Adults seeking an engaging but low-key artistic outlet will find it in this winsome debut coloring book.
Sajaja, an artist and art teacher, recommends using colored pencils, fine markers, and even delicate watercolor brushes instead of thick, messy Crayolas to color her intricate drawings, and one look at them shows why. These aren’t the broad, simplistic cartoon caricatures of your 3-year-old’s coloring book. Sajaja’s images are complex and ornate, with involuted outlines, shapes within shapes, and rich texturing with finely spaced filler lines. Some are abstracts, ranging from an austere but still warm geometrism—such as an Escher-like assemblage of nested cubes or a mosaic of interlocking white tiles with cutouts—to florid patterns of rings and polygons resembling a Persian carpet or a stained-glass window. There’s a luxuriance of botanical still lifes: spotted toadstools; lush, microscopic fern gardens; wavering vines sprouting fine tendrils; potted plants, shaggy with foliage; shaded tulip bulbs; blossoms spiraling inward around ever more delicate petals. The author represents the animal kingdom with an elephant festooned with prints, as if dressed for an Indian wedding. Ideograms abound, including several compositions of disassembled yin-yang lobes, as well as overt message panels: the word “Peace” in serene repose; “Love” nestled amid concentric rings of hearts; “Our Home” with a bird of happiness perched on the “e.” The aesthetic is late-1960s rock album cover, featuring teeming designs, psychedelic décor and hippie-ish sentiments; although the author recommends a mug of hot chocolate as a suitable beverage to color by, a hash brownie or an acid tab might be equally appropriate comestibles with which to summon this muse. Fortunately, her panels are engrossing enough to captivate even without artificial stimulants. In these fantastically complex pictures, crammed with beguiling miniatures, there are a lot of things to color and ways to color them—and a wealth of opportunities for casual artists to explore their own sensibilities.
Visually engaging images for the coloring