Top positive review
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Fantastic illustrated version of Dracula, well-chosen quotes, well-drawn images and lovely thick paper ideal for pens & pencils
on 14 September 2016
This review is taken from my blog where I review adult colouring books from a mental health perspective. More images can be found here - colouringinthemidstofmadness.wordpress.com
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book is 25cm square, the same size as most bestsellers, paperback with a thick but flexible card cover which has a wallpaper style design printed on the inside of the dust flaps, the cover is predominantly black with white line drawings and red foiling accents and text. The spine is glue and string bound and is fairly durable but does start to break if you’re particularly persistent with trying to flatten it. The images are printed double-sided and therefore a number of them do enter the spine a little which makes them tricky to colour. The paper is bright white, thick and lightly textured, I experienced no bleeding or shadowing with any of my water-based pens and I was able to get plenty of layers with my coloured pencils; alcohol markers will bleed through. The majority of the images are double-page spreads and a quote from the original book is printed onto each. The images themselves are arranged into chronological order to loosely tell the story and consist of a number of scenes, quotes, patterns and images depicting something mentioned in the displayed quote. There are images of Dracula, inside and outside the castle, forests, women being turned into vampires, vampire paraphernalia, scenes of Whitby, and Dracula’s death. As you’d expect in a book about vampires, there’s a fair amount of blood throughout but sadly the illustrator has decided to fill this in with black throughout the book meaning you’ll need to use a very opaque pencil or paint to make it red. I personally feel this was a real error in what is otherwise, a very well-illustrated book. At the end of the book is a double-page spread titled The Folklore of the Fangs which describes historical beliefs about who’s at risk of becoming a vampire, how to ward them off, how to prevent the dead from being transformed and how to destroy them. Illustrations that symbolise these things are cleverly pictured throughout the book to enhance the story which is a wonderful addition!
In terms of mental health, this book is ideal if you’re a fan of the original story and love all things gothic and dark. The images are drawn in a consistent line thickness which remains thin throughout. There is a high level of intricacy and detail in many of the images though there are larger spaces in the images containing people, but mostly you’ll need fairly good vision and fine motor control in order to get the most out of this book. There isn’t a lot of leeway in the images to prevent you going over the lines or missing the details so do bear this in mind and check the suitability of the images below. The images are, as you’d expect, very dark and a little gory but they’re unlikely to upset anyone unless you’re particularly sensitive. I’d stick to colouring it on your good days as this book and its contents are certainly not uplifting or at all positive so they won’t help dark days or days when self-injury is in mind. That being said, if you like the story of Dracula, these things may not bother you so much and may impact your mental health less. The quotes are chosen very well to tell the story from beginning to end and the scenes depict the most crucial moments and are interspersed with images of objects, room scenes from inside the castle, and patterns that all fit well with the other imagery and the story itself. Some of the images are busier than others so there is a bit of variance in the amount of time it’ll take to complete each page but mostly they’ll take a good few hours to complete and are therefore most suited to good days where your concentration is high and you can focus well. These images are very distracting and will need you to pay a fair amount of attention so that you stay within the lines so it’s great for absorbing you into the task at hand and would be really good for practising mindfulness as you focus on the here and now. However, it’s equally good at transporting you into the story and into the gothic world of Transylvania. The images are very dark, both in content and colour, a large number of the images have black backgrounds or large blacked out parts so please be careful to only use this book on brighter days when you’re feeling resilient.
I would highly recommend this book to fans of Dracula, the imagery and quotes are well chosen and it’s a very good way of combining the classic story with symbolic illustrations that you can colour into your own bespoke book.