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I am learning so much from this “color by number” coloring book! The premise is pretty simple — color these pages using one of the 25 colors indicated in each space. Yet the designs are so lovely and well done, and the color combinations work so well, that I’ve learned more about illustration than ever before. I know that most artists and designers do not simply use black to create shadows.

Normally, they use another color. I can see what they do but I could never see which colors I’d use to do that myself. But now, it’s becoming much clearer. Beyond the basics, there are suggestions in the book for starting with the lower numbers, which are lighter, then progressing upward in the numbered colors as they gradually become stronger and more prominent. Subtle shading, by ordering the different shades, is also encouraged.

And wow, the results are amazing! Plus it’s all so much fun, I can’t wait to get back to the next page I’m coloring in. The book is very well made, printed on quality paper, cleanly and well. Because of the detailing and shading, colored pencils are called for here. The numbers are quite small — and faint, so they get covered up as I color — so I need my reading glasses. Each page of autumn scenes is so well designed and executed, framing colored illustrations would be entirely appropriate.

This lovely coloring book features truly beautiful illustrations with lots of details. The book is printed on high-quality paper, on one side only, so I can use whatever medium I like to color the pages. The illustrations have a vintage quality as they focus on a wide variety of Christmas settings — indoors, outdoors, still-lifes, and old-timey villages in the midst of the holidays.

The illustrations have thick black outlines, with thin lines within to convey patterns and shading. The book cover shows a painted version of one of the pages. Each page is ready for a variety of approaches to coloring however you like!