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 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


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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.