Coloring Book Review: Animal Kingdom and Tropical World by Millie Marotta

Questing in Color

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…

Animal Kingdom Tropical World

Animal Kingdom and Tropical World

by Millie Marotta

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.

Animal Kingdom Tropical World

OVERVIEW:

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

Flamingo from Animal Kingdom

Peacock 2 page

Peacock from Tropical World

ILLUSTRATIONS:

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 Armadillo

Owl Seal

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 Chameleon Parrots

  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.

Elephant Elephant 2

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.

Duo Fish Crab Duo Flamingos

 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 Coral

Mandala Panther

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

Butterflies and Flowers from Animal Kingdom (Color Pencils)

Rainbow Fish

Rainbow Fish from Tropical World (Color Pencils)

Butterflies

Butterflies from Tropical World (Pastel Gel Pens)

Owl Colors

Owl from Tropical World (Metallic Gel Pens)

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31 Comments on “Coloring Book Review: Animal Kingdom and Tropical World by Millie Marotta

  1. Wow, seriously beautiful. Although I’m imagining it must take hours to do such intricate coloring? I really love the idea of coloring, I’m just not sure where I would find the time:-) I think my favorite of yours is the one with the fish!

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    • It can take a while! I do them whenever my husband watches his classic sci-fi movies, and I’ll pop an audiobook in my ear and color away. Usually I’ll be done by the time the movie is over and I’ll be about a third of a way through a book – so one piece can take 1.5-2 hours depending on how detailed I’m getting.

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  2. Funny, last night I colored another mandala in the book I’ve been using. 🙂

    Animal Kingdom and Tropical World look exquisite. I’ve seen both of them in stores, and they’re so tempting… But I want to finish one book first before getting a new one!

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  3. GORGEOUS!! I can see how the art might become repetitive after awhile but the images are all beautiful and the ones you coloured had me staring for ever ♥ They’re quite detailed though so it looks like you’d need patience to make them as lovely as you did^^ After I finish off my fandom colouring books, I’m thinking I’ll check these out 😀

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  4. Beautifully done, Steff! I keep saying I will not give into adult coloring books. I do enough coloring now with my daughter…. I’ll probably end up with adult coloring books.

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  5. I think the butterflies are my favourite. So, are you finding this all most like stress relief – that’s what my friend seems to think?
    I think it’s something that I could very easily become obsessed with though – and I’d be so cross if I made a mistake!
    Lynn 😀

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    • Actually, I don’t get the stress relief at all – I think I’m just way too neurotic and perfectionist to truly relax while coloring 😀 I need to get everything just right.

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  6. Eeep! I love all the colors you filled in for the images. My fav might be between Butterflies and Flower and Rainbow Fish! All such bright beautiful colors 🙂 Looks like you were having lots of fun!

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    • I did have a good time! I kinda knew coloring books would be up my alley, which is why I spent so long resisting them – I knew it would be a time sink waiting to happen 😉

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