I ordered this coloring book on Amazon.com and paid full price for it. I enjoy being able to share my opinions and experiences with products to help other consumers in making informed purchasing decisions.
Lucky Black Cats Adult Coloring Book. By Carole Stevens Bibisi. 78 Pages. Published by Transformation Publishing, December 2015.
As I am a self-admitted CCL (“crazy cat lady”), it is surprising that this is only the second cat-themed adult coloring book I’ve tried (the first was a gift). I guess I’ve delayed making the plunge for fear I’d end up with a ceiling-high pile of cats coloring books!
However, I’d seen Lucky Black Cats mentioned a few times on Twitter and Facebook, and saw that it has some great reviews on Amazon.com (currently 5/5 stars), so I took the plunge. Glad I did!
This book is full of cats, of course. More specifically, Maneki-Neko Lucky Black Cats. Each cat wears a good luck medallion around its neck identifying, in Japanese characters, who they are and what they love. Overall the book’s aim, besides coloring, is to raise awareness of the plight of black cats which even today can be persecuted just because of their color.
Lucky Black Cats opens with background on what Maneki-Neko cats are and where they come from, and the meanings of their various color themes. The first section of designs has Maneki-Neko cat illustrations. The second part has additional cat-themed drawings to color. The book ends with information about raising awareness for animal rescue, and black cat rescue in particular, and a poem about the challenges black cats face.
Opposite the Maneki-Neko illustrations are various thoughts written by the author/artist related to the drawing. Some are thoughtful and lighthearted. And many are what you’d expect the cat on the facing page to say.
This black cats coloring book has 21 Maneki Neko felines to color. Seven of these are actually black with the coloring to be done in the white spaces. The remaining cats in this section are black and white line drawings, but you could, of course, color the white area within the cat with black, or any other color (as I’ve said before, purple cats are adorable!).
The designs are centered on each page, so you don’t have to deal with margin/gutter issues.
When I first flipped through the book, I thought I might be a bit bored because each of the Maneki-Neko cats seemed so similar. Each cat is chock full of elements, predominantly flowers, leaves and vines that are repeated in most of the illustrations. However, each cat does have some theme-specific elements. For example, Lucky Mermaid Cat has some sea life (e.g., a turtle, fish), and Lucky Piano Cat has some musical staves with notes. And I loved choosing a different and theme-appropriate color scheme for each one.
I really enjoyed the look of the colored-in black cats. It was easy to achieve a look similar to the completed picture on the front cover.
The second section of Lucky Black Cats contains illustrations of various styles. A couple of the drawings are almost child-like and cartoon-ish, while others are more sophisticated.
All of the designs in Lucky Black Cats are nicely hand-drawn, not mass-produced or computer-generated, and they have a happy, comfy feel to them. My only criticism is that some of the elements’ outlines weren’t crisp. I am not sure whether this is because of the printing or not. However, this issue didn’t affect the final colored-in drawings or the coloring experience.
This book is standard size – 8-1/2” x 11” – with glossy, flexible paperback front and back covers. You will get the best results if you place the book on a hard surface when you are coloring.
The spine is bound with glue, and the pages do lay flat after just a bit of pressing the book open.
The paper is very lightly textured lightweight white stock. It does have some “tooth” so when I was coloring with artist-quality pencils, like Prismacolor, I could put down several layers to get vibrant color. There was white paper flake show-through on single, light layers of pencil, but this disappeared with additional layers. It was easy to blend and shade. I was less successful when using Crayola pencils.
Technically, all of the illustrations are single-sided. But the reverse of each illustration does have the “Paws for Thoughts” printed on it, so markers require caution.
My water-based markers (Crayola Supertips and Prismacolor Scholar Brush Tips) did shadow, and sometimes even bled through the paper when I layered strokes, but they didn’t feather on the design itself. My alcohol-based Bic Mark-its and Prismacolor Premier markers didn’t noticeably feather but did bleed through the paper and even a bit on to the next page. I recommend that you use a slip-sheet if you use alcohol-based markers.
The pages in this coloring book are not perforated for removal, and I didn’t get clean tears when pulling them out of the book by hand. It is better to use scissors or an Xacto knife if you want to liberate them, and since there is plenty of gutter so this isn’t hard.
Level of Difficulty
I’d rate the designs in this book at an easy to medium difficulty level. For the black and white drawings (as opposed to the truly black ones), lines are fairly bold and easy to see, so you don’t need extra-fine-tip markers to make sure you stay inside the lines. In fact, I found my extra-fine-tip markers a bit too fine and changed to the bullet tips on my Prismacolor Premier markers.
Of the illustrations I have completed, I was able to complete most in one sitting.
Besides the “normal” benefits of stress-relief, coloring-in these happy cats made me smile. The “Paws for Thought” passages accompanying most of the lucky black cats are cute, and some did make me chuckle. Most of the illustrations won’t take hours to color-in, but will help take your mind off any troubles you may have for at least a little while.
Overall this is a nice, lighthearted and enjoyable cats coloring book. And it is great to know that a percentage of every one you buy supports the rescue of black cats. However, the paper is a bit thin, so you need to use caution if you are a fan of markers.
Overall, 3-1/2 out of 5 stars.
Lucky Black Cats Adult Coloring Book is available at Amazon and The Book Depository:
Do you have a favorite cats coloring book? Let us know what it is in the comments section below!
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