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Reviews of creative books. Illustration, photography, fashion, textiles and more. If you are a publisher or book author/creator, and would like to work with me, get in touch!

collage carnival | book review

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collage carnival - book review | cardboardcities - creative lifestyle blog

collage carnival by lizzie lees –  £12.99

℅ batsford

as a collage artist myself, it’s always exciting to see books by other collage makers, and especially ones that encourage everyone to get into collage.

collage carnival (a book to colour, cut and paste your way to creative heaven) is a book that does exactly this. the second you look through it you just want to get stuck in, and the variety of activities is very exciting.

this book is absolutely chock full of colour, patterns, collage activities, stickers and much more. even if you don’t want to cut up and use the book (i can’t bring myself to do it just yet) this book is definitely inspiring and will make you want to get out a stack of paper, scissors and some glue and just dig in.

collage carnival book

fun stickers for collages

as you flick through the book you have some instructions ..basically to have fun and get stuck in.

you can start from the middle of the book if you want, or just dive in at any page. there’s fold out pages where you can collage a city scene with papers in the book, you can make a llama or the eiffel tower, a cupcake, a pineapple …there’s so much choice!

interspersed throughout are pages full of pattern and colour, many of which are perforated for easy removal, but some suggest using scissors. just do whatever you feel comfortable with. these patterned pages are mostly for making collages within the book, but of course you could just use some plain paper and make your own. in the back there’s some pages with ready made patterns that you can colour in yourself, so there’s even more opportunity to just go wild.

collage carnival - book review

look for inspiration everywhere and be curious

collaged alphabet stickers

collage carnival - make your own pineapple collage

collage carnival - patterns to colour in

in a way i find this book quite overwhelming, but in a good way. it’s just so packed full of things to do that you can’t not be entertained by it, and it’s most certainly worth every penny you pay for it. i really want to have my own collage based book one day, and it’s books like this push me and make me realise it’s totally possible.

if you love and are excited by colour and patterns (and collage obviously) this is definitely the book for you. age doesn’t matter with this one ..as long as you have an imagination and a bit of time to spare i can confidently say you will have some good, fun times with it.

floribunda | book review

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floribunda by leila duly - book review

floribunda by leila duly- £14.95

℅ laurence king

floribunda is blatantly obvious in what it is: a colouring book for flower lovers. i defintely fall into that arena. i’m going to be straight-out honest and say colouring books really aren’t my ‘thing’ but as soon as i saw this i knew i had to give it a go.

on each page there is line art of different floral arrangements, and below some text telling you what is in each image. the drawings (by leila duly) themselves are well produced with delicate line art and have a level of detail satisfying enough that you feel like you’re getting a good colouring workout.

yes i just made that last phrase up.

the book is quite large, which i think is necessary because it really shows off the beautiful illustrations within and really encourages you to get stuck in.

floribunda by leila duly

floribunda by leila duly - coloured in page

the pages are made of a cardstock that feels lovely to the touch, a good weight, and very easy to colour on. after you’ve finished colouring each piece, you can remove them, and do whatever you want with it, whether that’s giving it to a friend, or framing it. i think you could even use watercolours or water based pens on this card, but probably worth testing for yourself beforehand.

they already look beautiful without the colour and i really enjoyed looking through the book as-is. obviously i’m a huge advocate for making the world a more colourful place, so i urge you to not ‘be afraid’ and get colouring in this book and others like it.

i love that on the end pages you have individual flowers named and in colour, for reference but also so you can see the potential of what you can do. of course, you don’t have to stick to prescribed colours if you don’t want to.

floribunda by leila duly - a book review

floribunda - book review

floribunda by leila duly flowers close up

this book would suit anyone from teens to elderly people, but i think the people that would enjoy it most would be people from my age (30’s) to middle age. it has a grown-up elegance to it that i feel may be lost on some people, but it’s certainly appreciated be me and people with similar tastes to mine.

this would be lovely to sit down with on a summers evening, drink in one hand, colouring pencils in the other. so relaxing! infact, if you do buy, you may want two as it’s so wonderful to look through as a book of fantastic floral illustrations.

bob the artist | book review

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bob the artist - book review : cardboardcities - creative lifestyle blog

bob the artist - inner cover

bob the artist – £10.95

℅ laurence king

‘bob the artist’ is a book i wish i had as a child.

bob is teased by his friends that he has skinny legs, and he feels like he needs to change himself in order to fit in. he goes on a journey and essentially learns that he doesn’t need to change, he just needs to be confident in being himself. good on you, bob!

when i was younger i never felt like i fit in – not so much in looks (though i was teased and bullied for being short, but that’s a different story) but more so that i never felt like anyone ‘got’ me. actually, i still feel like this, but not to the same degree.

i wish i’d had a book back then to help me realise that just being myself is good enough, and that i should have relished it. it would have made the long journey of growing up a little easier! art plays a strong part in my life too, as it did for bob and his transformation.

bob the artist - book review

bob the artist - book review : cardboardcities

bob the artist - cardboardcities

bob the artist with spots on his beak

story aside, aren’t the illustrations in this book absolutely wonderful? they’re by the author of the book itself, marion deuchars. i love how simple, graphic and colourful they are. though this book feels quite colourful the colour palette is actually very strict – but you don’t really notice as each page and illustration is so striking.

like any good picture book, the pictures really carry the story on and bring it to life. this book is recommended for ages 3 and up, and i think children (and adults) of varying ages will appreciate it for story and imagery alike. it’s very charming and certainly one to remember.