Monday, 20 June 2016

The Aviary Takes Flight…..

What is it about birds that makes them so very special to colour?
I guess it's all these things and more - colour, shape, light, texture in feathers and of course the huge variety of species and environments. Every bird is a different challenge.

My swan

My flip through video - 

Title:  The Aviary
Artists:  Claire Scully and Richard Merritt

At a glance…..

Size - 290 x 290, 64 pages
Single-sided images - yes
Images into the spine - no
Paper - white
Perforated - yes
Water based pens - okay with care.
Who will love it - those who get endless joy colouring birds of all types, those who are fans of the drawings of Claire Scully and Richard Merritt and those who want a companion volume to The Menagerie.

You may also like to read about The Menagerie by these same artists - here.
and Claire's other book, Nordische Wildnis - here.

 You can find out more …..

The Aviary - UK edition, Michael O'Mara

You can buy it at - Book Depository;  Amazon UK;
Amazon US (Barrons edition) and Booktopia AU

Also coming up soon by Claire and Richard is -

The Aquarium

You can preorder it at - Book Depository and Amazon UK

Tell me more…..


This is the first book out this year by these two artists and the next one, The Aquarium, is due out in September. There are some birds in here that I've never heard of before so that brings in the research element which I love in a colouring book. Yes, I'm going to learn something! Now I know what a boobie and a hoopoe look like!


Richard and Claire have complimentary drawing styles, as we saw in The Menagerie. Richard's is more folk art and his drawings are more patterned. The swan I coloured above is one of his, (I think). Claire's drawings follow the texture of the feathers more. The toucan on the back cover below is one of her drawings, (I think).

You may choose to colour them in vibrant, bright colours or do some research and colour them realistically. I took on the challenge to colour a white swan and I loved doing that. So it is possible to colour white birds too.
There are 31 images to colour. As with The Menagerie, this book really is a portrait book with mostly bird heads either front on or as a side profile. Several though show the whole bird and some are in flight which is great. 
Each image, except the peacock, has some unobtrusive coloured background like a few leaves or flowers. I find these additions great as you can leave the rest of the background white or use these colours as a suggestion for a background colour.
The level of detail is moderate to highly detailed and if you choose, you can lose yourself in colouring small segments, or you can take a block colouring approach which is what I do. In this instance I use the patterns as texture and shade more heavily on the more detailed areas. 

The back cover, showing you what can be achieved

Layout and Paper:

The cover of this book is far better than any photo I've seen; beautiful turquoise foil lettering and accents of silver foil on the bird. The Michael O'Mara edition is the same size as the companion book, The Menagerie. The Barrons edition is a bit smaller. 

All the images are on single-sided pages that are perforated for easy removal.
The paper is white and average-good quality so you can use your markers as long as you protect the following page.

Other bird books I have reviewed are -

Manu - see the review here.
NZ Native Birds - see the review here

Book reviews and posts from last week -

That Marvellous Menagerie book - review is here.

Did you know about The Alice Project? - post is here.

The Ultimate Tenniel book... - review is here.

* This book was bought me. 


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