June 21, 2016 by I SNIFF BOOKS - Beth
Filipino artist Kerby Rosanes is known for his large-scale, intricate, black and white doodle illustrations and signature doodle monsters. He is the artist behind the very popular Doodle Invasion and Animorphia (review here) coloring books. Imagimorphia: An Extreme Coloring and Search Challenge is his latest coloring book. It released in the UK on May 5 (with a slightly different cover) and today (June 21) is the official release day for the US edition of Imagimorphia.
It is most definitely a very weird feeling to not be enthusiastic for Imagimorphia — although the many 5-star reviews published over the past several weeks on Amazon UK are legit and the praise is well deserved. It’s just for me, Imagimorphia was quite disappointing. Was it hyped up too much? Were my expectations too high? I don’t know. What I do know is that I did want to love it. And I hoped that after multiple flick-throughs that Imagimorphia would have grown on me, but sadly it has not. Below are my thoughts along with loads of photos and at the very end of my review is a silent 50-second video flick-through of the book.
Theme and Vibe: I was expecting Imagimorphia to be full of fresh and new art yet still retain Kerby’s artistic style. However, there are so many pages that feature animals whose bodies are morphing. Granted the bodies aren’t always morphing into doodles, sometimes the bodies morph into machinery or other objects. But yet, the animal illustrations in Imagimorphia do not feel fresh. Even though the animals in Imagimorphia are different from the animals in Animorphia, it feels like I have seen them all before.
A very small number of the animals in Imagimorphia seem very similar to the animals in Animorphia.
Also, the art in Imagimorphia lacks cohesion — although Kerby’s artistic style and signature doodle monsters do help tie the pieces together. And with so many pages featuring animals, the pages without animal imagery just seem out of place. And that is a true shame because the new designs are incredibly exciting and I wish Imagimorphia was full of them.
Doodling pages: Like with Animorphia, Kerby included a few pages in Imagimorphia where you are instructed to add your own doodles to the page. I am not a fan of these pages and wish Imagimorphia was solely comprised of coloring pages.
Binding and How it Affects the Art: The binding and how it affects the art is more of an observation than a criticism as tight, glue bindings are commonplace for many coloring books. Unfortunately with this binding method, imagery on border-less pages and double-page spreads disappears into the book’s gutter.
Many of the designs in Imagimorphia span across two pages and, thus, some of the imagery is lost to the book’s gutter. IMHO, some of what disappears is pretty essential to the overall look and feel of the piece — not all of the art translated well to double-page spreads. A different binding method that would enable the book to lay flat would have been ideal but that would have probably pushed up the retail price point. (As a side note, the UK edition has the same issue with imagery getting lost in the book’s gutter.)
Book and paper specs: The good news is that that paper in the US and UK editions for Imagimorphia are nearly identical. I mention this because there was a significant difference in paper quality between the US and UK editions for Animoprhia — the UK edition had superior paper.
I contacted both US publisher Plume Books and UK publisher Michael O’Mara Books to get the paper specs for Imagimorphia. The production team for Plume chose 100# (148 gsm) paper and Michael O’Mara chose 95# (140 gsm) paper.
Imagimorphia is sized 10 x 10 inches with 96 pages. Images are printed on both sides of the page.
Conclusion: I do think that if this is your first acquaintance with Kerby Rosanes, you will quite like Imagimorphia — and rightly so as Kerby’s artistic style is quite stunning and unique and his designs are different from the designs found in other coloring books. However, if you were expecting a book brimming with fresh and new art and containing very few animal illustrations, you may be disappointed. However, art and coloring are very subjective experiences so perhaps Imagimorphia will be a coloring book love connection for you.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are my own.
P.S. A note to my e-mail followers: I apologize for the duplicate e-mail notifications you will have received for my review of Imagimorphia. I had scheduled the post (something I rarely ever do and now I know why) to automatically publish at 11:59 pm EST on Monday, June 20 but clearly made a mistake because my post published earlier in the evening. Once I realized this happened, I deleted the post right away. Hence, this new post. Getting duplicate e-mail notifications of my new posts is most definitely *not* the norm and it won’t happen again. [12:10am EST on Tuesday, June 21, 2016]
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