Illustrator Pamela Duarte worked in New York as a fashion illustrator and segued into fashion dolls. One of her clients is Mattel, and she has done quite a bit of work for the Barbie® brand. Pamela has also created adult coloring books, and she kindly sent me a copy of her most recent, Flowers & Fashion: Women of the World.
Pamela’s inspiration for Flowers & Fashion is the strength, beauty and creativity of women around the world.
The image on the front cover is a colored-in example of one of the 30 designs and is a good inspiration for more advanced colorists with its highlighting, shading and blending. The first pages of the book – title, copyright and “about” – all have colorable smaller versions of a few of the 30 illustrations in the book. The last pages are information about Pamela and a really handy Color Palette Test Page.
I love that each illustration is included twice – a great way to practice different techniques or color schemes depending on your mood.
The designs in this book include beautiful women, decor and accessories, all framed and interspersed with flowers. Some of the words I can use to describe my feelings and impressions as I flipped through Flowers & Fashion for the first time were: gentle, serene and strong.
All of the women in the illustrations have peaceful and kind faces, so regardless of what medium you use – pencils, markers, pens, etc. – you will need flesh tones if you want to make realistic colored-in pages. Every design includes pretty flowers as accents and backgrounds. The still life designs without women include a variety of sometimes intricate flower patterns. It was nice to see that most of the flowers are unique to each design.
I love letting my readers know about adult coloring books from self-published authors, and this is one. Pamela used CreateSpace to produce Flowers & Fashion and you can see and feel the quality of this 8.5″ x 11″ book.
The front and back covers are flexible, shiny card stock so you will need to place the book on a hard surface for coloring. The binding is glued and sewn, and very strong. However, as the pages are not perforated, you will need a pair of scissors or an Xacto knife to remove them if you don’t want to color in the book. The book does not lay perfectly flat, but since the images don’t run into the gutter, that is not a problem. A good push on the binding will crack it a bit to help it lay flatter.
Print quality is excellent – no pixelation.
The paper is heavier than copier paper and has some tooth to allow for a bit of layering and blending of pencils. I did have to lay down several layers to get rich color; a colorless blender minimized white speckling. I really enjoyed trying out my new Derwent Inktense pencils, finished with a Tombow colorless blender. Prismacolors layered and blended beautifully.
Water-based markers, such as my Staedtler Triplus Fineliners and Crayola Supertips, did bleed through the paper when I used multiple passes. As expected, my alcohol-based markers bled as well, so I put a few sheets of paper behind the image to protect the next page when I used any type of marker.
Level of Difficulty
Many of the illustrations in Flowers & Fashion include some quite detailed areas, if only in the background. Most of the designs practically fill the page.
Line work is varied: some pictures have only medium to heavy lines, while others are on the fine side.
Although there is some intricacy throughout the book, the main elements on most of the illustrations can be simple and finer line work can be used for texture. Flowers & Fashion would be ideal for everyone except for the most vision-challenged.
The images in this book are, again, very pretty and calming. While I was coloring, I definitely felt like I was escaping (in a good way!) the relative chaos around me. I also enjoyed a feeling of accomplishment with a few of the designs – I think one ended up looking like it came from a Vera Bradley catalog!
If you are looking for a gift – holiday or otherwise – for a colorist in your life who loves pretty, feminine things, Flowers & Fashion the perfect coloring book. You will also appreciate that all of the designs are provided in duplicate. I rate it 4★ out of 5★.