I am very picky when it comes to coloring books and don't buy a whole lot, despite being a dedicated colorists. I try to use what I have before I acquire a ton more. I made an exception with Messages from Your Angels because I am familiar with Doreen Virtue and the books she has been publishing for a while. To clarify, Doreen didn't do the illustrations, she wrote the messages, but since I've been familiar with her products for many years, I knew the quality would be there.
The illustrations were completed by Norma J. Burnell, and they are fantastic. From what I gather by conducting research, Norma is a very accomplished artist.
The average book has 31 designs, this one has over 40. (the book has 96 pages in all, but the designs are single sided). I was pleasantly surprised at the paper thickness and quality because books that have more designs are usually cheaping out on paper. This one did not. The angels are on one side of the page, and the backsides have inspiring messages on them. Pages are perforated for easy removal.
I found that a pleasant surprise because authors who don't regularly publish coloring books don't always offer their coloring books with perforation. While Doreen has a large line of products out, mostly books and cards, she is not a coloring book artist. (From what I gather, Doreen did publish two other adult coloring books: Messages From the Fairies, but I don't know if that came before or after this book and if it's perforated, and Messages From the Unicorns. I do know that the latter was released after the angels and fairies books and also has perforated pages).
The designs are all portrait-oriented and have no backgrounds. The focus is on the angels. They are drawn with different hair lengths, garments and hair styles, and the designs lend themselves to the colorists interpretation. You can color them ethnically diverse or use "non-traditional" colors. For example, I did one all in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness and one in just gold and silver, even the eyes and hair. You can see them below. Some of the angels have animal companions (birds, cat, squirrel, rabbit). I included the one with the cat below.
Doreen suggests that you meditate upon the messages that are printed on the reverse side of the pages, but the book is not a religious one. While there are no Bible quotes, the messages are spiritual in nature and sometimes refer to God (that goes with the subject matter), but of course you can choose to ignore the text as it's printed separately from each design.
If there is one thing that I find a bit difficult about Messages From Your Angels is that a lot of the designs fade into the paper. However, I am not deducting points for that. While my personal preference would be for full designs, not fade-outs, I still enjoy the book and that doesn't mean others would not like this. I've used colored pencils, markers and gel pens, and they all work wonderfully with this book.
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