OFF THE BOOKSHELF COLORING BOOK
45+ Weirdly Wonderful Designs to Color
for Fun & Relaxation
Illustrated by Samarra Khaja
(C&T Publishing; $14.95, Adults)
Forget the meditation. Pick up a marker or two!
It’s Quirky! It’s Funky! It’s just waiting for your Imagination! You can’t help but smile as you browse through the new coloring book Off the Bookshelf.
Samarra Khaja — mother, artist, designer, photographer, art director, seamstress…and now, coloring consultant — has added to the re-vitalized mania of coloring books for Adults. Khaja combines the highbrow with the high flyin’ (check out the flying pigs page) to taunt your silly side. She practically dares you to go wild with your imagination just by tapping into hers. So take out those Prismacolors, markers or even watercolors, find yourself a cozy corner and pick out a page!
I love attention to detail which Off the Bookshelf presents through a variety of topics and themes. The Bookshelf pages provide plenty of fine-line coloring attention on the book spines as well as amusing and intricate tchotchkes mixed among the stacks. Pages of architectural details also provide challenges and choices for the color enthusiast. Talk about attention to detail! Take out your .2 or .3 fineliners here, Artistes!
Khaja plays with myth and make-believe and creates wacky combinations of the everyday to make every page an adventure. This book is my first venture into coloring maps — of New York City, Paul Bunyan’s travels and more — and I look forward to finally designing my very own car color as well as remembering or re-learning the monuments of the U.S. Arrangements of cultural artifacts are also guaranteed to inspire and amuse! Totems, garden tools and things that go flash and pop (cameras, speakers, cassettes — is that an 8-track in the corner?) allow the mind to wander through a rainbow possibilities.
Off the Bookshelf also devotes pages to animals, both real and imagined. There’s a hilarious page of “rabbit mice” (they have rabbit ears and long tails!) fanning themselves or bowling!!? and many other truly fun critters in this playful menagerie. Khaja’s owl in the Beats and striped t-shirt is just waiting for you to get out your Prismatics and pens! Off the Bookshelf Coloring Book would also be a great introductory gift for those friends who think our new obsession is a bit, well, “Off the Charts.” And don’t forget to include a pack of starter pens (preferably the ones that glitter) to get those skeptics happily coloring alongside you!
- Reviewed by Dr. Juli Barry, an L.A. local, who has her Ph.D in 20th century American fiction.