My Colouring Book Collection

My Colouring Book Collection | Life of Dahlia

Hey Everyone, Today I’m sharing with you my colouring book collection. These aren’t your average colouring book, these are for one more expensive and much better quality than something you might see intended for children.

The adult colouring book trend has been quite big in the last few years and I have gathered quite a collection. So far I’ve particularly loved the ones released by Johanna Basford which is what I’m going to share with you today.

I’m going to include links to the books on her website just in case you are interested in purchasing any of them, I will link them throughout this post in the names of each book just so you know where to expect to find them. None of these are affiliate links they are just so you know where to find them.

My Johanna Basford Colouring Book Collection

I’ve really fallen in love with Johanna Basford’s magical worlds that she brings to life through stunning illustrations or as she likes to call them inky tales. She created them but it’s up to us to bring them to life by colouring them in and this makes each copy so individual.

Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford

My Colouring Book Collection Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford
Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford Coloured by Erin Applebee
My Colouring Book Collection Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford
Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford Coloured by Erin Applebee
My Colouring Book Collection Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford
Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford Coloured by Erin Applebee

‘Ivy and the Inky Butterfly’ was released in 2017 and was Johanna’s first colouring book that also included a story. This book has some magical scenes and characters, it follows Ivy’s story, a young girl who discovers a secret door that leads to a magical world.

I’ve only coloured a couple of pages but my hope this year is to take more time to spend on my other creative hobbies including colouring, art journaling and photography.

I love the story of this book and I love the elements of curiosities as well as magical worlds and curious creatures.

World Of Flowers by Johanna Basford

My Colouring Book Collection World Of Flowers by Johanna Basford
World Of Flowers by Johanna Basford
My Colouring Book Collection World Of Flowers by Johanna Basford Coloured by Erin Applebee
World Of Flowers by Johanna Basford Coloured by Erin Applebee
My Colouring Book Collection World Of Flowers by Johanna Basford Coloured By Erin Applebee
World Of Flowers by Johanna Basford Coloured by Erin Applebee

World of Flowers‘ is Johanna’s newest books it was inspired by her grandmother who was both an avid gardener and artist.

What I love about each of her books is they take you on an inky tale that’s just waiting for you to bring them to life through your own imagination and this one is no exception, it filled with beautiful illustrations of flora and gardeners delights.

Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford

My Colouring Book Collection Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford
Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford
My Colouring Book Collection Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford
Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford Coloured by Erin Applebee

‘Enchanted Forest’ was one of the first books that I purchased from Johanna Basford along with ‘Secret Garden‘ and is also one of my favourites. I keep going back to this one time and time again.

My Colouring Book Collection Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford
Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford Coloured by Erin Applebee
My Colouring Book Collection Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford
Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford Coloured by Erin Applebee
My Colouring Book Collection Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford
Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford Coloured by Erin Applebee

This book takes you on a magical journey into an enchanted forest filled with woodland creatures and magical castles. I love that even though most of her books don’t have words that have and underlying story and theme through out.

Lost Ocean By Johanna Basford

My Colouring Book Collection Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford
Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford
My Colouring Book Collection Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford
Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford Coloured by Erin Applebee

Lost Ocean‘ also has to be another one of my favourites, inspired by what lays under the sea this has some beautiful illustrations filled with octopi, exotic fish and magical mermaids.

My Colouring Book Collection Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford
Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford Coloured by Erin Applebee
My Colouring Book Collection Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford
Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford Coloured by Erin Applebee

Like many of Johanna’s other books, this has a little treasure hunt which is placed throughout the many stunning illustrations, this one, in particular, has shipwrecks and pirates treasure to continue that underwater theme.

Magical Jungle By Johanna Basford

My Colouring Book Collection Magical Jungle by Johanna Basford
Magical Jungle by Johanna Basford
My Colouring Book Collection Magical Jungle by Johanna Basford
Magical Jungle by Johanna Basford Coloured by Erin Applebee

I picked up ‘Magical Jungle’ in 2016 not long after it released, as the name suggests this one has a jungle theme and includes some beautiful illustrations of exotic animals both big and small.

My favourite that I’ve done so far is this giant butterfly which I notice a theme of throughout her books and these have to be some of my favourites to colour in because I love butterflies.

Secret Garden by Johanna Basford

My Colouring Book Collection Secret Garden by Johanna Basford
Secret Garden by Johanna Basford Coloured by Erin Applebee
My Colouring Book Collection Secret Garden by Johanna Basford Coloured by Erin Applebee
Secret Garden by Johanna Basford Coloured by Erin Applebee
My Colouring Book Collection Secret Garden by Johanna Basford Coloured by Erin Applebee
Secret Garden by Johanna Basford Coloured by Erin Applebee

‘Secret Garden’ was Johanna’s first book and includes beautiful gardens and creatures hidden throughout.


I love using all sorts of mediums to colour in from markers to pencils each one gives a unique look to the illustrations. And even if you feel like you are lacking artistic skills it doesn’t matter because you can easily create whatever your heart desires through colouring in these beautiful illustrations while diving into a magical tale all at the same time.

I think what I love about her books apart from the stories and themes is the focus on nature, I remember having to study Botanical Illustration when I was studying Media Arts in my early adulthood and these illustrations take that idea of documenting the many beautiful species of plants we have on our planet but with something extra.

One of my other hobbies is taking pictures of nature particularly flowers and I think that’s why I love these books so much when I’m colouring in these illustrations it gives me that same happiness as if I was out photographing nature.

What are your favourite colouring books? any recommendations? let me know

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Disclaimer – This post is not sponsored and doesn’t contain any affiliate links, links included are for reference only in case your interest in purchasing the reviewed product. Books created and copyrighted to Johanna Basford & her publishers.

Elements Series Phoenix (fire)

Elements Series – Phoenix (Fire) | Life Of Dahlia

Update: I have finally got around to finishing this series so I thought that I would reshare this post so that I could post all the posts in succession of each other. I decided to re-write/ edit this post to add more information, imagery and to fit in with my vision for this series. 

Hey Everyone today I’m resharing with you my image for Fire, I renamed this image Phoenix as I wanted to name all my image something that represented the elements they were inspired by but without using the obvious names.

This was the first Element that I start with because It was the first one I was really drawn to and could come up with a concept for. I really wanted to go for something dramatic but a little bit rough around the edges, so a lot of texture.

I had thought about redoing this concept to fit in with my other image but I really think this just fits well for the concept so I decided to leave it as is.

_MG_1314

Phoenix (Inspired by The Fire Element)

Makeup

This look kind of put itself together I had no real idea what I wanted to do when I started, I just went with what felt right at the time. I knew that I wanted to use a lot of red in this look but I also wanted to add in elements of black and gold in there as well.

I decided to include lots of texture so I decided to create a wing shape that went all the way out toward my hairline and add some texture with the blending out around my eyes to represent flames.

I wanted to add in some gold, to add a pop of brightness to the inner corner and then brought it up to the eye to create some texture on top of the red. 

I added in the little black dots as if the fire was burning and it was soot or ash falling on my cheeks, I really wanted to use a flicking motion to get a more random effect but, unfortunately, I just couldn’t get that to work so I decided to just do small dots instead.

For the lips, I decided to add in some similar colours to the eyes, I was originally going to do a nude so the eyes were the focus but it looked incomplete so I decided to match the lips to colours in the eyes instead and I really like the way it came out.


Inspiration

I really wanted all the looks that I created for this series to stand out on there own, I wanted them to incorporate and represent their own elements. For fire, I decided to go with a more editorial look as I wanted it to have texture and colours that represented the Element.

I’m so happy with the way this look came out, I have been really struggling lately with finding inspiration and being able to execute it into something original. Its been a long time since I’ve created something that feels like art, I think I just need to realise that maybe my art is changing and is different from what I imagined it to be.

To create texture in my image I used a homemade tutu that I had made up for photo shoots, I just thought that the colours would go really well and it would help with the flame look I was going for.

The Photographing & Editing Process

After creating my makeup look and taking some photos, (check out my photography set up hereI imported my images into Lightroom, from here I like to narrow down the photos I took before importing anything into Photoshop. Lightroom allows me to find the best image and make some basic changes before getting into the deeper editing process.

For this image, I didn’t have to do a lot of editing (you can see my editing process in the video below), I mainly had a few tweaks and add in some of the tulle into one area to give a more symmetrical look.

In the video above I show two images I edited for this element, I mainly did this so that I could share them on Instagram. 


I’m so happy to be able to share all my images from this series with you. I will also be sharing everything on my Instagram pages, I’m excited to share it there and see all the series together.

Beauty Insta: @ erinappbeauty

Personal/art Insta: @ erin_applebee

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Image Credits:

Photo featured in my cover image is by Tucă Bianca on pexels.com

Video Intro Image Credits:
Candle: https://www.pexels.com/@tuca-bianca-116780
Bonfire: https://www.pexels.com/@vladbagacian


Some Other Blog Posts That Might Interest You


If you liked this blog post, follow my blog to receive notifications whenever one of my posts goes live.

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Find all my social media links via the social media menu on the side of the page or in the main navigation bar.

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Disclaimer – This post is not sponsored and doesn’t contain any affiliate links, links included are for reference only in case your interest in purchasing the reviewed product.

Elements Series: Aura (air)

Elements Series – Aura (Air) | Life Of Dahlia

Hey Everyone, today I’m sharing with you my image inspired by the Air Element, this image is called ‘Aura’ which means Air.

This image I think I have had a concept for in my head for a while but I never did anything with it but I knew the concept or idea I had in my head would fit well with this image. I imagined this light airy creature floating in the clouds and I knew it would be perfect for the Air Element.

Aura (inspired by the Air Element)

I already knew this concept would take a bit to do but I knew I wanted to finally take the challenge on for this image.

I decided to order a new wig (which I had been wanting to do anyway and this just gave me the excuse to do it) so that I could have a decent quality wig to work with as my older one is cheap and just doesn’t look that nice without a hat on. I order the wig pictured and my green wig from my earth image of amazon.com.au they are both great quality and only cost me around $50 each.

I also knew that I wanted to include wings in this image because I wanted my character to have a fairy or angel look to her. I decided to go with some realistic fairy wings that I purchased a few years ago, these things are like my pride and joy they are stunning and just add a whimiscal look to an image.

Who says your to old to believe in fairies?

For my dress I decided to go with this light purple on that I had in my waldrobe, all the dresses or garments I use in my work are ones I picked up from second hand stores and (opshops) thrift stores. I’ve found some real gems this way.

Makeup

For the Makeup for this image I wanted to add some light blue or purple tones with some white lashes and lots of sparkle. Even if this doesn’t show of in the final image I still love it and again this is why I like to share makeup images along with my work because then I can share more of my concept with people.

I went for a bleach brow to help better match my wig because my brows are naturally dark I needed to lighten them a bit and for my lashes I wasn’t sure what to do initially but I ended up adding some white to them with a white eyeliner to enhance that light and airy look.

I added lots of sparkle to and under the eye using some shimmery eyeshadow and sparkly cosmetic grade glitter.

Inspiration

This image like I said I feel like I had actually had in my head for a while, I remember seeing a piece by artist ‘Selina Fenech’ in which she had a character in the clouds and I think that image just stuck with me. Her piece is called ‘Eye of the Storm’ and has a more stormy look to it with lightning and stormy clouds (You can find it and all her work via her website selinafenech.com) but I definitely wanted a more light and airy look to my image.

The Photography Process

The photographing process for this image actually took the longest out of all the images in this series, I had to photograph my character and then photograph extras. I knew I wanted to have my character floating or levitating in the air so I needed to photograph hair and fabric movement to edit in later on. (If you want to know more about how to composite or photograph hair or fabric I recommend checking out Brooke Shaden I learnt all this stuff from her.)

I photographed all these on a black background because it was a good contrast to my subject and I would have an easier time cutting out later on. Taking the hair and fabric photos definitely took up a chunk of my time during the photographing process, it had been a while and I was out of practice so it probably took me an hour and a half to photograph everything.

The Editing Process

The editing process on this image took a while I was probably working on this for a few days until I was happy with it plus I was having computer issues at the time so that made it take longer.

In the video walkthrough you can see that I started with the background layer which is by Tom Barrett on Unsplash.com, I don’t show it but I actually edited that layer and gave it some adjustments including colour adjustments as well as applying Topaz Labs Impressions, because the image was a bit grainy when I imported it but I also add this over my whole image later on.

Then I brought in my subject or character, I cut her out of the original image and then got rid of all that unnecessary black background. I also decided to scrap the wings and add in as a separate layer because they were askew in the original image. And also so I could add extra movement to make them look like they were moving.

I then extended the hair and fabric on the dress so that it looks like my character is floating. From here I add shadow, highlights and smokey textures. Then I add colour using Photoshop Actions From Fineartactions.com and a Sun Flair using Photoshop Filters.

And lastly, I add glow & painterly effects using plugin’s from Topaz Labs (Glow & Impressions (painterly effects)) and added in a texture layer over the top to give a canvas look.


Every time I get to write about the pieces in this series I just leave with a feeling of happiness and contentment. 2015-16 was a year that I felt happy to be creating and in 2017 & 18 I felt like I had lost the inspiration to create this way. I think because of my health and mental health I felt lost and uninspired or unsure how to execute the ideas in my head.

2019 I hope will be very different and I hope that I find my groove again and keep feeling inspired to create this way again.

Thank you for continuing to read my blog and follow me, you can see my whole series on my Instagram pages, I’ll be sharing this on both of them and you can find all the other posts on my blog.

Beauty Insta: @ erinappbeauty

Personal/art Insta: @ erin_applebee

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Image Credits:

Image Background by Tom Barrett on Unsplash.com

Video Intro Image Credits:
Candle: https://www.pexels.com/@tuca-bianca-116780
Bonfire: https://www.pexels.com/@vladbagacian


Some Other Blog Posts That Might Interest You


If you liked this blog post, follow my blog to receive notifications whenever one of my posts goes live.

Did you know that you can follow me at the following places

Find all my social media links via the social media menu on the side of the page or in the main navigation bar.

BlogLovinBeauty Instagram | Beauty Youtube

Disclaimer – This post is not sponsored and doesn’t contain any affiliate links, links included are for reference only in case your interest in purchasing the reviewed product.

Elements Series Gaia (earth) + Series Intro

Elements Series – Gaia (Earth) + Series Intro | Life Of Dahlia

Hey everyone, earlier last year I started creating a series inspired by the Elements, I had been wanting to do a series for a while but I really just haven’t had the motivation or inspiration to know where to start.

I was really inspired to create a small series based on the Elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) because I thought the subjects could create some interesting imagery. As it had been a while since I had done anything like I thought this might be a good series to start with because there will only be four images that I will have to create.

After starting this series I decided that I wanted to not only incorporate makeup but take it an extra step and incorporate my love of photography and art by putting my characters in different environments. I have many skills in areas like photography, photo editing and compositing so I wanted to use this series as a way of getting back into my love of creating characters and sharing their stories through self-portraiture.

My original concept that I started with was fire, I did that back in April of 2018 and I kind of got sidetracked and found it hard to come up with ideas for the other elements. No one said Art was easy right?

So rolls around November and as you know this is about when I decided to take a bit of a break, which I felt like I desperatly needed. Once I took all that pressure of myself ideas started evolving in my head and now here we are after a couple of months of finishing this series and I’m ready to share it with you all.

Elements Series Gaia (earth) Copyright: Erin Applebee All Rights Reserved
Copyright: Erin Applebee All Rights Reserved

Gaia (Inspired by the Earth Element)

The image I’m sharing with you today is ‘Gaia’ inspired by the Earth Element, this image was actually the last image I created, but I think it may actually be my favourite.

I feel like this series has really become about transformation to me, in this image I really wanted to immerse my character into nature and have her almost blending in. I took the images in my backyard and immersed myself in nature by standing in between the plants and placing my camera in front of the plants.

Elements Series Gaia (earth) Copyright: Erin Applebee All Rights Reserved
Copyright: Erin Applebee All Rights Reserved

Makeup

I wanted my makeup to be more simple for this one but still have a sort of grunginess about it, I went with some green tones on the eyes and contouring. For the skin, I actually had the only concealer on I wanted it to look more natural.

Elements Series Gaia (earth) Copyright: Erin Applebee All Rights Reserved
Copyright: Erin Applebee All Rights Reserved

For hair I wore a green wig that I had recently purchased and added a bit of fake moss onto my skin to symbolise that blending with nature. I really wanted to go all out with this but I was pressed for time, as I wanted to make sure that I took them earlier in the day for the best lighting.

Elements Series Gaia (earth) Copyright: Erin Applebee All Rights Reserved
Copyright: Erin Applebee All Rights Reserved
Elements Series Gaia (earth) Copyright: Erin Applebee All Rights Reserved
Copyright: Erin Applebee All Rights Reserved

Inspiration

I was really inspired by the work of artist Kristy Mitchell, I have her book that features images and diary entries for her series ‘Wonderland’. I love the whimsical aspects of her images and the fact that she primarily takes her images in beautiful natural scenes.

So I wanted to take inspiration from that and actually set my character in a physical scene and not one that I created in Photoshop (which you will get to see in a couple of my other image.)

Elements Series Gaia (earth)  Behind the scenes Copyright: Erin Applebee All Rights Reserved
Elements Series Gaia (earth) Behind the Scenes
Copyright: Erin Applebee All Rights Reserved

The Photographing Process

After setting myself up in my garden, I ran back and forth taking multiple photos and poses to get something that I could work with. I uploaded the images to my computer while I went and washed of my makeup and then loaded them into Lightroom to pick out the best image.

From here I import into Photoshop and this is where the magic happens. I’ll be including a walkthrough video below so that you can how the image started and what I did to get it to its final form.

The Editing Process

I just wanted to show a little bit of my editing process, I find it hard to capture during my editing process because I could be there for hours in some cases, but I want to share a little bit on how I edited this image.

I started with basic edits and fixing some spots in the background, I then fiddled with the moss of her face. From here I added colour using Fineart Actions from Fineartaction.com and then I create a new merged layer of my layers to add extra effects using Photoshop plug-ins from Topaz Labs. I used their Glow plug-in to add some extra glow to the image, Impressions to add a painted or painterly effect and then sometimes I add a texture layer which I will either bring into photoshop alone as a new layer or add via Texture Effects.

I thought that might just give my video some context. I’ve uploaded my video via my art youtube account which also features similar walkthroughs from other works I’ve done in the past.


I’m really happy with the final result of this and the other pieces I’m excited to share the rest of the series with you. (I will also be resharing my fire images with a re-edited post.)

Thank you for continuing to read my blog and follow me, to see my whole series check out my Instagram pages, I’ll be sharing this on both of them and you can find all the other posts on my blog.

Beauty Insta: @ erinappbeauty

Personal/art Insta: @ erin_applebee

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Video Intro Image Credits:
Candle: https://www.pexels.com/@tuca-bianca-116780
Bonfire: https://www.pexels.com/@vladbagacian


Some Other Blog Posts That Might Interest You


If you liked this blog post, follow my blog to receive notifications whenever one of my posts goes live.

Did you know that you can follow me at the following places

Find all my social media links via the social media menu on the side of the page or in the main navigation bar.

BlogLovinBeauty Instagram | Beauty Youtube

Disclaimer – This post is not sponsored and doesn’t contain any affiliate links, links included are for reference only in case your interest in purchasing the reviewed product.

Getting Creative Fantasy Self-portrait & Makeup | lifeofdahlia.com

Getting Creative: Fantasy Self-Portrait & Makeup

Hey Everyone, Yesterday I felt in the mood to do something creative, If you didn’t know photography has been a love and hobby of mine for a very long time. One of my dreams has alway been to mix my love of makeup, fantasy and photography together to create something magical. A few years ago I did that through my self-portraits which I found a great way to express myself and my feelings through creating.

Untitled by Erin Applebee

I haven’t done this in a long time because I just had no inspiration or I did and didn’t know what to do with it. This was also at around the time that I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and I was just feeling tired and like my brain couldn’t formulate ideas into something that I could work with. I still feel that way and that’s why I haven’t done any in so long because I haven’t had the energy to do it.

Untitled by Erin Applebee

The way I create my self-portraits is often very time consuming, coming up with ideas, putting together an outfit, doing makeup and that’s all before I take a picture. From there I will set up my background, lights, camera, etc, then start taking pictures. I usually take quite a few with posing and then If I want to composite I will take some of my dress or skirt in various movements on a slow shutter to composite in later.

Then I have to edit it all together which can take anywhere from an hour to several. You can see why its been a while it takes up alot of time.

Untitled by Erin Applebee

Anyway, yesterday I actually had a stroke of inspiration and decided to sit down do my makeup and set up to take some photos for the image I had in my mind.

My makeup was inspired by makeup artist Kimberley Margarita, I find her work really inspiring she is incredibly talented and I love her aesthetic.

Makeup for Untitled by Erin Applebee
Makeup For Untitled by Erin Applebee

My concept was a darker version of a previous artwork ‘The Painted Lady‘ that I had done a couple of years ago but also mixed with the concept of one of my very first self-portraits ‘Strangeness & Charm‘.

The Story Teller Collection – The Painted Lady

The Painted Lady by Erin Applebee
The Painted Lady by Erin Applebee

Strangness & Charm

Strangness & Charm By Erin Applebee

This was one of my very first self-portraits so its not great but I wanted to share it anyway, you can check out my original Inspiration for Strangeness & Charm on my old Photography Blog. I wanted to take some of my original ideas and turn them into something new.

Here are some closeups of the makeup. I was really inspired by Kimberley Margarita‘s makeup looks, I really love the way she uses colour and that’s what I was inspired by. I wanted to grunge mine up a bit because I like that painterly look and because my makeup skills aren’t anywhere nearly as good as hers.

Makeup for Untitled by Erin Applebee

Makeup Details

Base: White Cream Paint set with a translucent powder

Contour & Eyes: Morphe 35B eyeshadow palette

Eyes: Specter from the Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadow palette

Liner: Schwing Black Liquid Liner by The Balm

Lashes: BYS Cosmetics

Brows: Burgundy Gel Liner from Inglot

Highlight: Pink Duo-chrome Highlighter

Lips: NYX Liquid Suede in Cherry Skies

Image Editing Details

I used Adobe Lightroom CC & Photoshop CC to edit my image.

I used the Topaz Labs Glow, Impressions & Texture Effects Photoshop Plugin’s to create a glowy painterly look.

For colour I used a combination of Photoshop Curves & Actions (Midsummer’s Dream & Twilight) by Fine Art Actions.


I may add some smoke action in the bottom of this image but for now I really love the way it looks. It was nice to spend my day doing this and it reminds me of why I love it so much, I love telling stories and doing that in a visual way like this.

What is your favourite way to be creative? let me know I alway love seeing how other people love to express their creative side.

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Some Other Blog Posts That Might Interest You


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Disclaimer – This post is not sponsored and doesn’t contain any affiliate links, links included are for reference only in case your interest in purchasing the reviewed product.