About Alexandra Heep

About Alexandra Heep: The internet has allowed allowed Alexandra to maintain a semblance of life when encountering an unexpected, lingering health crisis. The Internet is a lifeline which not only allows her to remain connected to friends, but also survive, via writing.While Alexandra Heep is her pen name, she does not hide behind it. Instead, she used it to brand herself on the Internet and to create opportunities.

Alexandra published her first book, a collection of her best poems, on July 11, 2012. You can buy it at Lulu.com

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Review: Wild Oceans-Saltwater Fish and Deep Sea Creatures by Nick Mayer

I first found out about Nick Mayer's art when I saw his leafy seadragon design in the summer issue of Do Magazine. The creature looked so fantastic that I had to do some research to see if it really existed, and that is how I found some fascinating images online of this very real life form. That made me interested in Nick Mayer’s Wild Oceans Coloring Book: Saltwater Fish and Deep Sea Creatures in which the leafy seadragon appears.

If you think that marine life is boring or monochrome, think again. There are some wonderfully vibrant species in this book. So, no worries, you’ll get to use your reds, blues, oranges, yellows, greens etc. Or, you can use soft, neutral, earthy or even metallic colors and create some lifelike scallops, seahorses, starfish, oysters etc. Of course you also get to choose from plenty of oceanic fish species. There's even a sea turtle.

One common complaint I encounter from fellow colorists is that they want their husbands/fathers/boyfriends/brothers/sons to join the adult coloring ranks, but they can’t find any coloring books that appeals to them. Well, this is the book that fills this void. Of course you don’t have to be a guy to enjoy it. I’m obviously not a guy, nor am I particularly outdoorsy (unless gardening counts).

Here are the factors that appeal to me particularly, and that I find others of any coloring skill and background will enjoy:
  1. The book includes tutorials that are easy to understand (including one on how to color fish eyes).
  2. The designs give you a chance to color realistic, lifelike subjects.
  3. The pages are perforated for easy removal.
  4. You learn something new because of the factoids on the back of each page.
  5. The paper is of high quality.
  6. You get real-life, color examples of the species on which the drawings are based.
  7. You can learn new techniques, or improve upon existing ones.
People are always on the lookout for something different and unique, so I find that these words are often overused. In this case, both adjectives are warranted. The main factors that make this book different from most, besides the subject matter, are:
  • The factoids for each subject appear on the back of the page, so when you remove it and display it in a binder you can see the appropriate fact. Most books, if they have any pertaining info, have it printed on the left side of the image on the back page of the preceding design.
  • It's one of the most nicely produced coloring books in my collection!
  • Some of the pages have a separate, removable section on the bottom of the page that includes a color palette suggestion and color example, as you can see below.
Here is a suggestion: Make this book a nice addition for family activity time because you can have everyone pick something, remove their favorite pages from the book, and color away. Nick also has a shop on his website where you can purchase calendars, prints, cards etc. (not all are ocean life, you can get birds and butterfly designs too).

 This is an example of one of the pages that have color suggestions. The bottom part is perforated.

Here is my colored version. I did use the suggested palette as a guide.
I used assorted colored pencils (nothing expensive or extravagant).
As you can see, I removed the bottom part with the color suggestions. It comes off easily.

This is my colored version of the leafy seadragon image that appeared in the Do Magazine.
The purple color choice might seem strange, but I did this for a color palette challenge, and I saw some pictures of leafy seadragons online that actually had purple.