Feature image from the inside front cover of Call of Cthulhu.
I read a lot of faerie tales and myths as a kid (okay, I still do), and was particularly into the HP Lovecraft inspired Cthulhu Mythos for quite a while as teen. As an adult, I especially enjoy reading other authors playing in that sandbox cos I legit love the idea of shared universes that anyone can write in.
When a rep from Chaosium asked if I would be interested in receiving a review copy of their Call of Cthulhu colouring book, I jumped at the chance. HELL YES, I WANT TO COLOUR GREAT OLD ONES, AYFKM?! So, yes, I received a free copy of this colouring book in exchange for an honest review.
What I liked: The illustrations in this book are GORGEOUS. Artist Andrey Fetisov has done an outstanding job bringing these stories to life in ways that are legitimately fun to colour (click here to see more of his work).
I like the fiddly little detail work, especially with fine-tipped pens (<.3mm or GTFO, amirite?) and there’s a lot of this. Even though it’s the size of a normal colouring book, you’ll find yourself getting lost in the intricacies on the page for hours. I coloured one page, and spent more than a week doing so, probably around 18-20 hours total? So, for someone like me, this is a huge bonus.
The book is bound with staples, so it’s super easy to get it to lay flat. I didn’t have any problems with the ink smearing when I used lighter colours or a blending pencil. Love that.
I also really dug the fact that opposite the main page is a mostly blank page with a smaller illustration and a quote that inspired the page you’re working on. This was great, not just for inspiring ME, but also because it meant I didn’t really have to worry too much about using pens or markers, cos the paper was thin enough that they’d definitely bleed through. Which brings me to…
What I didn’t love: The paper is thin. If it weren’t for those mostly blank backs of the pages, I’d have loved it a lot less than I do. I’m only considering this a minor nitpick. What bothered me slightly more about the paper is that it’s not a whole lot different than what I use in my printer at home. I found that it would only accept so many layers of light colour before it just wouldn’t take any more, which made me wish I had pressed harder to begin with. Still not a huge deal, since I print shit out at home to colour all the time, you know?
Would I recommend it: Hell yes. Especially if you’re a fan of the Great Old Ones. Or even if you’re not and are looking for a colouring book with more of a horrory madness vibe than a lot of other stuff that’s out there. I’ve looked at a ton of horror colouring books and most of them look amateurish, or they’re printed with terrible ink that makes it impossible to colour them.
You can head over to Chaosium and purchase it here. If you buy the physical colouring book, you get a free PDF copy, which is pretty awesome (in case you want to practice or test colours or even use a different medium).
I’ve been poking around Skillshare for two months. Would I pay full price to keep it?
I was not paid to review Skillshare or given anything in return for my review.
I tried Skillshare when I saw an offer for 3 months of premium for $0.99 on a YouTube channel I follow (the channel is Drawfee, and it is hilarious, FYI. Highly recommend if you like humorous videos). I am a video tutorial addict; I’ve been getting my fix on YouTube for years, and I’ve armchair-learned so many skills that I will probably never use. If Skillshare is 100% compatible for anybody, it’s me.
And my answer to whether it’s worth the premium price is a resounding “maybe? if you have eight-to-twelve bucks that you literally don’t care about every month?”
Definitely there are a lot of good things about Skillshare. The average video quality of all of the classes I’ve taken or previewed (probably a good 10 – 15 at this point?) has across the board been better than the average quality I find on YouTube–not to say that there aren’t great quality tutorials on YouTube because there definitely are, just that you aren’t guaranteed a great quality video. (As I look deeper through some of the categories on Skillshare, I’m actually also finding videos that aren’t that great of quality, too. So it’s more of a mixed bag than I initially thought.)
I also really enjoy the class format because I don’t have to go hunting for videos for the next step in a project, or wait for the next video to come out when the person gets time to film it.
Another pro is that Skillshare seems like it probably has been hustlin’ to get some good talent on its site that YouTube hasn’t attracted (maybe by paying more?). Famous brands like Pixar and Good Housekeeping have classes on the site. I watched videos by a great watercolor artist named Karina Eibatova, a “designy illustrator” named Mikey Burton (he was my fave teacher, hands down), and weaver and author Rachel Denbow. I loved all their classes and you could tell they were professionals in their fields.
I also found some cool business-y courses (though more on this in a minute). I could have used more of this type of course, to be honest, but I found a couple of courses about how to launch a t-shirt business and how to integrate batch-sewing into your workflow so you could run a sewing business out of your home, which sounds jargon-y but is a very useful skill. Mo’ sewing = mo’ money, am I right?
I actually can find tutorials that cover a lot of the same topics on YouTube for free. At $96 to $144 a year, that’s a pretty big incentive to do my own research . . and honestly, on YouTube, it’s not difficult. Skillshare is about six years behind YouTube as an entity and is lesser-known; Skillshare boasts 15,000 classes, and granted, they’re generally high-quality, but a quick YouTube search of “tutorial” brings up 181 million results. It’s almost impossible to run out of things to learn on YouTube and there are some really professional teachers making quality videos there, as well.
Skillshare also promises “professional skills” but I saw a whole lot of basic classes on there. There was a class on how to knit a scarf in garter stitch and a class on urban sketching; I didn’t see nearly as many intermediate or next-level classes or specific business skills that I couldn’t learn from literally anybody who has a “business skills you need to learn for your home business” post. I also saw a lot of “productivity hack” type courses, and I feel like probably not all of those people are actually productivity experts. If I’m paying for access, I’d prefer higher levels of vetting and curation from Skillshare. I can get “experts” who think they know everything about productivity on YouTube. *s*
Some categories are almost nearly empty. When I checked IT Security a couple of hours ago (or maybe it was last night, but I think it was today–I only just finished my first cup of coffee, forgive me), there were no videos in it. Now there are three, and I . . I’m not an IT Security expert but I don’t know that these videos really fit the topic?
It’s also not as easy to find things as I’d really like. One of the things that Skillshare could have up on YouTube is the ability to browse sections and find skills I didn’t even know I didn’t have, but videos are not always sorted into appropriate categories. For example, “Culinary” and “Cooking” had about five videos each when I clicked through, but I knew I had seen a lot more on the main “Lifestyle” page. Sure enough, a quick scroll through the main “Lifestyle” category immediately brought up a lot more food videos. (All of which were basic cooking stuff, just in case you’re curious.)
Then there are the scammy videos. I really wish Skillshare did a better job of curation, frankly–both at categorizing videos and keeping scammy classes like “Free Unlimited WiFi Trick at Cafes and Malls” or “How To Access To The Deepweb”[sic] at a minimum.
I . . . don’t really care if I continue to use Skillshare? It’s a thing that is neat but not in any way indispensable to me. It’s definitely not worth $12 a month to me, or even $8/mo if I pre-pay for the year; the classes aren’t rigorous enough to justify paying that much for it. Once my 99-cent months are up, I’ll probably cruise it every now and then for free content. It’s going to be a lot more helpful for people who are just starting out with a skill, but even then, you will probably quickly be looking for other sources of information.
That said? If you can get some free months or get the 3 months for $0.99 deal, it’s definitely worth poking around a little if you like learning skills. Skillshare lets people have a referral link and earn free months by giving out free months, as well; you can get a free month of Skillshare Premium from my referral link by clicking here. (This will give me free months, but like I said, I don’t really care if I continue to use it. So if you would rather seek out the 3 months for $0.99 deal, go with my blessing.)
TL;DR: totally okay but I’m not into it enough to pay full price for it.
Have you used Skillshare? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments!