Coloring Book Review: Animal Kingdom and Tropical World by Millie Marotta
Welcome to a new feature at The BiblioSanctum, where every month (or so!) I’ll be featuring and reviewing an adult coloring book. I first became attracted to the hobby because I love all things pretty and colorful, but whether you see it as a form of escapism or a social activity, there’s no denying adult coloring books are becoming an increasingly popular trend. As I begin my journeys through coloring, I’d like to share my thoughts and experiences along the way.
Today, I’ll be looking at…
My thanks to Sterling Publishing for providing copies for review.
To be sure, if you love animals, then you’ll also love Millie Marotta’s coloring books! I’ve decided to review the two books together because they are both similar in format and, as you’ll see further in my review, in art style as well. Animal Kingdom is simply stunning, filled with pages and pages of gorgeously illustrated animal and plant life. Tropical World was published after the first book’s wild success, and it follows in the same tradition except with a heavier focus on themes and subjects inspired by the tropics. You really can’t go wrong with either one.
Both books are square, with pages measuring 9.8 by 9.8 inches. Illustrations are printed front and back on bright and thick heavy-weight paper, perfect for color pencils and gel pens (which I used in my examples at the end of this review). I would personally not recommend water color or markers, as the paper will warp and you will potentially get color bleeding through the page, ruining the illustrations on the other side. The books are also bound in a way that won’t allow you to lay them open flat. You can press them down as well as you can or bend the books backward to crack the spine, but unless you do, coloring some of the 2-page spreads might present some difficulty.
Flamingo from Animal Kingdom
Peacock from Tropical World
Simply gorgeous. I love Marotta’s style which utilizes shapes and lines to form intricate patterns in the outlines of a variety of different animals. Sometimes, the shapes themselves form the outline of the animals!
Red-Eyed Tree Frog and Armadillo from Tropical World, Owl and Seal from Animal Kingdom
Mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, etc. are all represented here, and there are also pages full of beautifully illustrated flowers and plants. The line work is fantastically detailed and intricate – enough to make your head spin! Be prepared for hours of careful coloring as to not miss a single spot, but the results are worth it.
Peacock and Chameleon from Animal Kingdom, Parrots from Tropical World
In addition to the types of illustrations described above, there are also pages with animal designs for the colorist to “fill in” themselves, perfect for if you want to draw your own patterns. A few pages with illustrations also have text, little lines of “instructions” you can choose to follow or ignore; they don’t add anything, other than some flavor to the book.
Elephants from Animal Kingdom
If I have only one complaint about the art, it’s that the patterns and designs get repetitive after a while. The animals in the illustrations are all different, but the more you do the more you’ll see the same motifs in them utilized again and again. But as this is Millie Marotta’s “signature style”, I don’t really see this as a con, especially if you find yourself wanting more. As you can see, the style of the illustrations in both Animal Kingdom and Tropical World are very similar.
Fish from Animal Kingdom, Crab and Flamingos from Tropical World
Certainly, both books are worth checking out for the exquisite designs. If you do wish for more variation in the artwork for coloring though, you might want to opt for picking up just one of these books. Which you choose is entirely up to your own preferences because both books are filled with equally stunning and beautiful drawings. For more general wildlife, the outstanding Animal Kingdom will not disappoint, but I also personally felt a deeper affinity for the rainforest and coral reef designs in Tropical World. If you like colorful birds, tropical flora or ocean life, then this will definitely be the book for you!
Turtle from Animal Kingdom, Coral and Mandala and Jungle Cat from Tropical World
And now…time for more examples!
Whether you want to utilize the bold hues of gel pens or do some blending magic with color pencils, there are designs in these books to suit all your creative needs. I love how amazing the illustrations are for experimenting with color combinations.
Butterflies and Flowers from Animal Kingdom (Color Pencils)
Rainbow Fish from Tropical World (Color Pencils)
Butterflies from Tropical World (Pastel Gel Pens)
Owl from Tropical World (Metallic Gel Pens)