Ice skaters in City Park, a stolen kiss at a cozy café, and chaps playing chess at Széchenyi Baths – these are all iconic images of the Magyar metropolis found among the delightful drawings of the new Budapest-themed coloring books designed for children and the young at heart, illustrated by Hungarian graphic artist Anita Nemes. Carefully seeking eyes can find the city’s significant sights amid the creative, witty, and lively details that make everyday Budapest scenes truly come alive – especially after you bring these different moments to life with your favorite colors.
Adult coloring books have become immensely popular in the past few months, and now various copies fill the shelves of bookshops, encouraging everyone to color the animals of the jungle, or to animate sea creatures, while children are stuck with the same old ladybugs and easier, rough-and-ready figures – or at least this has been the case up until now, as beautiful new Budapest-themed coloring books are now available in bookshops, illustrated by talented Hungarian graphic artist Anita Nemes. These super sketchbooks were made both for children and for adults who are young at heart.
Anita worked on the illustrations for nine months, creating special images that are variegated even before they are colored, and all strictly hand-drawn. One thing she had to get used to in the beginning was to not leave any errant lines hanging, as for proper coloring all thin twisting lines have to be connected, sometimes creating weirdly attached figures out of necessity. The coloring book is divided into different thematic sections – Buda, Pest, and the City Park, where you can see the baths, terraces, and the ice rink – whilst the fourth part guides painters through such places as the Buda Hills, the Zoo, the magical Christmas market at the Basilica, and to the classic world of confectioneries.
This coloring book is not just a series of a bunch of people and objects lined up together, as careful seekers can come across friendly interactions and situations as well, that mostly only catch our attention during coloring. Although you can find the significant sights and buildings of Budapest in the book, such as the baths, or the Buda Castle, the essence – mainly because of the children – lies in the liveliness of the surrounding situations.
Anita drew inspiration from the everyday scenes of Budapest’s streets, adding some wandering tourists to the sights, too. Besides all of that, she has also included a few figures that make coloring a lot more tempting for little ones, such as the princess and her beau at the Castle, the animated, smiling houses, as well as the delightful scenes around the depicted buildings. One speciality of the book is that it is available in two languages – English and Hungarian – as short descriptions between the drawings say a few words about each spot, making these coloring books a perfect souvenir to take home.
The images are so up-to-date that even hipsters show up amid underground scenes, but the charm of the old times is also present through the rabbit-shaped balloons and mouthwatering cotton candy of a street vendor. Considering the design, it is important to mention that the books are securely stiched and glued as well, so children will not rip them apart in a day (the book has been thoroughly tested on the editor’s little daughter). According to Anita, the book is perfect for therapeutic sessions for adults, but she hopes that children will also use their imagination to build stories around the scenes.
The various chapters feature such charming scenes as a man secretly feeding a lady’s dog, while the Várkert Bazaar features chanting flowers. One of our favorite pages portrays Gellért Hill, where cats are secretly hidden for you to find. Anita says that even though she doesn’t spend most of her time coloring, she has already started dressing her own coloring book in colors, and she has very much enjoyed it. She adds that so many delightful details are hidden in the book that it is worth going through each page to discover them all, as the truly tiny bits only become apparent when they are carefully colored.