Book Review: Sagor Och Sägner

On my recent trip to Sweden I came across a new book that I had never seen before and it was love at first sight. It was also an impulse buy and definitely one I haven’t regretted. Sagor Och Sägner is illustrated by Swedish artist Emelie Lidehäll Öberg. It was published this year and is Emelie’s second colouring book. Her first book Sagolikt (2016), was very popular in Sweden and across the world, so it was enviable she would be illustrating a new book.

Sagor Och Sägner translates to tales and legends. The book is filled with line drawings that are based on Nordic folklore and fairytales. This book has a hardcover similar to colouring books by Hanna Karlzon and Maria Trolle. It has 96 pages and drawings are printed on both sides. The paper is high-quality off-white and pencils lay down very nicely on it.

This book is currently only available from a few Swedish retailers (and one in the Czech Republic). I actually bought my book in a Swedish book store in Helsingborg. However, Amazon does carry Emelie’s first book.

I absolutely love this book. Emelie’s style is completely different to any other colouring books that I own. There is definitely a Swedish feel to this book, which is both quirky and whimsical. I was a bit intimidated by this book as it wasn’t like anything I coloured before, but once I got started I found the line art really agreed with me.

I really put a lot of love into the following pictures that I coloured from this book. Each one took me at least four evenings, once my toddler was tucked into her bed. I did a bit more planning for most of these pictures, so I thought I would share some of my thought processes. I wanted to try a variety of themed pictures, as some spoke to me than others. I also wanted to colour some of the pictures that weren’t so popular on social platforms. I used both Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils and Prismacolor Premier pencils in this book, which both lay down very well. I am really happy how my pictures turned out and hope I did Emelie’s work justice.


I choose this Witch amongst the mushrooms as my first picture to colour. The colour scheme just evolved as I worked on it. I started with a pastel grey background and then moved onto the skin and hair. I then tried to find contrasting and complementary colours. Once I had a colour palette of oranges, skin tones, blues and jade green, I tried to blend these colours for other elements in the picture. To colour the jewel on the bottle I used a tutorial from the book Colorist’s Special Effects by Helen Elliston. I am quite happy how this picture turned out and really enjoyed colouring it. I really loved the jewel, it’s just a shame that the outline of the lighting was so big that I needed so much gel pen to fill it. 

For this picture, I used Mungyo Soft Pastel, Prismacolor Premium Pencils, Point & Line Gel n’ Roll Ink Pens and White Uni-ball Signo Gel Pen.



cvetovaya-palitra-2453For this picture, I wanted to use complementary colours from a predetermined colour palette. I found a colour palette similar to this one online. However, as I worked through the picture I found I needed a colour that contrasted with the navy, pinks and blue-greens, so I added yellow and cream.

I ended up using only 9 Polychromous pencils and a white Prismacolor to blend. I also used White Uni-ball Signo Gel Pen and White Posca Pen. 

I hadn’t used my Polychromos pencils for while and I found them surprisingly hard, after using Prismacolor for a while now. The white Polychromos pencil is also very hard and doesn’t blend very well. So I preferred to do blending with white Prismacolor Prisma colourless blender. On the upside, there was no pencil dust and I didn’t chew through the pigment as much with this pencils.




For the Camping bear I again looked for colouring inspiration. I came across this picture with a colour palette that I absolutely loved.

I started this picture by drawing in the trees and moon. Then I used soft pastels for the sky, moon, stars and grassed area. I used two different coloured pastels for the sky. Except for the stars, the rest of the pastels area were gone over in pencil. I found that this filled in the white on the paper so I didn’t have any white speckling.

The only thing I was upset with this picture is that I damaged the paper with my Derwent Electric Eraser. I had just started using in and I scratched the paper with the metal. I tried to fill it as much as I can with the pencil but I still see the damage (on the right-hand side). Other than that I am really happy with the colours and how the fur turned out.

For this picture I only used Mungyo Soft Pastel and Prismacolor Premium Pencils.



Russian Folk artAs soon as I saw this picture it made me think of a beautiful Russian girl. So after doing some research on Russian folk girls and art,  I made this collage for inspiration.

I started with the background, which I coloured with black pencil and then a Faber-Castell Brush Pitt Pen. I decided to give my Polychromos another chance, as I preferred the colour range for this picture. I also used a gel pen for all the details on the house, bird and the girl’s jewelery and dress. I am really happy how this picture came together. The only thing I would do differently would be the shading on the jacket.

The materials used include Polychromos pencils, Faber-Castell Pitt Pen, Gold and White Uniball Signo Gel Pen and a Bronze Point & Line Gel n’ Roll Ink Pens. 



I really wanted to try doing skin tones with Prismacolor again and I couldn’t go past these two pretty sisters. They looked very Irish to me, so they were calling for red hair and fair complexions. I used different colour palettes for each girl so that they weren’t too similar. To contrast, the hair and I went with a turquoise background. I then moved onto the gold frame. I really like how Michaela (@colouring_koala) put in the hight lights on her frame (and leaves), so I used her version of this picture as a guide. For the pearls and the jewel around the frame, I took guidance from Helen Elliston’s book Colorist’s Special Effects. As for the eyes, flowers, clothes and jewellery, I just tried to use contrasting colours or ones that had already been used. I am really happy with this picture and it’s my favourite faces I have coloured so far.

The materials used include Prismacolor Premium Pencils, White Uni-ball Signo Gel Pen and White Posca Pen.



Untitled.jpgSnakes are not something I am usually drawn to colouring. So I’m not sure why this picture was next, but I guess I just really liked those flowers.

I was a bit stumped how I was going to colour this snake. I looked up dessert snakes and found this little guy. Then I looked for colour palettes that would complement him. I think all up I used about 15 earth shades of pencils.

I started with a pastel background and coloured the snake in pencil. I did numerous layers to give depth. I also added white gell pen for high lights. After I used complementary colours for the flowers. I also went over the pastel background with pencil. When I took this photo there was a bit of shadowing so the left looks darker than the right. I also added more gell pen to the flowers and sandy background. I think it came together well.

The materials used include Mungyo Soft Pastel, Prismacolor Premium Pencils, and White Posca pen. 



9075b345b5713a99e0d3c6843365cc26I had been putting off this name page for a while. When I finally got the courageous to start it I knew I wanted to do something extremely colourful. I was inspired by the garden in Alice in Wonderland. I tried to contrast all the flowers with their background. I don’t usually do backgrounds that are different colours in different areas. The only part I am a bit on the fence about is that house.

The materials used were Prismacolor Premium Pencils and White Uni-ball gell pen. 



This book has such a beautiful variety of faces to colour. I was really attracted to this apple picker girl, as she has very delicate features. I started with the apple flowers and leaves, which probably took me the longest amount of time. I was originally going to give her dark golden brown hair, but I chose the wrong colors and ended up with a dark golden blonde. The apples were inspired by the tutorial I did a while back, How I color an apple, by Chris Cheng. I am pretty happy how it turned out and it is probably my favourite picture I have coloured in this book. I used only Polychomos pencils.



I couldn’t leave this book without doing the beautiful two-part tutorial of the Mermaid by Color with Iris. I’ve only ever coloured caucasian skin tones, so I was eager to try something else. I really enjoyed this tutorial and was very happy with the result. I usually use a heavy hand and I chew through my pencils. However, this tutorial taught me to slow down and use lighter layers of colour. I will definitely be incorporating her technique in my future work. I also loved the colour palette and the depth that has been created. My background did turn out a bit scratchy though.

The materials used include Prismacolor pencils, Prismacolor colourless blender, White Posca pen and White Uni-ball Signo gel pen



DSC04755.JPGThis last picture is the first page of the book. It is single sided so I thought I would try my Faber-Castell Watercolor paint with a Pental Aquash Brushe. I’ve never used water colour paints any of my books.  I have been curious to try but I was always worried about ruining the paper. I have only used these paints once as well so I thought practice in my sketch book first. I was quite happy with the result and found it relatively easy to lay down the colour. I used 10 colours from the 12 paint box and a bit of White Signo Gel pen for details. There was a bit of wrinkling of the paper, but it wasn’t so bad after the book was closed and weighed down over night. There was no bleed through either.



I hope you enjoyed reading my review and seeing my completed work. I am sad to give this book a rest while as I take on some of my new books that have been left untouched. I am sure I will be coming back to this book from time to time as I just love Emelie’s style.


This book can be purchased from:

Pen Store

Print works Market


For a flip through and other reviews, check out these videos and posts:

Book review – Sagor och Sägner by Emelie Lidehäll Öberg by Color with Iris

Sager Och Sagner Book Review by Coloring Queen (includes video commentary)

Sagor Och Sägner (Tales and Legends) en Målarbok – A Review by Colouring in the Midst of Madness

Flip through  and review video, Sager Och Sagner by Emelie Lidehall Oberg by Color with Claire


For Colouring tutorials  check out these videos:

Color with me – Mermaid from Sagor och Sägner (three-part tutorial) by Color with Iris

SAGOR OCH SÄGNER: Coloring a doe and flowers tutorial by Always Coloring

Flower elf in Sagor och sägner (four-part tutorial) by Always Coloring

The troll king in Sagor och sägner (two-part tutorial) by Always Coloring

SAGOR OCH SÄGNER: Mice in a cup (three-part tutorial) by Always Coloring

SAGOR OCH SÄGNER: The witch’s cat background (speed colouring) by Always Coloring

The witch’s cat (tutorial) by Always Coloring

Material / Fabric Folds Colouring Tutorial by Color with Claire

7 thoughts on “Book Review: Sagor Och Sägner

  1. So, so, SO beautiful! Every single one of them! That coloring book is #1 on my coloring book wishlist, and I’m still crossing my fingers that it’ll end up printed in the USA at some point so I can afford it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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