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Review | Little House Coloring Book

It seems these days that there is a coloring book for almost any topic or theme that a coloring book fanatic could imagine. There is, literally, something for everyone. For coloring fans of the generation that grew up on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books and the Little House on the Prairie tv series, that something might just be the Little House Coloring Book.

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Little House coloring book

I was gifted Laura Ingalls Wilders’ classic series of books by my grandparents for holiday gifts over a series of years when I was in elementary school. I read them obsessively and became such a fan that our family visited the Ingalls/Wilder historic sites in DeSmet, South Dakota on a family vacation during my high school years.

So when I saw the Little House Coloring Book containing some of Garth Williams’ illustrations from the most famous edition of the series – the edition that I own in hardcover – I just couldn’t resist adding it to my library of coloring books! Williams’ illustrations are just as iconic as the stories themselves.

The book contains illustrations from all of the books that are considered part of the original Little House series (Little House in the Big Woods through The First Four Years). Since the Ingalls books were not heavily illustrated and some of the illustrations were small, the coloring book adds in text elements and combines some smaller elements to make repeating patterns on pages.

Little House coloring book page

One of the challenges of working in a coloring book such as this is that you are working with and trying to emulate the style of a familiar artist. Most of the Little House illustrations from Williams that are included in the coloring book were published in black & white sketch form, so there isn’t a specific example to copy from for coloring them. But Williams’ style in the images that he did complete in full-color for the books (such as for the covers) is very beautiful and distinctive.

For those who grew up loving and admiring the Williams illustrations and want to color in that same look, you may be interested to know that Williams usually worked in colored pencil and ink wash for his children’s book illustrations (he’s also famous for illustrating other books such as Charlotte’s Web by EB White).

For the illustration above, from On the Banks of Plum Creek, I used watercolor with limited success to try to mimic the look of Garth Williams’ ink wash look. I should have diluted my colors more.  For the illustration in progress below (from the same book), I am using colored pencil with a blending pencil.  This technique has me much happier with the results compared to the look of Williams’ work, but I have still not entirely got it nailed yet.

Little House coloring book page

This coloring book has been a lovely nostalgic walk down the memory lane of one of my childhood favorites, and also an artistic challenge.

Little House Coloring Book has 90 coloring pages and a cover price of $15.99 (but is currently available on Amazon for around $11).

Review | 20 Ways to Draw a Butterfly by Trina Dalziel [video]

Reported by Maria del Pinto

[Some links in this article may be affiliate links that pay a commission to support Nally Studios if you make a purchase after clicking. Thank you!]

20 Ways to Draw a Butterfly and 44 Other Things With Wings: A Sketchbook for Artists, Designers, and Doodlers” by Trina Dalziel is a straightforward book that shows a variety of different ways that an artist can draw a winged creature using simple ideas and shapes. 

20 Ways to Draw Butterfly Trina Daizel


Trina Dalziel guides the reader to use their basic doodling skills to create unique versions of the same object, a butterfly.This book is not a step-by-step drawing book, but instead more of a fun inspiration book.As you will see in the video, the author has shown how each person can have totally different perspective of the same object.She also points out in her introduction that one artist should not compare their work to another’s.The message of the book is that each one of us is unique, as is our perspective.

Each double page in “20 Ways to Draw A Butterfly” has twenty drawings of the subject matter.Each one is different; some are more complicated and some are very simple. The author has left room on each page for the reader to add their own version of the subject matter.

I am always on the lookout for good basic drawing books that will encourage my kids to create with their hands instead of just using their Wacom Intuos tablets to create. I want my children to know the joy of creating art with their own hands, as well as not always depending on digital media to create things. They only need a pencil and some paper to create these fun simple drawings.  This book does not just concentrate on butterflies, but also includes other things with wings including planes, bugs and birds. My daughter got a kick out of the winged shoe page. One of the neat things about this book is that each section has some blank page space for you to draw on.  So if you get the urge to sketch while reading, you don’t need to search for drawing paper. You can draw right on the page!

Drawing Inspired from book.
Drawing Inspired from “20 Ways to Draw A Butterfly.” Drawn by reviewer’s daughter.

I love books that inspire different ways of looking at things and this book really fits the bill.  My daughter and I are getting some fun ideas from this book and we just keep playing with the ideas and inspirations that the artists has shared on her pages in this book.

example of project inspired by book
“20 Ways to Draw a Butterfly” – example of project inspired by book

20 Ways to Draw a Butterfly and 44 Other Things With Wings: A Sketchbook for Artists, Designers, and Doodlers” is part of a series by Trina Dalziel that also includes the book “20 Ways to Draw a Jellyfish” and the upcoming book “Draw 500 Winged Things.”

What type of books inspire you?  Leave a comment below and share some of your favorite drawing books or inspirations.

Book Review | Washi Tape by Courtney Cerruti

Reported by Maria del Pinto

Washi Tape by Courtney Cerruti

[Some links in this article may be affiliate links that help support the continued operation of Craft Critique if you make a purchase using them.]

Courtney Cerruti’s book “Washi Tape: 101+ Ideas for Paper Crafts, Book Arts, Fashion, Decorating, Entertaining, and Party Fun!” is full of quick and easy ideas for creating great projects with washi tape and decorative tape. 

The book begins with a short introduction to washi tape and examples of some of the different ways it can be used in DIY crafting. Courtney briefly reviews the various types of washi tapes on the market. She also touches on the decorative tapes that are sold with the washi tape name and those that are not, and points out the differences. It is brief overview but enough background to educate the reader about the tapes without taking up too much space in the book.

Washi Tape

She encourages the reader to try the various types and see which ones they enjoy working with. I have personally purchased both washi tapes and some of the new decorative tapes that are now available. Each type has good and bad features, and I use them according to the kind of project that I am creating.

After educating the reader on types of washi tape, the author explains what surfaces washi tape adheres well on, which lets the reader know that washi tape is not just for card making. Courtney also discusses which inks are good for writing on washi tape. The book includes ways to store tape, which is very helpful because once you get hooked on washi tape you will quickly build a collection!

Washi Tape Bead Jewelry Project by Maria DelPinto for Craft Critique.

Courtney also teaches some techniques for working with the tapes, including how to properly layer tapes to get them to work with craft punches. I made the fun beads pictured above using the layering technique, and it really worked well. I intend to use them for a bracelet design I have planned.

The projects in Washi Tape are simple and easy to follow. They include paper projects, home decor projects, DIY projects and more. In her “Home Decor” DIY section, the author includes several simple ideas to use what you have on hand by decorating it with washi tapes. My favorite was the idea of using the washi tape to cover light switch cover plates!

Washi Tape Office Supply Project by Maria DelPinto for Craft Critique

In the book’s office section, I enjoyed Courtney’s phone charger project and office accessories projects.  I used the same ideas to cover the pad and binder clips above with washi tape to create a matched set. These came out so fun!

The book also includes fashion accessory projects, gift tags, party decor, ornaments, and so many more ideas. The projects are very simple which means you can do them in one crafting session, varying from being able to complete them in minutes to ones that require measuring and planning (for the wall art ideas). There was an especially great project for using washi tape as a decorative accent in hanging photos on a wall.  It looked great and does not leave any permanent marks on the wall!

Since this book is geared to introducing the reader to washi tape, it is perfect for a new crafter and would make an excellent gift for anyone who is new to crafting with washi and decorative tapes. Also, there are a lot of great ideas in this book and it is a good source for inspiration if you are trying to figure out a way to use all those cute washi tapes you may have purchased, like I did.

Pros:

  • Lots of Project Ideas.
  • Easy to follow directions.
  • Great DIY project ideas.
  • The book gave me more excuses to go out and buy more washi tape!
  • Storage projects with ideas on how to store washi tape efficiently.

Cons:

  • I got my copy on a Kindle. I prefer the print better so that I could quickly reference the project I wanted to find.
  • You may want to go out and buy more washi tape!
  • The book is written as an introduction to washi tape, along with ideas for crafting with them. If you are fairly familiar with washi tape, then this may not be the book for you.

Washi Tape: 101+ Ideas for Paper Crafts, Book Arts, Fashion, Decorating, Entertaining, and Party Fun! is available on Amazon.com in Kindle and Flexibound versions.

What types of washi tape do you use or projects do you make with them? Share your comments below and let us know.