I have enjoyed coloring since I was 2 years old. I have been very pleased with the advent of the adult coloring book phenomenon & extremely pleased that Amy Zerner and Monte Farber have created two delightful adult coloring books for Harper Elixer. Their titles are: The Enchanted Tarot and Enchanted Worlds. The daughter of classic coloring book & greeting card illustrator, master artist Jessie Spicer Zerner, Amy Zerner followed in the artistic footsteps of her mother and is world renown for her tapestry collage art that has resulted in several tarot and oracle decks as well as unique clothing designs. Both coloring books are dedicated to Amy’s mother. All accompanying text is written by Amy’s husband, Monte Farber, who is an author in his own right, astrologer, and psychic. Together they have been a publishing tour de force for several decades.
The Enchanted Tarot adult coloring book consists of the major arcana and sixteen court cards from the tarot deck of the same title. Amy Zerner provided detailed line drawings of each image. Monte Farber provides the text that accompanies each image that includes the card’s title, positive phrase related to the meaning of the card, and a list of keywords. The text accompanying each image is provided on the facing page so as you work on coloring the image you can easily refer to the text on the left-hand opposite page.
At first glance the drawings for The Enchanted Tarot may appear to be overly intricate, but this is due to Amy Zerner including line demarcations for shading on faces, clothing, and other design elements. This element is not found in most coloring books so artists who enjoy shading to illustrate depth and dimension will appreciate the added line details.
As you begin to work in the Enchanted Tarot coloring book I would recommend you begin with the larger areas first and work down toward the smaller more intricate areas of the illustration. Above is the Chariot card from the Enchanted Tarot deck and coloring book. Here is the same illustration again, but now it has been partially colored.
Due to the detail of each image I do not recommend using crayons with The Enchanted Tarot coloring book. You will need an artistic medium that allows you a good degree of control over the application of color. Instead of crayons, I have used and recommend the following mediums:
- Colored pencils
- watercolor pencils
- dual-tipped water-based markers (fine point at one end, brush at the other)
- gel & glitter pens
You will need an artistic medium that allows your hand a great deal of control, so anything that ends in a point will work well. I do not recommend alcohol-based markers, such as Copics. They will bleed through the paper. More on product specifics regarding coloring below.
Monte Farber describes their other coloring book, Enchanted Worlds, as a “magical journey through the world of imagination.” It clearly delivers on that promise. Whereas Amy Zerner’s illustrations for The Enchanted Tarot coloring book are fine lined & quite detailed, her drawings for the Enchanted Worlds coloring book are drawn with a thicker line. There are also more areas of the illustrations that have been solidly inked in, which adds black to the overall composition that makes colors pop when added by the colorist. I would say that the Enchanted Worlds coloring book is easier to color than The Enchanted Tarot, but as long as you keep your pencils sharpened The Enchanted Tarot makes for a fine coloring book as well. Those of you with less patience, however, I would definitely recommend the Enchanted Worlds coloring book to you over The Enchanted Tarot.
The Enchanted Worlds adult coloring book is organized in the same manner as The Enchanted Tarot coloring book. All text appears on the left-hand page with the image to color on the right-hand page. The text of the Enchanted Worlds is also written by Monte Farber and includes the title of the illustration accompanied by a positive affirmation or a brief description of the symbols included in the illustration. For example, the text accompanying “Gentleness” reads: “[t]he Flower Fairy makes her way across the rosy dreamscape, greeted by awakened birds, elves, and flowers, symbols of gentleness and compassion.”
The Enchanted Tarot and Enchanted Worlds are no ordinary coloring books. If colored with intention the act of coloring becomes meditative and magical. According to the Artist herself:
With my books, while you color, you are meditating on the magic and meaning of each image, with words and affirmations by Monte. It becomes a ritual. We incorporate the intention of each tarot card and affirm each Enchanted World drawing with a message. We always like to balance wise words and images. That is our specialty. There becomes an ebb and flow between image and the silence and the words. In this way, coloring is elevated to a spiritual practice ~ Amy Zerner.
As an artist myself, I can vouch for the fact that the act of artistic creation is a large part of my spiritual practice. I enter a “zone” when I am creating and though I may suffer from artistic frustrations upon occasion, I always come out of a creative session feeling renewed and uplifted. Adult coloring books like The Enchanted Tarot and Enchanted Worlds now make the benefits of creative meditation accessible to everyone regardless of artistic experience.
The remainder of this review is intended for artists and colorists who wish to know the technical details, which apply to both coloring books and are as follows:
- Overall size: 8 1/2 x 11 x 5.8″
- Page total: The Enchanted Tarot (80) Enchanted Worlds (82)
- Images: 38
- Perforation: none
- Protective sheet: none
- Paper weight: 80 lbs
- Recommended artistic mediums:
- colored pencils ~ layering & burnishing up to 4 layers of colors works well on this paper weight. I have not tried more than 4 layers of color.
- watercolor pencils ~ 3 layers work well, but use minimal water for blending. I used just enough water to get the colors to blend.
- water-based markers ~ I used Tomball, Zig, and a generic no-name store brand. This paper holds up well to 3 layers of blended water-based markers. As you add a fourth layer be careful because at this point the color will begin to bleed through the page. If layering more than 3 colors I would recommend inserting a blank sheet of paper to avoid bleed-through on the following image.
- crayons work well on any type of paper and work well for the Enchanted Worlds coloring book, but due to the intricacy of the illustrations for The Enchanted Tarot coloring book, I do not recommend crayons.
Note: If you are like me you may be hesitant to mar your coloring book with color. There is a simple fix. This is what I do with my coloring books. I basically very carefully take them apart. This is the method I use and so far I have not ruined a single image:
- I carefully cut or tear the front and back covers from the spine of the coloring book.
- Next, I begin with the first image (or title page) and carefully bend the page back and forth against the binding. Bend the page along where the paper actually meets the glue of the binding.
- As you see the page begin to give slightly, VERY carefully pull or rip the page from the book. Do this slowly with patience.
- Do the same to the last page of the coloring book.
- Return and repeat the process with the remaining front page, then the remaining back page, and so on until you have pulled all the pages free from the spine.
I keep my coloring page originals in a manila file folder with the book cover for reference. When I wish to color an image I make a copy. Keep in mind that copies made on a printer can bleed based upon what type of ink you use in your printer.
The adult coloring book “fad” appears to be here to stay. A trip to my local book and craft stores have become increasingly dangerous to my pocketbook as increasing numbers of coloring books appear on the shelves. Amy Zerner’s artwork translates very well to the coloring book medium and these books will be enjoyed by anyone who wishes for a bit of creative magic in their life.
~ Nefer Khepri, PhD., R. M-T.
The Egyptian Lenormand: signed & activated copies
Full Disclosure: I received this deck from the publisher in order to consider it for review. I only review those decks that are of interest to me & which I feel would also be of interest to my followers.