Amelia’s Magazine | Gulliver’s New Travels by James Gulliver Hancock: Colouring Book Review, Interview and Giveaway

James Gulliver Hancock has produced the most wonderful colouring adventure inspired by his namesake. Gulliver’s New Travels: Colouring in a New World is a glorious book filled with images inspired by a mix of reality and fantasy… dive in and let your imagination run wild! I’m giving away FIVE COPIES of this book, so make sure you hop on over to my Facebook Page HERE and leave a comment saying what you like best about this book to be in with a chance to win… better still, the giveaway is OPEN WORLDWIDE!

James Gulliver Hancock colouring book review cover
James Gulliver Hancock colouring book review portrait
I believe you kept one of the very first drawings you ever made in kindergarten, a super complex cityscape. Where is it now and would we recognise it as your work now?
I did indeed, unfortunately I can’t actually find it at the moment, it’s buried deep in my mother’s attic somewhere. I do however vividly remember what it looked like. It was so important as when I drew it I was basically drawing to avoid doing any of the other tasks at school – a cunning plan which has basically been the case for the rest of my life. So yes I’d recognise the drawing, but style wise I feel like children’s drawing can be quite similar. I’m a massive fan of children’s drawings and ‘outsider art’ or ‘folk art’. I do a project with my brother:, where we draw together and he teaches me a lot about relaxing and going back to that early stage of drawing without thinking, stepping away from representation and communication and into something super personal.

James Gulliver Hancock colouring book review coloured by Amelia Impey
Gulliver’s New Travels coloured by Amelia Impey.

Did your name have any bearing on your decision to make your new colouring book? (do you have a special affinity with the tale?!)
I have a long running affinity with the name Gulliver. It was given to me by my father, and I’ve always felt a connection to the fantastical travels that Gulliver goes on, how he perceives the world around him in such an interesting way and has such a wonder filled journey. The publisher and I brainstormed this concept of ribbing of Swift’s original and I loved the idea, especially as I was travelling for most of the creation of the books illustrations.

James Gulliver Hancock Gullivers New Travels
You are widely travelled – where and when and why have you been happiest on your travels?
I have specific memories, like sitting along on a grassy patch on the side of a swiss mountain with the most amazing salami in my picnic, and also then returning to that spot with my wife and being magically followed all day by a herd of goats and jumping around the rocks with the young ones. I think I became infatuated with travel from a young age, the feeling of being on the road, that is such a cliché, is so powerfull, so romantic, so thrilling. I remember being happy arriving in towns not knowing anything, not knowing my way around, or where to stay or what to eat, it is extremely liberating and the furthest possible position from day to day repetitive lifestyles.

James Gulliver Hancock colouring book review London
Being stuck on a sinking boat does not sound like much fun. Can you tell us more about that adventure and whether you did manage to save your sketchbook?
Well it wasn’t actually sinking. I was 1⁄2 way through my overland journey from Sydney, Australia to London, England. I was crossing from Japan to Russia, and we were hit by a typhoon. Having just come from the meek and wonderful people of Japan I was already struggling with the burly Russians aboard the boat, but when the storm hit I was on the floor reeling with all the anxieties of the trip. The ships nurse gave me a sedative and all I remember was the army official coming into the room to tighten the window with a huge wrench and then dreaming of an archipelago. I also remember not being that worried about the sinking of the ship, that it would all work out and the freedom of travel had liberated me from the fear of losing anything important. The only think I felt nervous about was my sketchbook and remember devising plans in my delirium to keep it safe.

James Gulliver Hancock colouring book review coloured by Susannah Coleman
Gulliver’s New Travels coloured by Susannah Coleman

What kind of artist residencies have you taken part in in Europe and what was your favourite? And why?
My first European residency was in Vienna. They have a large apartment building which is mostly unused during the winter so I was lucky enough to get an apartment in the centre of the city with a small studio. After this one I also took a residency at the Cite Des Arts in Paris. Both were amazing experiences. I think for a young artist it was transformative to be recognised for my work internationally and be encouraged to come to a new place and make work. It perfectly fit into my dream of making work and travelling. These two residencies where different experiences, in Vienna I was totally left to my own devices, and in Paris I was too a bit, but it is such an established artsit hub in Paris, of all disciplines, so I was waking up to opera scales being sung, and hanging out in other artists studios.

James Gulliver Hancock Gullivers New Travels
Can you tell us more about your epic journey from Australia to the UK?
It was indeed epic, I was working in a design company, and hating it, so one day I drew a line from Sydney to London and started to work out how I could do it without taking any flights. Also having gone back and forth from the UK to Australia with my family, I really wanted to feel what it was like to actually travel that distance on the ground. It was a funny sensation to go to the train station in Sydney and realise I was wanting to get to the UK from there, it was very romantic. So yes, I rode the train all the way up to the top of australia through the desert. No here’s the only hitch, I was going mad in Darwin, it was so hot and humid I think I was loosing my mind, so I did book a flight, just over to Singapore. Funnily enough I felt guilty I missed Indonesia and came back there later in life to fill in the gap. I tried really hard to get a boat over to Asia, but it just didn’t come together. From there on I went up through South East Asia, all the way into China, caught a boat to Japan, another boat over to russia, then all the way over Russia on the trans siberian, then through Scandanavia and down through the heart of Europe and into the channel tunnel to London. All in all I think it took around 6 months, and it was probably one of the most formative things I did in my early career. I kept a diary and sketchbook the whole time and a lot of work still draws from those experiences, including this recent colouring book.

James Gulliver Hancock colouring book review landscape
And how have your travels influenced your work?
When you travel there are so many little moments and experiences that you collect and remember. I find these always make it into my work, whether it’s a vague sense of the hustle and bustle of a particular town, or a specific type of car or building that I fell in love with drawing. When I travel I’m always collecting the things around me in my sketchbook, drawing the objects and experiences obsessively. I find this really helps me look, and remember them. Even if I’m just drawing the glass of water next to my bed in Vietnam, that drawing usually promts a whole flood of memories when I revisit it later. Drawing and travel is amazing like that. I think it’s much more powerful than a photo.

James Gulliver Hancock colouring book review coloured by Amy Poole
Gulliver’s New Travels coloured by Amy Poole

Which of your own stories have fed into the original tale of Gulliver and how have you married the two?
Well there is the obvious reference of playing with scale. Throughout the book you’ll see big hands and feet aswell as little people navigating the world around them. And I think this is a great representation of travel, that constantly shifting feeling of the overwhelming nature of the surroundings coupled with the feeling of confidence. There are also references to specific Gulliver’s Travel tales such as the little boat being pushed which I might have referenced as I delved into the sinking typhoon boat story. But there are also just stories relevant to me, such as the little man riding the airport luggage cart, which my 4 year old loves to do.

James Gulliver Hancock colouring book review studio
How long did it take you to create this book and what was your favourite part of the process?
I was lucky enough to be travelling as I made this book, so it really felt genuine that I was keeping a log of the expriences around me, and marrying them with Gulliver’s Travels and my previous travels made it feel super relevant and important to me. I love all the aspects of working, generating the ideas, pulling them together, and drawing the final art. It was great to have a project like this that required so much detail and time so I could sit and almost meditate while I drew. The colouring in phenomena has been coupled with a ‘mindfulness’ attitude which I think is great, as it is an experience I have when I’m drawing and working in general, so I’m excited my audience will get to maybe experience that sensation too.

James Gulliver Hancock colouring book review city
What kind of media did you use to create the lines and what scale did you work at?
I keep it very simple, regular paper, regular pencils. Once I’m done I scan it in and all I do is clean it up a little bit. Nothing too fancy.

Have you seen many coloured versions of the pages yet? And if so where?
I haven’t! I really would love people to post their interpretations of my drawings, maybe instagram? Tag me, I’m @gulliverhancock

James Gulliver Hancock Gullivers New Travels 5
You have a staggering (and aspirational) client list. How hard has it been to get recognition and success as an illustrator? And any tips for others just starting out?
I always say that the majority of my recognition and clients have come from my obsession with making my own work. I feel like the ‘ All the Buildings in New York ‘ project and book was a big turning point. That project I started just to document my surroundings for theraputic reasons, and it got so much exposure that people all around the world were introduced to my work. I think my focus on making work and showing it to people is really how I got here. I work all day every day, drawing and making, I think if you are that obsessive and dilligent people eventually start to take notice.

You are incredibly prolific, how do you manage your time when you have multiple projects on the go?
I love having multiple things happening at the same time. I’ve always made sure I have personal projects that fill up any gaps in client work. I have less and less of this ‘free time’ now but I also try to mix it up by doing other things with my hands, ceramics, wood work, cooking etc. I hate having nothing to do, it makes me anxious, and if I don’t make something everyday I get depressed pretty quick. Again, the obsession serves me well.

James Gulliver Hancock colouring book review pavilion
How do you juggle your life between Sydney and New York?
I do like to mix it up. It was always my dream to have a career that sent me around the world. After all my travels New York was probably the most exciting for my career, and Sydney is my home so we try and go back and forth as much as possible. My wife is a musician ( ) so she tours in the US a lot also, so it’s good for both of us to spread our time between the two continents.

James Gulliver Hancock Gullivers New Travels
What have you been most proud of in your career and why?
I’m most proud that I set out to make a career from making things and travelling and it’s managed to come together. I love that I’ve taken my personal quirks and desires and made it into a business.

James Gulliver Hancock colouring book review coloured by Colette Whitehouse
Gulliver’s New Travels coloured by Colette Whitehouse

How do you connect to a deeper conceptual or philosophical meaning in your artworks?
I always try and gather information as widely as I can, whether that be articles online about space, or podcasts about economics. Growing up with a psychologist for a mother meant I was always deconstructing my personality, and I think I put that into my work a lot. She also had a library of books on the self and psychology philosophy which I used to dive in and out of and get my mind blown growing up. I’ve always tried to gather wide explorations into my work, whether people see it in the end product or not, it’s important to me to keep my interest to have some deeper investigation underneath it all.

Lastly, where can we find you online?,,
Instagram: @gulliverhancock

Gulliver’s New Travels: Colouring in a New World is published by Batsford Books, and can be purchased from here on Amazon UK. The book is published by Barron’s Educational Series in the US and has a slightly different cover. It is available from Amazon US here as Gulliver’s New Travels: Coloring in a New World. Win your very own copy of this book by telling me what you like best about this book in the comments on my Facebook Page HERE. Up to FIVE winners will be picked at random on Friday 27th May (the more comments, the more I giveaway). OPEN WORLDWIDE.

James Gulliver Hancock Gullivers New Travels
I have recently signed up as an Amazon affiliate, so if you would like to buy this book please do consider using my links, and help support Amelia’s Magazine. I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Colouring in the Midst of Madness: An interview with Lucy Fyles

Tangle Bay - Lucy Fyles
Tangle Bay – Lucy Fyles

Colouring Book reviewer Lucy Fyles was one of the first reviewers I discovered when I went hunting for people to write about Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion. Lucy struggles with extreme anxiety and writes her wonderfully astute reviews based on her use of colouring to calm herself down. You can read Lucy’s review of my book here, and there are links to some of her other book reviews under each of her coloured examples below. I caught up with Lucy to find out more about why colouring books have become so important in her life…

Lucy Fyles Desk
You are very open about your struggles with anxiety, how have things changed since you discovered adult colouring?
On a day to day basis my condition is easier to manage. It hasn’t improved, unfortunately colouring isn’t a miracle cure, but my daily levels of anxiety are usually lower and more manageable thanks to colouring and if I notice a panic attack coming on early enough I can sometimes prevent one by focusing on colouring and breathing rather than the panic taking hold. I’m also much busier now thanks to reviewing over 100 books so I have a lot less spare time and time to worry, though it does bring a new set of worries with trying to impress publishers, accurately describe books, keep up with all of the latest colouring news etc.

Secret Garden Artist's Edition - Lucy Fyles
Secret Garden Artist’s Edition – Lucy Fyles

Since starting Colouring in the Midst of Madness have you heard from many other people that have been helped by colouring? What kind of stories do they have?
Yes, I’ve heard from so many people who it’s helping. A lot of them have similar stories to me and are suffering from physical or mental (or both) health problems and are finding that colouring is helping them cope, and helping them escape. People have told me they’re using less pain medication, feeling calmer, feeling their mood lift, improving their concentration, and it’s also giving them a wider community to be part of.

Tangle Wood - Lucy Fyles
Tangle Wood – Lucy Fyles

Secret Garden 2016 Calendar - Lucy Fyles
Secret Garden 2016 Calendar – Lucy Fyles

You have said you also like to bake and crochet – how do you juggle all your hobbies? 
Very badly currently! Colouring has completely taken over my time, my flat and my life! I haven’t had a chance to crochet since the summer and I do really miss it but I’m saving it for when the colouring craze calms down and then I’ll branch back out into doing more of a variety of activities. I do still bake about once a month, maybe more, I like to bake if I have visitors coming (sharing it helps me stick to my diet but I still get to indulge a little) so I do try to squeeze that in whenever I can. I couldn’t live without homemade cake so I have to fit it in around the colouring and generally get a bit of colouring done while my goodies are baking in the oven.

Doctor Who Colouring Book - Lucy Fyles
Doctor Who Colouring Book – Lucy Fyles

What have you learnt on your colouring journey? About art? About materials? About anything really!
Oh my goodness, I’ve learnt so much! When I started I knew nothing about pencils, I had no idea that they could be wax-based or oil-based, I didn’t know you could blend them, I knew nothing about all of the different techniques involved in blending. I knew almost nothing about art or the materials involved so I am a true beginner and my blog is written from that perspective. I’ve learnt the differences between alcohol and water-based ink, how to use watercolour pencils, how to blend and shade and that’s not even mentioning the blog which has been a very steep learning curve for someone who knew nothing about how to create, let alone build a successful blog and publicise it and get it known. I’ve learnt so many new skills, from how to punctuate to make it sound like I’m actually speaking on my blog, to reviewing successfully, to asking publishers and stationers for things (I was terrible at this to begin with, far too British and not wanting to ask for things), and I’ve learnt a lot about myself too and the things I can achieve even whilst housebound.

Harry Potter Colouring Book - Lucy Fyles
Harry Potter Colouring Book – Lucy Fyles

Who are your favourite colouring artists or type of page to colour and for what reason?
I have 5 favourite illustrators currently: Jessica Palmer, Claire Scully, Richard Merritt, Millie Marotta and Johanna Basford, and I can’t choose between their work, it’s all so beautiful! My favourite style, as fans of those illustrators’ work will know, is nature and nature-inspired work. I love realistic images of animals, plants and scenery but I also love imagery made up of other component parts like Millie’s animals created from flowers and leaves, and Jessica’s, Richard’s and Claire’s hyper-detailed creatures that give so much scope for different techniques and textures. Colouring natural images just calms me down, so much more than colouring anything else, and I find it’s the best substitute I have for not being able to experience the real thing in the outside world currently.

*You can read my interviews with Johanna Basford here and Millie Marotta here.

The Menagerie - Lucy Fyles
The Menagerie – Lucy Fyles

When do you colour, where, and what kind of ambience do you prefer?
I colour all the time, inbetween networking on social media and writing and publishing reviews. My preferences are to colour with daylight, especially when I’m using pencils because I find that easiest to get line-free blending. I hate silence but music really affects my mood so I tend not to be able to listen to it very often so I generally have the TV on and during the day I sit at a table right under my lounge window so it’s flooded with light. I live in a small flat so I don’t have a studio or anything, or even a desk so I either colour at my table under my window, or I colour on my knees sat on the sofa. I’m always surrounded by pens, pencils, colour charts and a heap of books and luckily my boyfriend doesn’t mind as long as he’s got a spot to sit in!

Legendary Landscapes - Lucy Fyles
Legendary Landscapes – Lucy Fyles

You are helping out with my new facebook group for Adult Colouring Book Reviews, along with a few other lovely reviewers – how important is the online community for you?
It’s so important to me. As someone who’s virtually housebound, I have an almost non-existent social life and couple that with being extremely extroverted, life at home gets very unhappy and lonely, especially because my boyfriend works 45 hours a week. Having groups I can spend time chatting in and a couple of reviewer friends that I can talk to when things get too much, or to bounce ideas off, makes such a difference. I was without internet for 2 days when we last changed supplier in October and my anxiety sky-rocketed. I’d thought I’d be fine but I felt so cut off and isolated and it was really scary. Being able to reach out to others around the world who are feeling like I am, who have similar interests, or who just make me laugh makes this whole condition much easier to bear because I’m not alone. I don’t know what I’d do without the internet currently.

Animal Kingdom Deluxe Edition - Lucy Fyles
Animal Kingdom Deluxe Edition – Lucy Fyles

What do you hope for in the future? Both in terms of your own health and also in terms of the adult colouring world?
I hope that adult colouring will continue to be popular and continue to reach the people it can benefit and help. I hope that talented artists will continue to create beautiful books for us to enjoy. In terms of my health, I hope it’ll improve, sooner rather than later. It’s almost 2 years that I’ve been virtually housebound for and I’m absolutely sick of it and having my life feel like it’s on pause so my hope is that I’ll start to recover soon and be able to go back to work and back to helping people with mental health problems. My sole aim in life is to help people and I can’t wait to be able to get back to that and start making a difference again! I hope in some small way my reviews are helping people, even if it’s just saving them money or helping them find a book they’ll fall in love with, that’s certainly my aim!

Colour Therapy Colouring Book - Lucy Fyles
Colour Therapy Colouring Book – Lucy Fyles

Thank you so much for answering my questions with such candour Lucy! Read a review of Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion on Colouring in the Midst of Madness here.

You can buy my book on Amazon here: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion: Adult Coloring Book I have recently signed up as an Amazon affiliate, so if you would like to buy this book please do consider using my link, and help support Amelia’s Magazine. (I don’t run adverts, and server costs for this website alone are huge.)

Categories ,Adult Coloring Books, ,Adult Colouring Books, ,Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,Animal Kingdom Deluxe Edition, ,Claire Scully, ,Coloring, ,Colour Therapy Colouring Book, ,Colouring Book, ,Colouring in the Midst of Madness, ,Doctor Who Colouring Book, ,Harry Potter Colouring Book, ,interview, ,Jessica Palmer, ,Johanna Basford, ,Legendary Landscapes, ,Lucy Fyles, ,Millie Marotta, ,review, ,Richard Merritt, ,Secret Garden 2016 Calendar, ,Secret Garden Artist’s Edition, ,Tangle Bay, ,Tangle Wood, ,The Menagerie

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Amelia’s Magazine | 8 Things You Didn’t Know About Colouring Books For Adults

Amelia Gregory portrait
Adult Colouring is a trend you can’t escape, so why not embrace the phenomenon with gusto this Christmas? You might be surprised by how much you and your loved ones enjoy it. I first became fascinated by the growth in popularity of adult colouring a year ago, and although sure it would not appeal to me as a personal hobby I thought the format provided the perfect forum for artists to showcase their work. So I posted a brief on Amelia’s Magazine and set about making Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion. In the interests of research I decided to try adult colouring myself, and before I knew it I was a total convert: from intrigued sceptic to full on addict, here’s what I’ve learnt during my colouring journey so far.

Sophie Corrigan by Sua Agape Adult Colouring Book
Sophie Corrigan coloured by Sua Agape.

1. Colouring Can Be Daunting
Yes, really! Making marks on a blank bit of paper can be daunting to most, but colouring is not necessarily the easy route out. Choosing the right medium and colours can be a scary process, so don’t be surprised if you occasionally find yourself stumped. Colouring is given a bad rap as uncreative but as a colourist you impose your own creativity on that page. Yes, I said colourist. Being a colourist is a thing in the adult colouring world. And I’m not talking hair dye.

2. Colouring Is For Everyone
Don’t let the above put you off: there are many ways to make the creative choices less stressful. Try the wonderful website Color Hunt for simple colour palettes if you’re stuck on what to use. Or, don’t think about what colour you pick up, just use whatever medium you have to hand and be impulsive. There are no rights and wrongs so enjoy the process; it’s supposed to be fun and relaxing. Colouring builds creative confidence so it is a great entry point into further artistic endeavour.

Lorna Scobie by Libby Parra Adult Colouring Book
Lorna Scobie coloured by Libby Parra.

3. Colouring Is A Creative Collaboration
You may be colouring someone else’s creation, but your decisions enable that line drawing to come to life – so don’t underestimate your input. When you spend a lot of time colouring in you get to know the artist’s artwork intimately, so it really helps if you like their style. Go for a theme that appeals to you: from mandalas to mohicans, there are thousands of books now available with designs to suit all tastes. Why not seek your interests out? A good colouring book artist will keep you inspired for days on end.

4. The Colouring Community Thrives Online
You know how colouring is touted as the best way to switch off and step away from the screen? Well that’s true, but there is a thriving adult colouring community sharing artwork online, swapping tips and admiring each other’s work. Facebook is the best place to ogle at some true masterpieces, learn how to achieve the best shading and get into discussions about the pros and cons of vaseline versus baby oil (for blending, nothing nefarious I promise.) No one person will colour a picture the same way and it’s a real thrill to see how differently everyone approaches a similar image.

Suzanne Carpenter Adult Colouring Book
Double page by Suzanne Carpenter.

5. Be Prepared To Be Peaceful
If you really want to get in the zone it’s a good idea to set yourself up with the right equipment. Colouring at night with scratchy pencils under a low wattage lamp without a sharpener to hand does not make for a pleasant experience, so be prepared to invest in some super duper accessories like a lap desk with integral lamp. Headaches are far from restful!

6. Colouring Soon Gets Costly
The online colouring world is full of colourists with hundreds of colouring books and cupboards that spilleth over with pens and pencils. There are many options and they all give different results, so be prepared to spend money on your new habit and become a pencil/pen geek with alarming rapidity. If you are anything like me you will need only the merest excuse to buy new art materials: so before you know it you’ll be salivating over Marco Raffines, comparing Prismacolor colours and experimenting with Gelly Rolls.

Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford Hack by Colour With Claire
Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford, Hack by Colour With Claire.

7. Colouring Pages Get Hacked
It seems that everything can be hacked these days, and by this I do not mean steal – you should always get your colouring pages from a legitimate source and ensure the artists are paid for their work. But why not have a bit of fun and hack an original colouring page image? There’s no law to say you have to stay within the lines, so go wild and add your own elements to the original creation, such as these Disney characters in a Johanna Basford tree by Colour with Claire.

8. Lastly, Colouring Is Addictive
It’s exciting. You can make an image come alive with colour, and there’s a real sense of achievement when you finish colouring a page, especially one that has taken a long time to complete. Which probably explains why colouring is so darn addictive… and can become very time consuming if your addiction really takes hold. Don’t say you haven’t been warned!

Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion is funding now on Kickstarter and features 40 artists from all over the world.

AmeliasCCC Kickstarter campaign image
This article also appears on the Huffington Post.

Categories ,#ameliasccc, ,Adult Colouring, ,Adult Colouring Books, ,Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,Christmas, ,Color Hunt, ,Coloring Books, ,Colour with Claire, ,Colouring Books, ,Colouring Books For Adults, ,Gelly Rolls, ,Hobbies, ,Huffington Post, ,Johanna Basford, ,Kickstarter, ,Libby Parra, ,Lorna Scobie, ,Marco Raffine, ,Prismacolor, ,Sakura, ,Sophie Corrigan, ,Sua Agape, ,Suzanne Carpenter

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