I am always on the lookout for something “different” in coloring. I have tried color by number, and although enjoyed it I cannot put it at the top of my pile of favorites. So when Kira and Alex from Sunlife Drawing asked me to consider trying one of their unique color by number coloring books, Animal Quest Color by Number, I hesitated but did say yes. Glad I did!
Sunlife Coloring kindly sent me a copy of this coloring book. I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while using this book. This post does contain affiliate links.
Overview of Animal Quest
Kira and Alex at Sunlife Drawing create drawing and coloring books for kids and adults. They create and publish their books all by themselves, and I do love introducing “indie” artists and publishers!
The 58 pages in Animal Quest Color by Number include 20 single-sided hexagon-filled patterns to color in. These are followed by eight bonus pages showing you, step-by-step, how to draw a cute cat, taxi cab, Alice in Wonderland, and a wee giraffe.
There are two things that truly make this a unique coloring book. First, you are not coloring-in illustrations, but over 2,700 numbered hexagons on each page. Second, you will only need twelve colors!
Animal Quest’s pages do not have hand-drawn designs. Instead they are filled with numbered, tiny hexagons. And only once you finish coloring in a bit of it do you know what the creature that you are coloring is – the “quest.” The creatures you will discover include a butterfly, giraffe, monkey, cat and more.
All of the hexagons are the same size – which is quite small – and the lines are very light, as are the color-coordinated numbers. As a result, with most coloring media the lines and numbers all but disappear when you color.
There is not any white space to add your own coloring flourishes, but you could certainly add some detail such as outlining or shading once you complete the coloring in.
The back of each page has a black and white version of the color key so you don’t have to memorize or keep referring to the full-color key on the back of the book.
Animal Quest Color by Number is 8-1/2″ x 11″ and its covers are matte and full-color flexible card stock. The front cover shows a completed design and the back has the color code “key.”
This is a lightweight book, so you will have the best results when you place it on a hard surface while coloring.
The hexagons are printed quite close to the gutter of the book. The binding is glued, and strong, so it is difficult to just tear out individual pages without ripping them. Either color in the book, or carefully remove pages with an Xacto knife. You can easily fold the front cover over for a sturdier coloring surface if you want to.
The relatively smooth white paper is on the lighter-weight side, a tad heavier than copier paper. My results with various media was mixed: I found I got the best results with alcohol-based markers (I used BIC Markits), as there was minimal banding and the colors were nice and bright, doing a good job hiding the numbers. My next favorite, Lolliz gel pens, looked great and covered the numbers quite well, but I had to be super careful not to smudge freshly-colored areas. And because they tend to be “juicy” the paper did buckle some.
My Prismacolor Premier pencils left white speckling unless I used a heavier hand or several layers. And I had to sharpen them a lot as the hexagons are so small. I also found that these pencils smudged quite a bit.
Less successful media were water-based markers (Staedtler Duos) because of banding and buckling. Harder core pencils such as Crayolas and Verithins were OK – I just couldn’t get the vivid colors I liked, even when using pressure. And pressure resulted in dents in the paper.
Regardless of what medium you do use, I recommend using a piece of card stock between pages. This will protect from bleed-through if you use alcohol-based markers or denting if you use harder core pencils such as Crayolas or Prismacolor Verithins. A hard, smooth surface also makes staying within the lines – if that is your thing! – easier.
I found Animal Quest to be easy, once I got the hang of it. I tried coloring from left-to-right, top-to-bottom and completing each color in turn. I also tried “blocking” out and coloring-in sections of the same color but the final pieces looked much better when I colored one hexagon at a time, regardless of medium.
However, if you have any vision challenges or limited hand mobility, this is probably not the coloring book for you as the hexagonal elements are all tiny and the printing of the lines and numbers is very light.
Sometimes when we color, we find it hard to focus because of the stress we can feel just from having to choose colors. With color by number, you are gently guided to focus on the task at hand which can be extra-relaxing.
Have trouble choosing colors? Check out my posts on this subject, beginning here.
Focusing on coloring each each hexagon in this color by number book really helped me put aside anxious and disordered thoughts. And I loved the moment when I had colored just enough to see what the subject was – a great “aha!” moment! I also had moments when I wanted to be a bit inventive, and explored my unique creative path by creating my own color key palette with some fun results.
There are so many things to like about Animal Quest Color by Number, particularly if you are looking for a new challenge in your coloring or if you get particularly stressed over choosing colors. If you travel, the book is really light, and you will only need to carry a set of 12 pencils, markers or pens.
I do wish the paper was heavier, however, and that the price was a bit lower. I rate it 3-1/2★ out of 5★. If the publishers could get the price down a bit (although I know this is tough with self-publishing), I’d give it a full 4★.
Have you tried color by number? What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments section below!