Bicycle Colouring Book

The Bicycle Colouring book should be for kids, right?

Not any more: you will see colouring books aimed at adults populating the best-seller charts, often requiring a high amount of patience and skill to do justice to the intricate drawings. And cyclists are never one to miss out.

I am sure that I am not alone in being surprised at the success of such an ‘old school’ past-time, but at the same time is reassuring that not every activity has to revolve around the latest technology.

There have been many different themes to these books (even Mills & Boon got in on the act recently), and this is the latest one dedicated entirely to cycling. Well, I say cycling because there is a bicycle on every page – but apparently there is also a cat on every page as well (although I did miss a few), so maybe Cat World magazine will be interested in it as well?

The drawings on offer here are always surreal, and sometimes even disturbing; if you are a fan of adult comic books or urban art you will be familiar with the style. The book “follows the amazing journey of a riderless bicycle exploring the dystopian, fantastical landscape. The other-worldly scenes offer something weird and wonderful for colouring enthusiasts.” We are invited to “tighten your pedal straps and follow me on a journey across the sky and under the sea”, and that sets the scene perfectly for what to expect.

If you experienced The Ride Journal (2008-16) you will be even more familiar with the style, as the artist Shan Jiang provided the cover image for all ten issues of the critically acclaimed publication – and the same cues are very evident in The Bicycle Colouring Book. Jiang’s normal method is to first produce the picture at A3 size, which leads to some incredible detail on the finished size (which is a little under A4).

This is the first time that the artist has published any ‘un-coloured’ work, although if you open up the centre gatefold you will see that Jiang has completed the colouring of a whole spread (with the un-coloured version alongside). Actually, perhaps you should not look at it, because your own efforts might never match the beauty and perfection of the version completed using digital technology.

As is usually the case, only one side of the page has a drawing to be coloured in (because of colour ‘show through’), but the other side has not been wasted: each page has a small illustration on the reverse that together form a flip book, featuring that cat again.

This is a beautifully presented bicycle-themed colouring book, with a very distinctive style.

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