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Blomstermandala Målarbok is illustrated by Maria Trolle and published and very kindly sent to me to review by Pagina Förlag. This is one of the many stunning titles that has come out of Sweden in the last year and luckily for the rest of us worldwide, the US publisher Gibbs Smith has acquired the rights to it and will be publishing an English edition in March 2017 (I know it’s a long wait but it’s definitely worth it and if you can’t wait it’s available below).
This book is just a little smaller than A4, measuring 21.6 x 25.4cm, it’s hardback with very sturdy thick covers and a green-gold tape covering the spine, the title is embossed in gold on the front and spine of the book. It is glue and string-bound and the spine is fairly tight so it’s not very possible to reach the very centre of the images though this will ease up with use. The paper is thick, cream and lightly textured and pencils work well on it, easily building up layers for blending and shading and water-based pens don’t bleed or shadow (always test somewhere inconspicuous because everyone colours differently). The illustrations are printed double-sided and consists of single and double-page spreads and a whopping 16 pages have black backgrounds. The images consist of beautiful nature-inspired pictures from garden scenes to floral mandalas, bunches of flowers to animals and whimsical scenes of slightly anthropomorphised animals and homely scenes. Heaps of flowers and animals are included: daffodils, lupins, tulips, sunflowers, roses, poppies, peonies and forget-me-nots; rabbits, hedgehogs, mice, birds, deer, cats, foxes, squirrels and even a frog. The illustrations are beautifully drawn and utterly charming, they’re really pretty and floral but also very natural and they’re an absolute joy to colour!
In terms of mental health, this book is just fantastic because it’s so centred around nature and is inherently very calming and relaxing. Even just looking through the book soothes my mind and noticeably slows it down and it really helps distract you from any negative thoughts or difficult symptoms. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is thin but not spindly thin so there is a little leeway for slight issues with vision and fine motor control though you will need a fairly high level of both of these but not perfect! The intricacy and detail levels vary throughout from large open spaces all the way down to small spaces but nothing is teeny tiny and none of the sections would be impossible to colour separately if you wish. The imagery is just beautiful and I absolutely love it, there’s a lot of variety but all centred around the same floral garden theme which makes it feel really cohesive and it’ll look incredible coloured cover to cover! The images are often made up of lots of component parts which is ideal for those of you with poor concentration or symptoms that make completing a whole page too daunting or difficult and you can easily colour one mouse, apple or daffodil and still get a sense of achievement. On better days you can tackle a whole page or even a double-page spread so this book is filled with lots of different size projects. A number of the images are centralised images with space around them where you could add your own backgrounds, there are no written hints so this is by no means obligatory but the option is there if you wish, the images do of course look finished without any additions though.
I would highly recommend this book to people who love Swedish colouring books and who love nature. The illustrations are beautiful and they’re drawn in a mostly realistic style which makes them ideal for realistic or surreal colour schemes. If you like pretty images of flowers, animals and plants then you’re sure to love this book, it’s gorgeous and utterly charming from beginning to end!
This book is currently only available to buy from The Pen Store, however, US publisher Gibbs Smith have acquired publishing rights and will be publishing it in English in March 2017, I know it’s a long wait but I promise it’s worth it and I’ll add links for pre-order as soon as they’re available!
The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils.