Friday, December 18, 2015

Mystery Women, An Adult Coloring Book by M. R. Umlas

Front cover of the coloring book
It's been almost a week since my fingers touched the keys of my laptop, just to tell you how pretty much out of sync I have been since December started. I literally declared myself incommunicado from all things coloring just so I could give focus to last minute Christmas shopping and preparations for my sister's upcoming wedding. (Geez, who said Christmas is all we celebrate in December. Weddings are happening left and right! One can tell, formals are quickly running out of sizes in shops.)

Anyway, a couple of days ago this book came to my door, literally, and I just had to stop everything and peek inside. The cover may not all be that stunning, more of dark and mysterious, but being a sucker that I am for coloring I just had to see quickly if the illustrations inside would make me bolt up and want to color again despite my hectic schedule.

They did. My heart skipped a beat. First thought that ran in my mind was that I had to tell my kolorista group about the existence of this work.

I immediately uploaded a flip-through clip in my Instagram account, take a look:

Let me tell you more about the pictures later, before that let me briefly talk about the cover. It is made of paperboard that's held together with glue. Its dimensions are 9 x 12 in. and a quarter of an inch thick. The cover illustration which has a matte finish runs from front to back of both Front Cover and Back Cover, with a poetic blurb at the back that gives more illusion of the mystique in between the pages. There's nothing printed behind the covers, just plain white. No jacket as well.

Moving inside, the book was printed offset, on 90gsm paper. The cover page has printed on it the title, the name of the author, M. R. Umlas, and the Illustrator's name, Ronaldo Jimenez. In the reverse page are the information on the Philippine copyright which essentially says that anyone who reproduces the book or any portion of it in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author will get sued. The information on the Layout and Cover Design Artist, Kathleen Melendrez, as well as the printer, Visualtek Graphic Solutions, can likewise be found there. A blurb page follows before the actual coloring pages, which makes up 30 illustrations. The coloring pages are one-sided, just perfect for markers and watercolor. (I have actually tried each of them to see what medium to recommend, you may read about that later on.) They are also perforated. I tried to detach one and it came off with small, careful tugs as I went down the page.

Another blurb page is inserted before the actual coloring pages
I asked the author, M. R. Umlas, to tell me a bit about her 'baby' and here's what she shared:

"The idea for this project was born when I started drawing late last year, and I found that I was drawn to drawing mysterious women's faces. I felt like there was so much to convey in a women-themed book because well, women are such multi-layered and fantastic creatures, right?? I thought of putting them all in a book, as coloring pages. But I was so busy that time so I couldn't really work on it. Anyway, around June this year, I finally buckled down to work. So I enlisted the help of my best friend's brother, Rolando Jimenez, to help me. He is incredibly talented and this appears to be a perfect opportunity to showcase his talent. So ayun, I would make up mock-up boards and tell him what to draw, and he'd draw them."

The 30 creations mysterious women creations of the collaboration of this author and artist are what blew me away. The drawings are all frame-worthy when colored. They are extremely well-proportioned illustrations of different women either in action or striking a pose. There is dramatic, depth, character, and innocence in them. The way women are conveyed in the pages is a celebration of her fine yet powerful qualities unique to every woman. The blurbs are a good touch of the poetry one perhaps experiences when coloring these mystery women.
There are thirty of them, namely:
1. African Turban 
2. Indian Princess
3. Flower Goddess
4. Geisha
5. Lonely Pierrete
6. Cecilia *a modified version of the author's sister
7. Navajo Beauty
8. Peek
9. Victoria
10. Swirls and Squares
11. The Painted Face
12. Sari
13. Cafe Amour
14. Masked Beauty
15. Balinese Dancer
16. Egyptian Queen
17. Inked
18. Peacock Lady
19. Japanese Rain
20. Flapper Gal
21. African Veil
22. Simpli-City
23. Gossamer Glory
24. Moroccan Princess
25. Butterfly Goddess
26. Belly Dancer
27. Arabian Eyes
28. Window Wishing
29. Moon Goddess
30. Gypsy Dreams

Save for one page that's badly printed I'd say this book is a good one to add to any kolorista's collection. Its SRP is only PhP350.00 plus shipping. You can find it here: Opal Pages - Coloring Book for Adults

Before heading off to the site let me tell you first about the paper's quality. It's a 90 gsm paper, not a board, so you can expect some bleeding through. I played around a bit using the page that was badly printed because to tell you honestly I still liked it despite that (heck! I like them all!).

Dark ink marks can perhaps be covered when colored. If only it wasn't costly to change this particular page in the printing process.

Watercolor Pencils

The paper crumpled a bit on the part I brushed water on. Something I had expected. I tried tugging and stretching that portion in opposite directions as what had been taught to me by an art coach, Laura Abejo, and you know what it worked! An hour later the crumpled portion was no more. However, I just don't know if that technique could work on the entire page once you've already colored and brushed it with water. Suffice it to say the paper held well.
After coloring with a Derwent watercolor pencil and applying water with brush

The reverse side with a bit of crumpling. After this I tried to stretch it a bit. An hour later, after it had dried, the paper's shape was back to normal

Water-based Faber Castell Colored Felt-tip Markers

I used the light blue to color the round shapes in the peacock design of the headdress. And the verdict, it bled through.
Slight bleeding through after used the Faber Castell felt-tip markers

ZIG Scroll and Brush which is non-bleeding

The Zig Scroll and Brush markers from Kuretake are actually calligraphy pens. They are dual tip. I bought them because I wanted to use the brush tip for coloring, never mind the existence of the scroll tip. When I tried this on other coloring books like Tangle Wood, or the Magical City by Lizzie Mary Cullen, the ink bled through. So naturally I expected that to happen here as well.

But it didn't! The light green marker I used to color the feather didn't show signs of bleeding in the reverse side of the page. That's fantastic.

Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils

On the use of colored pencils I'd say the paper holds well against too much shading although my strokes are rather light in general. Absorption of colored pigments only stopped after applying the 5th layer or so. It's a good paper quality for pencils suffice it to say.
The author said a Philippine culture book and a bible verse book are in the works for summer next year.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This book is beautiful! If only we can stop time and color all we want, right? I shall explore next year when I finish my "assignments". Thanks for the review. :)