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~~~ Monster High Fashion Sketch Portfolio ~~~
I love crafts, and could quite happily spend the rest of my days doing nothing else. I have two daughters, and whilst one has absolutely no interest in anything creative; my youngest daughter is following in my footsteps and loves anything to do with drawing and colouring, or making things.
I first purchased a set similar to this from Hobbycraft, which just featured hair and makeup. There were outlines supplied, in which to add your own designs of hair and makeup and embellish with jewellery etc. My daughter loved it as it encouraged her creativity and imagination, along with her sense of style, and this review focuses on this kit from the Monster High range.
This kit is essentially a colouring book, with a more 'grown-up' theme than the usual colouring books on the market. The age recommendation for the Monster High version is 7+, whereas most Fashion Angel drawing sets are 6+. I feel this is a good representation as to the higher level of difficulty from the scenes. They are much more intricate and detailed, and therefore more suited to the slightly higher age range.
When I first purchased this last Christmas, it cost a £12.99, and considering I paid £12.99 for her first non-branded design portfolio, I thought this was very reasonable. Looking at Amazon today, they have retained that price, so their appeal and monetary value have not waned in the slightest.
~~~ The Portfolio ~~~
As with the other sets available, this book measures 25 x 27 cm and set on the landscape. It's quite a substantial size, yet it's not too large for placing on a child's lap tray or small desk. I like the fact that its spiral bound from the top, and the covers rather than being hard backed are constructed from a thick, yet pliable plastic. The benefit to this is, when you are colouring you can actually colour right up to the edges of the design; sometimes with portrait style books, with a bound edge, you end up struggling on the left hand side, especially if your child is left handed. Being spiral bound, also means that it lies flat and doesn't keep trying to close on itself; that always used to bother me as a child.
~~~ Designs ~~~
Inside, you will find 40 pages of scenes featuring the four main characters and their pets. There are five designs and they are repeated 8 times over. I do think they could have had ten designs and repeated them twice, or better yet, 40 different designs to prevent any boredom creeping in. The light grey, almost pencil like outlines feature the main characters from Monster High. If you are not aware of these, they are from a book aimed at teenage girls, by Lisi Harrison. The characters are known as R.A.Ds or Regular Attribute Dodgers. In other words they are not people but monsters, such a Draculaura (based upon Dracula), Frankie Stein (obvious), Lagoona Blue (a sea monster) and Cleo De Nile (an Egyptian mummy). Even though the books have complex issues that 7 year olds won't be able to comprehend well, Monster High appeals to girls with their attitude of being 'Freaky but Fabulous', and that it doesn't matter what you look like, it's what's within that counts.
Also included, is six sheets of stencils, which contains 190 different items to create unique, fashionable outfits on each of the characters. These include pieces of clothing, accessories and even each of the 'Monsters' pets to build upon the basic design already provided. These are constructed from some sort of thick acetate or thin plastic and are extremely flimsy and flexible. To further enhance your completed designs, a sheet containing 155 colourful stickers add a wonderful embellishment opportunity, and can personalise your creations even more.
~~~ Creativity ~~~
To get your creative juices flowing further, inside the front of the book there is a selection of inspirational completed pictures, either to copy, or just get design inspiration from. The instructions for use are really child friendly and done pictorially. There is also help with colour theory - the science of tints, shades, complementary and analogous harmonious colours, and colour blending and shading. Whilst this goes over the heads of the younger designer, my daughter now aged almost 10, is beginning to take these considerations on board, and as a consequence, her make-up and hair designs have improved dramatically.
My daughter has on occasion removed her masterpiece to display upon the kitchen fridge or to present to her grandparents. Although the pages are not perforated, due to the way it is presented, it is extremely easy to tear each page out, without ruining the remaining pages.
~~~ In summary ~~~
As I think my review reflects, I highly rate this Monster High Sketch Portfolio. It's been a lovely addition to my daughter's craft collection, and is perfect for rainy day play, or just when the mood arises. It would make a wonderful gift for any Monster High fan. Five stars from me.