Newest Crafts Reviews

From TheBookbag
Jump to: navigation, search

Harry Potter: Magical Artefacts Colouring Book by Warner Brothers

4star.jpg Crafts

With a big production film you can be almost overwhelmed by all that's there to see, but what most of us forget is that in the film-maker's archive there's an awful lot which we never get to see. Harry Potter: Magical Artefacts Colouring Book is packed with stunning pieces of artwork from the Warner Brothers archive, giving you the chance to colour the magic of J K Rowling's wizarding world. There are the props from the Harry Potter films: an enchanted map, a piece of jewellery that can turn back time, vials full of liquid memories and newspapers with moving photos. What an inventive brain that woman has! Full review...

Star Wars Rogue One: Art of Colouring by Lucasfilm

3.5star.jpg Crafts

Colour me happy that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is around. While I've not had the chance of seeing it yet, I'm dead chuffed it takes place at a central point of the main arc of films' storylines, and not some nebulous place elsewhere in that galaxy far, far away. Yes, it does do what the 'new trilogy' did, and have much more gloss and many more technologies than the films set after it, but what is not to like? Well, the expected expenditure on tie-in books and articles, I guess – several hundred pounds on one collector's card is a little steep. But seeing as I handily mentioned colouring above, in the vernacular, why not take it literally and use this large format paperback, promising 100 Images to Inspire Creativity? Full review...

British Airways Colouring Book by Paul Jarvis

4star.jpg Crafts

Over the past couple of years we've seen a lot of colouring books: flowers, patterns, fantasy creatures, characters and settings from television shows, films and books and lots more, but I can't recollect that we've ever before had one which featured a company. Mind you, British Airways, is rather special; iconic and rather more long lasting than most passing celebrities. It has heritage and tradition. The British Airways Colouring Book is based on exclusive posters, photographs and artwork from the company's archives and the 46 images allow the reader to recreate these as they wish. There's a bonus too: on the facing page of each image there's a potted history. I passed the book to someone with an interest in BA and he found the book interesting and informative without even thinking of doing any colouring. Full review...

The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: A Year of Celebrations by Rebecca Jones

4.5star.jpg Crafts

I enjoy colouring: I find it relaxing and satisfying, but most colouring books have one big snag for me. When you've finished, what use is what you've done? If I'm investing quite a bit of time in producing something, I like it to be useful. I'm a bit of a puritan about such matters! It was therefore something of a relief when I found The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: A Year of Celebrations - and before anyone starts to be pedantic about the title, you do get to colour the envelope too; in fact you colour the inside and the outside and all four faces of the cards. There are even some stickers for you to seal the envelope. Full review...

Incredibuilds: Buckbeak: Deluxe Model and Book Set (Harry Potter) by Jody Revenson

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

The general perception is that to become a leading British actor, you need the fillip of Eton or somesuch education. But you don't have to be an actor to make a great film. Gravity for instance has extended scenes where the only thing natural is the performers' faces – everything else, even their bodies, was made in Britain by people using computers. The eight Harry Potter films, also made in the UK, needed a lot of computing power as well, but also a lot of craftsmen with their hands on tools and a keen eye. What better way to start training the young reader into that side of things, than with tasking them with making a, er, hippogriff? Full review...

Incredibuilds: Aragog: Deluxe Model and Book Set (Harry Potter) by Jody Revenson

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Aragog the giant spider, don't you know, took six man years just to build, and weighed a ton. After countless trial models and pieces of visual design work, he could finally be constructed, and he stretched across eighteen feet of the studio floor. Or, conversely, he is about seven inches long and seven wide, and you put him together in a day or two, for the cost of this book-and-gift set and some craft paints. Full review...

Incredibuilds: House-Elves: Deluxe Book and Model Set (Harry Potter) by Jody Revenson

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

How do you create a house-elf like Dobby? Well, you have a tennis ball on a string, and point actors so they look at it, and say their lines to a pretty-much empty space. You then film Toby Jones doing the elf's lines, and use that sound file and his facial expressions as basis for your CGI creation – the first major character to come from the digital realm in the Harry Potter films. You can throw in a few puppets, and now and again a gifted small person, particularly at the end of film #7… Or, of course, you can get this gift set, and press the wooden parts out, muckle them together – and lo and behold, a six inch tall Dobby for your windowsill. Full review...

Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol: A Colouring Classic by Vladimir Aleksic and Kate Ware

4star.jpg Crafts

A Christmas Carol has always been my favourite book by Charles Dickens. Perhaps it's the fact that it's a novella rather than the usual brick of a book, but the plotting has always seemed tighter and the story more fast moving. I also like to idea of Ebenezer Scrooge not so much getting his comeuppance as his seeing the error of his ways. I've read the book and seen numerous film adaptations - now I've had the opportunity to do some relaxing colouring of scenes from the classic story. Was it fun? Full review...

Crafting with Feminism: 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy by Bonnie Burton

4star.jpg Crafts

For far too long it has been accepted that men will have free choice as to what they do and that women will somehow accommodate and adjust around them. It's been a hard fight to get to where we are now - and there's still a way to go, particularly when you read the views of people such as Member of Parliament Philip Davis, but the cause can't always be moved forward by being deadly serious, no matter how serious the cause: sometimes what you need is a little whimsy. We might take the cause seriously, but we don't take ourselves too seriously. And besides, what's better than to unleash your creativity? Full review...

The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes - Christmas by Rebecca Jones

5star.jpg Crafts

Have you ever opened a Christmas card and had a sense of deja vu? It might be that you've already had a couple just like this one (it's one of the more popular ones being sold by M&S this year...) or you recognise it the design which a major charity sold last Christmas - and which they started selling off at half price in the Boxing Day Sale. Either way, you don't feel particularly special. An embroidered card is lovely, but not everyone has the skills and if you buy them they're a frightening price. But I've just discovered a relaxing, satisfying way of producing individual cards at a reasonable price: The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: Christmas. Full review...

The Mindless Colouring Book: Art Therapy Exclusively Available to Anyone with £8.99 by Molly Manners and Alex Worrall

4star.jpg Crafts

Can I let you into a secret? Promise not to tell anyone, but I do wonder if a lot of adult colouring books are not just a little bit too worthy. They're all very intricate and rewarding when you've finished, but I was chatting to someone recently who mentioned that it might take generations to complete her colouring book. I mean, where's the fun in that? When I relax I want to have a good time, enjoy myself and feel better at the end of it. A good laugh wouldn't go amiss. Anyone disagree with that? I thought not. Full review...

The Colouring Book of Beautiful Gift Boxes: Christmas by Sarah Walsh

5star.jpg Crafts

When you give a small gift, it's often difficult to wrap it appropriately. If you wrap a small object, it looks insignificant and if you've gone to the trouble of finding the appropriate gift for someone that's the last thing you want. If you pad it out a little, it ends up looking like a game of pass the parcel. You can, of course, buy a gift box but they're expensive for what they are and they're hardly individual. The answer lies in The Colouring Book of Beautiful Gift Boxes: Christmas. The cover price is £9.99, so that works out at less than 42p for each of the 24 boxes which - as you're colouring it - will be unique. Full review...

Press Out and Colour: Birds by Zoe Ingram

4star.jpg Crafts

Ten beautiful birds which start life as detailed line illustrations by Zoe Ingram are then coloured in by anyone of any age who is capable of having reasonable control of a felt-tip pen or a crayon. You've got to remember to do both the back and the front and whilst it would be nice if they matched it's in no way essential. If you're skillful, so much the better, but the designs are decorated with foil which catches the light and gives that sheen which you see on the edges of birds' feathers. When you've finished colouring you gently press the pieces out from the page. I experimented with pressing them out first and then colouring, but the pieces were easier to colour actually in the page. Full review...

100 Simple Paper Flowers by Kelsey Elam

5star.jpg Crafts

100 Simple Paper Flowers is an easy-to-follow guide to creating impressive floral artworks that could almost be mistaken for the real thing. Whether it is a craft project, something to brighten up a room, or a full-on display for a big event, the book has plenty of styles and designs to fit the occasion. And unlike real flowers, your paper creations will never die. Full review...

Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights: A Colouring Classic by Elisabetta Stoinich

4star.jpg Crafts

Wuthering Heights is one of the classics which has stood the test of time. At the time of its publication in December 1847 reviews were mixed, not least because of the start depictions of mental and physical cruelty and it certainly wasn't in line with how Victorians felt that life should be lived. But the book hung in there and before long it was considered superior to Emily Bronte's sister Charlotte's Jane Eyre. There have been films, adaptations and now - a colouring book. But does the book capture the nature of the landscape and the people who inhabited it a hundred and seventy years ago? Full review...

Bram Stoker's Dracula: A Colouring Classic by Chellie Carroll

4star.jpg Crafts

There's no choice in the matter - you're going back to Transylvania in the late nineteenth century, to follow Dracula's attempts to move to England in search of new blood and to spread the undead curse. Only this time you're not reading Bram Stoker's classic, but using pens and crayons in this colouring classic full of bloodthirsty vampires, gothic patterns, dramatic landscapes and nightmarish figures. It's eerie, it's dramatic and it's great good fun. Full review...

Terry Pratchett's Discworld Colouring Book by Paul Kidby

4.5star.jpg Crafts

It was Sir Terry Pratchett whose chose Paul Kidby as artist for The Last World and the covers of the Discworld novels from 2002 onwards and it was a marriage made in heaven, with the one complementing the other. Kidby himself says that designing the characters with pencil and paint challenged and amused him beyond measure. The writing conjured clear imagery and it was his job to capture the humour and richly-textured stories on paper. Kidby and Pratchett shared interests in nature, folklore, science and history as well as a love of Monty Python and the bizarre and to my eyes at least the result was more, far more, than the sum of the parts. Full review...

Star Wars: Colouring By Numbers by LucasFilm

4star.jpg Crafts

I've never had any talent as an artist: I once earned the comment from an art teacher that I would struggle to draw a straight line with a ruler, but it's something I've always wanted to be able to do. For a while in my teens I was seduced by oil-painting-by-numbers kits, which promised to allow me to produce paintings of horses grazing in the fields or boats at anchor in the harbour. In fact all I really produced was a mess - literally and artistically. I've had slightly more success with adult colouring books, providing that they didn't require too much skill, although I did succeed in establishing that Benedict Cumberbatch would not look good with a spray tan. If I was going to produce anything worth looking at then I needed a great deal of help with shading. Full review...

David Bowie: Starman: A Colouring Book by Coco Balderrama and Laura Coulman

4star.jpg Crafts

David Bowie's death in January 2016 came as a shock to me: we were much of an age and he'd always seemed so vital. But his final album, Blackstar, seemed to foretell his death and was a commercial success, coming in at number one in the UK Top 100 Albums Chart, and the David Bowie Is exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum is the most successful exhibition ever staged by the V&A. But what of a more relaxing memory of the man who was part genius and part chameleon? Full review...

Pattern Play: Cut, Fold and Make Your Own 3D Animal Models by Danielle Kroll and Nghiem Ta

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Here's a neat idea for you. Provide pages with animal prints on one side - only by animal prints, I mean the sort of colours and pattern which you see on animals, not paw prints! Some are subtle and others are rather more in-your-face. On the reverse of these printed pages provide a cutting line so that you can cut and fold the paper and it becomes a 3D model of an animal. Provide some stickers which replicate faces, tails or beaks - or whatever else you feel needs highlighting - and number these so that they get into the right place. All you need to add to the mix is a pair of scissors, parental supervision if necessary for the cutting, a little imagination and you have hours of fun. Full review...

Where's Wally: The Colouring Book by Martin Handford

5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Are you looking for something relaxing, easy to complete and which will allow your mind to wander freely as you gently colour in a pleasing design? Do you want to indulge your imagination and use the colours which tempt you at the moment, content that it will not affect the finished creation? Would you like large spaces which you can shade in large swoops as it pleases you? Are you aiming for a soothing finished product which is easy on the eye?

Sorry: you've got the wrong book. Full review...

3, 2, 1... Draw! by Serge Bloch

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

I can't draw. I've never been able to draw. A blank sheet of paper and a pencil frightens me. I thought I was probably a little bit old to change my ways but then I discovered 3, 2, 1... Draw! and there might have been a movement within the tectonic plates of my brain. It's a drawing book which isn't about blank pages: it's about imagination and inspiration, with the first encouraged and the second delivered by the barrow load. I've just had more fun than I thought possible with pencil and paper! Full review...

Doctor Who: The Colouring Book by Various Artists

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

In my youth colouring books were popular for children: they helped to teach some valuable skills. But teachers, 'experts', thought that they stifled creativity and once you'd mastered being able to stick within the lines they were whisked away as being 'childish' and you were restricted to artistic completion of maps in geography or illustrations of experiments in science. The fact that colouring could be relaxing and fun had been forgotten. Fortunately times have changed: adults are encouraged to relax with one of the hundreds of colouring books now available and I'm delighted to see a resurgence of the idea for not just the youngest children but for those who're a bit older too. Full review...

Sherlock: The Mind Palace: The Official Colouring Book by Mike Collins

5star.jpg Crafts

Colouring books for adults are all the rage at the moment, but one of the problems with popularity is that the books do tend to become a bit, well, samey. Once you've coloured in one peacock's tail, it's not easy to get inspiration for another and there's a limit to the number of flowers, patterns and mystical beasts which you can attach to the fridge door. We've seen all sorts of variations, such as mindfulness, but what we really want is something fresh and with a bit of something extra to get the brain cells going. Welcome Sherlock: The Mind Palace. Full review...

Style Guide: Fashion From Head to Toe by Natasha Slee and Becca Stadtlander

4star.jpg Crafts

In Style Guide: Fashion from Head to Toe we have a guided tour through fashion from the eighteen nineties to about 2010, taking a decade or so at a time and exploring several aspects of each decade. For instance the period 1890 to 1914 is divided into The Belle Epoque, Out and About and The Orient. Each division has a picture to be coloured but rather than being a picture of one garment, there's a montage of garments and accessories from the period: The Orient has eight different pictures - of the triangle bag, a fur-trimmed shawl, kimono, pleated gown, a folding fan, a Ballet Russes costume and slippers and finally a turban. On the reverse of each picture is a key. The article is numbered on the main picture and in the corresponding key you'll find some historical information and some colour details. Full review...

Draw It! Colour It! Creatures by Axel Scheffler, Emily Gravett et al

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Colouring books for adults are all the rage at the moment and it's too easy to forget that adults are not the only ones who benefit from the calming, soothing therapy of colouring or the improvement in hand-eye co-ordination which comes with practice. Children's picture books have tended to be flimsier and not put together with quite such panache or by such well-known names, but we now have a children's colouring book to bridge the gap. Draw It! Colour It! Creatures has projects from 43 artists, well known in the field of children's book illustration, all packed together in a stylish book with flaps so that you're not going to lose your place. Full review...

Practical Landscape Painting: Materials, Techniques & Projects by David Hollis

4.5star.jpg Art

Almost any of us can visit the countryside and capture the view in our memory or on our camera with comparatively consummate ease. However capturing it in paint is more difficult and yet something some of us (me included) dream of. It was therefore with great excitement that I picked up this compact book of seven lessons in landscape painting. As I believe (with good evidence) that I have the artistic ability of a house brick, it would be a challenge but I also have a dream to follow. Full review...

The School of Art: Learn How To Make Great Art With 40 Simple Lessons by Teal Triggs and Daniel Frost

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Written with an interesting approach, this book treats the reader as a new art student to The School of Art. The five professors of the school take the student through 40 different lessons, looking at a huge range of ideas right from how to draw a line, perspective and proportion, composition and aesthetics. Aimed probably at senior school children it could, however, also be used by older primary children who are particularly interested in art, and if you were working through the book with your child then a younger child could also try out some of the lesson ideas and suggestions. Full review...

Christmas Paper Play by Lydia Crook

4.5star.jpg Crafts

Christmas is a time of joy and goodwill to all men, but it can also be a time of bad weather, of being stuck in the house and feeling like you have nothing to do. The holiday period can need filling and for a crafty kid there are loads of activities that can be done simply by using paper; including creating their own decorations or making the best letter they can for Father Christmas. If only there was a handy book that contained loads of great Christmas crafting ideas in one place. Full review...

The Little Book of Colouring: Animal Kingdom by Amber Anderson

3.5star.jpg Crafts

After years of doing craft work which must be useful, I've discovered the relaxing benefits of colouring. I'm doing it to please me: it doesn't need to be perfect or functional. No one but me is going to judge the finished article. All it needs is to be done, slowly, peacefully and at my own pace. The choice of colours is mine and mine alone. If I want to drop the finished page into the paper recycling then that's my prerogative. It's sheer indulgence on paper, lasts longer than a bottle of wine and does me more good. What's not to love about colouring? Full review...

Colour Me Mindful: Birds by Anastasia Catris

4star.jpg Crafts

About half a century ago I mentioned to someone that colouring was relaxing and enjoyable and received a lecture on my lack of creativity and willingness to use what other people had drawn for my own ends. I still did colouring - at a time when there were considerable pressures in my life over which I had no control - but it was just that it became my guilty secret. Now colouring is mainstream and there's a considerable range of design books to choose from. Orion have published three by Anastasia Catris: this book, Colour Me Mindful: Underwater and Colour Me Mindful: Tropical. So, how do they stand out from the crowd? Full review...