Johanna Basford Lost Ocean Colouring Book Review

Lost Ocean review

I bought this book to try out colouring pens and pencils in and I’ll say this upfront: colouring in is not my thing. The drawings are someone else’s creation and I would prefer to create something of my own. Also, I find colouring in to be not at all relaxing. I do not like going outside the lines so trying to avoid that is quite stressful. (If it’s one of my own pictures, I can choose to go out of the lines but if it’s someone else’s I somehow feel constrained by them.) Also: colouring in is colouring in. Adult colouring as a phrase/phase/fad is just marketing. Let’s just call it what it is. Calling it adult colouring is like those Harry Potter books you could buy with different covers so you could pretend you weren’t reading a children’s book. There’s nothing wrong with it, the Harry Potter books are fantastic, however old you are, and colouring in is better than many things you could get up to on a winter’s evening. I just don’t like the term and it’s not something I want to do myself. Also, while I’m semi-rant mode, if you do want to be creative, why not draw or doodle? Put something new into the world. Everyone can draw and if you think you can’t, you just have to start and keep going until you can.

Lost Ocean just started

Having got all that off my chest, what’s this book actually like?

Well, if you want to colour in other people’s pictures, it’s great. The pictures are clever, very detailed and have lots of little fun touches, such as treasure items to search for throughout the book. There are lots of them, too. I can’t imagine anyone ever finishing every picture. If you have, let me know.

The paper is good quality and has coped with all the different pens I’ve tried with it. It’s possible to get some bleed through if you really spend time colouring in the same spot. You’ve seen some of the results already and will see more in the future.

Lost Ocean blank page some bleeding

I like Johanna Basford’s work very much. These are wonderful pictures. I would love to see what they were like after she’d finished them herself.

Lost Ocean in progress


  1. Well said that man. I’m a total non-artist (well that’s what they told me at achool anyway) and feel no urge to join the adult colouring craze either. Instead I joined an ‘art for non-artists’ group where I can totally create my own stuff without fear of excess judgement or criticism. They’re a lovely bunch of people and worth a whole pile of colouring-in books in my opinion. Oh dear, am I ranting too now…?

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