Review of Carolyn Boettner's Coloring Pages

Many of you are aware of Carolyn Boettner's beautiful Zentangle®-Inspired Art.  And I'm happy to be introducing her work to those who haven't seen it before. (You can find her work on her Flickr site or at her Facebook Page Doodle Daze Designs)

Carolyn creates the most amazing ZIAs, and she is now selling coloring page sets of her work!  I was so pleased when I saw this, that I bought a set, and when I told her I'd be doing a review, she graciously offered a set for this giveaway (details below).

Carolyn has six sets of coloring pages available.  Each set includes a black and white sheet suitable for coloring and a full-color sheet, showing how she colored the work.  

Size: 8.5 x 11 inches (21.59 x 27.94 cm)
Weight: 80# laser on the color prints & 67# Bristol on the B&W's.
Surface: Smooth but not glossy. 

Look and Feel
These sheets are light enough to be flexible, but heavy enough to be sturdy. I can bend a sheet (gently) so that the corners touch and there is no creasing, and I can stand one upright, holding it at the bottom, and the sheet stands up straight without collapsing.  They'd be easy to carry inside a PeeChee style folder or large envelope and sturdy enough to take some wear & tear.

The full-color sheets have a nice range.  There is a white border around them that isn't always even, but that can easily be covered by framing! I just wish Carolyn's signature was placed a bit higher so it won't be covered when I do frame them! Personally, I think these are worth the price alone.  

The black & white sheets have gray tones, so you already have shading.  Although, they're inviting to color, you may be tempted to leave them as is, just to have the artwork both ways. 

Before I started coloring my pages, I spoke with Carolyn a bit, and asked what she had tried on the paper.  This was her response...

"Sandra, I tested alot of different mediums on them ... I used Prisma, Tombow,& kuretake markers, the Prisma had bleedthru (like they do on everything) but none of the markers smeared the ink of the print ... I used Prisma, Derwents Colour soft, Derwents Inktense, Faber Castell watercolor pencils & General's Kimberly watercolor pencils ... I used a colorless blender brush pen with the Inktense & the watercolor pencils instead of a waterbrush or brush & water ... I also tested Sharpie & Bic markers for those who don't have the more expensive markers, they worked fine but had the same bleedthru which did'nt affect the coloring page on the front but I would want to lay down something to protect the surface below it. I think that's about it, oh, .. I did try Lyra colored pencils too, used them both dry & with my Tombow colorless brush marker ... I never use waterbrushes or brushes & water with my watercolor or Inktense pencils anymore , I love the way the respond to the colorless brush blender & they are really portable that way ... just have a separate piece of paper off to the side to run the brush over to keep from carrying it from one color to another, especially the dark ones."

Since, she had not used water that was the first thing I decided to try out.  

I whipped out my Tim Holtz Distress Markers and the color went down smoothly and richly.  These are water-soluable markers, so I used a waterbrush hoping to lighten and spread the color.  The water just soaked in, and made no difference to the color at all.  Once the wet spot dried, there was no indication it was there at all.

Since the color was a little darker than I wanted over all (something I've found with these markers in the past), I decided to use my Faber-Castell White Big Brush pen to lighten some areas.

I wasn't done with testing out the waters, though.

For my second page I used Luminarte's Twinkling H2O watercolors.  The color spread easily though I did need to keep my brush wet to keep it moving.  The paper did buckle and dimple as the paint dried, but I piled a few books on top overnight, and it flattened out with just the slightest of dimpling left.

The scan never picks up the glimmer of these colors, but they look fantastic. The heavily shaded areas of gray tone give a slightly greenish cast to the yellows.  I got some spotting of color on the back of the page so you'll want to have a craft mat or some protection underneath while coloring this way.

Satisfied that watercolor is an option, I moved on to Colored pencils.

Since the coloring pages are quite smooth, I wondered if they would have enough tooth for colored pencils, and indeed they do!

I was able to work up to four layers with no waxy build-up, and I could have continued had I desired to do so.  If you apply too much pressure rather than building up color with layers, you do get pencil marks (that is very common), but I found I could lift some color away with an eraser.

I was very pleased with the delicacy of the color.  Unfortunately, the scan lightened everything, especially the greens in the background.  There is far more definition of color than it shows here.

I decided to save the other pages for when I remind you about the giveaway! Coming up next--alcohol marker.

Based on what I've done so far,watercolor is fine, but you won't be able to get washes or to blend water-soluable media with water. (I need to get one of those colorless brush blenders!)

Color pencil works beautifully, buidling color nicely, and allowing highlights to be added by lifting color away. 

These pages are great fun.  You can use Carolyn's full-color pages as references or do your own thing.  Either way, you'll find her line work and fanciful twirls and whirls to be an inspiration!

Uou can purchase Carolyn's coloring pages at her website, 2nd Story Studio Designs.

The Giveaway-now closed

One winner will receive all 6 sets of Carolyn's coloring pages.

Comment on this post to enter.  Leave contact information. 
If you don't wish to leave contact information here, copy your comment, paste it into an email and email me at

Starts Monday 12:00 AM  PST 11/05/12  

Ends  Sunday 11:59 PM PST.  11/11/12
I'll announce the winner on 11/12/12.

Good Luck!