Lost Ocean

Last week, I promised to start reviewing books that I have in my collection. Here's my first post in that series.

The first book I'm going to be reviewing is Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford. It is the book that introduced me to the world of adult coloring. In spite of the fact that I have better books in my collection now, I still have a special place for it.

Johanna Basford is a Scottish illustrator and all her coloring books feature hand-drawn creations in black and white. Her designs are usually intricate and contain mostly natural features like plants and animals.

Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford


The book has 80 pages, including a giant 4 page foldout at the back that you can remove. In general, books published in Europe or for a European audience are better quality than ones sold in the US. I have the US version. I would tell anyone to get the UK version if you can find a copy in your local bookstore or if you're ordering from Book Depository (they do free worldwide shipping).


The artwork in this book is gorgeous. Mostly underwater scenes or wallpaper type images with sea life. Not all of the images show realistic ocean life, you also have mermaids and things like that.

The pictures don't have any border and some of the illustrations do run into the spine. There are a few double-sided images throughout the book.

One thing that I will note about the artwork is that it is extremely detailed and intricate. Pens, gel pens, fineliners etc. are almost necessary for some images, although you can still use a pencil for bigger spaces on the same page.

Paper Quality

The paper in this book is bright white. It is good quality with medium thickness. It is smooth to touch and doesn't have much of a tooth. It is certainly not the best paper but it is quite good. Having used the book for a few months and coloring in a few pages, I can say that it takes pencils quite well. Some pages seem to take pens pretty okay while other pages get lots of shadows.

Suitable Media

  • No Prismacolor pencils
  • Polychromos are much better
  • Watercolor pencils are ok but not too much water
  • No alcohol markers but water-based ones are ok
  • Pens are fine
  • Soft pastels are great for backgrounds


Most adult coloring books seem to be priced at $10 or so and Lost Ocean come to around the same. I would say the book is a pretty good value for anyone who loves intricate designs and those with great eyesight.

If you struggle with motor coordination, have poor eyesight or just don't want the hassle, there are plenty of other good coloring books out there for you.

Lost Ocean is not my absolute favorite coloring book and I would certainly not recommend it for beginners. It's my designated book for experiments - practice, testing new media and learning different types of techniques.