Review: Chibi & Fruits by Maxim Simonenko

Chibi & Fruits is the third coloring book from the German portrait artist, Maxim Simonenko. If you like cute anime characters  and manga style, you’ll really enjoy this book. There is not a lot of tight detail so it’s a good book especially for a beginners and younger ages to color. 

The first page has a helpful introduction with recommendations for picking coloring media and tips for choosing color palettes.  Personally, I think this kind of art looks best with bright solid colors either with markers or digitally colored… but our colorists (below) used all different media and made these designs come to life beautifully! 

Colorist Randi Jameson usually uses colored pencils but decided to try out markers for these pages. She used a combination of Bics, Sharpies, Spectrum Noir, and Ohuhu markers. Randi admitted that this isn’t her usual style of coloring book but thought it was really cute and would be a great for kids.

It’s amazing how the same pages in this book can look so drastically different just by switching up the color palette and the medium. Randi did the above left with the markers I mentioned earlier and Linda Woltil Allison did the one on the above right with with Prismacolor Premier, CastleArt, and Koh-I-Noor colored pencils as well as  LePlumme dual tip brush/fineliners. 

As you can tell from the name of the book, illustrations consist of unique designs of cute anime characters with mixed fruits. Linda, who also colored the above pages felt  that the pages that focused on the characters more than the fruit were more fun to color!

Colorist Kimberly Egberts used Staedtler Ergosoft Aquarell pencils and discount store TwinMarkers (alcohol based, mainly from Action) to color the fruity page on the right. To color the peachy page on the left, Kimberly used Derwent Lightfast, Faber-Castell Polychromo pencils, and a Caran d’Ache Luminance pencil (801, Ivory). Kimberly said, “The fruits were an easy way to start, as they formed guidelines for color placement. The larger surfaces appeared to be a pain for lower quality, striping markers, but created perfect opportunities to blend and shade your heart out.”  Although she had great outcomes, she did share this honest opinion, “To me, bridging the gaps between interrupted pen strokes was a relatively challenging aspect of this book, as well as distinguishing and determining different elements on more detailed pages.” 

As for techniques that Kimberly used, she explains, “My fruity page was done using a 24-pack of watercolor pencils and cheap alcohol markers, showing the possibilities for colorists with limited supplies. I started by filling out an object with a light-colored marker. Next, I went over it with the pencils, preferably while the ink was still wet, to benefit from the watercolor effect. Different shades and colors were blended together to create the shaded effect. The peach page has been built up from many pencil layers. I used between 5 and 8 different shades for each object. I generally used the polychromos to create basic layers of color and the Lightfasts to create texture and vibrancy.”

Colorist Cher Reneé, thinks these are the “cutest little characters.” She used Arrtx and Prismacolor Premier pencils on the above pages. She then added the flowers just before squaring up the corners of the design.

Colorist Brenda Mesta colored the above left page with “Quick Craft” alcohol markers. It looks like these markers may have been discontinued but the color names and numbers match the Master’s Touch alcohol markers. Brenda said, “I loved coloring this page, I really enjoy coloring food, since you can use very vibrant and striking colors.” Colorist Ilona Szajnicka who colored the above right page, doesn’t feel as comfortable as Brenda when it comes to this subject matter but she did an awesome job using only Polychromo pencils.

* Colorists who participated in this review were given free pages in exchange for their honest opinion and may have received a nominal token for their completed colored pages.

Where to buy?

You can buy this book as well as Maxim’s other books on Amazon

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Download Sample Page!

Maxim has been generous enough to share this page to download to our members and visitors free of charge!!

About the Author: Maxim Simonenko

 Maxim Simonenko is a versatile artist and drawing teacher whose work has been featured in video games, movies, manga short stories and on fantasy book covers. Today, Maxim is booked throughout Europe as a professional portrait artist. For over 14 years he has also worked as an art lecturer specializing in portrait and manga drawing, teaching at schools, academies and other institutions. Maxim also shares his knowledge on these topics in his self-developed online drawing courses. He also just released  “How to Draw Manga and Anime” book for beginners

You can find Maxim on Instagram:

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