Coloring Book Review: The Time Chamber by Daria Song
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 Random House via Blogging for Books for providing copies for review.
Since the coloring book craze took off, you can’t go anywhere without seeing them. The market has become so saturated, and these days I’m finding it harder and harder to seek out the quality books, with beautiful and interesting designs, clean line art, and good general presentation overall. That’s why I’m so surprised that The Time Chamber hasn’t gotten more attention. Of all the adult coloring books I own, this one ranks among the best and it’s become one of my absolute favorites. I can literally spend hours just admiring the gorgeous drawings.
Like a lot of adult coloring books, The Time Chamber is the “standard” size, with square pages measuring 9.8 by 9.8 inches. As soon as you pick it up, you can tell that it’s sturdy. Illustrations are printed front and back on bright and good quality heavy-weight paper, its thickness perfect for color pencils and gel pens (which I used in my examples). I have not tried anything heavier than markers, but I personally wouldn’t recommend them, if you don’t want to risk the color bleeding through the page (one of the downsides of having illustrations on both sides). The book is also bound in a way that won’t allow you to lay it open flat, which might make coloring some of the 2-page spreads difficult, but you might be able to get by if you press down hard on the binding or bend the book backwards to loosen the spine. One thing I want to add is that the book also comes with a really nice dust jacket. Overall, I love the presentation; it would make a nice looking gift even if you just handed the book as is to your recipient, and on the first page is also a nice dedication area where you can write their name and yours.
Another cool thing about The Time Chamber is that there’s a story. It’s a short and simple one, but it’s a narrative nonetheless, about a red-haired fairy who lives in a clock who one days decides to explore the great wide world, starting with a little girl’s room just beyond. The fairy is enchanted by everything, and all the little trinkets and knick-knacks that belong to the girl are huge and wonderful to her. This definitely feels a lot more sophisticated than the text in many other coloring books I own, which are typically bland instructions or other throwaway comments. I love how this coloring book can also double as a story picture book, one you can maybe read to a child while you both enjoy the pretty illustrations.
At the end of the book is also a helpful visual index, which shows you smaller versions of all the spreads.
Of course, the best part are the beautiful pen-and-ink illustrations, rendered meticulously with crisp, clean lines. The artist and author Daria Song is from Seoul, Korea. She holds a Masters degree in fine arts and has won many awards, including the Kyung Hyang Arts Contest. Her art has been exhibited in galleries all over Asia, and now she’s bringing all that magic into The Time Chamber.
I cannot praise the art in this book enough. Every page is a feast for the eyes, with gorgeous designs that are very finely-detailed and intricate. Each page could easily take hours to color, especially since some of the smaller areas will require a lot of patience and care. I love the style, and it amazes me that Song can turn even the most mundane of objects, like a hairbrush or a hand mirror, into something that looks very magical and exotic. A lot of the artwork has an Asian flavor, like the drawings of pagodas or the designs on vases.
I also really liked that there was a good variety of illustrations. There’s very little repetition of designs, and every page brings something fresh and stunning. Believe it or not, I’m even reluctant to color some of the pages, because I’m worried that I wouldn’t be able to do the art justice. It is just that amazing and beautiful. Beginner colorists might want to try with something less complicated and daunting, but I also think there will be something for everyone in The Time Chamber, no matter your skill level. Highly recommended!