Dover Coloring Book

Text Box with description of Book

If I were to rate this book, I would give it 4 stars because I really did enjoy coloring it. I used markers, pencils, and acrylics to create that vivid, flashy Art Deco look, and my finished product is pleasing. However, if I were to rate it on content, I would probably give it 3 stars. I love Art Deco. I love the bright, bold colors and linear style. Especially now, with so many wonderful pictures available on the internet, I cannot understand why Noble chose these relatively obscure examples, (I say obscure because I spent over a month searching the web for these images), to represent Art Deco. The first picture is by Josef Fenneker, a German Expressionist (a far cry from Art Deco). Out of the sixteen, over a third are grill-or ironwork. I know decorative ironwork was an important aspect of the Art Deco movement, but it's usually not COLORED. There are hundreds of authentic COLORED posters and pictures out there that would have been much better choices. Several of the pictures are collages or combinations of works, creations of Noble herself. I have no problem with that, but the book should have been called Designs in the STYLE of Art Deco. If I am coloring a book based on an actual historic style, I want to see actual historic examples that I can find online and re-create in my coloring book. I did find a few. One is on page 3. It is listed as "Chimere," but is actually a painting by George Barbier entitled "La Belle Dame sans Merci". Page 9 is a billboard, but I was unable to find it in color (if it ever was in color). The front cover piece is on the cover of a book about Brandt, and I used that as a model with breathtaking results. (Also, the artist mentioned for page 15 is Jaap, not Japp Gidding, but I was unable to find that picture.) Even in the original works I was able to find, Noble changed some details. Why? I have done other Dover design coloring books, particularly by A.G. Smith, whose renderings of the artist's original works are meticulous in detail. As with all these coloring books, it doesn't matter whether they are used by children or adults. Even though the enjoyment factor is essential, there should also be some focus on accuracy and quality.

I know this is a really long review for a coloring book, but I had very strong opinions about it. I wish someone (I would elect A.G. Smith) would do another, better Art Deco coloring book. There is so much cool art from that period out there just dying to be colored.

The first picture is labeled "Chimere" beaded silk evening gown; French: by Jeanne Paquin, and done in pencil, page 3. Next to it is a Flamingo from page 8, apparently a detail from a magazine illustration.

Chimere beaded gown by Jeanne Paquin

Flamingo

Below is the original artwork for the evening gown shown above: 'La Belle Dame sans Merci" by George Barbier. (Please note—when I colored my picture, I made several changes to attempt to make it look more accurate.)

La Belle Dame sans Merci

This next picture, from page 4 is very cool and one of my favorites. It is a collage-type that I mentioned above, combining a fashion illustration by Fromenti (in the center, done in acrylic), and a background pattern from a book by Thomas and Darcy, done in marker. I wish Noble had given more information on these pictures so I could have found them online.

Collage-type Design

Below, from page 5 is a picture labeled "Interior gate of patinated and gilt wrought ironwork by Edgar Brandt." I did it in metallic acrylics to imitate the picture found on the cover of the book about Brandt, to the right. Also note, this is the picture used on the front cover of this coloring book (See the top of the page.) Of course, there, it is nothing like the original. Obviously it is the personal choice of each colorist to choose whether to imitate the original art or color creatively!

Ironwork Design by Brandt

Cover of Book about Brandt

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