Oslo: Norsk Folkemuseum

During our first big day in Oslo we visited the Norsk Folkemuseum. Since I have so many photos and info to share about this museum I had to dedicate an entire post to it. I’m not sure if it will interest you, but since I’m studying museum studies and a history buff I wanted to document my visit. This was the first open-air museum that I have ever visited, however on this trip I saw quiet a few. I really enjoyed each one and the different ways they presented their rich cultural history. The Norsk Folkemuseum was probably one of my favourites for its large scale representation of Norwegian history, the visible interiors and towns people.

The Norsk Folkemuseum illustrates how people across Norway lived from 1500s until today. The open-air museum is a recreates the old town of Oslo and the Norwegian country side. Buildings from across the country have been brought and place in a life-size diorama to demonstrate the different cultural experiences of the Norwegian people. Throughout the open-air museum there are hosts dressed in traditional clothing. They welcome you into the homes, offer a wealth of information and make the whole experience more authentic. During the summer season many of the buildings are open, with visible interiors and activities. There are special theme days where the museum also offers folk music, dancing, handicrafts and baking. So if you planning your visit it would be worth checking out their calendar. The Norsk Folkemuseum also offers indoor permanent and temporary exhibitions, which feature many national treasures and artefacts. There are also a couple of places you can get something to eat, so you can really take your time and make a day of it.

If your in Oslo and have a 3-5 hours to spare I really recommend visiting the Norsk Folkemuseum. The museum gives you quiet a broad representation of Norwegian cultural history. The open-air museum is just enormous and is lovely to walk through and take in the cultural difference in the different regions. One of the stand out features for me was also the Stave Church, which has been well-preserved and was probably the best one I seen. The indoor exhibitions also cover quiet a lot of different topics to further give you a greater appreciation for Norwegian culture.

 

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Oslo: Norwegian metropolis (day 1)

Our first stop on our Nordic Adventure began in Oslo, Norway. This metropolitan city is the largest city and capital of Norway. It is known as a cosmopolitan hub for its architecture, arts scene, museums, great restaurants and fashion. We spent a couple of days in Oslo and it’s a city I could see myself living or revisiting.

Oslo has so many amazing museums, sites and public parks. With only a couple of days and a toddler in toe, we had to be picky to what we could see and do. Another consideration we had is that Norway has such a strong currency, making this the most expensive country we have ever visited. On the plus side, the public transport is really accessible and pretty cheap and can be purchased from 7/11. We decided against buying the Oslo pass, for this reason and also because we would not been able to see everything on offer in such a short time frame. However, we did get to see quiet a bit, so this destination needs at least 3 posts. Some of the highlights include the Norsk Folkemuseum, Vigeland Park, Royal Palace Gardens, Oslo Opera House, City Hall, Akershus Fortress, Botanic Gardens and Mathallen Food Hall.

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Review: Holbein Artists Pastel Pencils

I have been dreaming of buying some lovely pastel coloured pencil for a while. There are a few brands on the market that make a range of pastels but the ones that I really wanted were the Holbein Artists Pastel Tone Colored Pencils 50 Colors. For Valentines wonderful Marco ordered me a set. I received them about a month after and only recently took them out to try recently. So I thought I would give my thoughts on this Holbein set, in case you too have had these pencils on your wish list.

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Book Review: Skmningstimman (Nightfall)

This beautiful book is the third colouring book is by Swedish artist Maria Trolle. I bought it when last year on our Euro Trip 2017, when making a Quick stop in Heisenberg. I am ashamed to say its taken me nearly a year start colouring in this book. I am currently back in Scandinavia and on the look out for her next book, Botanicum.

This book is the same format at Twilight Garden/ Blomstermandala and Hanna Karlzon’s colouring books, since they are all published by Pagina Förlags. It has a hard cover and 96 pages, which are printed on double sided ivory pages. This book is also available in the English edition, called Nightfall, which is identical except for English titles, blurb and copyright. I have already reviewed Maria’s first two colouring books Twilight Garden (Blomstermandala) and Vivi söker en vän. Check them out if your interested in Maria’s colouring books and a bit more information about the artist herself and the format of the books, as well as my completed coloured pages.

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Book Review: Colouring Heaven Mystical Beauties Special

This review today is actually not from a colouring book, but rather an issue from the colouring magazine, Colouring Heaven. I recently discovered that Colouring Heaven is available in Australia from a select retailers. I have actually never purchased a colouring magazine before. I have so many great artist colouring books that I never felt a need. Plus I had no idea Colouring Heaven was available in Australia. However, when I saw that Colouring Heaven was dedicating a special issue to the artist Zan Von Zed, I had to get it. It took a couple of months for this issue to arrive in Australia. So this purchase was only very recent. I have done a little review, coloured a few pictures from it and done a flip through. If your in Australia and interested in this book, I recommend getting out to find out asap, while stocks are still available. If your elsewhere in the world you may be able to still get a copy online (see end of this post).

First I thought I would tell you a bit about Colouring Heaven. This colouring magazine is one of many great magazines by British magazine publisher, Anthem Publishing. They offer a wide range of magazines, such as Vegan Food & Living, Music Tech, Italia!, and Ultimate Dot2Dot. Colouring Heaven is one of their newer editions, which has been running since 2015. Each issue is delivered monthly, offering different themes, and presents 40 images on good quality single sided paper. Previous editions have included themes of fairies, dragons, Halloween and showcased artists such as Kanoko Egusa, Jasmine Beckett-Griffin and Selina Fenech. The issue that I will be reviewing today is Issue 32, which I was able to get in May 2018, however in the UK you can currently order Issue 35. I’m looking forward to upcoming issues dedicated to artists Kanoko Egusa (Menuet de Bonheur), Desti (of Collateral Damage Studios), White Stag (Misfits) and Hannah Lynn (Whimsy Girls).

Zan Von Zed is an multidisciplinary artist, based in Australia. She was originally from Poland and spent much of her youth visiting medieval castles and museums with her art historian parents. Her drawings, paintings and clay work primarily features beautiful strong women with distinctive noses, often wearing elaborate medieval gowns. If your interested in reading the best and only interview with her, see Beautiful Bizarre’s The Royals of Zan Von Zed: Interview or check out her artwork on Instagram.

Zan Von Zed has already illustrated three colouring books that are available on Amazon. These include Ladies of Leisure: A Coloring Quest, Ladies of Leisure II: The Quest Continues and Ladies of Leisure III: This time it’s personal. Each book features 20 greyscale and line art drawings on single sided pages. Flip throughs a of all three books were recently uploaded on the YouTube channel Les coloriages de Gribouilleuse. So if you miss this Colouring Heaven issue, you still have the opportunity to colour some of Zan Von Zed’s amazing art.

The Colouring Heaven Mystical Beauties Special issue, features 40 line art, on single sided paper. There is also a code given in the inside cover of the book that gives you access to 5 greyscale images that you can print at home. Only a few of these drawings are the same design as the line art in the magazine. The majority of the artwork in this issue have been taken from her first and second colouring books and only two from her third colouring book. However, these draws are not all completely the same as some were originally greyscale and were only replicated as line art in the magazines.

When I first looked at a Colouring Heaven magazine I wasn’t impressed with the paper, which is quite thin. However, I bought it anyway because I was already had Zan Von Zed colouring books on my Amazon Wishlist. Once I started colouring in this magazine I was quite surprised how much I enjoyed the paper. Although it is a bright white thin paper, it has quite a nice tooth to it and takes pencils extremely well. It is good thing that the images are on single sided though, because it the pencil does leave some shadowing, so of course markers would bleed through. I doubt that watercolour would work on this paper. I assume that it would become quite wrinkled. That didn’t bother me though, since I prefer to work with coloured pencils and pastels. Just note that this magazine doesn’t offer a title page or a tester page to test your mediums.

Below are I have included a flip through of this magazine issue, which includes the five printed greyscale images and four pictures that I coloured. I have also included all of these completed pictures in this post with some commentary on what I coloured them with and my thoughts.

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Book Review: Escape to Wonderland

For Christmas, I had a fair few books on my wishlist and Escape from Wonderland was one of the books I received from my partner. It’s taken me four months but I finally got it out to colour a couple of pictures. I enjoyed this book so much that I just keep colouring my way through.

Escape from Wonderland: A Colouring Book Adventure is illustrated by the Good Wives and Warriors. They are a collaboration between two English artists, Becky Bolton and Louise Chappell, who have been working together since 2007. They have illustrated numerous colouring books, including Escape to OZ, Escape to Christmas Past, Escape to Shakespeare, Exotische Urwald and To the Ends of the Earth and Back Again: The Longest Colouring Book in the World.

Escape to Wonderland is very small in comparison to other colouring books and it is the same format as the other Escape to..colouring books by Good Wives and Warriors. This book is only 18.4 cm square, so its perfect to travel with. The soft cover has a collage of line art, which can be found inside the book and is decorated with blues and bronze-gold foil. The inside cover folds out revealing a blue and white line art of an intricately decorated garden. Inside the book, there are 96 pages to colour which are double-sided. There are many double-page spreads, which do creep into the spine but can be pushed down with a little pressure. The paper is light cream in colour and is a medium quality. In my experience, it takes pencils very well, as well as water-based pencils. I will discuss this more below.

This book offers a beautiful array of line art that varies between classical, quirky, realistic, fanciful and intricate. The artwork is also in chronological order that the original story takes and many pages offer a quote from the book. In this book, you will see many different depictions familiar characters, such as Alice, the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar, the Queen and King of Hearts and more.

I am not a huge fan of storybook colouring books, where you are colouring the same characters on every page, just in different positions. What I love about this book is that each image is been drawn so differently. There’s no need to use the same style and colours schemes on every page since the style of the illustrations differ so much. This is actually my first Alice in Wonderland colouring book, other than a few images of Alice in my Disney books. Although I’ve been a huge fan of the Disney movie and the original book since I was little, I had little interest in other Alice inspired colouring books. This one is so different though and I am now yearning to get some more of the Good Wives and Warriors colouring books. Another great aspect is the small size because you can work quicker and of course take it on the go. In regards to the paper, I have heard mixed reviews about it, but I am very happy with it. My pencils blended beautifully on it and as you can see below I tried a few different brands.

Below is a video flip through of my book, which includes my completed pictures. If you have trouble viewing it I have another video on my Instagram. My YouTube video had some issues so hopefully it will be available soon. I have also included each completed picture in this post, with more details on my thoughts and what I used. I will also update the gallery, Escape to Wonderland with new pictures as I colour them in the future.

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Easter Colouring in Romantic Country

Happy Easter all! This past week I wanted to do some colouring to get into the spirit of Easter. I went through my colouring book collection, looking for Easter pictures and I found a couple in my Romantic Country series by the Japanese illustrator, Eriy. I got these books for Christmas and hadn’t had a chance to colour in them yet. So this was a great opportunity to try them out. They are such beautiful books and I can’t wait to do a bit more in them.

I don’t want to do a review of these books but I will tell you impressions of these books. All three books in the series are part of the same adorable story, which is split up into chapters. The paper is great quality and the line art is just gorgeous. I believe it has all been hand-drawn using a toothpick. The print isn’t very dark but the lines vary in width.

The two pages I have coloured are from the first two books, Romantic Country: A Fantasy Coloring Book and Romantic Country: The Second Tale: A Fantasy Coloring Book. These were the only dedicated Easter pictures. There was nothing in the third tale related to Easter. While colouring these pages I did find the line art a little hard to cover, so I tried to use blend gel pens with a pencil. I am not sure I did the best job. I was a little rushed to finish them, so I’m not really happy with my results. I intend to do a couple of tutorials in these books to get the hang of being the best method to colour in them. Chris Cheng has some beautiful finished pictures that she filmed videos on, so I will probably do a couple in the near future.

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Book review: Summer Nights (Sommarnatt)

Hi there, I have another colouring book review today from a gorgeous book, which I have been working in off and on for a while. I have also released my first Youtube video, which is a flip through of Summer Nights and includes all the completed pictures I have coloured so far. I intend making more videos in the future, for the rest of my colouring books. So stay tuned for more and bare with me as I am still learning how to make videos.

This book is by the Swedish colouring book illustrator and artist, Hanna Karlzon. This book is the English edition of Sommarnatt, which was her second colouring book. If you’re a long time colourist I’m sure you are very familiar with this book and Hanna’s others books, which are very much a favourite in the colouring community.

I have previously done a book review of her first colouring book Daydreams (Dagdrommar) so I will try not repeat myself too much. If you want to know a bit more about the artist, my impressions of that book and my completed coloured pictures, please check out it.

The format of this book is the same as the rest of her colouring books. It has a hardcover with gold foiling details. The paper inside is a high-quality off-white paper and has 96 double-sided pages, with 85 illustrations to colour. The art in this book was inspired by the summer Scandinavian evenings. It features starry night scenes, whimsical gardens, sea creatures, beautiful girls, bejewelled insects, ornate birds and more.

I really cherish this book, as I do all of my Hanna Karlzon books. It just has a great range of art in Hanna’s signature style, with plenty of variety so you don’t feel like your colouring the same kind of images. Since this is a summer themed book, it really inspired me to go bit crazy with brighter colours then I would normally choose. I took a few risks, trying different techniques and colours that I normally wouldn’t use and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Below is my video flip through and all my finished coloured pages in the order in which  I coloured them. I used a variety of mediums that I have detailed below. All of these coloured pictures, plus any extra I do in the future can also be seen in my Summer Nights Gallery. If you are interested in where to purchase this book, see the end of this post.

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Review: Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencils

During the Black Friday sales, I bought a full set of Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencils from Amazon. I had never seen them in art stores and sale sparked my curiosity to try another product from one of my favourite brands. I recently got these pencils out to experiment, so I thought I’d let you guys know what I think of them.

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Book Review: Tanya Bond’s Inklings (Artist Edition)

I have been admiring Tanya Bond’s Inkling colouring books series for a while. As soon as Christmas rolled around I had to add some of these books to my Christmas List. My mum was all too happy for me to buy something for myself on her behalf, so I purchased Inklings and Inklings 2 colouring books. This review is for the first and original colouring book in the Artist Edition.

Before I tell you about this book I will give you a bit of insight into the illustrator. Tanya Bond is a self-taught artist from the Irish Midlands. She has been painting professionally for several years and considers her art-style Pop Surrealism. She is known for her signature style of big-eyed girls with adorable companions. The amazing artworks she has created were turned into a colouring book via the KickStarter in 2015. After the success of that campaign, she continued to publish Inklings and then also published four more colouring books,  Inklings 2Astro-ZodiacMini-Inklings and Inklings 3.

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Book Review: Ivy and the Inky Butterfly

I recently got my hands on Johanna Basford’s new colouring book, Ivy and the Inky Butterfly. I always knew I had to get this book eventually but I didn’t preorder it. I have so many books to start that I was putting off this purchase. However, as soon as I saw others colourists work from this book I got online straight away to get a copy.

Unlike Johanna’s other colouring books this one is actually a storybook as well. This story was inspired by Johanna’s own little daughter, who the book was named after. It tells a magical tale of a little girl named Ivy, who finds a secret door that leads her to the land of Enchantia. As she chases an inky butterfly, she comes across many interesting characters and wondrous things along her journey. The story is very cute and imaginative. It is also quite long, so it’s probably not a bedtime story I can get through in one night with my toddler. This is in no way a negative, as it will keep me entertained as I am reading as I colour through this book. I’m sure by the time I finish it Octavia can read it to herself.

There are actually two versions of this book, the US and the UK. In Australia, the bookstores are only selling the UK edition and I figure that would be the best copy. I often noted that colouring books that have been printed for the US market never have a good paper as the original country. However, I found this book is an exception. Lucy from the blog Colouring in the Midst of Madness wrote the fantastic article Inky Butterfly: A Comparision between the UK and the US Editions (also see video). Based on her comparison I decided to purchase the US edition. Although both versions have high-quality paper, Lucy found that the “US paper is much easier to use pencils on and is less likely to bleed with water-based pens”. The other big noticeable difference is the cover. UK edition is white with gold foil detailing. The US edition is an off-white with gold foil and some mint green detailing. Both are pretty but I do prefer the splash of green on the cover.

Something else that is special about both versions of this colouring book is that the paper on the cover is ideal for colouring in. I don’t think I own any other colouring books that have been designed with this in mind. I will probably leave mine as is, but I have seen other colourists cover and they are all very unique and special.

I can only speak for the paper in my US edition. It has to be the best paper I have ever coloured on and is unique to this book. The paper has a bit of a shine and takes pencils very well. You don’t need to do much layering at all get to cover the white speckling in the paper, yet you can keep layering and the paper will take it. I think so far I have only done up to 7 layers and I could of keep adding. So far I have only coloured with Prismacolor pencils, black Faber-Castell Artist Pitt pen and gel pens. I think this paper would great most colouring materials, with the exception of alcohol markers. I have seen other colourist using other materials, such as Polychromos pencils, Staedtler Ergosoft pencils, Derwent Inktense pencils,  Winsor and Newton Watercolor, soft pastels and more. Everyone seems to have fantastic results with all of their materials. Johannah has also included a testing page in the back if you want to try before you apply a certain art material to a page.


 

These are the first pages that I have completed this book. If it wasn’t so close to Christmas I would have loved to keep colouring through this book. However, I have many Christmas themed pages to do in my other books. These pages are in ordered by page rather than which order I coloured them.

 

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Serbian Wild Flowers

When we were visiting Marco’s hometown of Aleksinac, I went on a walk one day in a village with the rest of the young cousins. We walked down this long dirt road through the farmland and we found the most amazing array of wildflowers. I couldn’t believe how many different varieties of brightly coloured flowers I found amongst the grass and crops.

When I travel I always like to take photos interesting native flowers and plants. I like to add them to my photo diaries to the record the unique beauty of a place. I also like to find inspiration for colouring books and art projects.

Do you take photos of flora when you travel?

Do you use them for inspiration for adult colouring or other art projects?

How do you inspire your artistic side?

Do you like to walk through nature, flip through books or peruse sites like Pinterest?

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