February 29, 2016 by Beth - I SNIFF BOOKS blog
Coloring is a Form of Happiness by Helen Dardik and Carolyn Gavin — a special edition from Flow Magazine, published by Sanoma Media Netherlands on May 18, 2015. Softcover sized 9 x 11 inches with 96 pages.
Coloring is a Form of Happiness is a coloring book by Flow Magazine — a Dutch magazine that “celebrates creativity, imperfection, and life’s little pleasures.” To get a better sense of the Flow Magazine philosophy, you can take a peek inside many back issues via issuu. Flow Magazine puts out eight issues per year, and also releases international English editions and special editions like Coloring is a Form of Happiness.
Coloring is a Form of Happiness is such a charming coloring book. But before I gush about the art, let’s talk technical details. The book is sized 9 x 11 inches, has 96 pages with art on both sides of the page, and has a bright green spine that is a little more than 1/4″ thick. The book is glue bound so, at times, a little bit of the image is lost in the book’s gutter and may prove too tricky to color. The front and back cover are thick and smooth and — as you’ll see in the video flick-through below — the reverse sides of the covers are covered with a darling and colorful floral pattern. The paper has a nice weight and feel to it but I had quite a bit of shadowing (but no bleed-through) when I discretely tested my Stabilo point 68 pens, Stabilo point 88 pens, Sakura gelly rolls pens, and Crayola fine-line markers — colored pencils are probably the way to go, although these shadow too, just in a different way.
Coloring is a Form of Happiness is arranged in six sections by theme: Birds, Flowers, Quotes, Daily Pleasures, Prints & Patterns, and Variations. Each section has an illustrated title page you can color along with a quote from Helen or Carloyn related to art in general or their creative process. Sections contain both coloring pages and what I am calling “activity pages” — there are two or three “activity pages” per section. For example, in the Daily Pleasures section, there are 10 coloring pages and three activity pages (one of the activities spans a double-page spread). In the first activity you are prompted to fill a table with things that make you happy. The second activity prompts you to draw your breakfast. Some activity pages also include a quote from Helen or Carolyn.
Even though the art was created by two people, there is a VERY cohesive feel to the artwork. And in case you are curious as to who created what, the bottom of each page has a little circle with either “HD” or “CG” inside. And that art, oh it is just so lovely and charming. I’m no expert in art history or terminology, but there does seem to be a Scandinavian vibe to the art — some of Helen and Carolyn’s creations are reminiscent of the art from the Scandinavian Folk Patterns coloring book. The artistic style of the children and adults reminds me of illustrations from vintage children’s picture books.
The coloring pages vary in the level of intricacy — all the pages have many things to color and the design components vary in size. With very few exceptions, I shouldn’t have any trouble getting the tip of my Crayola colored pencils into small spots. Some of the art is borderless meaning the art covers the entire page so a little bit of the image is lost in the book’s gutter and may prove too tricky to color. However, many of the pages do have ample white space around them and you will be able to color the entire page with no problem.
(Page below colored with Crayola colored pencils)
Here is a video flick-through of Coloring is a Form of Happiness — don’t you just love every single page?! If the video doesn’t embed properly you can view the video here via vimeo.
Since Coloring is a Form of Happiness was released back in May 2015, it is going to prove very tricky to find at newsstands in the USA — and the “add to cart button” is missing for its listing on Amazon. However, Coloring is a Form of Happiness is available for purchase directly from Flow Magazine and Amazon UK.
Flow Magazine plans to publish a Flow sketchbook this April and it will have “lots of illustration lessons by famous illustrators.” Once April rolls around, you will be able to order the sketchbook from the Flow Magazine online shop and the sketchbook should be available in Barnes & Noble stores in the USA. (As a side note, I already spied the new Flow Journal Pack (!!!) at my local Barnes & Noble.)
Coloring is a Form of Happiness is so lovely and charming — it’s most definitely worth the splurge. It’s one of those rare coloring books where I want to color every single page.
- Website for Flow Magazine and their publisher, Sanoma Media Netherlands
- Flow Magazine blog post about the creative process for Helen and Carolyn
- All sorts of lovely freebies in Flow’s Download Cabinet on their website
- Connect with Flow Magazine on facebook, pinterest, instagram, and twitter
- Connect with Helen Dardik on her blog, instagram, and twitter
- Connect with Carolyn Gavin on instagram
Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are my own.
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