The coloring book is jumbo-sized! It's too large to fit my scanner, so I apologize that the photos might be a bit fuzzy in areas. My photography skills are not as advanced as my scanning skills.
Look and Feel
Size: Approx 12 x 12 inches
No. of Pages: 30
Binding: Wire Coil, Top-bound
Covers: Front Cover-Light flexible cardboard; Back Cover-Heavy rigid cardboard.
Price: $21.50 USD
The pages in the Majestic Mandalas coloring book only have illustrations on one side. With 30 illustrations, you have plenty of pages to color, but you can use a wider variety of mediums without the worry that you'll ruin something on the back. It also means you can tear out a page and frame it without losing something on the back.
I've already mentioned that the book is jumbo-sized. That means it is fairly heavy. This is a book that will take a lot of jostling but won't be something you slip into your bag to carry around.
The paper is thick and stiff, almost very thin card stock. It's white and smooth, but not glossy or slick.
The book is top-bound with a double wire coil. I held the corner of one page and bounced the whole book up and down several times, with no ripping and no indentations in the paper. The wire-coil didn't bend or collapse from this treatment. Then, I also tried ripping out a page. I carefully ripped one corner free from the binding, and the rest of the page tore away cleanly and with ease. You'll have the option of removing pages for coloring or framing, but you won't easily tear out a page by accident.
The ink is black and the lines are dark but not overly thick. The illustrations are lively, with enough detail to make interesting pages, but not fussy with tiny detail that would get lost once colored.
Every page is a mandala with a theme - aircraft, beach, desert, etc. There are some larger, empty areas that might be too much for the easily bored to color in, but they are sections of the mandala that could easily be left uncolored, and still be part of the whole design.
Inside the front cover there is an introduction to the artist and a discussion of the relaxing power of the mandala.
The themes for the mandalas are: Airplanes & Balloons; The Beach; Butterflies; Sweet Treats; Chess; Citrus Fruits & Flowers; Desert Animals & Flowers; Fashion Accessories; Fish; Perfume Bottles; Fruits; Garden Vegetables & Tools; Abstract; Luck & Fortune; Abstract; Kitchen Tools; Lamps, Lightbulbs and Candles; Stars & Planets; Musical Instruments; Abstract; River Life; Ribbons & Bows; Seashells; Teatime; Toys; Birds, Flowers & Leaves; Abstract; Flowers; Wine Bottles; Barrels & Grapes
Note: The pages are not titled so the themes I presented here are my version of possible titles, not the author's.
The first thing I tried was colored pencil. I used Derwent's Water-soluble Graphitint and Metallic using them dry, but mostly wet. I found that I did get some streaking when using the pencils dry. The streaks disappear when I wet the pigment and blended. The streaking was avoided when I used light strokes and built the color up slowly. To get darker values, I applied another layer of pencil once the wet color had dried. In most cases, I did not re-wet.
Drying time was fairly quick except when I added so much water that it was standing on the page. No way around it -- no matter the paper, that much water takes a while to dry!
And I did saturate some areas, getting them really wet, but there was no bleed-through or show-through at all. The paper dimpled a bit and changed texture slightly. I weighted the book after the page had dried, and the dimpling flattened out. The only real indication that the paper had been wet is a slight difference in the sound when you turn the page.
Gel Ink Pens
I used Sakura Gellyroll gel ink pens--the Moonlight, Stardust, Metallic and Classic types. The color went down very smoothly with an almost velvety texture. Gel ink is slow to dry, but drying time wasn't bad on this paper. You'll still need to be careful about smearing, but that's the ink, not the paper.
For my third example, I used Copic Markers. They did bleed through by about 25%, which is actually very good for untreated paper. The ink flowed easily, blended well and is bright but not brilliant, allowing you to get a nice range of light to dark values.
I like the way the color bled through to the back. I find it as interesting as the more finished look on the front.
Orna Ben-Shoshan's Majestic Mandalas coloring book has lively illustrations with line work that is great for coloring. Lots of details but not fussy. There are large areas that some might find boring to fill in, but they can easily be left blank and still advance the design.
The book is sturdy with good paper that will take a variety of mediums. Care might need to be taken with some brands of colored pencils to avoid streaking when used dry, but water-soluble color pencil works very well on this paper. It handles wet mediums without little to no show-through or bleed-through. Any dimpling flattens out if weighted. Even with alcohol marker there isn't much bleed-through.
The book is too heavy for a daily carry, but sturdy enough to pack away for use while on vacation or other travel. Pages won't easily rip by accident, but can be removed on purpose with no problem.
This would be a nice gift or treat-to-oneself for the coloring enthusiast.