Adult Coloring Book Reviews

The Menagerie – Animal Portraits to Color

The Menagerie: Animal Portraits to Color Buy on Amazon US| Buy on Book Depository|Buy on Amazon UK|Buy on Amazon Ca
by Richard Merritt
Published by Barron's Educational Series on February 1st 2016
Style: pre colored background, single page illustrations
Pages: 64
Format: Card cover, Glue Binding

This lavishly illustrated, intricately designed collection of animal portraits offers hours of relaxing, absorbing fun to coloring book fans and animal lovers alike. It features sophisticated, custom-made artwork from two acclaimed illustrators whose work has captured the attention of keen colorists from around the world. From mighty bears to awe-inspiring tigers, and beyond, each page allows coloring fans to take their time, relax, and get lost in their own world, where color combinations and beauty are theirs to create and choose. Each exquisite headshot is printed on perforated paper, so it is easily pulled out and readily available for display once you've completed your coloring sessions. Long-time coloring book fans and beginners will be equally engaged and entertained, and will find their stress levels declining even as their creativity levels soar.

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The Menagerie – Coloring Book Review

The Menagerie is a coloring book consisting of animal portraits.   It is illustrated by Richard Merrit and Claire Scully.  Richard Merrit is well known in the coloring book world.  He has illustrated a number of books in the Art Therapy series.

Cover & Layout

The Menagerie Coloring Book is larger than most coloring books being square shaped and measuring approximately 29 cm x 29 cm (approximately 11.5 in x 11.5 in).     The white semi glossy cover has been adorned with pre printing in teal, slate grey and highlights of silver and copper foil.

The Menagerie - Panda Bear

The Menagerie – Panda Bear

The illustrations have been printed on white paper, medium quality and smooth to the touch.   Each illustration has been printed on a single page allowing the colorist the opportunity to use whatever medium they wish, without spoiling a reverse image.   I would, put protective paper between the pages if you are using alcohol or wet mediums as they may cause shadowing on the pages. All of the illustrations contain pre printed background elements comprising leaves, flora, strawberries and the like.

The Menagerie - some drawings feature solid black

The Menagerie – some drawings feature solid black

Some colorists may have preferred only line art and the option to choose their own colors.    Other colorists may prefer that some of the work of coloring the page has been done for them.


The 31 illustrations in The Menagerie comprise portrait shots of a menagerie of animals from around the world.   The animals are not shown as full bodied and only show their head and, perhaps shoulders. In order of appearance, the illustrations  comprise a Bengal tiger, eastern gorilla, European badger, impala, British bulldog, black rhinoceros, red fox, bighorn sheep, giant panda, ring tailed lemur, llama, hippopotamus, European rabbit, African forest elephant, Arabian horse, koala, brown bear, Highland cow, red kangaroo, red panda, red deer, Norwegian forest cat, Somali giraffe, African leopard, European otter, mandrill, plains zebra, grey wolf, Herdwick sheep, North American moose, Masai lion.

The Menagerie - love this picture with the pre printed berries

The Menagerie – love this picture with the pre printed berries

The line art  has been nicely positioned on the page so that it is centered and avoiding the spine area.  The lines are all outlined in crisp black with a fine to medium weight.    Visually, the line art is easy for me to see without my glasses.

The Menagerie - side on portrait view

The Menagerie – side on portrait view

The illustrations consist of art with various levels of complexity. Some drawings have a number of small fine details which may prove challenging, for example, the badger whereas others like the lion, have some larger spaces which may be less challenging for colorists.

The Menagerie Coloring Book - face and shoulders portrait

The Menagerie Coloring Book – face and shoulders portrait

The images are all presented in portrait orientation.

The book lays down flat well, with some gentle nudging, and colorists should have no difficulty coloring in the book due to the way it has been laid out.

The Elephant is extremely detailed with fine line work

The Elephant is extremely detailed with fine line work

The art work style of  patterns that fit the body and shape of the animal can be fun to color in a range of color palettes.   The back cover of the book features a partial colored drawing of the European otter that looks beautiful in pinks, purples and greens.  This style of art work also suits those that may not have the attention span or inclination to completely color the entire picture.  With this style of art, if some parts are left uncolored, the final result can look fantastic, see the cover art for inspiration.

The Menagerie Coloring Book Video Review

Enjoy the video review of  The Menagerie Coloring Book below:

Where to buy The Menagerie Coloring Book

Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon Canada Book Depository

Happy coloring x








About Claire Scully

Claire Scully is a London based freelance illustrator. She enjoys working in pen, ink and digital forms.

About Richard Merritt

Richard Merritt holds a BA in illustration. He has illustrated for over 10 years on a wide range of creative briefs ranging from children’s books, packaging and even designing costumes for film work.

About the author


I'm Lea and I love everything to do with coloring! If it is a coloring book, a poster or even a bookmark that you can color in, I'm all over it. Of course, a girl has to have some pencils, markers, gelly rolls, pastels and what not to make those pictures pretty and I love those as well.

Whilst my coloring style lacks skill, I am enthusiastic and focused on enjoying the moment and having fun.

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