by Inko Kotoriyama
on 18 September 2015
Style: double page printing
Follow Lulu the cow as she travels on a journey looking for love. An unusual and quirky love story coloring book packed full of gorgeous illustrations to color in and enjoy
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Romantic Journey Coloring Book Video Review
I hope you enjoyed the video review above of Romantic Journey by Japanese Coloring Book artist, Inko Kotoriyama.
Romantic Journey Coloring Book Review
I fell in love with the cover of Romantic Journey when I seen it. So pretty and pastel. It took a minute to click that the star on the cover was a cow. I have a lot of books with bunnies, hedgehogs, kittys, dogs, birds and various exotic and wild animals. I’ve even got a guinea pig coloring book. I can’t think of any coloring book that I have that features a cow only this book. The cow is called Lulu, and the coloring book is in story book form telling the visual story of Lulu’s search for love. Like all good stories it also comes with a happy ending 🙂
Cover & Layout
The cover consists of a dust jacket with dusty pink french flaps. The jacket has been pre printed in color with a gorgeous design of Lulu and Nina the bird surrounded by gorgeous flowers. Inko is very fond of birds and they always seem to be represented in her coloring books in some way. There are some flowers in the top left corner that have not been colored that you could color in. The spine of the book is dusty pink with the title and author in white text. The back cover features a partially colored illustration from the book of cutesy mushrooms and flowers. The french flaps are dusty pink and each flap features a little element to color, flowers on the front and Lulu and Mr Heart on the back.
The cover of the actual book is plain brown card with pink printing of the dust jacket design on it (sans title information). However the printing is pink and may be difficult for some colorists to see the lines against the card backdrop.
The book measures 22.5cm x 22.5 cm approximately ( 8.8 in x 8.8 in)
A plain text title page commences the book. As always, t his is a great spot to test out your mediums and see how they react with your style and the paper. Various other pages follow which feature Japanese text. The first page, I assume is an introduction to the story of Lulu’s search for romance as it ends with “bon voyage”. It features a voluptuous bow and flowers in black line art against a dusty pink/brown background. Over the page, an abundance of flowers features on the lower part of the page. The flowers have been printed in pink/brown ink and can be colored in. Above this line art is some text in Japanese. I assume that this could be an introduction to the characters in this story, but I cannot say for certain. Following on some partially colored line art is featured with some close up details of the colored image. I presume that this page is suggesting coloring techniques.
A beautiful partially colored page follows that features some line art to color and introduces us to the main characters in this Romantic Journey – Lulu, Mr Heart and Nina.
I absolutely adore these story book style coloring books, they seem to help me escape into a world of fantasy without even picking up a pencil. It may be odd to some people but I get just as much enjoyment from looking at the pictures that these talented artists create as I do from coloring them in.
An extended title page follows featuring the text title and artist name in English and Japanese. This is beautifully framed with flowers from a canopy that an owl, lovebirds and a budgerigar’s perch. On the underside a fish swims through the flowers being careful not to disturb the sleeping cat and alert rabbit. Just with t his gorgeous title page I can feel the worries of the world slipping away 🙂
There are some things to find along the way as t he book is interactive. A visual thumbnail legend at the end outlines where these items are hidden.
Illustrations are printed on both sides of the medium quality white paper. All of the images have been orientated portrait style. There are 40 double page scenes within the book. Although the lines do go to the spine of the book in most of the double page scenes it is not an issue for colorists. The binding on this book is beautiful and lays down quite flat making it easy to color in the spine area. There is a double page scene in the book that features a black background and white line art.
The book commences with an overview of the route of this romantic journey taken by Lulu. You will see a map showing 1st Town, 2nd Town, 3rd Town, 4th Town, 5th Town, 6th Town and Last Town. The book has been divided into chapters featuring each of these towns in scenes.
Inko leads us along the route with her beautiful illustrations outlined in fine to medium black line weight. The lines have the appearance of hand drawn but without being “sketchy”. In some illustrations Inko uses a heavier line to create definition of elements and give the art work a varied appearance.
The whole of the page is generally filled with illustrations showing the journey of Lulu. She travels through woods and in the night. She meets a variety of birds along the way and Mr Heart. There are quirky houses where animals live. One of my favorite pictures is the peek through the window of Mr Frog and a pregnant? Mrs Frog whose window sill has a variety of cacti and succulents adorning it. Inko has managed to incorporate a vast number of animals, birds, flowers, sea life and cutesy buildings in this book. She distorts our sense of perception with tiny elephants and giant birds.
There is one illustration in the book where it appears that Inko has outlined the animal and has left space for us to doodle if we wish.
I soon discovered leafing through the book that 6th Town was my favorite town. It is called Delicious Land and features beautiful strawberries, candy and ice cream cones with a cupcake ferris wheel! What’s not to love <3
Not only is this a beautifully illustrated and super quirky coloring book, the underlying story is always appealing. I never expected a love story featuring a cow but it just goes to show in the coloring world how much imagination our talented artists have.
Romantic Journey Coloring Book Image Gallery
Please click on the image below to see it in more detail.
Where to buy Romantic Journey Coloring Book
You may like to wait for the English edition to be released under the title of “True Love“. In my experience, the English editions are always good value for money, and certainly less expensive for colorists than the Japanese editions. However, the binding so far, for all the English editions I have seen released has never been the same lay flat binding as featured in Japanese books. You will need to weigh up what is more important for you binding or price 🙂 Also, I could be wrong 🙂
Happy coloring x