Monday, March 7, 2016

Book Battle: 50's Coloring Books


-Carrie Anne

Today I have two similarly themed, yet very different, coloring books for you.  The first is Creative Haven's "Fabulous Fashions of the 1950's,"  and the second one is "1950's Coloring Book: Fashion and Style," by Individuality Books.

Fabulous Fashions features full page illustrations that seem ripped from vintage catalogs.  Every figure is posed, perfectly coiffed and ready for their close up.  There are men and women pictured in suits, casual wear, coats, and evening attire.  Unfortunately, nearly every dress has a flower pattern on it!  That's my only beef with the book.  They're still beautiful dresses, and I know the flowers add interest, but it would have been nice to have more of the plaid, fruit, or pop patterns that were also popular at the time.

Fashion and Style has movement.  Every picture was hand drawn and has the feeling that the artist had a cocktail napkin and did a quick sketch for us.  Features aren't fully formed on the figures, even fingers aren't cleanly delineated.  Many of the pages have swirls and squiggles in the background that add a busyness to otherwise plain pictures.  In fact, some figures don't even have shoes drawn on.  But, this leads to an interesting feeling:  I could do so much with these basic pictures!  I can add my own style of shoes, my own pattern on the dress!  That's when the background patterns become a hindrance, too much fuss.  In an attempt to fill the page, I think the artist did more harm than good.  Some of the patterns aren't hand drawn, either, and feel almost stamped on.  It's a jarring contrast to the flowing lines otherwise shown in the book.

Both books have average weight paper, but markers will bleed through.  Fabulous Fashions solves this problem by having single sided, perforated pages for easy removal (as do all of Creative Haven's books)  while Fashion and Style offers a blank sheet between each of its single sided pictures.  I could see these blank pages also being used to do some sketching of your own.

All in all, Fabulous Fashions is a beautifully done book that's fun just to flip through, admiring the cut of the dresses and the beautiful trims that were used at the time.  Fashion and Style begs you to be creative and add your own touch...if you can get past the patterns in your way.

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