Thursday, October 22, 2015

Review 'Zentangle® Für Kids' by Beate Winkler #Zentangle #BookReview #ActivityBook

The latest book by Beate Winkler, 'Zentangle® Für Kids' is a German edition hardback Zentangle activity book with a strong circus theme.  Currently, it is only available in German, but may be published in English at a later date.  It's still worth looking at even if you don't speak German (I don't).

Although it is an activity book, the emphasis is on tangling.  While it's aimed at kids, it would make an fun introduction to Zentangle for adults.  It's easy enough for its target audience, but I think it would be entertaining for almost any age.

I apologize for the poor photography here.  The book is slightly too large (22.6 x 28.1 cm. (8.9 x 11.1 in.)) to fit on my scanner, and I had to back away to get a good clear shot.



Look and Feel
Specs:
No. of Pages: 64
Cover: Hardcover
Binding: Sewn
Size: 22.6 x 28.1 cm. (8.9 x 11.1 in.)
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
Language: German
ISBN-10: 3863554027
ISBN-13: 978-3863554026
Extras: Bookmark, Stencil

This is one of the nicest looking Zentangle books that I've seen.  It's a sturdy hardback in pastel colors that are still saturated enough to be striking and eye-catching.

The paper is high-quality and the binding is strong.  Even with the tug and pull and dropping it might encounter with children, the book should hold up well.  The trade-off is in weight.  It can hold up to travel, but might be heavy for some children.  Having lots of children's book myself (what can I say? I'm a child at heart, lol), I'd say it's average weight for a children's book of that size.

The book lies flat, so drawing and coloring is easy. The book can be folded back, though it won't lie completely flat in that situation.  But enough that you could reduce the size when doing the activities in a smaller space.


I tested various media and all appear bright on the paper.  There was a dot of bleed-through with the fountain pen and a little show-through with the watercolor marker and graphic liner, but all were so faint that I couldn't get them to scan or photograph.

The paper did pill a little bit with the watercolor marker when I applied water, and the color didn't flow well so I wouldn't recommend this book for watercolor or 'wet' media.  I was impressed at bright the color was and how strong the contrast was with the black and white.  This paper is pleasure to draw on.



Content
I'm guessing a little with some of the content because I don't read German, but while I don't understand all the detail I think I'm getting the gist of each page.

The book comes with a fun bookmark, as well as a stencil sheet.


The stencil is glued to the back cover of the book, and can be used on the activity pages as well as for making tags on other pieces of paper or cardboard.


Out of the 64 pages there are 7 numbered activity sections plus one bonus activity.  Each activity is a double-spread (covering two pages), and each has a drawing that is circus-themed (elephants, tents, monkeys, etc.)  There are tips and prompts.  Sometimes you are given strings (spaces to tangle in), and the start to specific tangle patterns.  These are large pages, so you could combine everything to make a very complex drawing, or entertain yourself with several separate activities.

But out of 64 total pages, only 16 are used for activities.  For that reason, I'd qualify this as more of an introduction to Zentangle than an activity book, though it is easily both.

Step-outs for 25 patterns are given (including my own 'Beanstalk').  The step-out pages include clear easy steps, examples and tips. Most, if not all of the patterns can be found online or in other books.  It's a good collection though, and given the quality of the book itself, it's a good choice for a beginner's book or for those who would like the collection in a book that's a keeper.

Other pages include an intro to Zentangle, what is needed, how to get started, helpful tips and tricks, how to make a decorative tag, a Zentangle glossary, thank-yous to contributors & links to their blogs & websites, and an index for locating all the patterns in the book.

The pattern step-outs in the book are for:
Ahh, Beanstalk, Chemystery, Crescent Moon, Cubine, Diskbee, Eke, Fassett, Hollibaugh, Indy-Rella, Keeko, Knightsbridge, Laced, Nzeppel-Random, Onamato, Spiderman, Spoonflowr, Striping, Tripoli, W2, Wheelz, Widgets, Wiesenliesl, Winkbee and Zinger.

Examples
I did the first activity double spread.  I used an Ohto Graphic Liner to draw my patterns, and used the stencil to add some stars, Sakura Gelly Pens were used to color the elephant and Widgets included on the page, and my own patterns.  For the background, I used colored pencils.

There are a few specs on the back of the page where I really saturated the page with the graphic liner (filling in Striping and Knightsbridge), but nothing that could be picked up on the scanner.

The patterns I used from the book are Crescent Moon, Knightsbridge, Laced, Nzeppel-Random, Striping, Tripoli, Widgets and Winkbee


On the opposite page I filled in the strings that were pre-drawn.  I was again impressed with how bright the ink is on this paper.  It's excellent for bold and stark contrast.

The patterns I used from the book are Aah, Beanstalk, Cubine, Diskbee, Fassett, Indy-Rella, Spoonflower, W2 and Wiesenliesl.


Overall
This is a beautifully made book.  The content is fairly standard for an introductory Zentangle book, with fun illustrations and activities thrown in.  The high quality of the product and indexing make this a keeper even once the activities have all been completed.  

It would be a good book for children to learn, and also one they can look at once grown to revive fond memories, and perhaps renew an interest in a relaxing activity.

While there isn't a lot that would be new for a seasoned tangler, the activities would still be fun and they might like the book as a quality production with a nice selection of tangle patterns.


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