Book Review: World of Flowers

World of Flowers is the newest book by colouring evangelist Johanna Basford. I received this gorgeous book from Marco for Christmas and I finally started it this last month. I had been putting it off a little because sometimes I get a little sick of colouring flowers. However, I actually had quite a lot of fun with this book. It has quite a bit of variety and very different to the flowers in Johanna’s other books as you will see.

So if you have been living under a rock you may have not heard of Johanna Basford. But I doubt this would be the case if your a colourist. This is Johanna’s seven colouring book (not including all the artist edition, journals, calendars, etc). It was only published in mid December 2018 in both the UK and US. I have the UK edition, like the rest of my collection. As they are readily available in Australia and online. From what I have read in the past I do prefer the UK editions, but if you would like to see a side-by-side comparison of this book, see this video by Colouring in the Midst of Madness.

World of Flowers is the same format of most of Johanna’s other colouring books. It is a square shape, sized at 25.1 x 25.1 cm. Like all the UK editions, it has a soft cover with a dust cover over the top. The cover is bright white, with black inked flowers and some rose-gold foiling. You can find the same flowers inside the book, but not in the same formation. However, the inside cover and does have the same design that you will find in the book. Inside this book you will find 80 pages to colour with a variety of new designs. The paper is ivory in colour and medium thickness. It has the same paper that you will find in Johanna’s later colouring books ei. Magic Jungle, Johanna’s Christmas. Toward the back of the book there is a page to test your mediums and a page that extends, which is double sided.

The floral designs in this book are gorgeous and as I mentioned, is a lot different to what we have seen before from Johanna’s other colouring books. Since flowers are the subject of the book they are much more detailed and vary in shapes, sizes and design style. Flowers aren’t the only things you will find in this book. You will also find succulents and other potted plants, magic potion bottles, butterflies and other insects, household objects and furniture, fairy homes, etc. The designs range from the usually wreaths, wallpaper and mandalas, to garden scenes, busy shelving, large and small circular and square designs. There is just so much variety that you won’t feel like your colouring the same stuff that you have come across previously in her books.

So as you guessed by now I do love this book. I did find some of pages with the larger spaces a bit intimating because I don’t love doing large backgrounds. However, if your like me you can skip some of these pages or just do put in more effort to the suspended objects and they will speak for themselves on the ivory paper. Something I really loved was the last couple of pages that pull out, which I would like to return to in the future.

Below I have included a video flip through and all the pages I have coloured in order that you will find them in the book. I have only used Prismacolor Premier pencils and a couple of gel pens so far. As you will see these pencils work very beautifully on this paper. I don’t see that there would be any problems with other harder pencils or water colour, so long as you are careful. There are plenty of examples by other colourist using other pencils, so I recommend checking out Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration.

The Title pages is always a challenge for me and I usually come back to it last. I wanted it to be an explosion of bright colours, which complemented each other. I also wanted to use different techniques for each flower, so they didn’t look so similar and flat. I am quite happy how this one turned out and it makes me happy when I open this book.

The Name plate pages was also another one I was stumped on because the flowers were so tiny, so it would be difficult for them to pop out of the paper. I started with a navy and coral colour scheme and added some complementary colours as I went. I also added some gold gel pen to cover some of the little black dots and lines, which really brightened it up.

This gorgeous selection of Flower motifs are not my colour scheme, but rather the from the mind of the amazing Chris Cheng. I started following her four-part video tutorial when I started this book, but I ended up coming back to right at the end. They just took me so long, but it was well worth it. So many layers went into it, which is why they look so stunning. She also done another gorgeous tutorial of a flower wreath. Peta Hewitt also did a tutorial for the same picture, so I still have to do decide which one I will do at a later date.

This Alchemy Garden is another one of the last picture I did. I took my time adding many layers to the background, flowers and bottles to try and make the objects look more three dimensional. I am happy with most of the elements but now I’m wishing I did a stone wall for the background, as it looks a bit bare. For the magic potions I was inspire by this Chris Cheng’s Fairy Potions from Fairy Miracles. This was my first attempt at something like this, but now I think I can tackle a few more magic potions in Hanna Karlzon’s Magically Dawn, which I’m yet to start.

This Sunflower and Tulip is the first page I that completed. I started with the sunflower and I was very disappointed in it until I finished the tulip. I only wanted to use a few colours for each and with both side-by-side it has the effect that I wanted. The page beside this has another two flowers with the same frames, so I plan to do those in red and green to complement this page.

This Flower Fairy Garden is the second page I did and it took me so long. I was thinking of doing a grey purple stone frame, but by the time I got this far I just wanted to move on to something else. This picture remind me a lot of some of the double page spreads in Secret Garden. If you see some of the pages I did my Secret Garden gallery, you can definitely see an improvement in both my colouring and Johanna’s flowers. These flowers were a lot more interesting to colour and I like how oversized they are.

If you’re interested in purchasing World of Flowers you can find it from:

Swedish Royal Palace (day 2)

On day two of our visit to Stockholm spent a few hours at the Swedish
Royal Palace (Kungliga slotten). It still remains as the offical residents fo the royal family and is one of the largest palaces in Europe. It is located in the oldest part of the city Gamla stan.

Within the palace there are three splendid museums that are opened all year around. These are the Royal Apartments, the Treasury and the Museum Tre Kronor. However, during the summer season from May to September, the Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities is also open. There are palace tours, which you can pay for in addition to the entry price. However, audio guides are also available, free of charge.

On our visit we saw the Royal Apartments, Museum Tre Kronor and
Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities. We probably spent the most time in the apartments and in combination with the Tre Kronor is very much worth the visit. We paid about 160SEK for these three museums, which at the time was about 24AUD.

I hope you enjoy a sneak peak through the Swedish Royal Palace!


The Royal Apartments

When we first arrived we purchased our tickets from one of the adjacent curved builds that are adjacent to the palace within the Outer Courtyard. I was concerned before visiting the palace that we would have to purchase tickets prior to our visit. However, after emailing and getting a response, I was able to purchase the tickets on the day without much wait. The toilets on the other hand had a long line. I don’t remember seeing toilets as we went along our visit, so perhaps its best to get that over with at the begining of the visit.

The Apartment of the Order of Chivalry

We first began our tour of the Royal Apartments by going left and walking through the Apartment of the Orders of Chivalry. These have been open since 1993 and display the Swedish Award System and Royal Orders of the Knighthood. We walked through three session halls, which included the the Order of Vasa, the Order of the Northern Star, the Order of Sword and the Order of the Seraphim. The fourth room was a meeting hall for the Chapter of the Royal Orders. These rooms were modernised in 1866-67, by architect Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander.

The Hall of the State

The last room we came to before entering a grand foyer, was the Hall of the State. This room was used by the King from 1755 to 1975 to open the Parliment every year. It was designed by architect Carl Hårleman. Unfortuntely it was going through restorations, so it wasn’t as grand with the scafolding. Before going onto the Bernadotte Apatments, I cam across this marble sculpture, The Wave and the Beach. It was made by Theodor Lundberg in 1898.

The Bernadotte Apartments

These apartments were often used by the King for cermonial audices, presenting medals and meetings with his advisory council. The furnishings are from the 1730s and 40s. It was resided in by King Adolf Fredik and Queen Lovisa Ulrika, as later by Oskar II and Queen Sofia.

From the begining of our tour of the Bernadotte Apartments we were able to hire free audio guides, which are available in English and Swedish. I found these really helpful to explain exactly what I was seeing and give more meaning to the history of the furnishings, decorations, achitect and purpose of these rooms.

The Guardroom was originally used to house the lifeguards, who protected the monarch. In the centre of the room there are items referincing the rule of Queen Lovisa and Karl XV. Along the wall there is a painting of the corinationa of Karl XIV John in Stockholm Cathedral in 1818, painted by Per Krafft the Younger in 1924. There is also a wall clock over the fireplace dates back to 1750.

The Pillared Hall was originally used by King Adolf Fredrik as a dining room. The ceiling was painted in 1730 by the Italian artist Alessandro Ferretti and it depicts Mother Svea (Swedish personified) and the seasons. This room was moderned in the 1780s by Gustav III, under the architect Jean Baptiste Masreliez. It included the overdoors and statues of Venus and Apollino by Johan Tobias Sergel.

The Victoria Drawing Room has been re-decorated many times, but this present interior was designed in the 1860s by Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander. the crystal chandeliers were from Vienna, the oval tables from Munich the procelian cabinets were gifts from Napoleon. The most recent edition were the busts of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, which were made by Italian artist, Giancarlo Buratti. One of my favourite pieces was gold clock, depicting the Greek goddess Aphrodite.

The West Octagonal Cabinet is a small corner room, which dates from the 1730s and is in the Rococo style. The decorative wall carvings are by Jean Bourguignon and the phorphyry urns were made by Älvdalen porphyry around 1830.

Oskar II’s Writing Room were able to be seen behind clear screens. The current interior is from 1870s and includes some modern innovations, including electric lighting and a telephone, which was conneted in 1883-4.

I don’t remember what the name of this hallway, but it is had over 40 paintings of the royal family, as well as silver, busts and another interesting clock.

The Breakfast Room was furnished for Oskar II and Queen Sofia in 1873-1874. It has carved rococo panels and a silver chandelier (gift for the silver jubilee 1897), with a crown supported by cupids. This was another room we could not enter.

The East Octagonal Cabinet is larger to the western cabinet. It was used for King Carl XVI to hold formal audiences and private converstaions.

Possibly the most modern room in the palace is Carl XVI Gustaf’s Jubilee Room. It was designed by Åke Axelsson and was offical opened in 2001. It showcases Swedish materials and craftmanship and the theme is a Swedish summer’s day. It is used in conjunction with the East Octagonal Cabinet for formal audiences.

Perhaps my favourite room in the house is Lovrisa Ulrika’s Audience Chamber. It was designed by Jean Eric Rehn for Adolf Fredrik and Queen Lovisa Ulrika in 1754. I just love the tapestries, gold throne and the painting of birds above the door.

Lovisa Ulrika’s Antechamber is another beautiful room. Someting that stood out to me straight away was the Madonna and Child by Piero di Cosimo and the spider webbed ceiling decorations.

Lovisa Ulrika’s Dining Room is another beauty, was restored to the 18th century style in the 1950s and is today sued for large receptions and offical meetings. Jean-Baptiste Oudry painted the paintings over the doors reprent wind, water, earth and fire; as well as the large deer-hunting scene.

The Guardroom is slightly more modern room, which depicts portraits of the Swedish royals during the 20th century.

We then made our way up the outer hallway, which was similar style to the hall we arrived from.

We then entered another Guardroom. It depicts members of the Palatinate dynasty, Queen Kristina from the House of Vasa and Karl X Gustav. There are also small portraits of other famous Swedes from 16th-18th century. The mosaic table was a gift from the Pope Pius IX in 1870s and the large malachinte empire urns were gifts from Russian Tsar Nicholas I.

The Empire Salon was originally Duke Fredrik Adolf’s antechamber, but is now a salon. The chairs and softs are in Swedish Empire style, made for Prince Osker I and Josefina for their wedding in 1823.

The Margereta Room was a room with quite low hanging ceiling. However, it is known for the artwork painted by Crown Princess Margareta, first consort of Gustaf VI Adolf. It is joined the Inner Salon, which is in Pompeian style and was inspired by the archelogical finds of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Just through the doors is the Inner Bedchamber, which was originally used by Fredrik Adolf’s valet. Today it is often used by visiting heads of state, if they don’t wish to use the Great Bedchamber.

The Great Bedchamber is today sued as a guest apartment, just as it originally used when Prince Fredrik Adolf resided here. It has been restored to its original colours and contains original antique furnishings.

The Meleager Salon is today used for offical gifts and orders of chivalry for state visits. The tapestries depict the tragic classic tale of Prince Meleager and were made in Brussels for Ulrika Eleonora’s dowry in 1680.

The State Apartments

At this point we entered a hall, which took us to the State Apartments. These are used by the King and Queen when they are entertaining guests, gala banquets, cabinet meetings and offical ceremonites. It was previously used by Gustav III and Karl XIV Johan for residential purposes.

The First Guardroom was used in the 18th century to house the royal miltary guards. It has baroque furniture, typcial of the era. In the cabinets there is 18th century European procelain from Meissen, which was just gorgeous.

The following room is another Guardroom, whic hwas used by the body guards to protect the monarch, during Gustav III and Karl XIV resign. There are marble statues of Swedish kings, as well as more cabinets with ordiments and diaramas. The older Tre Kronor Castle was destroyed in May 1697 by fire, but this is how it would have looked before that. Later we will visit the Tre Kronor Castle in the bowels of the palace.

The Council Chamber is another splendid room which is used a few times a year for Cabinet meetings. It has the most enormous chandeliers and yellow and blue explosed panels were designed by Axel Nyström in 1826.

The Audience Chamber was originally meant to be a state bedchamber, but was instead used as a room for Gustav III to hold audiences. The exquisite ceiling was painted by Jacques Foucquet and René Chauveau around 1700. In the centre there is the lovers, Venus and Mars.

Gustav III’s State Bedchamber was used a sthe bedchamber and where Gustav III held reception during his morning toilette. He actually died in the room, after being shot by masked ball in the opera house in 1792. The ceiling was also painted by Jacques Foucquet and René Chauveau and depicts the upbringing of Karl XII.

Perhaps the most exquisite room in the palace is Karl XI’s Gallery. It is designed in Swedish baroque. It is often used for banquets and long tables are placed in the centre, seating 170 guests. It was inspired by the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles and each window corresponds with the mirror on the adjacent wall.

The next room we came across was Sofia Magdalena’s State Bedchamber, furnished by Jean Eric Rehn in 1770s. The ceiling depicts Mother Svea and females of the four continents of Europe, Asia, Africa and America.

The Don Quixote Room was perhaps more beautiful exciting in the last room. It has tapestries adorning the walls, telling the story of Don Quixote and were made in Paris.

The last room we saw in the State Apartments was The White Sea. This room is so gorgeous, colourful and airy. It is used as a large salon, when banquets are held in Karl XI’s Gallery. It has oak parquet floor and beatiful ceiling paintings by Domenico Francia and Guillaume-Thomas Raphael Taraval.

So that was the end our our visit to the Royal Apartments. At this point we gave back our audio guides and moved on to the next part of our visit.


Museum Tre Kronor

The next part of our visit was visiting the Museum Tre Kronor, which is underneath the Royal Palace. Here you can see some of the original parts of the castle and learn about the fire of 1697, which ravaged the palace.

The fire was originally started in the Hall of State attic and five people were immediately including the Chief Fire Watcher and his assistants. All were released except the Chief and two assistant, who were sentenced to death. The King decided to communte the sentence to running the gandet seven times and six years hard labour. This punishment had the prisoner running between two lines of solders and beaten with sticks. Only one of the assistants survived this punishment.

Its not all doom and gloom down here. There are also reproduced historical costumes, which would have been worn by people living between 1250 and 1697. There are also items saved by the fire, like Queen Dowager Hedvig Elenora desk. Archaelogical discoveries have been made, which found animal skeletons, which would have been on the menu. Octavia had fun dressing as a little soldier too.


Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities

The last part of our ticket to the Royal Palace Museum was the Gustav III’s Antikmuseum. We actually had to enter from the side of the building and present our tickets inside. Here we saw the classical sculpture from Italy, that were purchased by King Gustav III. Within this museum there are two galleries, which include mostly scuptures and a few contemporary works. If you love Roman sculptures then you will probably enjoy this museum, otherwise it does feel a little out off place in a Swedish museum. This museum does have an audio guide, which is helpful to understand the significance of what you are seeing.


I hope you enjoyed this tour through the Swedish Royal Palace. Next I will take you to the Swedish Historical Museum.

Book Review: August Reverie 2: Epic

It’s been a while since I have written a colouring book review that wasn’t Colouring Heaven issue. So today I have a new review of a book from one of my most recent colouring book hauls. I decided to focus on August Reverie 2: Epic, which has the most beautiful array of artwork. I bought this book on impulse and I’m so happy I gave it a chance, since its not like an of the other books in my collection.

August Reverie II: Epic – Fantasy Art Adult Coloring Book (Volume 2) is the second colouring book illustrated by Chinthaka Herath on behalf of Vivid Publishers. I haven’t got the first book, August Reverie: Adult Coloring Bookbut just like the second one, it has been very popular among the colouring community. Both books are quite similar in style and genre. Chinthaka also has a third book coming out on behalf of Vivid Publishers. I’m not sure if it will be similar, be here is a sneak peak of one of the possible designs. I don’t know much about this artist, only that he is the owner and art director of Intense Media and resides in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Vivid Publishers is also based in Sri Lanka in Kandy, so I’m assuming they are all in the same. This publishing house has also released one other book prior to the August Reverie, which may or not be by the same artist, Wild Animals Adult Coloring: Absolutely Amazing, Stress Relieving, Wild Animals. I’m not sure if it’s very popular, since I haven’t heard much about it but has great reviews on Amazon. 

August Reverie II: Epic is a soft cover colouring book, which is glue bound. The artwork on the front and back cover gives beautiful examples of completed pictures that you can find in the book. You can also find more completed pages by the artist and colourists on the Vivid Publisher Instagram page.

Inside the book there are 24 hand-drawn fantasy illustrations (not including the name plate or contents page). Each design is assigned a name, which can be found on the contents page and there are page numbers on the back of each page. All of the pages except for one features a beautiful women adorned in jewels and most are surrounded by flowers, animals companions, or heraldic frames . There is only one page that does not feature a woman, instead it is a beautiful hummingbird surrounded by flowers. Some of animals companions you will find in the book include Butterflies, Bumble Bees, Dragonflies, Birds, Lion, Unicorn, Fish, Dragon, Bald Eagle, Jaguar, Dolphin and Squirrels. The flowers that you will find include Tulip, Rose, Aster, Peony, Dahlia, Petunia, Forget-Me-Not, Gazania Rigens, Henryi-Clematis, Zinnias and Jasmine. The theme of the book is royalty and dreams, which really comes through the fantasy and regal designs. The artwork is really stunning and is quite detailed, making it easier to know where to shadow and highlight. Additionally, at the the back of the book there are also two pages from August Reverie (first volume).

The pages are all one sided, so there is no need to worry about bleed through. However, paper is very thin and is only really appropriate for pencil, markers, gel pens and pastels. It is highly recommended in the book that you use thick paper or cardboard behind the page you are working on to protect the followings pages, especially when using markers. I assume if you use any water on this paper it would instantly buckle and would not be tolerated. The paper is bright white paper and does have a bit of a shine to it and quite a nice tooth. I recommend Prismacolor Premier Pencils or a softer pencil, just because I fear a harder pencil,  like Faber-Castell Polychromos, may ripe the paper. I do have a firm hand, so a softer hand may be more successful using harder branded pencils. Pastels are another media that are great on this paper, which I employed in one of my own completed pictures. I was able to get quite a few layers on this paper and I didn’t get to the point where the paper wouldn’t take anymore. However I did have to be careful to colour on a flat surface, as the ends of the pages tend to curly or bend if your not careful. So greater care had to be taken when colouring near the edge of pages. The pages also show great indentation from where I coloured on the other side, which is why its so important to protect the rest of the book with some at least 1-2 pages behind your work. At the back of the book there are 3 blank test pages where you can test  your art media.

Both this book and the first volume is available in PDF form, for those that prefer to print out their colouring books. You can purchase the PDF book from the Vivid Publisher’s website. Additionally if your did purchase the physical copy of either book from Amazon, you can get a free PDF copy from the website.  I bought mine from Book Depository and I am still waiting to hear back if my purchase qualifies. So I recommend sending a message to Vivid directly if you purchase yours elsewhere.

Some other bonuses on the Vivid Publisher website (via Youtube), are video flip through of both books and videos of the artist colouring his work. There are currently five videos of Chinthaka colouring pages from August Reverie 2: Epic, which are speed colouring with commentary. He also regularly does colouring contests with free PDF’s of pages from the books, as well as promotional sale prices for the books on Amazon.

Below I have included my own video of August Reverie 2: Epic flip through, which includes 4 completed pictures. You can also see these completed pictures below, with commentary on what I used and my inspiration behind my colour choices. After completing this pictures I am still very much in love with this book. My only issues with this book is that the thinness of the paper and although the tooth is lovely I was not able to cover those stray hairs with pencil. In some pictures is brought the hair to life and in others it came across a little too prominent. Other then that the tooth of the paper is lovely and the artwork is just spectacular. Any more pictures that I colour from this book in the future will be added to my gallery for August Reverie 2: Epic.

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Book Review: Colouring Heaven Fairytale Special

This months Colouring Heaven magazine released in Australia is the Fairytales Special (Issue 36). I was pretty excited about months issue, since it features the artwork of Hannah Lynn. I don’t have any of Hannah colouring books, but I have seen the beautiful coloured works by other colourist. I was considering ordering one of her most recent colouring books, Fairy Tale Princesses & Storybook Darlings Coloring. However, when I saw some of the artwork was going to be featured in this Colouring Heaven I was pretty happy to get a chance to try out her style. This edition actually came out a little later then usual, so after about three visits to BigW I finally got my copy.

Before I show you my completed work I will tell you a bit about the featuring artist, Hannah Lynn. Also if you haven’t heard about Colouring Heaven Magazine see my previous post for more information. Hannah Lynn is a self-taught artist based in Idaho Falls, in Idaho, USA. She was an avid colourist growing up and didn’t train to be an artist. However, her passion for art lead her to make her own artwork, as well as self-publishing and illustrating her own all ages colouring books since 2006.

Hannah has published about ten colouring books to date. They all have her signature style of sweet and whimsical big eyed girls with elaborate hair and costumes. Although they are quite 2D it doesn’t take much to bring these beautiful images alive, not matter your skill level. Most of the colouring  books follow different themes so they are quite unique, but there not deny who the artist is when you see any image from her books. These  books can also be purchased as PDF. Hannah also often gives away free sample PDF from her books. In fact if  you sign up to the Hannah Lynn Vip Lounge Subscription, you get a free exclusive colouring page and a few other treats.

The Fairytale Special issue, it features the 40 pages of line art, on single sided paper. All of the work has been taken from Hannah’s previous books, except for one. This exclusive page is the second page of Beauty and the Beast. The majority seem to be from the Fairy Tale Princesses & Storybook Darlings Coloring Book However, there are a couple from Mermaids, Fairies & Other Girls of Whimsy Coloring Book and Sweet & Simple Whimsy Girls: Mermaids and More Coloring Book. As with most Colouring Heaven magazine the images are named on the corresponding page, by character or theme. Something that is a advantage of purchasing her work in this magazine edition is the paper quality. I have seen from other reviews that the paper quality in Hannah’s book is Amazon Createspace paper. This is ideal for markers but not so great for pencils and not advisable for watercolour. However, if  you can’t get a hold of this magazine, but you would still love to colour her work the paper quality bothers you, you can still purchase the PDF copies of the book and print it out yourself.

For this issue I coloured three pictures and using a few different coloured pencil brands. I also made a video flip through, which is up on my Youtube channel. You can also see more Colouring Heaven Magazine book reviews and completed pictures on my Colouring Book Reviews  and Colouring Galleries pages. As well as any new pages completed from this issue on my Colouring Heaven Fairytale Special gallery. I really did love colouring Hannah’s work, so hopefully I will be able to do a few more from this book in the near future.

 

 

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Book Review: Colouring Heaven Misfits Special

This months Colouring Heaven magazine released in Australia is the Misfits Special (issue 35).  It showcases the art of White Stag aka Terra Bidlespacher. I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep buying this magazine every month, but when I saw this issue I really liked the quirky artwork and wanted to see how I would go colouring this style. I really enjoyed it, so I have brought you another colouring book review for today.

White Stag aka Terra Bidlespacher is an American artists, based in Pennsylvania. She is known for her lowbrow, pop surreal, gothic fantasy art.  Her unique style is characterised by the strange and cute girls and creatures, in scenes that are both intriguing, creepy and sometimes humorous. Her artwork mainly features she misfits characters painted in acrylic, but she also does drawings using ink and graphite. She has produced a series of Misfits colouring books with featured her original artworks. There are currently 10 full size colouring books and two mini colouring books. Most of these colouring books explore different themes, including aliens, zombies, unicorns and halloween. For more information of where to purchase White Stag’s colouring books see the end of this post.

I don’t currently have any of White Stag’s colouring books in my collection, so I was very happy to see her work featured in this months Colouring Heaven magazine. The issue features a compilation of 40 designs taken from White Stag’s colouring books, so there is quite a variety in themes of themes, styles and characters. The issue itself is the same format as always, matt cover (that you can colour), 40 line drawings on single sided thin-medium paper, with titles for each picture. This issue only has the names of the artworks and no other information about each work. I appreciate this anyway, as I  can google the original artwork to glean inspiration for backgrounds, colours, textures and light sources. This issue also features some Christmas themed pictures, so I will be sure to return to this book in the future.

For this issue I coloured three pictures and used a varieties of mediums, including water soluble materials.  I also made a video flip through, which is up on my Youtube channel, along with more video of colouring book flip through with completed pictures. You can also see more Colouring Book Reviews and my Colouring Galleries and my Misfits Special Gallery on this blog.

 

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Book Review: Colouring Heaven Anime Special

The most recent Colouring Heaven magazine issue to be released in Australia was the Anime Special. I really loved the artwork in this book and after colouring a few images I thought I may as well do a little review as well.

Colouring Heaven Anime Special is Issue 34 and it was released in Australia at the beginning of July this year. In the UK it came out a couple of months ago, so I was already looking forward to this one. The artwork in this issue is exclusive designs by the  Singaporean artist Desti from Collateral Damage Studios (Singaporean based studio).  According to Colouring Heaven, she is a self taught artist and was influenced growing up by Japanese anime and manga. She was recruited by CDS and was commissioned to create designs for Colouring Heaven, which feature both traditional themes of manga and some recurring characters from the studio. You can find Desti’s artwork on her Instagram, Pixiv and  Deviantart accounts.

This issue is the same format as the other Colouring Heaven magazine issues. There are 40 line drawings on single sided paper, with titles for each and a little blurb for most. The paper is white thin-medium quality, which takes pencils very well. So as for this issue, it features beautiful anime girls and explores a variety of themes. The designs feature Japanese iconic styles (ei. Lolita), special occasions and festivals (e.i. Valentines day, Tsukimi ), folklore characters  (ei. Yuko-onna, Kitsune), Anime archetypes (Meido) and there is even an anime Alice in Wonderland. Typical of Colouring Heaven, most of the pictures have a little blurb explaining the concepts behind the line art. I really appreciated this in this issue, since I am not well verse in anime or Japanese culture. It was not just educational to learn about the festivals, fashion and folklore, but helpful to identify different characters.

All in all I am very happy with the Anime Special issue. The art work is gorgeous and well thought out. I did find it challenging to colour anime but it was fun to try something new and learn about a different cultural genre. I only coloured three pictures so far from this issue, but I see myself coming back to this book for Christmas, Valentines and Easter or just add some colour to this beautiful pictures.

I have made a flip through video of this book and have included below large photos of each of the three images I coloured.

 

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Oslo: Cultural and heritage sites (day 2)

On our second day in Oslo we had a big day jam packed full of free cultural and heritage sites. There’s actually quite a lot you can do for free in Oslo, which you can enjoy all year round. Some of the highlights of day two include the Royal Palace and tranquil Slottsparken, the amazing art work at the City Hall, the historic Akershus Fortress, and the marvellous Opera House. I originally planned to also fit in the Free East Side Walking Tour (currently not on offer) in the afternoon, but I don’t think we could have possibly done it. My legs were still swollen from the flight and Octavia made it clear she was not going to be content to sit and be quiet. All in all I think we did pretty well and we also ate pretty well too.

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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 in this post includes breakfast pastries at BackstubeFrogner ParkVigeland Park, Karl Johans GateGrünerløkka and dinner at 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: Skymningstimman (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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