perfectly well for now.

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  6. This looks beautiful, Meredith. I hope you will show us more pictures after you finishing colouring more pages. 🙂

    I gifted myself ‘Cats (Colouring for Mindfulness)’ by Mesdemoiselles last month, and I am glad I did that. Wielding the colour pencils again is one of the best things I did recently.

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  7. It’s kind of funny, but I reached the same conclusion quite recently as well – I’ve always been obsessed with being creative and creating things of my own, but I noticed how intimidated I feel when I have to begin something from scratch (especially when I’m told to do so and I just have to come up with something fast). Art and creating things in general should bring you joy and not stress you out. It’s absolutely fine to be just the observer, the one appreciating and taking the most out of the piece of art, sometimes 🙂

    The pages you have coloured look absolutely beautiful! I got Enchanted Forest for Christmas and I haven’t made much progress with it yet, but I find it a great way to get to listen some audiobooks or podcasts while colouring, since I always get distracted and don’t pay the required attention when I’m just listening to them.

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    • You are very kind in giving some praise to these pages; I find them disappointing when I look at other books colored inbox YouTube. Yet surely I can give up some dissatisfaction when it consents something that’s supposed to be relaxing! And fun!

      I’m glad you understand of what I spoke of in my post, and laud the position of observer. That seems to be a place in which I stand more and more often, and I’m okay with that. Sometimes, there’s enough pressure just in trying to relate what someone else has done.

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  8. Inspirational DB. It’s funny because my partents would’ve told you I coloured in alot in my youth (a distraction from real thinking), however these days i give these bbooks as gifts but have never done one myself. Now im back studying i might give it a try … i love the way these books are presented. Your style is beautiful too. Thanks for sharing this with us.

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    • I colored a lot as a child, too, and remember being sorely vexed with a neighbor friend who smashed the points of my markers. In the midst of studying, you might find a coloring book a welcome respite. But, don’t do it too much! 😉

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  9. Beautiful cover. I’m still working in The Secret Garden and am very behind but that’s ok. I do find it so enjoyable. Are those Stadtler ink pens I see that you are using in your book? I use pencil but am thinking of branching into some ink.

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    • I purchased Staedtler fineliner pens at Johanna Basford’s suggestion (on YouTube) but I don’t like them quite so much as colored pencils because they do not blend. Then I bought Derwent Inktense pencils because they do blend with water, but on these coloring book pages the paper “bulges”. As with everything in my life, I am searching for the perfect medium…perfect red lipstick…perfect look for the blog. As if perfection were attainable, when I ought to be content with what I have.

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  10. Ah, I’m coloring Basford’s Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest daily. I’ve been advised that it would be good for my anxiety. Old habits are hard to shake though — I want all my coloring to be perfect, I want all the color pairings to be harmonious, etc. But I do enjoy it, and it gives me a daily sense of achievement that pushes me to perform better throughout the day.

    I so love the picture you are working on. I find shading tricky to do even though I’ve always liked the effect.

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    • I know just what you mean about wanting the coloring to be perfect, in shade and texture and harmony. Still, while I am far from the beauty I see in other’s finished works, there is a joy to be had in this “childhood” pastime. Surely I didn’t expect so much of myself at age 8? No, probably I did.

      (There are helpful videos online about shading and color choice which you may enjoy.)

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  11. So lovely! I am very tempted to get a coloring book. I gave one as a gift to an adult at Christmas time, but have yet to get one for myself. On a different note, there are many ways to be artistic. Your book blog is amongst the most creative and beautiful I’ve seen; it is a pleasure to visit, visually. It is a work of art.

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    • You have such a good point, Suko (as usual!) There are many ways to be creative in what we do every day: cooking, putting the finer points on our homes, and even coloring a book with our own color choices and shading. Thanks for the good reminder and sweet compliment.

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    • I’ve been coloring them more than reading, as I find it so relaxing, but now it’s time to get on with the Man Booker International Prize long list! Thirteen books to read before the winner is declared in May.

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  12. I agree with Suko: a blog is as much the result of creative acts as any other, and yours is particularly lovely. Reading is a creative act too: yes, writing and creating from scratch is much, much harder, but without us readers a book would never live. And with each reader, it lives in a new and unique way.

    Teaching is a pretty creative job too, for what it’s worth.

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    • Yes, without us a book would never live. So beautifully put, and I like your take on how it lives in a new and unique way as it is when each of us touch something. We do leave our own mark, I hope. Teaching…that used to be so much more creative for me. Now I find myself quite stifled by Common Core and PARCC testing. But still, I find time for origami and literature! 😉

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