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Product Testing my self-produced Colouring Book

Yes, that's correct - I have Self Produced my own Colouring Book, and I am putting it to the TEST!


Pastel Coloured Pencils on a Pastel Background
Pastel Aesthetic

Oh Heyy Squish!


I need to fill you in on my recent exciting Sally Journey!


From the moment I began my journey of learning digital drawing, I have always been certain of one thing - my end goal is to create a spectacular colouring book that will capture the imagination of Smitten Hoomans like you.


 

I've been using my iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and Procreate to create some seriously cool artwork lately. My confidence in my skills has shot up, and I've got a whole bunch of drawings to show for it - everything from quick doodles to full-colour artworks.


So, I finally made my way into the stationery world! All the sweat and toil has paid off, and I'm absolutely thrilled to make my debut in this field!


As I prepare to launch my colouring book, I wanted to share with you the love and effort that went into creating it.


LET'S TALK PRODUCT TESTING!


If you love stationery as much as I do, I'm sure you can relate to this statement.


"Some colouring books are crap in terms of how they feel and perform!


BUT WHY?


🖍 The paper is too thin

🖍 The paper is too textured

🖍 Bleeding outside the lines / through the paper

🖍 It has been made with Butcher's paper (I mean why would you?)

🖍 The paper pills and tears when you try to blend!

🖍 The paper feels icky on the side of your hand as you colour in (sensory fun times 😬🤢)


It was super important to me that this colouring book was awesome in every way.

 

PAPER TESTING - For my Colouring Book

As I wanted to produce my own Colouring Book, so I needed to get my hands on the materials and services I needed quickly and easily, without having to go too far.


Off to the trusty Officeworks!

(Yes, I also grabbed some stationery while I was there, because why not? I'm not silly!)


I spent a good 30 minutes in the printer paper aisle - Silk? no, Glossy? NAAAAAH!

Matte - OF COURSE!


Not wanting to make the same mistakes of other colouring books that have come before me, I didn't look any lower than 100gsm! We don't want any ghosts masquerading as paper to possess this process!


250gsm and 200gsm came home with me. I'm not even sure our Brother Printer was going to allow this "Cardstock" to go through it's system. But I was determined to get quality!


I opted for 250gsm covers and 200gsm Colouring pages.

Check out my first Print out (next to my double sided, everyday 90gsm copy paper)


SHE DOUBLE C THICC! Too Thick.. Felt beautiful.. but extreme and overkill

I know you would LOVE the feel of 200gsm colouring pages, it's just not necessary!

Two different book thicknesses due to paper GSM
Colouring Book Testing - Paper GSM

Covers were great - they would be good at 250gsm or 200gsm! SO TICK on that point


Back at Officeworks.. more reems in my basket (my HEAVY basket) and back home

160gsm and 120gsm


I printed a test page out of both paper weights. BOTH felt beautiful (I was worried the 120 would be too light weight) and felt far less bodacious than her sister!


With that I narrowed it down to 160gsm and 120gsm for feel, stability and overall finished product size. It was ready for round two of testing to commence.



 

COLOURING PERFORMANCE - For my Colouring Book


Testing: Alcohol Markers & Blending


These are my FAVE marker!


I really wanted to see how the paper stood up to blending and bleeding


As the paper has a nice and smooth surface, blending was easy.


I picked up this blending technique with alcohol markers when I used to hand make all of my doggo earrings on heatshrink plastic.


My technique:

I deposit a dark tone where I want the shape to be at its darkest. I then used the lighter tone to fill in the other end of the space before blending in the middle.


Alcohol Markers are awesome at this cos the pigment can be shifted and blended by itself, creating a mid tone between your two marker choices.


Blending like this means the paper surface is worked more than layering coloured pencils on top of each other to get the tonal range.


Testing the paper in this way meant that I could impose a lot of friction and rubbing on the paper surface to assess if it were to pill or tear from the overworking.


I am so happy to report that both the 120gsm and the 160gsm BOTH stood up to the Pilling/tearing test with flying colours (heh, Pun)



Testing: Bleeding


With the Alcohol Markers there was a bit of bleeding outside of the lines.


An unfortunate side effect of the alcohol markers is that pending how heavy your hand is when depositing the pigment, you MAY experience bleeding outside of the lines.

This was my experience, as I am pretty liberal with my use of pigment.


Photo of Colouring Book Test Page with soft servce ice cream and test patches of different colouring mediums
Alcohol Marker test - Pigment Bleeding


Alcohol Markers ability to shift and dilute each other gives them a lot of movement, which means beautiful seamless blending if done nicely.

With this method, you are depositing a LOT of pigment to move the pigment to blend.

So by the time you have got your blend how you want it, the ink has crept outside of the lines without you noticing.


With pressure you can control how much pigment is deposited to avoid this.


So if you want to have a detail orientated colouring in session, then give this a go..


If you want mind clearing relaxing colouring I would suggest your own tried and trusted colouring techniques


I only experienced a little bit of Bleeding whilst testing, and I have put it down to my focus on the blend and not on my peripheral vision of the line work. Now that I know that this can be an issue, I will adjust my technique if I were to use Alcohol markers again.


And I will DEFS be reaching for these markers again, and soon!




Testing: Dry Pastels

This test result will be written exactly how my internal voice was expressing its distaste for this medium.. enjoy


  • Well Yuck!

  • Sensory ick!

  • Mess!

  • Blending 🤷‍♀️

  • Dust

  • Precision 👎

  • Just no

  • Vibrant though.. and a diff look..

  • Use at own peril



Photo of Hands testing Dry Pastels on printout of colouring book page
Dry Pastel Testing

Testing: Colouring Pencils (Diff Varieties)


Always a trusted colouring companion! Cannot go wrong with coloured pencils! A colouring book staple!


So, I dug out my VERY OLD Derwents. My tin of Watercolour Derwents was SO MESSY, I almost considered closing them back up and going to watch True Blood instead of testing them!


However I continued!


Like I said, I had my Watercolour Derwents and ALSO some very old Studie Derwents (I think maybe these were my mums?)


In both sets, their leads had gone waxy (is this a thing? I feel like I have noticed this before on previously trustworthy pencils) and would not deposit very well!


I tried layered blends, but this time from Light pigment first to the darker Pigment to create the spectrum.


This wasn't very successful due to the weird waxiness of the leads.

However the PAPER HELD UP BEAUTIFULLY!!!


I am going to get some freshies to test! I won't replace my Derwents just yet, I think I'll go check out the "Back to School" sales for some decent deals. I know you can get some beautiful blends even with cheap pencils! So that will be my next test!


Photo of Hands testing Coloured Pencils on printout of colouring book page
Coloured Pencil Testing

Testing: Paint Markers


The awesome Posca Pen!


I haven't yet done a full colour using poscas!


I will be interested to see how the blending goes for Poscas as they are NOTORIOUS for pilling! (Which I detest)


So that will be a future test!


But for adding highlights in white, the posca worked on EVERY test I had done (EVEN THE DRY PASTELS WHICH SHOCKED ME!)


Posca for highlights = 👌🙌



Photo of Hands testing many different colouring mediums on printout of colouring book page
Posca Paint pen test - highlights


Testing: Pencil on top of Marker / Graphic flourishes

Sometimes you just gotta do what your "Id" wants to do


"Id" - The part of the mind in which innate instinctive impulses and primary processes manifest - Oxford Dictionary

And if your Id wants to make short sharp colourful strokes, over, outside and inside the lines - then you make short sharp colourful strokes, over, outside and inside the lines.


And if your Id wants to come back later with a coloured pencil and deposit lines and spots over your first layer, then you listen to your Id


And if you Id wants to play with graphic line work, or glitter, or splash paint, or use only colours or anything that is outside the NORM for a colouring book... then you move with feeling rather than thought.


It's fun in this space of the mind!


I want you to put this book through its paces during your colouring sessions!


Show me what happens when you use water colour or acrylic paint

Tip for watercolour - sprinkle salt on wet paint on the page for awesome textures!!!


Play with Decoupage, use glitter or stickers. Rip the pages out, cut them up, rearrange them onto a canvas!


DO IT ALL!


I welcome Doggy Ears, Warped Pages and Colouring out of the lines, cos GOSH knows we have to colour inside the lines everywhere else in life!


Info Graphic of Colouring book information
Our Colouring Book

 

OUR COLOURING COMMUNITY


Let's bring this shiz over to our socials!


Send me your tests, your experiments and your finished masterpieces here:


I want to share your work (if you are happy for me to do so of course) we can share diff techniques and experiments with each other to try.


At no point in this are we wanting perfection. We want FUN and all those things that make our Id happy as shiz!


I am so so so hecking excited to be bringing this Colouring Book to you


If you are reading this before the 18.02.24 I am giving all of Sally's friends who submit a preorder Expression of Interest form an exclusive 15% discount for all colouring book purchases - Make sure to let me know you want to be put on the list here



Love and Unicorns!!


Sally Snowdrop


Social Media Post of Behind the Scenes
Officeworks for the binding

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