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Flipboku Molecularis Paper Test (& New Kickstarter Announcement!)

Almost 2 years ago I backed a Kickstarter with an interesting premise: part coloring book, part magic trick, it promised to provide 6 completely different coloring book-style flip books in one tidy little package.

They even had a 2nd book – Blanko – for people who wanted to draw their own. I backed at the level where I got just the one already-illustrated book – Molecularis – and when it arrived I can say with complete sincerity that I was absolutely delighted.

The flip book comes in a snug little box/case to keep it clean and protected, and there’s even a neat little secret hiding inside-

A handy little page separator to put between the pages as you color! It appears to be made of the same sturdy cardboard as the cover, which is great as it will help prevent depressions from going through to subsequent pages and causing ghost images to come through.

The book actually contains 6 individual flip book animation sequences, with a different one visible depending on how you hold/flip the pages. The secret is in how the pages are cut, similarly to those “Now it’s empty! Now it’s illustrated! Now it’s fully colored!” ‘magic’ books magicians use. The illustrations are so fun and playful and I couldn’t wait to pull out my coloring supplies and dive in.

But I hesitated. You see, the book is reversible, in the sense that there is a different illustration on the back of each page, which will be used in a completely different animation. What if I used the wrong media? What if my markers bled through? What if water-soluble products warped the paper? The page protector is a wonderful inclusion, but it will only stop staining from going through to the following pages. It cannot prevent bleed-through onto the back of the page being worked on.

So I did something that’s perhaps a little unorthodox. I contacted Flipboku through their Facebook page and asked if they had any extra paper, of the kind they’d used in Molecularis. A full sheet… scraps off the cutting room floor… anything, in any size, would work as long as it was the same paper quality, which I could then test with a range of coloring supplies.

Perhaps because they’re a little unorthodox themselves, they agreed (thanks Julie!), and a little while later I received a thin, flat package in the mail. I’d expected scraps, perhaps narrow little trimmings from when they cut the pages to size, but instead I was pleasantly surprised to find two good-sized sheets of the Molecularis paper, as well as a couple of pages from the Blanko book as well.

The first thing I did was figure out how many products I was going to test, and then draw a grid on the sample papers to delineate each implement. For the Blanko paper I kept the grid small enough to only use one sheet, because it’s regular paper and I was pretty sure I knew how the different media would react.

On the Molecularis paper I went for a bigger grid, using most of one sheet so I could save the other for future testing if necessary. Since the coloring images in the flip book are mostly all small-ish, ovoid shapes, I drew a little squished circle in a similar size so I could see if coloring a contained shape would cause more bleed (from going over and over the same area to fill it in). I also kept a few sections wider for testing water-activated media like Inktense, watercolor pencils and Neocolor II water-soluble crayons so I could see if the paper would warp after getting wet.

I ended up testing 26 different coloring tools, focusing mainly on wet-based media. I didn’t test crayons because I knew they would be fine, though I did include colored pencils just so I could see if the pressure they required would indent the paper at all.

The supplies tested are:

  1. Sharpies – regular (fine) point
  2. Sharpies – neon [I was curious if the brighter pigment would be “juicier” in a way that would be more likely to cause bleed-through]
  3. Sharpies – chisel-tip [same rationale as for the neons, except due to the amount of ink transferred from the wider nib]
  4. Sharpies – metallic [I wondered if the metallic ink was a different formula from the regular one so would behave differently]
  5. Sargent Metallic Ink Markers
  6. Studio Metallic Ink Markers (from Dollarama)
  7. Micron fineliner – 0.5 size
  8. Copic multiliner – 0.8 size
  9. Bic Mark-It! fine tips
  10. Bic Mark-It! ultra-fine tips
  11. Stabilo 88 0.4mm fineliner markers
  12. Staedtler Triplus 0.3mm fineliner markers
  13. water-based dual-tip markers (Soucolor & Feela) – fine tip end
  14. water-based dual-tip markers (Soucolor & Feela) – brush tip end
  15. Crayola Supertips
  16. generic highlighter
  17. Faber-Castel Polychromos colored pencil
  18. Spectrum Noir alcohol markers
  19. Gel pens (assorted brands)
  20. Gelly Roll gel pens (assorted colors)
  21. Glitter paint markers
  22. Derwent Inktense water-soluble ink pencils
  23. Koh-I-Noor Mondeluz Aquarelle watercolor pencils
  24. Caran D’Ache Neocolor II water-soluble crayons
  25. Wink of Stella clear glitter brush
  26. Studio Roller Pen

Here’s my testing grid after doodling. I deliberately picked purples & blues as those dark colors tend to bleed through more frequently than yellows and greens, etc.

I have to say that coloring on the Molecularis paper was a WONDERFUL experience! Nearly every product I tested glided smoothly over the paper without effort and left rich, even color with minimal strokes or feathering. Only a few products bled over the shape outlines, but they were all Sharpies which are alcohol-based and often have a bit of overbleed. The paper handled the wet media column on the right like a champ, thick like a cardstock so there was no warping, but with just enough texture to get mileage out of the watercolor media. It’s also lovely with colored pencils, having just enough tooth to take color well, leaving me certain it would also be great with charcoal & graphite.

The Blanko paper handled just like regular paper, because that’s what it is. It is smoother than the Molecularis paper, much thinner, and much more of a bright white.

Ready for the results? I was! I deliberately didn’t peek at the back at all while swatching, and had left the paper overnight in case any seepage would occur as the inks dried. The next day I turned the papers around and-

The results 100% blew my expectations out of the water!

I’ll start with the Blanko paper. As it is regular paper, there were no surprises there. The alcohol-based products bled through as expected, the very wet gel pens bled through as well, as did the water-soluble ink of the Inktense pencils (though that was likely due to the water saturating the paper). As for the other markers, while they didn’t bleed as much as the first ones mentioned, most of them had significant ghosting and shadowing through the thin paper.

What really surprised me, however, was the Molecularis paper. There was almost NO bleed-through! I found myself double-checking to be sure, but really- this is it. I numbered the back to make the areas easier to check, and the only one that had anything close to bleed-through is #20 – “assorted Gelly Roll”. Specifically the ones that bled are their Gold Shadow line, which is a two-tone ink that leaves a colored outline with a gold fill.

The alcohol-based Sharpies and Bics didn’t bleed. The Spectrum Noirs didn’t bleed – which means Copics won’t. The water-soluble medias didn’t bleed nor warp, even with a significant amount of water used (I activated all the wet-media with my Derwent waterbrush).

It’s not completely perfect, of course. If I LOOK for issues while the paper is flat (above), I can see slight ghosting in cells 3 (chisel-tip Sharpie), 9 (Bic Mark-It fine tip) and 17 (black colored pencil, applied with firm pressure to fill in the shape). However I don’t believe these are issues that would affect the intended use of the coloring flip book.

I’m blown away, I really am. If I hold it up at an angle, allowing a bit of light to get underneath, there is the slightest ghosting where I colored in the other blobby shapes, with still only the cells referenced above having the most visibility (the Sharpie and Bic showing not only the coloring-in but also my doodling as well).

I’m really impressed. I’ve used many coloring books where I’ve had to make a conscious choice about what page I wanted to color, knowing the image on the reverse would be ruined. Obviously with a book meant to be reversible the company had to consider this, but it almost sounded too good to be true, which is why I had to test it for myself.

Since their original launch Flipboku has expanded their flip book range, with not only the Molecularis and Blanko books (or a bundle with both!) but also fully-illustrated flip books designed in collaboration with different artists. If you’re into history, sci-fi, or even romance, you’ll find an animated book that leaves you in awe of the magic in the tiny printed movies.

You can visit their website here to shop their really cool products, or click here to access their brand new 2-volume Kickstarter that officially launched yesterday.

The first volume of the new Kickstarter, Dots, is a flip book with 6 different animations (also called sequences) created by internationally renowned animators. Each side of the flip book contains 3 different sequences made up of 36 pages. Once you have connected all the dots in one sequence, all you have to do is flip it to discover what is hidden behind the dots.  After that, you can even grab your favorite coloring pens and color the animations, so in fact you have a dot-to-dot flip book and a coloring flip book, all in one!

For the second volume, Lines, they have selected some of the most puzzling optical illusions and turned them into animation. Most of these sequences are based on the dot-to-dot technique as well. They work in a similar way to the ones featured in Dots, but in addition, once all the dots are connected and the pages are flipped, the animations produce mind-boggling optical illusions. Ranging from astonishing to downright weird these sequences include impossible figures, geometrical illusions and visual paradoxes that will play awesome tricks on your eyes and mind.

Note- The above text and gifs are taken from their Kickstarter. While some of the product links above are affiliate links (Amazon) this post is not sponsored. I ordered and paid for Molecularis on my own and Flipboku hasn’t done anything for me beyond send me the paper samples at my request. I just thought it was a unique variation on a coloring book that my readers would enjoy. Happy coloring!


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A New Year = A New Challenge!

Last January I set up a challenge on this blog- to celebrate 2019 I would convert 19 long-languishing WIPs (works in progress) into FOs (finished objects).

This year I’ve set a new challenge for myself, one with a bit of a lighter workload since I’ve got so many other things on my plate.

We’re big Moriah Elizabeth fans in this house (the sprinkle song is our jam!) and while I’ve managed to distract Henri from wanting his very own Pickle plushie, I did cave and buy him Create This Book for Hanukkah.  

I ordered volume 1, and when it arrived I realized I’d accidentally put 2 copies in my cart.  We took a quick household vote and instead of returning it, we decided to keep the second copy for me and Jakob to use.  Thus starts the first monthly segment of our Create This Book v1 adventures.

It’s the 2020 Create This Book Monthly Page Create-a-long!

There’s also a volume 2 but we’ll be starting with the first book and working our way forwards.

Henri picked this page to start with in his book, so to catch up I’ll be making that my January page as well. My goal is to do (at least) one page each month. 12 pages doesn’t seem like a lot, but I’ve got a TON of stuff going on this year and don’t want to over-commit.

I have six days to come up with an idea, draw/color the page and then post it to the blog. The idea hasn’t come yet but the supplies have been decided- I’ll be coloring the page with my adored Faber-Castel Polychromos. I can’t help but hear Mike Myers in my head when I use them because they color so smoothly that it’s just like butter.

By the way – if you’re always in search of new, better pencil/pen cases like me, I can happily recommend the Thornton case pictured above. I own a lot of colored pencil sets with 100+ colors and quickly outgrew the 32, 48, 56 and 72-pc sets I’d invested in years ago. Last winter I did my research and bought a few larger cases in different styles then spent a cozy snowed-in winter weekend reorganizing all my pencils. (Yes, it’s the little things that make me happy LOL). Now I have enough room to store the full 120pc pencil set plus additional tools like a fineliner, stick eraser, my favorite blender pencil, and a white marker*.

Note- in Canada at least, the listing for the empty case itself seems to be sold out. The exact case full of 150 of their own-branded colored pencils, however, is available here.

*Money-saving tip: There are a LOT of white markers out there for adding highlights to your drawings and coloring. Sakura Gelly roll white pens are great, Sharpie paint markers can be fantastic, and many other brands have good ones too. But my favorite white “pen” is 100% the Liquid Paper or Wite-Out corrector pens. They give the most opaque, solid coverage because that’s literally what they’re designed for, and can very often be found in the stationary aisle of your local dollar store. (I get mine at Dollarama).

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Quick Crafty Tip: Using Pants Hangers

I don’t have a ‘Crafty Compilation’ for either of the last two weeks as I’ve spent them working primarily on some sample knitting that I’m not sure if I can talk about yet.  So, instead, here’s a quick tip for those of you who enjoy coloring: pants hangers are your friend.

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Yup.  Actual hangers that you use to hang up your pants.  (Or your kids’ pants, in my case).
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I’ve been using binder clips with my Art of Coloring: Disney Villains book ever since I got it.  I’ve been using a lot of water media in it and I’ve taken to clipping the book shut whenever I’m not using it to minimize most of the page warping.  Because this book has thick cardboard covers it stays open pretty flat on its own, though I tend to pop the clip onto my working page mostly so I don’t misplace it until I need it again.  With other books I’ve taken to working on a clipboard for both the hard surface as well as the ability to clip the book open to my current page.  For the most part, that worked perfectly.

tip color with clips 04Then one day I was laying on my belly in bed coloring the page above (the Eagle image in Kerby Rosanes’ imagimorphia).  It was held down by my clipboard on the far right of the right page but I kept getting frustrated at the left-side page flipping shut every time I reached over for my coloring supplies (Stabilo 88 and Staedtler Triplus fineliners, as well as Caran D’Ache Neocolor II watercolor crayons for the purple wisps).  I’d been laying on my belly and constantly raising up onto my elbows to brace the page between color changes was starting to hurt more than the coloring itself soothed.

Henri had had a similar problem holding open his Pokemon books so he could sketch from them, and I’d lent him my cookbook stand.  It was a great solution but now that I needed it I didn’t have the heart to steal it back for myself.  That’s when I remembered the image going around Facebook a while ago in a list of kitchen tips: using a pants hanger to hold your recipe up and out of the way, by hanging it from an upper cabinet doorknob.  I had no need to hang my coloring book, but it would be perfect for what I needed too!

tip color with clips 03

And it was!  The two clips hold the pages down on either side, but the stiff bar that connects them keeps them open flat, where the book could otherwise still slip shut.  (The above wip image is also from imagimorphia, and the background wash was done with the Neocolor IIs).  After you’ve finished coloring the page, the hanger can then be used to clip the book shut as it dries to minimize any warping from the wet pages.

If you wanted you could also store your books from the hangars, sideways along a bar similar to needlepoint sets.  (Ooooh now I’m picturing a dry cleaner-style conveyor holding all my coloring and craft books… that would be awesome!!)

tip color with clips 01

And for an easy reminder to pin:

tip color with clips titled

 

That’s all for now.  Hopefully this tip could be handy for some of you!

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If interested in some of the items I mentioned in this post, you can check them out below:
Kerby Rosanes’ imagimorphia coloring book
Art of Coloring: Disney Villains coloring book
Cookbook stand
  • these are affiliate links.


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The Princess Bride Coloring Book: the Grandfather and Grandson double-page wip

…aka the Fred Savage/Peter Falk double-page spread.

Sometimes I like mindless projects like stockinette stitch knitting or coloring where the resulting image can look like anything I can imagine.  Other times the challenge of replicating something existing is what thrills me, like Henri’s Pitfall: The Lost Expedition cake that had to look like a scene from the game, or my (full posts still outstanding) Skylanders Sprocket cosplay that had to look like the character from the game.  After a more casual take on the first few pages in the Princess Bride coloring book I was really eager to tackle something detailed and specific, so I was really happy to turn the page and see one of the the Grandfather/Grandson scenes from the movie’s framing device.

princessbride-wip-011

For reference, here’s a still from that scene in the movie:

princessbride wip 015

Just like with the Kaa/Mowglii page in the Art of Coloring: Disney Villains book, the Sherlock coloring book, the Doctor Who one, and others, I think some of the more photo-realistic pages start with photoshopped stills that are then cleaned up and refined by the artist.  In this case the only real differences between the book and the movie are a different jumble of toys and books on the headboard and the altering of Fred’s jersey, both changes likely due to the trademarks involved like the Bears, the Cheetos, and the He-Man figures, etc.

princessbride-wip-012

I don’t have progress pics from before this point because I was so into the coloring that I forgot.  I’d started with the lamp… for no real reason other than I’d wanted to.  After that I started thinking about how the Inktense pencils behaved: while they’re supposed to be permanent, if not fully activated they’d bleed into the surrounding areas.  So, for example, if I laid down a lot of pigment making his hair dark brown, and missed some stray bits near the outline, that dark color would bleed over into the white headboard/shelves if I got too close with my wet brush (which is why I’m leaving that, among other areas, for last).

I spent waaaaay too long on the bedspread.  Even after choosing the colors I spent more time than necessary figuring out if there was a repeatable pattern I could copy.

princessbride wip 016.jpg

(Go figure I didn’t find THIS pic until I was done that part.  Sigh.)

Once the stripes were done I tossed in a bit of shading, then did the pillows.  Next up was the skin (within which the shadows look a little exaggerated at the moment, but I plan to smooth it out with some colored pencil at the end).

princessbride-wip-013

I broke my own ‘dark colors’ rule in doing the jersey next (it’s the exception that proves it, right?) and then the shadows along the wall/shelves/head board.

princessbride-wip-014

And this is the point I’m at now.  I’ve started tossing some color into the books and comics and toys other odds and ends strewn about.

Oh- I wanted to say something excellent about this book: while it’s not made to hold heavy applications of water, and will definitely never stand up to alcohol markers, I’ve put this page so far through a lot.  After working some areas, like the jersey, it was with a lot of trepidation that I turned back to the page before to check for bleed-through.  The page on the other side of this one is the ownership page, so with only the smaller scollwork/flowers in the center of the page, there is a LOT of blank area for ghosting and bleeding to show through.

There’s none.  Nada.  Zilch.  In fact, I took the pics in my previous post after already coloring this far, so you can see for yourself that there aren’t even traces of ghosting to disrupt the background.  🙂


You can find more coloring-related posts sorted by material or book at the Coloring tab in the header above, or click here for more posts about The Princess Bride Coloring Book.

Other pages from this book so far:

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If interested in any of the items I mentioned in this post, you can check them out below:
The Princess Bride coloring book
Derwent Inktense pencils
  • these are affiliate links.


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The Princess Bride Coloring Book: ownership page wip

I know, I know- three posts in a row!  I told you- I’m addicted to this book, and if I don’t start posting stuff from where I’m at I’ll keep winding up too far ahead.  Unlike tutorials or cakes where once they’re done, they’re done and I can post the finished thing anytime, ideally with coloring projects I could be somewhat up to date so I can post pics here or on my Instagram as I work on them.  Since this book is my current obsession, I’m making sure to get these posts out before I move ahead too far.

So.  This is the ownership page in progress.  (If anyone isn’t following along this is the The Princess Bride Coloring Book, colored with Derwent Inktense pencils).  For the most part it’s a repeat of the title page, since it has the same buttercups and carved wood.  I did learn from my mistakes on the last page, however, and went lighter for my initial passes at the wood color.  I haven’t done any colored pencil shading on this one yet, and so far it reminds me of the strips of Birch kids would get in trouble for tearing off the trees at my old camp.

princessbride-wip-007Before giving the book pages a slight antique stain I’d lightly sketched out my name, trying as best I could to match the font on the opposing page.  In pencil it looked great… only I’d been hasty in wanting to finish that part and I’d used the first ink pen I’d had handy not even thinking that the nib was thicker than the printed ink.  I traced the “J” and instantly regretted it, wishing I’d used one of my smaller sizes Micron pen instead. However, now that I’d started it was too late to do anything about it. Hmph.

princessbride-wip-008

I’d even tried to erase the ink over the J, wondering if it would fade it enough to not stand out with as much contrast as it was having.  Again I was being hasty and nearly smeared the black ink.  Sigh.  In the end I managed to salvage the pic, I think.  Since I couldn’t undo the thicker outline on the right, I chose to use the same pen to outline the existing words on the left, so both pages matched.

The Inktense on this page is complete, and all I want to do now is darken the depths of the shadows of the wood and the flower centers with some colored pencil, and then this page will be done.


You can find more coloring-related posts sorted by material or book at the Coloring tab in the header above, or click here for more posts about The Princess Bride Coloring Book.

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If interested in any of the items I mentioned in this post, you can check them out below:
The Princess Bride coloring book
Derwent Inktense pencils
  • these are affiliate links.


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The Princess Bride Coloring Book: publication info page wip

Since the last page in The Princess Bride Coloring Book I’d been working on had just used so much brown, when I turned the page I was craving to work with color.

(As an aside, you can clearly see the lack of bleed-through on this page, even after all the layers of color I’d put down).

Still working with the Inktense, I started at the sun in the center and worked downwards.  I used a few shades of yellow for the sun then started with the oranges, using the darkest color from each section as the palest in the next.  So if the first section used colors A and B as ABABAB then the next section was BCBCBC, then CDCDCD, and so on.  I planned the gradation deliberately timed so the blues would hit by the waves, then the teals/greens in the water.

princessbride-wip-004

The lines are so narrow that I can’t really look up to watch tv or something while I activate it, so I’ve been working on it here and there while catching up on past episodes of the podcast Lore.  I’m in no rush, though, as I love watching the muted pigment (the left side) spring to life once wetted (the right side, up to midway).princessbride-wip-005

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If interested in any of the items I mentioned in this post, you can check them out below:
The Princess Bride coloring book
Derwent Inktense pencils
  • these are affiliate links.


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The Princess Bride Coloring Book: title page wip

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been completely addicted to the Princess Bride Coloring Book lately.  I’ve been using it as my reward for getting chores and stuff done, and currently have 5 pages in progress.

The title page is the first one I started with.  I confess I felt really dumb when, after staring at the page for a while trying to figure out what color I wanted to make the flowers, I had a flash of insight and did a quick Google search.  Sure enough – sigh – they had to be yellow.  They’re buttercups!  😀

princessbride-wip-001

My plan for the book is to work primarily with my Derwent Inktense and then finish up with colored pencils when/if necessary for some finer detail work.

I don’t have full step-by-steps of the order I’d worked but for this page I’d tackled it like this:

-First I colored the buttercups with two shades of yellow (it’s hard to see but there’s a darker yellow in the center) and then done the greenery

-Next I used Payne’s Gray to shadow in some clouds behind Buttercup and Westley

-Then I colored the crown, using an image of Buttercup’s coronation crown for reference

-Then I worked on the ship.  I spent way too much time trying to find decent pics of either of the two main ships in the movie (The Dread Pirate Roberts’ ship or Vizzini’s ship) but the one drawn doesn’t perfectly match either.  If anything it’s closest to Vizzini’s but it has a skull and crossbones flag so…?  Finally I did my best approximation copying, of all things, a LEGO ship build.

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-Next I threw some gray and black into the two rapiers, and some pinks into the background, plus darkened the grays to give the illusion of mountains or far-off lands.

-The last thing I did at this step was to color the carved wood.  I did a HORRIBLE job with my shading, and, while this paper is pretty thick and didn’t bleed through at all, it does start to pebble after too many water applications, so I eventually maxed-out on how deep I could get the shadows.  That’s when I decided to jump right into some colored pencil.princessbride-wip-010

In this image (above) I’ve worked colored pencil shading on the left side of the wood carvings only (so far), and I’ve used an eraser to lift out some highlights in both the wood as well as the sword handles.

 


If interested in any of the items I mentioned in this post, you can check them out below:
The Princess Bride coloring book
Derwent Inktense pencils
  • these are affiliate links.