Note: The following is a dictation of video reviews I made, which are also included in this post. You are welcome to read it or watch it or both to see the products in action. Links to buy are scattered throughout this post, or you can browse ColorIt.com here.
Today I have a fantastic colouring book and art materials bundle to show you, sent to me by ColorIt.com. ColorIt is a family run business spearheaded by Erika Befumo who set up this website after noticing that most colouring books don't fulfill the quality critera that a lot of colourists want, such as thick paper stock, better binding, etc. So they designed a range of colouring books in different themes which have been made with quality materials and thoughtful production to give the colourist a superior product.
I have three books to show you today: Mandalas Volume 1, Around the World in 50 Pages, and Wild Doodles. Mandalas contains 50 hand-drawn intricate mandalas for you to colour, and also shows you thumbnails of the original pen & ink drawings in the back of the book. Around the World in 50 pages takes you to landmarks across the globe, from The Great Wall of China to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Wild Doodles is packed full of swirling designs with a variety of line thicknesses, perfect for those who prefer to colour abstract illustrations.
I mentioned earlier some special features of ColorIt books. The first thing I noticed is how sturdy and weighty the book feels in my hands. This is due to the rigid board covers, front and back, that make it easy for you to colour anywhere whether it be at home or on the bus. This strong outer shell if you will also protects the pages inside from becoming dog-eared or bent. The next feature is the double spiral binding, always at the top of the book so that left and right handed people can colour without a restrictive centre spine. This gives easy removal of the pages, although ColorIt have perforated each one to make life even easier so you can get that straight edge when you remove. I should mention that every ColorIt book is made in the same format so you get this quality across the board as standard. They also include a blotter page. This is a designated page that you can remove and use to place behind the picture you're colouring to prevent bleedthrough from heavy or wet media like alcohol markers or paint. Even though this is a really thoughtful idea, I have to say that the paper in these books is so thick that even alcohol markers don't bleed onto the next page unless you really press down hard and leave the pen in one place-- this is something I have NEVER found in a colouring book, and that just shows you how brilliant the paper quality is. It has a light tooth to the surface so that you can blend coloured pencils, but feels smooth to the touch- ideal for markers and other media. Each page is single sided so you don't have to worry about sacrificing a design on the reverse either.
The books come in at around $16 or £13, which I think is a very reasonable price for all the physical features and quality of artwork included. Watch my video review of the books here:
Now onto the art materials! First up is the Coloured Pencil set. I have the 72 set here but they also come in sets of 24 and 48. The first thing I noticed is that it comes in a beautiful box which has a magnetic flap opening and gives a first impression of being a high quality product. You open it up to reveal a racing green tissue lining which THEN reveals the colouring pencil case. Again, the quality is evident straight away. The case is lightly padded for protection and features the ColorIt logo on a rubber emblem. It opens and closes with a strong zip, and inside the 72 pencils are held in individual elastic loops which hold the pencils tightly so they don't slip out or rattle around. This protects the core of the pencil too, leading to less breakages. All pencil sets also include a sharpener, held in its own loop for ease of access. I have tested it with every pencil in this set and it sharpens very well. I had an issue with one of the pencils not sharpening, but this is the ONLY pencil out of the 72 I had problems with, as it just would not hold a point. I don't think it reflects on the overall quality and is probably just an unfortunate anomaly.
The pencils themselves have a rounded barrel with a glossy surface and a colour dipped end which matches up to the core colour very well. The pencils have both a number and a name stamped in silver- my viewers will know I love pens & pencils which have a name!- and these include Cosmic Purple, Autumn Copper, Mainland Green and Optimistic Orange! This makes the pencils easy to chart and find quickly when colouring.
The pencils colour really well with a high level of pigment making them vibrant and bold on the page. They blend fairly well, though obviously not as well as softer artist's pencils like Prismacolor. They are wax based and between soft and hard to laydown. The blends are not totally seamless, but they certainly still perform good enough for the majority of colourists. They also erase surprisingly well for wax based pencils. This pack costs $50 or £40, which I think is reasonable for 72 mid-range quality pencils.
Next up is the ColorIt alcohol Art Marker range. I have the 24 count but they also come in 50 colours. They come in another lovely box which opens to reveal the marker case. Again I'm just blown away by the quality and attention to detail here. It is a hard case with the ColorIt logo on a metal plate at the bottom. It has a carry handle and opens with two zips, revealing a soft suede feel lining throughout. The markers are all held in place by a divider at the bottom to keep them separate. The markers themselves look really professional in design, with a soft triangular shape for ergonomic grip and dual tipped ends. You get a fine tip for detail and a chisel tip for broader strokes. You're able to tell which end is the bullet tip from both the label on the barrel and a grey strip which is always present at the fine end. Both ends of the pen tell you the colour's name and number, as well as being coloured in the same shade as its ink which corresponds really well. So how do they perform on the page?
Really well, certainly at the same level as my Spectrum Noir markers. They blend together really well, in some cases using only two colours and in others you can go from one totally different colour to another by using more shades. They look really smooth on the page and did not bleed through (it should be noted that they WILL DEFINITELY bleed through most papers, it's just that ColorIt books are made with superior quality paper). These pens are $50 or £40 for the 24 set and $100 or £80 for the 50 set. This makes them around $2 per marker which is very in keeping with the general price of alcohol markers out there- and just to compare, Copic markers can cost up to 8 dollars each.
Finally I have the full set of ColorIt Gel Pens. Again we have the lovely magnetised box and a zip case similar to the coloured pencils. Inside are 4 rows of pens which include 24 glitter, 12 metallic and 12 neon colours. The pens have a coloured end, cap and soft grip area which corresponds to the colour inside fairly well. You can tell by the finish on them whether they are glitter, metallic or neon, making it quick to select exactly what you want. Again they are all held in elastic loops, keeping them together neatly and securely. The nib ranges from 0.8mm to 1mm. They all have numbers and names as with all the ColorIt range, so you can chart them easily. The ink flows very well; the 1mm pens more than the 0.8mm for obvious reasons. A couple of the pens I found to be slightly scratchy, but overall they are good quality that laydown well on the paper. In the box I was surprised to find that you also receive a full set of refills for your pens. I haven't known this to be included in any gel pen pack I've purchased before, so I think this is a great addition and will be welcomed by a lot of colourists as gel pens do seem to deplete quite quickly. Some glitter gel pens can be disappointing and contain more colour than they do glitter. I compared them to Martha Stewart glitter pens, Copic glitter pens and Gelly Roll stardust pens, and I'm happy to say the vibrancy & glitter of the ColorIt's really hold their own next to comparable pens in terms of sparkliness. This set is $30 or around £24, not bad for the quality and amount of pens & refills included. Take a look at the pens & pencils in action here: