If you have been coloring for a while, you are probably familiar with Millie Marotta: she designs intricate nature based illustrations that you see in her coloring books and art projects. Her work is primarily focused on helping everyone appreciate the nature that surrounds us:
I spend my days creating … from my studio by the sea in a little corner of West Wales. Growing up on a smallholding in the hills of rural Wales as a child I was surrounded by nature in all its glorious forms. It was during these early years that I developed a bit of an obsession with the animal kingdom and later went on to study Wildlife Illustration. This fascination with the natural world remains at the core of my work today as does a love of pattern and intricate detail. Above all else my intention is simply to create beautiful work, which both captivates and charms.Millie Marotta
In additional to commercial art projects and one of my favorite children’s nature books, A Wild Child’s Guide to Endangered Animals, Millie’s adult coloring books include Animal Kingdom, Wild Savannah, Tropical Wonderland, Curious Creatures, Beautiful Birds, and Wildlife Wonders.
She has just published a new collection of beautiful nature illustrations to color, Woodland Wild.
Disclosures: This coloring book was kindly sent to me by Millie Marotta and her publisher, Lark Crafts; I did not receive any other compensation. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.
In Woodland Wild, Millie Marotta takes us through the woodlands of the world. There about 90 intricate drawings of beautiful forest-dwelling creatures and plants such as deer and other mammals, birds, flowers, trees, ferns and much more. Besides being a wonderful coloring experience, the book is intended to highlight the magnificent woodlands across the world and the marvelous species that call them home.
In fact, Millie is so concerned about wildlife that she teamed up with the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust to launch Wild About Woodlands a fundraising campaign to help plant and protect 1,000 trees. The appeal is hoping to raise £10,000 to create new woodland corridors across the national park where Millie lives to enable wildlife to grow and thrive. Every donation big or small will help make a difference. And as a way of saying thank you, everyone who donates – regardless of amount – will receive an exclusive coloring sheet by Millie Marotta. Check it out here.
After the two-page introduction by Millie, the book dives right in to the illustrations. At the end, there is a two-page list of all the flora and fauna in the designs. The book finishes with a blank page for you to test your colors.
All of the approximately 90 designs in Woodland Wild are brand new and fall into a few categories: two-page spreads, individual creatures and plants, patterns and collages.
Most of the designs are intricate, with lots of fine linework and small-to-tiny nature elements.
There are also a few sets of creatures on facing pages with one of the pages’ illustrations less intricate and easier than the other, leaving you some space to express your own creativity. Regardless, you do not need to separately color every element in each design – if you don’t have the steadiest of hands (like me), you can choose to group elements into one color leaving the linework to act as texture.
Some designs have more white space, which is great for creating your own embellishments or backgrounds.
A handful of pages have designs that fill the page from edge to edge and into the gutter in the binding.
Unlike some of her earlier coloring books, Millie did not include any words on the designs themselves.
The cover of this approximately 10″ x 10″ square coloring book is heavy card stock, with some metallic gold embellishments on the front. The interior pages are tightly sewn and the cover is glued, making for an incredibly sturdy binding. Pages are not perforated, so you will need to use a utility knife (which I recommend) or scissors if you want to remove them. However, even though the binding is strong, it is pliable: I was even able to crack it and fold the book completely over to color without breaking it.
Given the size/weight, the book is very sturdy and does not really need a supporting surface.
The paper is bright white, heavy, and smooth. My soft-core Prismacolor Premier pencils layered and blended beautifully. I also loved the finish with my Staedtler ErgoSoft Model 157 pencils. I recommend finishing your pencil coloring with a burnisher/blender for a more solid color and sheen. The paper is heavy enough to accommodate aggressive pressure shading with pencils.
All designs are printed on both sides of the paper, so the standard warnings about alcohol-based markers apply: the ink bleeds through the paper, ruining the illustration on the other side of the page. And as some of the elements are quite small and the line work fine, you will see feathering outside the lines if you are not careful, even with ultra-fine markers from Sharpie or Bic.
The line thickness in Woodland Wild is fine and grey, so you will need to take some care if you don’t want to color outside the lines if that is your thing. As I noted above, most of the illustrations are full of details. If you have fine motor skill challenges or vision problems, you may find some of the designs quite difficult.
Overall, I’d say the designs range from medium to medium-high on the difficulty scale.
I found myself losing track of time while coloring in Woodland Wild – which is perfect for distraction from a racing or anxiety-filled mind! As well, the designs are fun to color: with Millie’s unique style you don’t have to feel constrained by realism and can use any colors any way you want.
If you choose to embrace the detail in most of the illustrations, you will probably need several sittings to complete them.
Woodland Wild is a wonderful addition to your coloring book stash. The coloring is very satisfying, and everyone will enjoy learning about the wilderness creatures that we need to protect. 4★ out of 5★.