Amelia’s Magazine | Escape to Christmas Past by Good Wives and Warriors: Colouring Book Review and Artist Interview

Escape to Christmas Past by Lynn Stevens
Escape to Christmas Past coloured by Lynn Stevens.

Becky Bolton and Louise Chappell are Good Wives and Warriors, an artistic duo that specialise in extraordinarily intricate drawings that have been applied to all sorts of surfaces, from walls to bottles to books to magazines (including issue 9 of Amelia’s Magazine). They met at Glasgow School of Art and with a base in London now work all over the world. I was super thrilled to hear about their new colouring books for Puffin, themed around some well known stories. Escape to Wonderland is inspired by Alice in Wonderland, and Escape to Christmas Past is inspired by A Christmas Carol. Their Christmas edition has only just been released and would be a marvellous book to colour if you want to get in the festive mood. I caught up with Good Wives and Warriors

Escape to Wonderland by Ronit Roccas
Escape to Wonderland by Ronit Roccas

Escape to Wonderland opening page
Good Wives and Warriors
Congratulations on your colouring books! How did they get commissioned?
Firstly, thank you very much Amelia. It has been quite a busy few months working on the two Penguin books and a third colouring in book for the German market yet to be published. We feel like drawing machines! The Penguin books were commissioned through our London Illustration Agent – Central Illustration Agency. Our work had been followed by the partner of one of the Art Directors at Penguin who had then approached CIA. The pitch was between ourselves and one other illustrator. We were very happy to be the chosen for the job!

Escape to Wonderland teapots
Escape to Wonderland gems
Escape to Wonderland lizards
What has been the best bit about creating these books?
I think we both love producing drawings and creating large amounts of work. Maybe for us that is more important than the final outcome (although we are very proud to have the completed books in our hands!) So to have a wall covered with around 200 drawings was a very satisfying experience for us. It was also fun to read through the books, especially Alice in Wonderland, and plan out the illustrations.

Escape to Wonderland coloured by Paula Bowerman
Escape to Wonderland by Paula Bowerman 2
Escape to Wonderland by Paula Bowerman
Escape to Wonderland coloured by Paula Bowerman.

How have you juggled their creation around your other jobs, and how long did they take to make?
We both work three days at our other jobs and three days in the studio. At times it can be a bit of a juggle although in the last year we have been a lot more strict about not working nights or Sundays. We are lucky working together because we can spur each other on and usually work faster or more efficiently as a result. It is hard to say exactly how long the books took as we were working on other commissions at the same time. For Alice we also had the help of a lovely assistant Marcella Wylie, (who is a talent illustrator based in Scotland) to help clean up the drawings.

Escape to Wonderland by Steph Cox
Escape to wonderland by Stephanie Cox
Escape to Wonderland by Stephanie Cox

Escape to Wonderland garden of hearts
Escape to Wonderland dragon
Escape to Wonderland cheshire cat
Who is your favourite character in Escape to Wonderland and why?
I love the version of the Cheshire Cat that Becky drew – inspired by the paintings of Louis Wain, an early 20th Century artist whose strange and beautiful cat paintings are definitely worth checking out!

Escape to Christmas Past cover
Escape to Christmas Past cityscape
Escape to Christmas Past_kittens
What can people expect in your new christmas themed book?
Escape to Christmas Past is a very traditional illustrated journey through Dickensian London and all the rich, decorative imagery we associate with a nostalgic Christmas. The tale itself is quite dark in places and we hoped to lighten the story a little by adding some of our own creatures and funny little additions.

Escape to Christmas Past decs
Escape to Christmas Past swans
Do either of you colour in, and if so what kind of stuff and what is your top tip for creating an attractive bit of artwork?
Creating these books has been our first step into the world of colouring in. That said, we have in the past created hand coloured versions of our screen prints. One year we also hand coloured in every individual (detailed tiny drawing!) of our christmas card send out. It was a labour of love but also very mediative and enjoyable. When we recently coloured in pages from our recent books to experiment, we have really enjoyed it. Applying gradient colour over large areas of patterned detail is definitely satisfying. I guess a tip could be using pantone pens as they layer very nicely though the nibs are thick and only really useful for the larger sections of colour.

Escape to Christmas Past tree
Escape to Christmas Past table
Escape to Christmas Past stars
Who do you think your books will appeal to this Christmas?
The colouring in book based on a Christmas Carol is definitely stocking filler material and would appeal to a wide age group. The Alice in Wonderland book is maybe a slightly more select market but there are so many colouring in books on the market now, I don’t know how people will decide what to buy!

Escape to Christmas Past snowglobe
Escape to Christmas Past ship_lighthouse
Louise, you worked on Amelia’s Magazine many years ago when it was in print, what is your fondest memory of that time?
Gosh, that was such a long time ago now but the issue is still proudly in the studio library! That was my first experience of living in London after graduating from art school in Glasgow and I loved it! I am still pretty much in love with London, it is hard to imagine living anywhere else. I have so many memories from that time but what I guess it was the friendships built with the Team (Issue 9ers!) – all the tea, trips to the bagel shop on Brick Lane and the epic lunch spreads (thanks Amelia!) Working on the magazine was a real learning curve and a massively beneficial experience.

Escape to Wonderland by Lynn Stevens 2
Escape to Wonderland by Lynn Stevens

Escape to Christmas Past 2 coloured by Lynn Stevens
Escape to Christmas Past coloured by Lynn Stevens

Find both these colouring books by Good Wives and Warriors online at Amazon and at major retailers. Many thanks to Lynn Stevens and Paula Bowerman from the Colouring Circle Facebook group.

Categories ,Adult Colouring Book, ,Alice in Wonderland, ,Amelia’s Magazine, ,Becky Bolton, ,Brick Lane, ,Central Illustration Agency, ,Cheshire Cat, ,Christmas, ,Christmas Carol, ,Coloring Book, ,Colouring Book, ,Colouring Book For Adults, ,Colouring Circle, ,Escape to Christmas Past, ,Escape to Wonderland, ,glasgow, ,Glasgow School of Art, ,Good Wives and Warriors, ,interview, ,london, ,Louis Wain, ,Louise Chappell, ,Lynn Stevens, ,Marcella Wylie, ,Paula Bowerman, ,Penguin, ,Puffin, ,review, ,Ronit Roccas, ,Stephanie Cox

Similar Posts:

Amelia’s Magazine | Christmas Gift Ideas: 8 of the Best Colouring Books for Adults

Harriet Plaskitt Lorna Scobie
If you go into almost any shop in the run up to Christmas you’ll find a sea of colouring books fighting for your attention. With so many books to choose from it can be hard to know which ones to pick, but since I’ve become a bit of an adult colouring book aficionado over the past few months I thought I would share the 8 most unique and appealing ones I’ve found. This lovely lot should keep you and your loved ones busy through the Christmas holidays and well into 2016. Which ones will you choose?

Lost Ocean cover
1. Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford
This is the big one. Johanna kickstarted the whole trend in adult colouring books a few years ago with her bestselling book Secret Garden, and this year she’s back with another beautiful volume of intricate artworks inspired by underwater fantasies. The artwork is top notch, with lovely pacing of different types of image offering real scope for creative input from the colourist. Bound to be another worldwide bestseller. Read my interview with Johanna Basford here.

Dagdrömmar by Hanna Karlzon cover
2. Dagdrömmar by Hanna Karlzon
A book inspired by the daydreams of Swedish illustrator Hanna Karlzon, Dagdrömmar features floating houses, cats with gems, owls, elaborate crowns, mermaids with tumbling hair, more cats, sailing ships, flowers and much more, all beautifully drawn with a Scandinavian flavour. The book is sadly not yet available worldwide, but it can be shipped internationally from the Pen Store. Read my interview with Hanna Karlzon here.

Jungle Paradise_Lorna_Scobie_2
3. Jungle Paradise by Lorna Scobie
Lorna Scobie has a huge following on instagram, where she shares her inimitable animal drawings to much delight. This book is chock full of the cheeky animals and cute critters she has become well known for, with each page featuring a different jungle scene or animal pattern. This beautiful volume has lovely green metallic print on the cover and would be ideal for someone who loves to colour animals and plantlife. Read my interview with Lorna Scobie here.

Escape to Christmas Past by Good Wives and Warriors
4. Escape to Christmas Past by Good Wives and Warriors
This book by artistic duo Good Wives and Warriors is inspired by A Christmas Carol, the famous book by Dickens – making it ideal colouring to get into the festive spirit. There are a huge variety of illustrations to colour in including pretty Christmas decorations, scenes that appear in the story and decorative typography (Bah Humbug!) Read my interview with Good Wives and Warriors here.

beautiful-birds-colouring book
5. Beautiful Birds Colouring Book by Emmanuelle Walker
Beautiful Birds began life as a lovely (and very colourful) children’s A-Z book, but has since been turned into a colouring book featuring the same huge variety of avian life, many translated into patterns that will provide wonderful meditative colouring. The book is published by Flying Eye Books (an imprint of Nobrow) and is therefore beautifully made, with a lovely pink spine trim. An ideal gift for bird lovers in need of relaxation. Read my interview with Emmanuelle Walker here.

Doodlers Anonymous Epic Colouring Book
6. Doodlers Anonymous Epic Coloring Book
The Epic Coloring Book was put together by an open brief on the Doodlers website, hub for a huge community of artists. It’s a diverse collection of images made by 90 artists from all over the world so there’s bound to be something for everyone. Expect lots of narrative scenes, surreal characters and images that would not look out of place in a graphic novel. Read my interview with creator OKAT here.

A Million Cats Lulu Mayo
7. A Million Cats by Lulu Mayo
Only recently released by Michael O’Mara Books, this book features a plethora of amusing and adorable cats in a range of surreal situations; playing music, relaxing on the sofa, taking tea with dogs, masquerading as vegetables and dressed in tuxedos, Decorative patterns have a Japanese flavour, with blossoms and temples featuring heavily. One for the cat lover in your life!

Kickstarter campaign image Ameliasccc
8. Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion
I couldn’t leave it off the list could I?! Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion is a unique collaborative book that features the work of over 40 artists from all over the world. It will appeal to art lovers and colourists alike because it is so much more than just a colouring book; each artist has been given a double page, with a full colour image on the left to inspire a colouring page on the right. There are a huge variety of themes and styles to choose from, including landscapes, underwater scenes, food, Japanese folk tales, cats, lanterns, extreme frisbee and much more.

For more tips on adult colouring visit my recent blog 8 Things You Didn’t Know About Colouring Books For Adults. Happy Colouring this Christmas!

Categories ,#ameliasccc, ,8. Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,A Christmas Carol, ,A Million Cats, ,Adult Coloring Books, ,Adult Colouring, ,Beautiful Birds Colouring Book, ,Coloring, ,Colouring Books, ,Dagdrömmar, ,Doodlers Anonymous Epic Coloring Book, ,Emmanuelle Walker, ,Escape to Christmas Past, ,Flying Eye Books, ,Good Wives and Warriors, ,Hanna Karlzon, ,Johanna Basford, ,Jungle Paradise, ,Lorna Scobie, ,Lost Ocean, ,Lulu Mayo, ,Michael O’Mara Books, ,Nobrow, ,OKAT, ,Pen Store, ,Secret Garden

Similar Posts:

Amelia’s Magazine | Colour with Claire: an interview with colouring expert Claire Eadie

Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford
Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford.

Midlands based Claire Eadie discovered colouring as an antidote to stress and has built a fantastic dedicated website, Colour with Claire, to help enthusiastic colourists to choose the right books and colouring materials. She shares her insights with us here…

Colour with Claire Eadie
How and when did you catch the colouring in bug?
I started colouring back in April 2015, after noticing lots of coloured art and news articles popping up on my news feed. A naturally creative person, I knew I’d enjoy colouring and vowed to find out what were the best colouring books and materials to use. After scouring the net I realised there was no online resource dedicated entirely to adult colouring that had the wealth of information I was looking for. So, I decided to create my own little corner of the web for people like me who wanted to know things like the best colouring pencils and pen brands for colouring, what kind of paper is used in certain books, and maybe most importantly – examples of the illustrations inside! Amazon often doesn’t show you much of the book in its previews, so I made sure to add lots of images so people know what they’re buying before they commit. I’ve now reviewed over 130 adult colouring books and many brands of colouring materials! My full background in colouring and how it helps my anxiety disorder can be read on my website.

Animorphia by Kerby Rosanes
Animorphia by Kerby Rosanes.

How often do you get to colour in and what are your preferred images, and why?
As a blog reviewer, I colour ALL the time. I prefer illustrations based on realism, so I love landscapes and life images over abstract and geometrical patterns. Mandalas can look stunning when coloured, but I find them monotonous. I love anything unique and hand-drawn. Horror and the macabre are favourites too!

Where do you recommend that the novice colourist should look online to find out more about books and materials?
Blatant self promotion here but I believe Colour with Claire is the most comprehensive site on the web for colouring book information and reviews of the best materials on the market.

Bird Critters by Sue Coccia
Bird Critters by Sue Coccia

What are your favourite colouring in materials and why?
I love Faber Castell Polychromos pencils. They’re expensive but have an amazing amount of pigment and laydown of colour, and blend like a dream! As for pens, I love alcohol markers like Copics and Promarkers. They will bleed through most types of paper so I can’t use them in double sided books, but the seamless finish and range of colours is unmatched. My favourite waterbased (non-bleed) pens are Staedtler Triplus, because they have a great amount of colour, smooth nibs and the ink doesn’t feather the paper.

Mandala ART by Liz Beekman
Mandala ART by Liz Beekman

Who is your favourite illustrator, can you tell us a bit more about them?
I don’t think I have one to be honest, but like everyone I love Johanna Basford‘s work. Other favourites include Lizzie Mary Cullen for her totally unique artwork and Daria Song for simply beautiful illustrations.

Whimsical Wings by GT Haddix
Whimsical Wings by GT Haddix

Any simple tips for the creation of a top bit of artwork?
Gosh, I am no artist so I can’t really answer that one! I do have a few cheats for zhuzhing your colouring up a bit though. One of them is to grab yourself a lightboard as they are AMAZING for tracing if you can’t draw like me! I created a tree filled with Disney characters in Enchanted Forest that turned out really well.

Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford
Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford

How has your life changed since you got involved with colouring and set up your own website dedicated to colouring?
I have a lot less spare time as all I ever do is colour and review when I have a minute free! I’m constantly getting emails from illustrators, publishers and companies wanting me to review and promote their works, so it’s very full-on. I care for my husband who is disabled and I have two young children so it’s all go in our house!

What is the number one book on your Christmas list and why?
I can’t wait for the BBC Sherlock book (big fan) and Escape to Christmas Past by Good Wives and Warriors. I have Tolkien’s World on the way and A Game of Thrones colouring book (can you tell I’m a bit of a fangirl?)

Secret Garden by Johanna Basford
Secret Garden by Johanna Basford

Lastly, have your children taken to colouring and how do you juggle being a mother and a busy colourist?
My kids love colouring, especially my youngest who is 7 and very creative. They love sitting alongside me colouring in, me with my grown up book and them with their Avengers themed book! They love telling everyone at school that I’m ‘Colour with Claire‘, much to my embarrassment. It’s not easy to juggle it all to be honest. I’ll be slowing down after Christmas once I’ve reviewed the slew of books that are weighing down my shelves, and colouring more ‘for me’ rather than to promote books. The website will still be going strong but I’ll have been doing this for a solid eight months by Christmas so I feel I need to slow it down a little before it stops becoming enjoyable and starts feeling like a chore. I have so many books I love but don’t get time to colour, so you’ll definitely be seeing a lot more of my colouring efforts rather than constant book reviews in the future.

Thankyou so much for your colouring tips Claire, they are much appreciated. Make sure you check out Colour with Claire for loads of great tips on the best books, pens and pencils to feed your colouring desires. Read a lovely blog that Claire has written about Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion here.

Categories ,A Game of Thrones, ,Animorphia, ,Avengers, ,BBC Sherlock, ,Bird Critters, ,Claire Eadie, ,Colour with Claire, ,Colouring with Claire, ,Copics, ,Daria Song, ,Enchanted Forest, ,Escape to Christmas Past, ,Faber Castell Polychromos, ,Good Wives and Warriors, ,GT Haddix, ,Johanna Basford, ,Kerby Rosanes, ,Liz Beekman, ,Lizzie Mary Cullen, ,Mandala ART, ,Promarkers, ,Secret Garden, ,Staedtler Triplus, ,Sue Coccia, ,Tolkien’s World, ,Whimsical Wings

Similar Posts: