Updated on August 16, 2016
Coloring Book Review – Soul Coats : Restoration
One of the fastest growing adult coloring book “niches” these days is the Religious/Inspirational category.
Whether you are religious – be it Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish – or not (even Atheist), there is something for everyone. And many of these coloring books are wonderful, whether you subscribe to the related teachings and philosophies or not.
I was pleased when publisher RoBarry Publications sent me a copy of Soul Coats: Restoration as an introduction to this adult coloring book genre.
Soulcoats: Restoration, by Rohadi Nagassar is a unique coloring book that depicts scenes and scriptures from the Bible. The professionally illustrated designs take you through the garden, the animals of the flood, the life of Moses, the visions of prophets, and the New Testament.
The book has 66 pages to color, including the “belongs to” page and the inside front and back covers. You can even finish coloring the designs on the front and back of the book.
One of the features of this book is a Scene Key that has a title for each illustration and identifies its Bible reference. However, the Key is based on page numbers, and as there are no numbers on the pages in the book it is not super-easy to match each illustration to its item in the Key. Thumbnails of each page would have worked better than the numbers.
Following the Scene Key is a backgrounder with short paragraphs about the author as well as the illustrators. I have to commend the author for providing such detailed information about the artists, including their website/social media contacts. If you enjoy a particular illustrator’s designs in this book, you will be able to easily find some more of their work online.
You can also download a free accompanying 46-page study guide. Soul Coats: Restoration is intended to be the first in a coloring book series.
The designs in this coloring book depict scenes and passages from the Bible, although this is not obvious in many of them. In fact, I did not find this coloring book preachy in any way and enjoyed coloring in it even though I am not religious. Nine of the designs are lovely hand-lettered Bible quotes/passages with leaves and vines that intertwine themselves in around the letters. Soul Coats also has nature scenes with flowers, birds, and animals; wallpaper patterns; mandala-style illustrations; and tableaux with Biblical characters.
There are sixteen two-page spreads. Unfortunately, the illustrations on these spreads do run into the gutter which makes it tough to complete the center of the design. About one-third of the pages have white space if you are inspired to add your own embellishments or practice background techniques.
All of the designs are hand-drawn, although some, such as the wallpaper-style ones, seem to have digitally duplicated elements.
Clearly a lot of care has been put into producing this high quality coloring book.
At 10” x 10”, this book is large, but not overly so. The thick card stock covers are flexible and matte. Due to the size and weight, it is not really portable.
The spine is sewn and glued, which makes it very sturdy. However, this also means that you cannot tear out individual designs without damaging them. If you wish to, you could use an Xacto knife to carefully remove pages. As well, the binding makes it hard to get pages to lie flat unless you fold the book back on itself and crack the glue in the binding a bit.
The paper is a smooth, heavy-weight bright white stock. Much like Johanna Basford’s coloring books, it was a dream to color with all of my media, including artist and student-grade pencils and water and alcohol-based markers. The printing is top quality; I could not find any splotches or gaps in the line work.
The pages are double-sided, and alcohol-based markers will bleed through to the design on the other side. Still, alcohol-based markers don’t feather on this paper, so if you don’t mind sacrificing an illustration the results are beautiful. I didn’t have any ink transfer from the bleeding, but I still recommend that you use a slip-sheet – you never know. My “juicy” water-based Crayola Supertips and Prismacolor Scholar Brush Tips didn’t shadow and even though the paper is relatively smooth, they barely pooled.
Level of Difficulty
The designs in Soul Coats: Restoration range from easy (bold line work and few teeny spaces) to difficult (light, feathery line-work and small details that need fine-tipped markers or pens, or well-sharpened pencils). Some of the illustrations are a mix and there is something for everyone and every mood.
I was able to complete some of the less-detailed pages in under two hours.
The more intricate and detailed designs in Soul Coats: Restoration need some concentration, which is perfect for keeping repetitive thoughts and anxiety in check. The easier designs are ideal for anyone who needs a bit of distraction.
For Bible readers, all of the designs provide an excellent opportunity to step away from everyday challenges and focus on the lessons of the Bible, even more so when you use the accompanying study guide. The guide along with the coloring book would be an excellent resource for Christian study groups. However, the benefits aren’t limited to Christians: for the “Jacob’s Dream” page the guide includes the following questions:
You certainly do not need to be religious, to use prompts like this to help you through challenges in your life!
Simply put, Soulcoats: Restoration is a beautiful coloring book with quite a bit of variety in designs. It is well-made and every media I tried looked great (aside from the alcohol marker bleed-through). If it weren’t for the fact that some of the illustrations extend into the gutter, and that the pages are double-sided, I’d give this coloring book a full five stars. 4½★ out of 5★.
Soul Coats: Restoration is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.
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Have you tried any religious or spiritual adult coloring books? If so, what were they and how did you like them? Let us know in the comments below!
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