Book Review: Botanicum

It’s been a while since I’ve done a colouring review, as I have been working in a couple of books for the last few months. The book I am reviewing today is one that I bought in Sweden last year on my Nordic Trip. At the time it was Maria Trolle’s most recent colouring book. Since purchasing it I had visited this book a couple of times, but I finally got to work on doing a series of completed pictures.

Botanicum is the fourth book by Swedish artist, Maria Trolle. I have the Swedish edition, but you can also find an English special edition (with 8 additional pictures) and a Dutch edition. She has recently also brought out a new colouring book Flora, which is on my Christmas list.

This book is the same format as Maria Trolle’s Twilight Garden/Blomster Mandala and Nightfall/Skymingstimman; and Hanna Karlzon’s colouring books. It has a hardcover, which has one of the designs that you will find in the book. Similarly to the line art, the background is also black, but objects have been filled in with colour. The English edition has a different cover image, which is also found inside the book. There are 96 pages inside, which are double-sided, on high0quality ivory paper.

Similarly to Maria Trolle’s other books, this book has a garden theme. However, this book takes us through a floral adventure through different seasons and includes some designs for Easter, Halloween and Christmas. There is also some new animal that we haven’t seen before, including seals, unicorn and dragons; and many more girls and fairies of various sizes. Another new feature in this book is that many of the pages have defined or lose borders. This book also includes several pages with black backgrounds and an index of both the flora and fauna you will find in the book. Since my book is in Swedish, I was able to find many of the Swedish/Latin names flowers and plant life quite easily, but I did have to use a translator for some of the animals.

This has to be my favourite of Maria’s Trolle books in my collection. I love the variety of intricate line art, new creatures, very pretty girls and seasonal themed designs. I love that the name of the flora and fauna is listed in the book, so I can make easy colour choices. Lastly, I love the bordered line art and some of the circular designs, which allows me to just colour within the boundaries of the artwork.

Below I have included a video flip through and photographs of all the pages that I have coloured, in order that you will find them in the book. These include 10 completed pictures, which I have coloured in a variety of medium, which I have detailed below. I have added all of these images to my Botanicum gallery, where I will continue to add newly coloured pictures from this book. If you interested to see my other reviews of Maria Trolle’s colouring books, see: Twilight Garden (Blomster Mandala), Vivi söker en vän and Skymningstimman (Nightfall).

The Name plate page in this book is quite a simple design. Since the line art was quite delicate I wanted to leave a clean crisp background behind the brightly coloured flora and detailed fauna. I spent my time trying to get the bird and the snail to look as life-like as possible. The flowers were a little easier since I was able to easily find examples of the colours of the flowers. I only used Prismacolour Premier pencils for this page, which works beautifully on this paper.

I coloured this Easter bunny for my Happy Easter Colouring for 2019. It was the second page I had coloured in this book. I really loved how it turned out, so I knew I really wanted to revisit this book. Since these flowers didn’t come in a variety of colours, I started with them. I was later able to use complementing colours for the rest of the picture. I always find this helpful when I have no idea where to start with colours. For this page, I used Primacolour Premier pencils and a white Uniball gel pen (for the blue flowers).

This Thumbelina in the garden scene is one of the pictures that have a defined border. It is straight, but my photo came out a bit warped. These Peony flowers come in quite a few varieties, but I choose yellow and orange to complement the small blue flowers. It took quite a while to colour this page with Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils. I tried to do many light layers to avoid hard lines coming through. I also used a white Prismacolor pencil to blend for highlights and a white Uniball gel pen for the blue flower and the bee wings. Polychromos pencils do work well on this paper as well and also have the added bonus of not leaving pencil dust on the page. This is probably my favourite of the bunch.

I coloured this Floral lady for my 6# Colouring Update, so it was the first page I coloured in this book. I tried a darker skin tone, which I did find a bit difficult. I think because of the numerous layers, I may have blended too soon. I used Prismacolour Premier pencils, which are my prefered pencils for this paper. However, you do have to be careful not to get pencil dust on the black background. Otherwise, if you try to rub it out you will remove the black a little. I don’t love this page because I found my pencils came out a bit waxy on the small flowers.

When I saw these Playful seals, I knew I had to do colour this page. I started with the background, trying to layer to make it appear to have a seafloor and expansive ocean. I’m not sure I pulled it off too well, but the rest came together well. I am happy with the seaweed and bright fish. I used Prismacolour pencils and a white Uniball gel pen.

This Resting Unicorn is a special page I coloured for my little girl, who is obsessed with unicorns. We had a few disagreements on the colour of the unicorn, so I left that until last. I spent time colouring each flower and its leaves exactly as it would appear in real life. They looked quite detailed before I added the rest of the elements and then they a bit flat. I decided on a white and electric blue unicorn to stand out amongst the sea of green, pinks and purples. It was entirely coloured with Prismacolour Premier pencils and a little bit of white Uniball gel pen for details.

This Little old town reminded me of the paintings of the old towns you for sale in Europe squares. I fell in love with the Elena Moskaleva version, so I tried to use a bit of watercolour as well. I used Derwent Inkense and Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils. My version didn’t come out very good. I think I didn’t add enough colour before I activated the pencils. I went the page with Prismacolor pencils, which always work nicely over watercolour pencils. The paper took the water quite well and I had no buckling or bleed through at all.

I coloured this Halloween scene for my post, Halloween Colouring 2019, where you can read more about it. Its was coloured with Prismacolor Premier pencils. I did use Mungyo watercolor crayons for the background. It did come out a bit streaky and I tried to blend it and deep the colour with pencil over the top. I also used a Unibal white gel pen to hide some lines and add stars. It’s not my best work, but I am happy that it came out a bit less conventional than other Halloween pictures.

I was going to come back to this book for Christmas, but I decided to make a start on my Christmas colouring before reviewing this book. This Round robin wreath took me a very long time to colour. So many little elements and confusion on colour selection. I used Faber-Castell Polychromos, so that I could get into the little nooks and keep the line art sharp. Once the main image was completed I decided to go with a simple caramel wood. I just realised I forgot to add the wood grain, oh well. I did use a Derwent blender pencil for the background because despite the number of layers it was still quite ashy. I’m happy with the overall effect of the picture.

The very last page in the book and that I coloured is this Kitty-cat Christmas. It’s not a page I would normally choose because of the huge empty background. I started with the main elements which I used Prismacolor Premier pencils. Afterwards, I was faced on what to do with that huge empty background. So I used a cream Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencil and activated it with water. I then did some shading with Derwent Inkense pencils. Since it was hard to get into the little spaces around the leaves, I found myself brushing the water brush over the leaves. Luckily the Prismacolor pencil stayed intact. Lastly I used a lot of Uniball white gel pen to bring out some of the details on the Christmas ornaments and the cat’s fur.

Botanicum and Maria’s other books can be purchased from:

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