Review: The ColoringNotebook #ColoringNotebook #AdultColoringBook #DotGrid

I received a copy of the The ColoringNotebook, Dot Grid version for review, and I can't resist doing the Superman-type spiel, "It's a Notebook!  It's a Coloring Book!  It's The Coloring Notebook!"

In a nutshell, it is a hardbound adult coloring book with 176 pages, 52 with illustrations to color, and a dot grid format for writing or drawing on the remaining pages.

Size: 5.38 x 8.27 in/148 x 210 mm/ ISO 216/ A5
No. Pages: 176 pages total - 52 Coloring Pages, 124 dot grid pages
Cover: Hardbound, synthetic leather treated with high-quality aniline dye
Paper: 100 g/m2, archival, acid-free
Binding: Thread-bound
Format: Dot Grid.  Also available in Lined or Blank.
Extras: Elastic closure, Bookmark ribbon, Back Pocket page, Rounded Corners

Before I go into my usual patter, I think this product needs an answer to a question.  What are the pros and cons of combining a hard-bound notebook with a coloring book.  Only you will know what your pros and cons might be, but these are mine.


  • It will last longer so good for keeping after it's full
  • The illustrations can help inspire your own drawing  
  • The illustrations could be used as story subjects for writing practice
  • It would make a good bullet journal
  • Nice for those places where you don't want everyone to know it's a coloring book
  • It has all the benefits of a coloring book 
  • It has all the benefits of a notebook


  • It's heavier than the traditional coloring book
  • More expensive than a traditional coloring book of similar quality
  • May not be interested in the dot grid pages
  • Some people might feel more of a 'blank page' syndrome, intimidated by working in a more permanent style book.

Look and Feel
The Coloring Notebook has a leather-like cover that's smooth, both to see and to feel.  I showed it above with the informational band still wrapped around it.  Without the band, the cover is a plain black with no markings except for a debossed logo on the lower back.

The corners are rounded, and the cover is slightly larger than the pages, so this will appeal to those who like a slight overhang.

The frontispiece has the same logo printed at the bottom, with lines on the opposite side for a title page

On the inside of the back there is a pocket for holding bits and pieces.

The pages have a dot grid format  The paper is white with a brownish gray dots.  The dots may be too light for some, but for most will provide a guide for writing and drawing that will not be obvious once the page has been used.

The paper is thin, and the printed illustrations show through on the blank pages.  For those using this as a notebook, the show-through might be a problem, especially once the illustrations have been colored.  My plan is to color the illustrations first, then use the show-through as part of whatever I write or draw.

The binding is sewn, and the edging has a pattern created by the illustrations printed throughout the book.  I like the effect.

The book has an elastic closure.  It's looser than I'm used to, but keeps the book closed.

The book does lie flat, but, as with all books with this kind of binding and this many pages, you need to gently fold the book back to accomplish this.  It will be necessary to do this 4 or 5 times at different parts of the book.

Because there are so many pages, even lying flat, there is a slope to the pages that makes it difficult to color all the way to the inside edge.  This shouldn't cause a problem except on the five two-page spread illustrations.

The illustrations are drawn by a number of graphic artists from Australia, Canada, France, Italy, US, Ukraine and Japan.  The styles range from simple cartoon-like subjects to intricate patterned landscapes.

Colored Pencil

The paper in The Coloring Notebook is smooth but my colored pencils worked well on it.  I managed to get 3-5 layers of color with no waxy build-up and good coverage.  The show-through on the back actually was less noticeable because the color evened out, and the whole page was slightly darker than before.

Watercolor flows well on the paper.  The water does cause some dimpling, and some color bleeds through to the back of the page.  I used a waterbrush, one of those brushes that carries water in the barrel, and it delivers just about the right amount of water for this kind of paper.

Marker Pen
I used watercolor markers to color this illustration, but used them dry.  I liked this medium best for the book, but it did cause the most show-through to the back.

Even more than coloring, I find myself wanting to draw in this book.  Here I used the illustration on the right to inspire me for the drawing I did on the left.  Later, I'll color both of them in.

I used to do this kind of writing with my nieces when they were very young.  Back then I'd let them make up the story.  I still like to do it just for my own amusement.

The Coloring Notebook is full of whimsical illustrations from various artists.  It combines the best features of both coloring books and notebooks, and can be used to spur your own creativity.

The paper is thin and allows substantial show-through.  This will be a problem for some and a basis for creativity with others.

You can find out more about the ColoringNotebook at their website.

Other Reviews:
Coloring Queen

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of The Coloring Notebook in return for a frank opinion of the product.  I've done my best to give one here.  I received no other compensation.