Intricate Ink : animals in detail

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Recently American publisher Pomegranate published “Intricate Ink : animals in detail” by artist Tim Jeffs. The publisher sent a copy for us to review for which we thank Pomegranate.

On the Internet this information can be found about this book: Using black ink pens and colored pencils, American artist and illustrator Tim Jeffs is creating a veritable ink zoo of intricately drawn animals. Ever intrigued by their diversity and complexity, Jeffs strives to capture his subjects’ essence in his portraits. He begins each drawing with extensive research into a given animal’s conservation status, habitats, habits, and physical appearance. He then closely studies its skin or fur but lets artistic license dictate the patterns, textures, and colors he applies. He enjoys “having the control of making it my own creation, and not just another photograph.” Jeffs does, however, pay photorealistic attention to drawing each creature’s eyes, which “give it a personality, express emotion and let the animal tell its own story as it looks back at the viewer.”

The cover of this sturdy bound book is pleasing to the eye and is just a precursor to the beauty that awaits inside. Fifty images of animals in greyscale, printed single sided on high quality paper. The lay-flat binding is excellent for coloring.

For those who love greyscale, but of course also for everyone else, this book offers a beautiful collection of images to color in. Artist Tim Jeffs (1965) draws true to nature with black ink and he does so with much detail. He himself colors with colored pencils but other materials are just as useable in this book.

Leafing through the pages I found one gorgeous image after another. Here is an impression:

I picked two images to color in. For the first one, a parrot, I used Derwent Coloursoft colored pencils.

These pencils performed well on the smooth paper. So smooth that the pigment seemed to float slightly on the paper during the first second after it was applied. Because of the absence of toothiness of the paper it was necessary to work in several layers. The greytones of the drawings remain clearly visible after coloring, even the lighter grey lines. This of course is important when it comes to greyscale art and the paper of this book is defenitely up to this. The only slight disadvantage can be found when it comes to using an eraser. This you will have to use with caution because the ink tends to being erased as well. You have to bear this in mind also when it comes to using a blender pencil. But aside from that this paper performs very well with colored pencils.


For coloring the second image, a lionfish, I used Tombow Dual Brush pens. The paper this book is printed on is so thick and smooth that working with these (water based) felt-tip pens is a real treat. The paper does not tend to get damaged, even when I applied a fourth(!) layer and mixing colors goes just wonderful. The ink from the Tombows does not bleed through the printed lines and the paper is so thick that the ink does not show on the backside of the page. I have no doubt whatshowever that (alcohol based) markers will perform just as well. The pages are printed single sided so there won’t be any problem when working with markers.


My conclusion is that Pomegranate has put a very attractive coloring book on the market, one that will give colorists much pleasure, both when working with dry materials (colored pencils) or wet ones (felt tip pens, markers etc.). When you remember to use an eraser or a blender pencil carefully you will enjoy many hours of coloring bliss when it comes to this beautiful coloring book.

Data of the book:
Title: Intricate Ink : animals in detail
Illustrator: Tim Jeffs
Publisher: Pomegranate
Product dimensions: 22,2 x 28,6 x 1,3 cm
Pages: 108
ISBN: 9780764974694
Price: $16.95

This book is amongst others available at Amazon and Pomegranate.

One thought on “Intricate Ink : animals in detail

  1. Thank you very much for your thoughtful review of my book. I am so happy that you enjoyed coloring in the animals! It so rewarding to see your wonderfully colored in Macaw and Lionfish examples, and your explanation of the high quality book that Pomegranate produced. All the best, Tim

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