Thank you to Jim Harold Media LLC for sending this book to me in return for providing my honest and unbiased review. I received no other compensation. This post does contain affiliate links.
Do you like an eerie, chilling ghost story?
I do. I get the same thrill from scary stories that a lot of people get from roller coasters. Blood and gore turn me off, but if you have a creepy tale to tell, I am all ears.
The True Ghost Story Adult Coloring Book is a roller-coaster ride for me: a combination of my love for adult coloring along with goosebumps. As summer slips away and we start thinking of Halloween, this is an excellent way to enjoy the season (but it’s perfect for all year long, too!).
The True Ghost Story Adult Coloring Book has 25 images inspired by Jim Harold’s popular and highly-rated Campfire podcasts and books. The podcasts are compilations of short, spine-chilling tales told by the people who experienced them first-hand. The books are essentially transcripts of the same spooky stories. The images in this coloring book are by illustrator Len Peralta who is famous for his “quirky, offbeat” drawings which have been featured in print and on television. Len created the concept sketches for the recently released Ghostbusters remake.
Note: The podcasts for this coloring book are only available with a paid subscription to Jim Harold’s Club (currently on sale). You can listen to more recent podcasts, on Jim Harold’s free website. You can purchase Jim Harold’s Campfire books from Amazon.com here, or the Kindle e-book versions here.
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All of the designs in True Ghost Story are hand-drawn with a sense of humor. They are fun to color, even more so if you listen to the related podcast or have read the story. Or put on some spooky music to set the atmosphere.
Most of the illustrations have a frame element, and none of them run into the gutter. There are quite a few people and faces to color – human and otherwise! This is the first book I’ve colored-in with faces, so I found it a safe way to dive into testing all those beige, peach and skin-toned colored pencils. And those greens and purples for the other-worldly creatures.
You will not find much open white space to stress you creatively, but some of the existing elements have enough room to play with colors and textures if you like.
This coloring book is standard paper size, 8-1/2” x 11”, and lightweight. The covers are flexible glossy card stock. The pages are bound with glue, and it takes just a gentle push to crack the binding to get the book to lay flat on a surface for coloring. The pages are not perforated, but there is enough margin to cut them out without destroying the design.
The paper is a lightweight, creamy white. It is a tad thicker than copy paper, but not much: you can see some shadows of the line work from the next design through the paper. However, the pages are single-sided – yeah!
Alcohol-based markers will bleed through the paper, and I recommend using a slip-sheet if these are your tool of choice. They also feather, but as much of the line work is bold, I did not find this to be a problem and in some cases, such as backgrounds, it created a nice effect.
Water-based pens do shadow through to the reverse side, and with layers of darker colors, I did get some bleed-through.
The paper surface has a good tooth for pencils (I used Prismacolor Premier and Crayola) and responds well to blending and layering. You will get white speckling with single, light passes of your pencil, but burnishing with more layers or using a blender pencil quickly gets rid of it if you want to.
The printing quality is fine; I could not find any splotches or gaps in the line work. There is some pixelation, but you wouldn’t notice it unless you put your face very close to the page.
Level of Difficulty
The designs in True Ghost Story are easy. The line work is medium to bold; lighter lines add texture to parts of the drawings. Some of the illustrations are a mix of line weights, and there is something for everyone and every mood.
I was able to complete some of the less-detailed pages in under two hours.
This coloring book is not meditative, but it is an amusing break from the everyday grind for fans of unnerving stories. If you get thrills from chills, listening to one of John’s podcasts while you are coloring makes it that much more fun.
If you like coloring, and you like fun, spooky things, then you should give this coloring book a try. It is a change of pace from mandalas, patterns and fanciful scenes in most adult coloring books.
As a stand-alone coloring book I rate True Ghost Stories 3★ out of 5★. With free access to the related podcasts, I’d give this coloring book a rating of four stars out of five.
I did wonder a bit about the fact that all 25 Amazon.com reviews of True Ghost Stories are five stars, given some of the small issues I had, such as not having free access to the related stories to give the designs some context, and the less-than-stellar paper. I realized that the reason for the high ratings is that most of the reviewers were already fans of Jim’s work.