Pagina Forlag

Magisk Gryning (Magical Dawn) Målarbok – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Magisk Gryning is the third instalment of colouring books illustrated by Hanna Karlzon and published and kindly sent to me to review by Pagina Förlag. I have previously reviewed Hanna’s original two books, Dagdrömmar (Daydreams) and Sommarnatt (Summer Nights). The latest book is identical in format so if you already have a previous title of hers then skip to paragraph two, for those of you who are new to her work, this book is hardback and just a little smaller than A4 at 21.6 x 25.8 cm. The covers are a very pale lilac colour with a black and white design from inside the book with gold foiling accents and lettering adding a touch of luxury! The spine of the book is black with gold lettering (these books look really luxurious on the shelf and look like classic tomes). The pages are glue and string-bound and the pages are attached to a sturdy ribbon which is flexible rather than being rigidly glued to the hardback spine; the spine is durable and hard-wearing but it can be a bit difficult to get to the very centre of some of the pages though this does ease up with use. The paper is thick, cream and smooth and pencils work fairly well on it, with it relatively easy to build up layers for blending and shading; water-based pens don’t bleed or shadow (always test somewhere inconspicuous because everyone colours differently). The illustrations are printed double-sided and consist of single and double-page spreads.

The image content is really varied and utterly beautiful! The pictures are very nature-centred as always but not all of them are realistic or as you’d find nature in real-life and this book has a good heap of magic and mystery in it too. This book contains the largest number of images of women (20) with flowing hair, floral tattoos and piercings but if you’re not interested in colouring people, don’t despair, these are not the majority and there are heaps of images of animals, flowers and plants and lots of gems for those of you who, like me, are addicted to colouring gemstones! There are also loads of potion bottles in this one. It’s hard to describe the sheer amount of content within this book but some of the pages include pictures of birds, jewellery, cats, beetles, arrows, mushrooms, butterflies, moths, sand timers, flowers, and just so much more! The illustrations are all drawn in a very ornate, highly decorative style and they’re just beautiful and they look incredible when coloured! Hanna’s books are pretty similar to each other so it’s difficult to make each review different, a few have criticised them as being same-y but this book has taken a more magical turn and is more human-centred and has lots more gems than the previous titles so those who are fans will still love it but it does also offer a little more variety compared to the first two titles.

In terms of mental health, this book is just wonderful, it offers escapism, natural imagery and lots of whimsy and it’s perfect for distraction even just by looking through the images! The line thickness is consistent throughout and remains medium/thin so it’s definitely manageable to colour. The intricacy and detail vary throughout and mostly range from medium to high but a few have much larger open spaces. The detail is part of what makes Hanna’s work so special and beautiful, if you’re wanting to colour within each teeny tiny section then you’ll need to have very good vision and fine motor control but if you’re happy to colour over some of it and use it as texture underneath then moderate vision and fine motor control would be absolutely fine! Unlike Hanna’s first book Daydreams, this book doesn’t contain any outline images or written prompts. This may be a welcome change for those of you who don’t like to draw. A number of the images are centralised and have large surrounding spaces so there are plenty of opportunities to create your own backgrounds if you wish, though of course this isn’t a requirement! I found this book and the illustrations within it great for my mood, just looking through it and noticing all of the different details, patterns and creatures makes me feel calmer and the images are just charming so they’re sure to lift your mood and keep you distracted from any difficult thoughts or persistent symptoms. The images do vary in size and difficulty and they consist of a mixture of collections of components, portraits and scenescape images. This makes it ideal for good and bad days because you can work on one gem or potion bottle on a bad day, or a whole page on a good day so it’s ideal for those with fluctuating conditions or concentration levels.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves natural images, highly ornate illustrations, and anyone who likes all things pretty or magical. Hanna’s books are genuinely stunning and some of my favourites, I love just looking through them and this is possibly my favourite as it has so many gems and I can’t wait to colour it cover to cover!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available right now from Sweden from the sites below:
Pen Store – https://www.penstore.com/art-design/magisk-gryning
Bokus – http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163612688/magisk-gryning-malarbok/

Alternatively, if you’re happy to wait, you can pre-order a copy of the English language edition which will be published to the same specifications in April by Gibbs Smith.
Amazon UK – Magical Dawn
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Magical-Dawn-Coloring-Book-Hann-Karlzon/9781423646594/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Holbein Artists’ Colored Pencils.

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.

Fåglar & Fjärilar (Birds and Butterflies) – A Review

Fåglar & Fjärilar is illustrated by Nadja Wedin, and published and kindly sent to me to review by Pagina Förlag. This is another beautiful Swedish offering which is currently only available from international websites (links below, directly above the photos). This book is landscape, measuring 29x20cm, paperback, with thick flexible card covers with partially coloured images on the front and back covers which are featured within the book. It has gold foiling on the title and matte gold tape covering the spine which has a lay-flat binding meaning the book will lie completely flat and that the pages can be removed if you wish, this also means you need to be careful not to twist the spine to avoid pages accidentally falling out. The book contains 20 single-sided images and every other one has a black background, the last 6 pages are the same 3 images printed first with a black background and second with a white background, the other 14 pages in the book are all different images. The pages are a pale cream colour, made of thick card and are lightly textured, water-based pens don’t bleed or shadow, alcohol markers do bleed to the back of the page but not through onto the next as the card is so thick. Pencils apply smoothly but are a tad tricky to layer at points due to lack of tooth, it is manageable though and I’ve seen some beautiful finished pages done in pencil so do persevere. The images themselves are exactly as you’d expect given the translation of the title, the pages are filled with birds and butterflies, as well as berries, flowers, leaves, trees, cats, hedgehogs, pine martens, and heaps more. Some of the images are scenes and others are a bit more like a random collection of items all pictured on the same page. 7 of the images are portrait, the other 13 are landscape. A few elements of some of the images are drawn in a greyscale style where they’re not just black and white line drawings, they have lots of shading and texture added in the form of fur on a few of the animals, this is quite unobtrusive and is fantastic for those of us who’ve not yet mastered colouring realistic fur!

In terms of mental health, this is a lovely book and because it’s nature-based it’s great for calming you down. The imagery is almost like walking through a garden and this is great for those who are housebound like I am, one of the things I miss most is being outside watching the birds and looking at flowers and this book really offers up a sense of those things. The line thickness is consistent throughout the book with thin lines and some spindly thin details. The intricacy and detail levels are varied within each image and range from very small details all the way up to much larger open spaces, the majority are small so you will need reasonable vision and fine motor control to enjoy this book. The images are all made of lots of component parts which is ideal for those of you with concentration problems of fluctuating conditions, you can colour just one or two items at once or colour all of one type of flower, or berry, or more on a better day. There is plenty to look at on each page so it’s very absorbing and you do need to focus well in order to decipher what each section is to ensure you’re colouring things the correct colour. These illustrations look truly stunning when they’re completed in a number of mediums and they are absolutely worthy of framing which means the removable pages are ideal. You could display your completed creations in your home to brighten things up and remind you on bad days of exactly how much you can achieve, or they would make a stunning and very personal gift, if you can bear to part with any!

Overall, this is a beautiful nature-themed book which really does take you on a walk through a garden of birds and butterflies. The black and white background pages are lovely and the card is great for just about any medium and when you’re done you can frame your creations and show off all your beautiful hard work. What could be better?!

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s currently only published in Swedish and available for International delivery from the following stores:
Pen Store – https://www.penstore.com/art-design/faglar-fjarilar-tavelbok-artist-edition
Bokus – http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163612947/birds-butterflies-20-ark-att-farglagga-riva-ut-och-rama-in/

If you need some inspiration or want to see some more coloured pages then check out this lovely Facebook Fan Group.

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

Safari Tavelbok (Artist’s Edition) – A Review

Safari Tavelbok is illustrated by Emma Fällman and published and kindly sent to me to review by Pagina Förlag. This book is an artist’s edition but there is no original colouring book, the images are only currently published in this format. This is another beautiful Swedish offering which is currently only available from international websites (links below, directly above the photos). The book itself measures 29.5x21cm (A4), it’s paperback with thick but flexible card covers which are a beautiful pale blue colour with greyscale images from inside the book with gold foiled text on the front and back. The book has a pale pink 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 (my boyfriend thought I’d painted the page I coloured because the blending is so smooth). 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. 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 20 illustrations are drawn in a really unique style, they’re greyscale, but where most greyscale books are photographs that have been turned black and white, these images are all hand drawn by Emma but she’s added lots of shading in different levels of grey so that you know exactly where the shading on each part should be, she’s also added texture to fur and feathers which is really handy! The images are all really natural with a quirky twist, most of them are of animals but they’re wearing scarves, jewellery, fancy collars and even floral headpieces. The remainder are of exotic plants, flowers, and fruits. The illustrations are truly breath-taking, I’m not a fan of greyscale ordinarily, but these images are stunning and fascinating to look at, they’re so lovely in fact that they’d look wonderful framed just as they are, though they really do come to life when you add colour to them.

In terms of mental health, this book is pretty good, the natural aspects of the imagery are really calming and grounding while the quirky aspects of the illustrations are quite energising and intriguing and give you plenty to look at which is a great distraction. It might just be me, but I really enjoyed just looking through the images and wondering why the animals were wearing jewellery or clothing and started imagining them in real life and what scenarios a flamingo might want to wear beads for. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is very thin. The intricacy and detail level varies from whole flamingos to tiny leaves and everything in between, this also varies depending on how you want to colour the images e.g. whether you want to colour each scale on the snake separately, or colour over them and use them as texture underneath. You’ll need fairly good vision and fine motor control to get the most out of this book as there are some very fiddly bits. This book would be ideal for beginner colourists who want to learn about blending and shading, it can be really tricky to work out where light and shade should be in an image but the greyscale nature of Emma’s illustrations takes out the guesswork and you simply colour the darkest grey parts in the darkest shades and the white areas in the lightest shade and blend them in between. You will need fairly good concentration but there are lots of natural stopping points so you won’t feel obliged to finish a whole page and can colour one banana, one leaf or a whole chameleon and then stop if your symptoms are plaguing you. I found that this book was great for escapism, I often struggle to concentrate for too long when using pencils to blend and shade but I managed to complete my giraffe in one sitting because once I started I was hooked. There is plenty of space on most of the pages to add your own drawings or backgrounds if you wish but this is totally optional, there are no written hints and the pages will look beautiful with or without added extras.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to those who like or want to try greyscale, those who want to learn to blend and shade, and those who love colouring natural images of plants and animals with an added bit of quirkiness. This is a really unusual book, different from anything else I’ve seen and the production is fantastic, making it ideal for users of any colouring medium and the artwork would look incredible framed as it is let alone with your own colour added!

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available for International delivery at the following stores:
Pen Store – http://www.penstore.com/art-design/safari-tavelbok-artist-edition
Bokus – http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163612930/safari-tavelbok-20-illustrationer-att-farglagga/

The image below was coloured using Prismacolor Premier Coloured Pencils.

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.

Min Mandala en Målarbok – A Review

Min Mandala en Målarbok is a beautiful Swedish colouring book illustrated by Maria Ljungeld of Black White Mustard, and published and very kindly sent to me to review by Pagina Förlag. This book is 25cm square, paperback with flexible card covers that are made of recycled style card with a beautiful embossed coloured mandala on the front, with ¼ French flaps with more coloured embossed mandalas on the flaps and blank covers inside. The spine is glue and string-bound so it doesn’t lie completely flat but all of the mandala designs are contained to a single page so none of them enter the spine and the entirety is colourable. The images are printed double-sided and all of them are single page designs with a small border around them which would make them ideal for framing if you don’t mind sacrificing the design on the reverse. The paper is the same paper as is always used in the Pagina published books (e.g. dagdrommar and sommarnatt), it’s cream and medium thickness, it’s pretty smooth so coloured pencils go on evenly, water-based pens don’t bleed at all and only slightly shadowed but this won’t be visible once you colour the reverse image. The book contains 85 images, the majority of which are mandalas and a few are more obscure patterns or scenes. The mandalas mostly aren’t your typical mandalas, a few are but many consist of themed objects with themes including dentistry, music, leaves, jewellery, DIY, hair, sewing, breakfast, cookery, sport, travel, bugs, Christmas, and so much more, the variety is honestly astounding! At the back of the book are 4 grey lined templates for you to have a go at drawing your own mandalas if you wish.

In terms of mental health, this book is great because it mixes mandalas with easily identifiable objects. This concept is really useful because many of us use mandalas to calm ourselves down so repetitive pattern is ideal for this, and having identifiable objects means that you can use their natural colour scheme if you wish so there’s no need to think or deliberate over colour choices, you can just pick out the correct colours and get colouring you stress and anxiety away. The line thickness is consistently thin throughout and the intricacy and detail level varies from large open spaces to very detailed and small parts with the majority of the images consisting of a lot of detail and small parts. You’ll need pretty good vision and fine motor control but it’s also worth noting that while intricacy can put people off, as long as it’s not too intense it’s very good for getting you to focus properly and get out of your head and away from your anxious thoughts. The content of the mandalas and patterns is mostly pretty neutral and natural and you can really zone out and just colour in each section in the colours you’ve picked out. The object focused pages would be ideal for your bad days because you can focus on colouring just one item, or two or three, rather than the whole thing which you could focus on during better periods. They do require a fair bit of concentration but most of them are very clear to see what the content is so you don’t have to do much deciphering. The mandalas are all hand-drawn so they’re not perfect, they have a lovely friendly quality to them and they don’t seem quite as intimidating as the perfectly precise, entirely spherical kind. As seasoned readers of my blog will have noticed I almost always colour mandalas in rainbow colours and this isn’t just because I like rainbows, it’s because when I’m anxious it’s really hard for me to make decisions and with a rainbow you don’t have to make any, you just colour each consecutive section in the next colour and somehow mandalas always look awesome like that!

Overall, I would highly recommend this book. It’s the most varied mandala book I’ve seen and it’s got a great mix of traditional patterned mandalas and more obscure object filled mandalas so there really is something for everyone.

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s currently available in a few international stores which do ship to most places worldwide, just use Google Translate or the translate feature on Google Chrome to check you’re ordering the correct things and check the conversion so you know how much you’re paying too.
Pen Store – http://www.penstore.com/art-design/min-mandala
Bokus – http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163612558/min-mandala-malarbok/
Aldibris – http://www.adlibris.com/

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Stabilo 68 Fibre-tips

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.

Dagdrömmar Tavelbok (Artist’s Edition) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Dagdrömmar Tavelbok is illustrated by Hanna Karlzon and published and kindly sent to me to review by Pagina Forlag. This book is the Artist’s Edition of Dagdrömmar, the hugely popular debut colouring book by Hanna. I don’t have the original book so I’m afraid I can’t make direct comparisons between the two and I’m unsure if the images are printed on a larger scale than the original (I will put in measurements of a few below so you can compare if you have the original and will update this review when I have the English version in a month).

This artist’s edition measures 29.5x21cm (A4), it’s paperback with thick but flexible card covers which are a beautiful green colour with black and white line drawings of Hanna’s beautiful birds and flowers with gold foiling accents on the front and back. The book has a black 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 (I’ve shown my finished page to a few people and they all think it was painted or printed because it’s so smooth). 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. 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 illustrations chosen are lovely and very cohesive; I’ve seen lots of finished pages from Dagdrömmar and the images chosen are not a cross-section of the pages, they’re quite niche, there are no pictures of people or mammals (except for one curled up fox), they are all depicting birds, insects and flowers and are quite similar to each other without being samey. All of the images are pictured below so that you know exactly what you’re getting, the illustrations are truly beautiful and are perfect for those who love to colour natural images.

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! The line thickness is consistent throughout and remains medium/thin so it’s definitely manageable to colour. The intricacy and detail vary a little throughout from medium to high and this is part of what makes Hanna’s work so special and beautiful, if you’re wanting to colour within each teeny tiny section then you’ll need to have very good vision and fine motor control but if you’re happy to colour over some of it and use it as texture underneath then moderate vision and fine motor control would be absolutely fine! I found this book and the illustrations within it great for my mood, just looking through it and noticing all of the different details, patterns and creatures makes me feel calmer and the images are just charming 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 flower or beetle 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 to those of you who are already fans of Hanna’s work and 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 extremely cohesive and are wonderfully calming. The Swedish version is available now from here, and the English version is due to be published on August the 9th and can be pre-ordered here:
Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/29jmp55
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Daydreams-Artists-Edition-Hann-Karlzon/9781423645573/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and the white highlights and accents were created using a White Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen.

Measurements – Wingspan of Dragonfly top wings: 19.1cm; Height of tallest bird of pair with key on string: 23.9cm.

Sagolikt – A Review

Sagolikt is a Swedish book illustrated by Emelie Lidehall Oberg and published and kindly sent to me to review by Pagina Forlag. Swedish colouring books have taken the world by storm and there’s no sign of them going anywhere, in fact, many of the favourites are finally starting to be picked up by US publishers and brought to the international community so that we can all enjoy these books. Luckily for us, Gibbs-Smith a US publisher has acquired the rights to this book and a number of other Swedish titles and will be bringing them to the English-speaking market so keep an eye out later in the year so you can pre-order this book! The title is in Swedish and doesn’t appear to fully translate to English but seems to mean fabled, mythical, or legendary and given the fairy-tale theme of the image content I’m guessing it means a mixture of all three!

The book is 25cm square, paperback with flexible card covers that are cream with mint green and pale pink coloured illustrations with gold foiling accents on the front and back making it a really pretty and luxurious looking book. The covers have ¾ flaps which both have fully colourable black line drawings from within the book. The spine is glue and string-bound so it’s fairly durable but this does mean a little of each image is lost into it. The paper is cream, thick and lightly textured, it doesn’t bleed or shadow with water-based pens unless you press too hard in one spot, it works well with pencils and you can build up a good number of layers for blending and shading. The book contains 96 pages of double-sided images which are all single page spreads. The image content is really varied and contains all sorts of aspects from different fairy-tales without being specific or telling any stories, each picture is a stand-alone piece though some content is similar. So many different things are pictured from all sorts of furry animals and birds to doll-like people and treehouses, gramophones and teapots to cupcakes and bunting, glass jars and flowers to tepees and underwater scenes. Some of the images are of more realistic scenes and others are purely fantasy-based from a tea party scene with cuddly toys to a family of clothed rabbits moving house; a glass fish bowl to a teacup village; and a beautiful country house to a city contained within a lightbulb. The images are really pretty and this book is absolutely ideal for anyone who likes fantasy, whimsy and images that are filled with childlike charm (not childish) but with adult levels of intricacy. The images are also really cohesive and I didn’t feel that any of the pages contained filler images, each has definitely earnt its place and they look beautiful together.

In terms of mental health, this book is lovely because it’s based around fairy-tale imagery which is full of charm and whimsy. The images aren’t overly realistic so there’s no need to use realistic colour schemes unless you want to and the animals pictured could be coloured as if they’re real, or as if they’re cuddly toys that have come to life so the possibilities are endless! The line thickness is consistent throughout and is medium/thin so it’s perfectly colourable for almost anyone and there is a little leeway to prevent you accidentally going over the lines. The intricacy and detail levels vary throughout and while the majority of the images are very detailed, hardly any of this is particularly intricate so this book will suit most people apart from those with particularly poor vision or fine motor control. The variance in difficulty level means that there is something suitable for your good days, bad days, and everything in between so this is an ideal book for those or you with fluctuating conditions or changeable concentration levels. The book offers huge amounts of escapism and truly transports you to a far off land where you can get out of your head, away from your thoughts and lost into a place filled with friendly fluffy animals, beautiful doll-like people, and quirky, whimsical landscapes. There are plenty of fairly large spaces where you can really practice your blending and shading and there are a number of pages with jewels on for those of you who are currently obsessed with the gem-colouring that has swept through the colouring groups. The images are really pretty, so varied and just lovely to look at and to colour! There is plenty of space to add your own backgrounds or details if you wish but all of these pages look finished and there are no hints or written suggestions so there’s absolutely no need to be able to draw if you don’t want to.

I would highly recommend this book to those who like fairy-tales, charming and cute imagery, and Swedish artwork because this book is beautiful and one I’m really pleased to now own. It’s a really pretty book with plenty of detail and interesting imagery, the paper is ideal for pen and pencil lovers and it really has a good feel about it. As I mentioned before, it’s unfortunately not currently available in English but it can be ordered worldwide from the Pen Store here – http://www.penstore.com/books-coloring-books/sagolikt

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-tips. The gems were coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils.

Kiss and Tell – A Review

Kiss and Tell is illustrated by Kristina Hultkrantz and published and very kindly sent to me by Swedish publisher Pagina Forlag. Swedish colouring books have taken the world by storm and there’s no sign of them going anywhere, in fact, many of the favourites are finally starting to be picked up by US publishers and brought to the international community so that we can all enjoy these books. As yet, this book hasn’t been picked up by a UK or US publisher but I’m hoping it’s only a matter of time because this is one not to be missed!

The book is 25cm square, paperback with flexible card covers that are a delicate peachy pink colour with rose-gold coloured foiling accents on the front making it a really pretty and luxurious looking book. The spine is glue and string-bound so it’s fairly durable but this does mean a little of each image is lost into it. The paper is cream, thick and lightly textured, it doesn’t bleed or shadow with water-based pens unless you press too hard in one spot, it works well with pencils and you can build up a good number of layers for blending and shading. The book contains 96 pages of double-sided images with a mixture of single and double-page spreads. The image content is very pretty and girly and has a strong jewellery theme as well as including flowers, makeup, lingerie, clothing, women and an assortment of pretty objects. The images are very well drawn and realistic with a very slight cartoon style with highlights pre-drawn on some. The illustrations look like still-life or staged scenes for magazine photo shoots of jewellery scattered on a table or the contents of a makeup bag or handbag. They’re really pretty and this book is absolutely ideal for anyone who likes fashion, glitz, glamour, and prettiness, all with a hint of luxury. The images are also really cohesive and I didn’t feel that any of the pages contained filler images, each has definitely earnt its place and they look beautiful together.

In terms of mental health, this book is lovely because the images are all of real things so you can use your own imagination, experience, or even images online to inspire your colour choices if you wish. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is medium/thin so it’s perfectly colourable for almost anyone and there is a little leeway to prevent you accidentally going over the lines. The intricacy and detail levels vary hugely throughout from teeny tiny pearls and jewels to large expanses of women’s legs and handbags and everything in between so this book will suit most people apart from those with particularly poor vision or fine motor control. The variance in difficulty level means that there is something suitable for your good days, bad days, and everything in between so this is an ideal book for those or you with fluctuating conditions or changeable concentration levels. It’s also fantastic for mindfulness because a lot of the images have repeating items, like hundreds of pearls, which can all be coloured in the same way if you wish and you can therefore really focus on the here and now and stay in the moment with your breathing. This book is a great one for distraction and zoning out, though it might inspire you to go shopping for that next statement necklace or latest shade of nail polish, but you can justify those as ‘inspiration’ for your colouring! There is plenty of space to add your own background or details if you wish but all of these pages look finished and there are no hints or written suggestions so there’s absolutely no need to be able to draw if you don’t want to.

I would highly recommend this book to the girly and fashion-conscious among you, to those who love painting their nails, meticulously applying their makeup, and who have more jewellery in their possession than they could ever possibly need, or to those of you who just want to colour those things. This is a really pretty book with plenty of detail and interesting imagery, the paper is ideal for pen and pencil lovers and it really has a good feel about it. As I mentioned before, it’s unfortunately not currently available in English but it can be ordered worldwide from the Pen Store here – http://www.penstore.com/books-coloring-books/kiss-tell

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-tips and the white highlights were drawn using a white Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen. The Gold and Silver jewellery were coloured using metallic gel pens from my local supermarket.