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The Mysterious Library: A Coloring Book Journey Into Fables Paperback – November 1, 2016
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About the Author
Eunji Park is a Korean artist who has illustrated The Mysterious Library from Seven Seas' Waves of Color line of coloring books. She also illustrated The Grimm Brothers Folktale Collection and is an instructor at the Art Center College of Design.
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The illustrations are really beautiful. The artist tells the visual story of a young girl who stumbles into a library, gets locked in tight and then finds herself the main character of the storybook world. The story goes on to show the young girl adventuring some very well know stories, including: Little Red Riding Hood, Gingerbread Man, Pinnochio (misspelled in text, i.e., should have been Pinocchio), Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Thumbelina, Swan Lake, Florence Nightingale, the Sandman, Princess and the Pea, Aladdin, The Red Shoes, The Pied Piper, Town Musicians of Bremen, The Snow Queen, and Alice in Wonderland
The issue I have with the book has to do with the binding. It is glued and is very tight and hard to open flat for coloring. As most of the designs spread across two pages, this makes it difficult to color the parts of the design which merge into the binding area. While it is not unusual for story books designs to spread across two pages, the tight binding is unusual. It is also out of line with what I am used to from this publisher. Hopefully, this is something that can be corrected in future prints of the book but it is the reason I am detracting a star from an otherwise five star coloring book.
Waves of Color is the publisher for this book. They also published the Color the Classics coloring books by Jae-Eun Lee. What I am excited about with this new book is that the publisher has switched from a very smooth paper to one that is ever so slightly rough. It has great tooth for grabbing pigment with colored pencils. The Lee books were okay but this paper is great in comparison. It is slightly less heavy weight than the Lee books but is still what I consider heavier medium weight based on how wet medium worked with the paper.
There are 62 pages of designs with thumbnails of each designs at the end (along with the title of the story represented.) The designs are detailed and have intricate and small spots to color. I am extremely happy with the quality of illustration in the book though it appears that some of the picture may have been cropped and cut out the very edges of designs. I can't verify that as I don't have the Korean book (though I will be looking for it elsewhere for the future) but some of the elements look a tad unfinished.
This is what I experienced while coloring in this book and testing the paper with my coloring medium. I will list, in the comments section below, the coloring medium I used for testing this book and which I generally use for coloring.
62 pages of hand-drawn story book designs
Printed on both sides of the page
Paper is warm white, slightly rough, and heavier medium weight non-perforated paper
Glue binding which is too tight to allow book to lay flat for coloring
Designs merge into the binding
Most designs spread across two pages
Alcohol-based markers bleed through the paper
Water-based markers do not bleed through the paper.
India ink pens do not bleed through but dark colors leave a slight shadow on the back of the page
Gel pens do not bleed through and dry in what I consider a reasonable amount of time
Colored pencils work excellently with this paper. The paper has excellent tooth for grabbing pigment from both oil and wax based pencils. I was able to get great color from multiple layers of the same color, layers of different colors, and easily blended colors using a pencil style blending stick.
I was able to easily break the spine and to get inside to color the images that had crept into the spine's binding. The lines of this book are perfect and the paper quality is really good. I use only colored pencils so I can't speak to how a marker brand or other medium would work on this paper but,with the paper being as thick as it is, this leads me to believe that gel pens will be fine as well. I do use gel pens in other books with patterns and such and for highlighting.
I was quite worried that I was buying a "dud" before my purchase from what other reviewers had said and felt relieved when I opened the box to see exactly what I had purchased. Now having actually worked in the book, the binding is better than, "Night Voyage" by Ms. Song as that book had completely fallen apart after only 3-days of use and I hadn't broken the binding yet as I worked on the first pages only. I feel much more confident that this book is going to hold up better. In any book, and for images that cover 2-pages, so much of the images would be lost were they to be shrunk down to fit on 1-page. I much prefer 2-page spreads.
A great book that I would highly recommend!
Would I recommend the book? Definitely. It is really a nice book. The original Korean version looks nicer (it's on YouTube) due to the binding method they used but it costs more due to shipping. I think I got a good deal on this one and I will work with it but keep in mind, most if not all of the pages are double spreads. If you can deal with a little bit of a gutter then this will work okay for you, too. Otherwise, get the original Korean version since it opens flat as a pancake.