By Dixie Ohlander
My local Walgreen’s is convenient and seems to have everything I need, so I shop there often. Lucky for me, Walgreen’s stocks coloring books and supplies. While the stock is relatively low, you can still find some great stuff. A few months ago, I spotted two awesome coloring books, Whimsical Escapes and Folk Art Escapes, on an end cap in the office supplies aisle. I bought one of the books right away. But I couldn’t get the other one out of my mind, so I went back a few days later and grabbed the last copy. So much for self-restraint!
The books I so eagerly purchased are part of the Crayola Escapes series. The coloring books in this series are products of collaboration between Crayola and Hallmark. The books feature artwork by Hallmark artists. Although geared toward adults, many of the line drawings included are suitable for kids.
In this article, I’ll review two out of the four books in the Escapes series.
Whimsical Escapes features Hallmark artist, Terry Runyon. Terry’s work showcases a variety of designs, including charming animal and human figures; kitschy kitchen items and delicious desserts; quaint clothing and shoes; fanciful flowers and garden items; decorative bikes and balloons, and much more. Especially charming are the designs influenced by Terry’s feline house buddies, Rylee and Tucker.
The colored illustration of four fancy cats shown in this article is Terry’s design.
I had put aside my set of Crayola pencils for quite some time, preferring to use Marco Raffine, Prismacolor Premier, and Faber Castell Polychromos pencils. It was good to get the Crayola set out again and they worked quite well for the design. I had also forgotten how many great colors there are in the larger sets of Crayola pencils!
Folk Art Escapes
Flora Chang is the artist featured in the Folk Art Escapes book. An illustrator for Hallmark Cards since 2001, Flora’s work for this series is also quite whimsical. There are more repetitive patterns in this book than there are in Whimsical Escapes, but most are cheery and fun. Cups, birds, leaves, boots, houses, ice cream cones, bows, llamas, and toadstools are just a few of the variety of designs in the book. The colored illustration of 40 + heads, shown in this article, is an example of one of Flora’s repetitive patterns. There are actually just three different head designs in this drawing, but because I used many different color combinations for each head it seems like there are more.
I had great fun with this design! I used only colored pencils, but I chose multiple brands/sets instead of just Crayola. The Derwent Coloursoft Skintones set worked very well for a great variation in skin tone colors, but I also used Prismas and did some blending. I ended up with eight or nine different skin tones. This was my first coloring with some serious skin tone work. I also went a bit wild with hair color!
Escapes Series Book Specs
The Escapes series books include 80 single-sided, 8 x 10 pages of thick, bright white paper. Each page is perforated for easy removal. IDEA: It would be fun to remove some of the designs that are more kid friendly to create a coloring box with several pages from the books. Add a box of crayons or colored pencils and you have a great gift!
Because of the paper thickness and single-sided designs, different mediums can be used without worry of bleed-through to an image on the backside. However, as with all books, there is still a need to put card-stock or heavy duty paper between pages if you’re going to color the page while it’s still in the book.
The book covers for each Escapes series book are made up of partially colored, selected images from inside. They make for great shelf appeal, both in the store and in your home. The thickness of the books’ covers keep the inside pages from curling and tearing. You can carry these books around in craft bags, suitcases, or other totes without much worry of them getting bent or frayed.
But Wait, There’s More!
There are two additional books in the Escapes series: Patterned Escapes and Elegant Escapes. Rather than focusing on an individual artist, both of these books include designs by a group of Hallmark artists. Each of these books have the same specs as the Whimsical and Folk Art books, so you get a total of 160 more designs on high quality paper. That’s hard to beat.
All four of the books are available on Amazon, as well as in various retail stores.