As an artist, I have always been drawn to coloring books, especially those geared more towards adults than children. Magical Jungle is exactly that type of book. It has drawings simple enough for a child, but some more complex which would appeal more to adults. It is the perfect type of book to give as a gift to anyone who is creative or wants to just find something to do to fill their day. Adult, teenager, child… it doesn’t matter. Everyone will love this book.
The author has little extras hidden inside the book, such as specific animals that you have to find which I thought was really charming. I love this idea and would really love to see more things like this – such as hidden objects or mazes… that sort of thing. It adds a game type of element to the book which isn’t common and makes it really special. I just want more of it.
As for the drawings, for the most part I really like them. Some look more hand drawn and natural, such as the chameleon (my personal favorite) and hippo drawings, and others look a lot more computer generated similar to the mandala coloring books artwork where it’s a few images repeating over and over in a circle. There is nothing wrong with that, but those ones were my least favorites in the book, since they feel less like a picture or a scene and more like an attempt to fill empty space on a page (not to mention, repetitive). I know there’s a huge market for mandala style artwork, so I think she just added it to the book to make something a little bit different from the other style of drawings, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s actually nice to see some diversity within one book.
I will say this… For the past year I have been working on making an adult coloring book of my own. It is a lot harder than it looks to figure out what lines and patterns you should use to fill the image or page with. Johanna Basford does this so beautifully–it never looks forced, and her sweet, charming style always comes through. I would love to see an even more detailed coloring book from her someday, something with even more intricate details and lines to fill in. That being said, if you feel like there is too much negative space in between two lines, you can always add more yourself and kind of make it up as you go.
When I first got the book to review, I didn’t have any coloring tools available to me so I decided to take a picture of one of the pages and just color it in Photoshop. This was so much fun to do, and adds a whole other element to what this book (and others like it) can offer you if you like to do digital artwork. My finished Chameleon done in Photoshop is on the left.
In conclusion, I really loved this book, and will be sure to purchase her other books in the future as well! I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Holly has a Bachelors degree in Environmental Science and owns a small business with her husband selling fleece and hand-spun yarn. When she is not spinning yarn, she does freelance work as a graphic design artist and is highly involved in animal rescue.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Penguin Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.