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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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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