Maria Trolle

Twilight Garden Artist’s Edition (Blomstermandala Tavelbok) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Twilight Garden Artist’s Edition is published and very kindly sent to me to review by Gibbs Smith Publishing. Twilight Garden is the English title of the hugely successful series of colouring books called Blomstermandala by Swedish artist, Maria Trolle. I have previously reviewed the Blomstermandala Colouring Book HERE and this is the Artist’s Edition of that book, it’s identical in format to other Artist’s Editions published by Gibbs Smith and Pagina (the Swedish publisher of all of these books) and therefore much of my review is identical to those, this Artist’s Edition is also identical to the Swedish version of it apart from the language. The book measures 29.5x21cm (A4), it’s paperback with thick but flexible card covers which are black with muted coloured flowers from inside the book and gold foiled text on the front, back, and spine. The book has a matte gold tape binding meaning the pages lie completely flat when the book is open and they can be removed for framing. The pages are made of thick cream card which is lightly textured and absolutely fabulous for using pencils on as they layer really well and blend seamlessly. Water-based pens also work really well on this card and don’t bleed through or sideways and there isn’t even a hint of shadowing either. For my page I used Derwent Inktense Pencils activated with minimal water which worked brilliantly with absolutely no buckling or warping at all. The illustrations are all single-page designs and are printed single-sided so you can use whatever medium you fancy without worrying about bleed-through.

The content is a little strange, the book contains 20 pages, 16 of which are illustrations from the original book, 1 is a floral alphabet where each letter shape consists of a single flower (oddly the letter W is missing), and 3 of which are black-background images with full colour printing of what look to be photographed petals, leaves and flowers so these 3 pages are unable to be coloured, a strange choice I feel. However, the other 17 images are lovely choices and are all single-page spreads from the book printed either the same size as the originals or a little larger. 7 of the images have white backgrounds and 10 have black backgrounds (some of these were printed with white backgrounds in the original book). The images are all of flowers and plants and none contain any animals, birds or objects so if those were you favourites then this Artist’s Edition may not be for you. A huge range of flowers are included from daffodils to tulips, lupins to forget-me-nots, foxgloves to grape hyacinths, and fuchsias to peonies and so many more! I’ve included photos of all of the pages below so that you can see the range and make an informed choice. None of the images reach the edges of the page and those with a white background have space where you could add your own backgrounds or imagery if you wish, though this is by no means a requirement, and this will make all of them very easy to frame for yourself or to gift to others.

In terms of mental health, this book is just wonderful, seasoned readers of my blog will know that I strongly believe that natural images, and those depicting nature are the best for mental health and calming you down and this book is no exception, the images are very relaxing and very realistic and details have been added to these that weren’t in the original illustrations (see photo comparisons below). The line thickness is consistent throughout and remains medium/thin so it’s definitely manageable to colour. The intricacy and detail vary throughout from medium to high and this is higher than the original book due to the added details in the larger spaces of each section, these are easily coloured over if you prefer larger sections to colour or they’re manageable to colour within so this book is good for a range of levels of vision and fine motor control depending on how you want to use it. I found this book and the illustrations within it great for my mood, just looking through it and noticing all of the different flowers and leaves made me feel calmer and the images are just beautiful so they’re sure to lift your mood and keep you distracted from any difficult thoughts or persistent symptoms. The images do vary a little in size and difficulty and they mostly consist of a collection of components which is ideal for good and bad days because you can work on one tiny flower or leaf on a bad day, or a whole page on a good day so it’s ideal for those with fluctuating conditions or concentration levels. The fact that the pages are printed single-sided and are removable is fantastic because it means you can remove your works of art and frame them or gift them which is a great way of reminding yourself of what you can achieve and brighten up the darkest of days.

I would highly recommend this book (despite the inclusion of three uncolourable images) to those of you who like to colour flowers and plants, those who have the original book, those who love to gift or frame their colouring, and those who like to use alcohol markers or wet media as there’s no worry about ruining any reverse images. The illustrations chosen are beautiful and very calming.

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Twilight Garden Artist’s Edition
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Twilight-Garden-Mari-Trolle/9781423647072/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Derwent Inktense Pencils activated with water.

Vivi Söker en Vän Målarbok (Vivi’s Looking for a Friend) – A Review

Vivi Söker en Vän Målarbok, which translates into English as Vivi’s Looking for a Friend, is illustrated by Maria Trolle, who has also illustrated Blomstermandala and I Bring You Flowers Postcards, and is published and kindly sent to me to review by Pagina Förlag. This book is Swedish and currently only published there, it’s available for International purchase using the links at the bottom of this review just above the photos. Maria has created a children’s story book with these illustrations in full colour and an adult’s colouring book (reviewed here) where the story is removed. Maria has posted a short description of the story on her Facebook page which I’ve quoted directly below.

“The story of the book in short is this: “When Vivi woke at dawn the walls were darker than usual and the house felt cramped. I want a friend, someone who is just mine, she thought. Vivi lives in a tree house in the woods. One day she goes on an adventure to find herself a friend.
Vivi takes a ride with a bird and fly up into the sky where she meets the Cloudbear. She goes deep into the ocean where she meets ta mermaid. In the oak, she becomes friends with the tree spirit. Vivi looks into hollows in the ground where the voles live. But who can be her very own friend who is hers always…
The Miniwolf are also looking for a friend. He is curious about Vivi and wonders if she’ll ever see him …
Vivi meets a friend is about finding your place in the world and to find yourself and meet the right person. A best friend.”

The book itself is 21.5 x 25.4cm, it’s paperback with a partially coloured image from inside on the cover (the storybook has a fully coloured image on the front so be sure you’re ordering the correct one) wrapped around both flexible card covers, there are small colourable images from inside the book on the insides of both covers. The spine is glue and string bound so it’s very durable but a little tricky to get the book to lie flat at first. The pages are printed single-sided onto perforated pages which are sturdy enough to hold them in the book if you wish to keep it complete, but these do allow you to remove pages before or after colouring if you wish. The paper is cream, thick and very lightly textured, it doesn’t bleed with water-based pens but does bleed with alcohol markers so make sure you pop a protective sheet behind your work. Pencils go on smoothly but are a little tricky to blend and layer due to lack of tooth, experienced colourists will manage to get stunning results though I’m sure! The images themselves are a great mix of adult level colouring but with childlike charm. The illustrations tell the story of Vivi as she goes in search of a friend and she travels to different environments and meets different creatures which means you’re offered a huge variety of things to colour from practising skin tones and fur to feathers and clouds, if you want a book to challenge you out of your comfort zone then this is ideal. Equally though, this would look gorgeous block coloured or with minimal blending and shading, or with a touch of added sparkle from some glitter gel pens so don’t be put off if you’ve not mastered fur, I haven’t yet but I’ll be giving it a go in this book. A few of the images have dots on to indicate shading and these are very useful, especially for beginner colourists to learn where light and shade can be placed in an image. As with Maria’s other books, a total of 8 images have a black background which is a lovely touch and will make the colours really pop on those pages. There are almost 50 images which are really varied in content and there is a beautiful map at the back showing all of the different places Vivi travels to within the story.

In terms of mental health, this book is wonderful, the storytelling aspect is lovely because it offers escapism and Maria’s images are so evocative and charming that you can’t help but become immersed in Vivi’s world and your worries and symptoms soon melt away. The childlike quality of the images is very nostalgic and really transports you back to simpler times and happy days as a child. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is thin. The intricacy and detail levels vary from large open spaces of a fox or whale to much smaller details of leaves, flower centres and butterflies, and everything in between. You will need fairly good vision and fine motor control to keep within the lines but they don’t need to be perfect so don’t be put off, just check the images below to decide if they’re suitable or not. This book offers a huge amount of scope for the imagination, while the pictures do tell the story very well, you could easily add your own written story on the blank left-hand pages throughout the book and once coloured you could gift it to a child or read it to your own children. You could even colour Vivi to look like a little girl you know and get her to wear their favourite colour so that it’s like that child is in the story, this would make the most wonderful personalised gift! Equally, you could remove the pages and frame them for a child’s bedroom, they’d be a wonderful addition with their whimsical content. The variance in image content means that this book is ideal for those with fluctuating conditions and concentration levels, on bad days you can colour just one cloud or acorn and on better days you could colour a whole image, there are loads of natural stopping points so you can get the satisfaction of finishing something without it having to be the entire page which can often be quite daunting and off-putting!  This book really is another beautiful creation which is exactly what we’ve come to expect from Maria, it’s a really different premise from most adult colouring books but I personally love it and even though I don’t have children myself, or really anyone to gift it to, I’m still loving colouring in it and imagining myself on Vivi’s journey as she meets cloud bears, mermaids and woodland creatures.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book, it offers so much escapism and the artwork is just charming. It would make a wonderful gift fully coloured, with a written story added, or even a framed page and Vivi is sure to become a family favourite!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available to order below though you may need to be patient as it’s very popular and often out of stock.
Pen Store – https://www.penstore.com/art-design/vivi-soker-en-van
Bokus – http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163612695/vivi-soker-en-van-malarbok/

If you’d also like to purchase a copy of the Vivi storybook with fully coloured illustrations then it’s available from Bokus here – http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163612718/vivi-soker-en-van-sagobok/

The image below was coloured using Sharpie Fine Point Alcohol Markers.

I Bring You Flowers: 20 Greetings Cards to Colour – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
I Bring You Flowers is published and very kindly sent to me by Print Works, an imprint of Pagina Förlag. This book is illustrated by Maria Trolle who illustrated the hugely successful Blomstermandala. This is a postcard book (the description states greetings cards but they’re actually postcards), it’s standard size with a lilac tape binding and black covers with a design from inside on the front cover with pinky-silvery foiling accents. The postcards have a standard lay-flat binding meaning the book opens completely flat without needing to be held and you can reach the entirety of the page to colour it, it also means you can remove the postcards to gift to others if you wish but they do stay put if you’re careful not to twist the binding. They are printed onto thick card which is a light cream colour (all postcard books from Pagina are printed on the same card), and lightly textured, water-based pens don’t bleed at all and alcohol markers only started to shadow after a number of layers were added, they didn’t spread sideways so these are perfect for users of alcohol-markers. The card isn’t very textured so you may struggle a little with blending and shading with coloured pencils though Prismacolor Premiers work pretty well. Each postcard is printed single-sided with a small co-ordinating motif at the bottom on the back with the publishing information. Of the 20 cards, 14 of them have written greetings on them (all written in English), the others have space for your own greeting, these greetings include Congratulations, Thank You, Happy Birthday, Love You, and more. Every other card has a black background which is a lovely feature as it really shows up the colours, with no need to add your own background! The images themselves are very similar to those found in Blomstermandala so fans of that book will love these cards. The illustrations are very floral, and nature-inspired with lots of leaves, flowers and animals. All of the linework is black apart from two of the images which are a paler colour I’m not quite sure why, this doesn’t affect enjoyment or colouring ability though. All but one of the postcards are portrait orientation.

In terms of mental health, this postcard book is lovely. As many of my readers will know, I am completely in love with postcards, they make the perfect small project for those days when you’re feeling really poorly, or your concentration isn’t good. These postcards have just the right amount of imagery to keep you focused and distracted, without needing to spend hours on them or be thinking particularly clearly. The linework is consistently thin throughout and the intricacy and detail levels range from medium sized spaces to very small so you’ll definitely need good vision and fine motor control to enjoy these postcards, as well as some sharp pencils or decent fineliners. The images are a great size to get finished in a couple of hours if you use pens, or much longer if you want to blend and shade with pencils. They provide the perfect project to send to others, coloured or uncoloured, and they’d look beautiful attached to handmade cards, or even framed. The nature themes are lovely and really calming, looking through this book is like walking through a beautiful garden and as you turn the pages you can feel your anxiety ebbing away and your depression easing a little, I could anyway!

I would highly recommend these postcards to fans of Maria’s work, those who love natural images, and those who like small colouring projects to keep or send to others. These postcards are beautiful with no filler images and the black background on half of them is a lovely, unusual feature.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s currently available here:
Pen Store – http://www.penstore.com/art-design/i-bring-you-flowers-20-greeting-cards-to-color
Bokus – http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163612701/i-bring-you-flowers-20-greeting-cards-to-color/

It may also get picked up for English release by Gibbs Smith who will be publishing Maria’s book, Blomstermandala, in April which can be pre-ordered here:
Amazon UK – Twilight Garden
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Twilight-Garden-Coloring-Book-Mari-Trolle/9781423647065/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Sharpie alcohol markers.

Blomstermandala Målarbok – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
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.