Book Review: Magical Dawn (Magisk Gryning)

I’ve had Magical Dawn sitting on my shelf for so long. I bought it near two years ago when I ordered Hanna’s first three colouring books. Since I was waiting for Hanna’s two newer books, I thought I better go back to her third book and try out it.

Magical Dawn (Magisk Gryning) is by the Swedish artist Hanna Karlzon, published in 2017. I have had the pleasure to colour and review in her other books, Daydreams (Dagdrommar), Summer Nights (Sommarnatt) and most recently Smyckeskrinet (Jewelry Box). Each are just as gorgeous as the next and have a distinctive theme which flavour Hanna’s unique style. With the exception of Smyckeskrinet, I have the English editions of Hanna’s colouring books, since they are much easier to get hold than the original Swedish editions. I haven’t compared the books in great detail, but they are pretty much the identical.

This book has a musky pink hard cover with an black and white design with gold foiling. The beetle on the cover can be found inside the book, but is framed a little differently. The paper is a high quality and off-white in colour. The pages are double-sided and there are 96 pages to colour.

The line art in Magical Dawn was inspired by the magical creatures that emerge at the break of dawn. There are jewelled winged and four-legged creatures, lovely ladies adorned with jewels, sparkling crystals, mushroom studded abodes, hour glasses and potion bottles fuming with magic dust and smokey essences.

This is not my favourite of Hanna Karlzon’s book, simply because its extremely hard to choose one over another. It is probably my favourite if I have to compare it to the first three though. The designs are intericate, interesting, and inspired the wonder of magic. I coloured eight pages in this book and used alot of blue and purples. I guess since these rarer colours found in the natural world, they inspired a sense of magic to me. I also did a video flip through, which included all of my completed pages. Any new pages coloured in this book in the future will be added to my Magical Dawn gallery page.

The Title page is always my most dreaded page to colour in all my books and this one was no different. I was really nervous about colouring those smokey essences and all those stars. I am not convinced I pulled it off either. I went crazy with the white gel pen to cover the black lines. In the end it all came together, but I think I will have to find a new technique for stars and smoke. This this page I used Polychromos pencils and a variety of gel pens.

This Rocker Witch was not a picture I would normally gravitate towards and I really didn’t like the design when I first saw it. However, I wanted to try to make something beautiful out of it and I am pretty happy how she turned out. I put a lot of work into her skin and hair and I was able to appreciate her unconventional beauty. Probably the hardest part of this picture was colouring the owl, as the design was very detailed and not very lifelike. I tried to use some inspiration from a real owl for texture and colouring and was surprised it came out looking relatively decent. I decided on a black ink background, to give the central image a bit of pop. I used Prismacolor pencils, a white Uniball gel pen and black Tombow Brush pen.

The Starwalker is another picture that I have seen done a few times and found really intimidating. There was just so much background and so many little stars to colour. I decided to try a galaxy background using Polychromos pencils, white Prismacolor and white gel pen. It started off really great from the right, but soon enough I lose my rhythm, so its a bit streaky in some areas. For the main design, I used Prismacolor pencils and a white gel pen. I find those Prisma’s blend a lot better so they were ideal for blending the colours in this turquoise-purple dress. My inspiration for colours scheme is from this anime fairy (not sure of the artist).

The Stardust Hourglass is a quick page, to practise magic dust. I was going to do a background, but then I wasn’t in the mood for experimentation. I’m very happy how the stardust turned out. I found using a bit of neon pink really helped give life to do the sky/electric blue dust. I used Prismacolor pencils, as well as a white and silver gel pens.

The Serpent Sorceress is another page I have seen done so many times. I just loved her gaze and her beautiful face that looks freakishly like Angelina Jolie. I really wanted to do this page in bright red, get away from the blue and purple hues. I didn’t turn out how I originally imagined, which is probably a good thing. I spent a lot of time doing her skin and I was inspired by this gypsy-inspired model. I find it really difficult to do darker skin tones, the skin can get a little streaky and a bit patchy. This wasn’t so apparent until the page was completed. Other than that I am happy with her hair, eyes, lips, jewellery and snake. I also tried something a little different with the background stars, but still not convinced it was the best technique. I used Prismacolor pencils, white and gold gel pens.

This picture reminded me so much of Emerald City of the Wizard of Oz, which was my inspiration for colour scheme. I used mostly Polychromos for this page, since they have plenty of interesting greens. I only used a few Prismacolors to blend for lighter shades, as well as gold and white gel pen. It turned out pretty close to what I intended so I am happy.

My very last and favourite picture of the bunch is the Blue jewelled moth. It didn’t stand out as an uniquely magical design, so I wanted to use blues and purple-pink to inspire a sense of fantasy. I chose gold, soft and bright blue, fushia, purple, brown and peach colour scheme. I am really thrilled how it turned out. For the main design, I used Prismacolor pencils with a bit of white gel pen for details. For the background I started with prussian blue, light blue and grey Mungyo Watercolor crayons, activated with water. The background turned out pretty terrible, so I used alot of Prismacolor layers to get it looking more like a galaxy sky. I then used a white gel pen for stars, which gave it more pizzazz.

You can purchase this Magical Dawn or Magisk Gryning from:

8# Colouring Update: new books

Hi again, today I have another colouring book  haul. More colouring books? Yes I though I was going to stop buying anything for a while, but then was a sale and you know how it goes… I’m very excited about each and everyone of them, so I thought I would tell you about them before I get colouring.

 

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4# Colouring Update

I recently bought some amazing colouring books and new pencils that I wanted to share with you guys today and also let you know what I have been up to on my colouring table.

New books and Supplies:

Very recently I have received some happy mail from across the world that I am estastic about. All of which are high quality and beautifully presented products and books from Asia. I can honestly say that every one of these things went above and beyond my expectations and I can’t wait to get stuck into using them.

Firstly, I received my belated Valentines present, Holbein Artists Pastel Tone Colored Pencils 50 Colors from Japan. These high-quality Japanese artist pencils are part of a 150 set, but I bought the 50 pastel colours since I am missing these tones across my other pencil sets. We bought this set on eBay, but you can also find them Amazon Japan.

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3# Life Update: home again, Singapore buys

Hi everyone, I’m finally home again after our 10 days trip to Singapore. I got back a couple of days ago, but I’ve been too burnt out to do much. The time difference to Brisbane is only two hours, so I’m more exhausted from the trip in general rather than jet lag. I was a bit disappointed to come back home to real life. I was enjoying having my bed made, my meals prepared and exploring new exciting places every day. However, I missed my bed, my colouring pencils, soy cappuccinos and my family (in no particular order).

So before I share some of my travel adventures and stories, I thought I would show you some of the stuff I came back with. I didn’t do that much shopping really. I planned on coming back with a lot more. Marco, on the other hand, thinks I came back with more than enough. He only came back with a couple of pairs of shoes. I guess for the amount of time I allocated to shopping I thought I would have found more things I really wanted, but I guess I’m more sensible these days. So I’m happy with all my buys.

 

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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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Book Review: Coloriage Wild

When I first saw these images of darling little girls with floral head dresses start to pop up in colouring community I knew I had to have this book. I found it they came from the delightful French colouring book Coloriage Wild. Unfortunately, I was unable to get hold of it in Australia. However, if you have been following me recently you know we went to Europe this year and visited Bourdeaux. I was able to purchase this book on Amazon France and have it shipped to my friends, who live there.

Coloriage Wild is by French artist and illustrator Emmanuelle Colin. She was originally an architect, however, her artistic passion led her to become an independent illustrator. She has since illustrated books and her designs have been used for puzzles, games and wall decals. This book is her first colouring book and she just recently published her second book, Coloriage Wild 2.

It includes the fourteen of her sketches from her Wild collection. These drawings have originally been done with graphite on paper and been reproduced in a 20 x 20 cm spiral bound book. The designs have been repeated twice, giving you 28 drawings to colour. The pages thick 250gr paper and all are perforated so they can be easily removed from the book.

The drawings in this book are in grayscale. This was my first time coloring grayscale images and I quite liked it. I did have to be careful not to completely color over the top of the existing shading so I could see where to go in lighter and darker. It did make it a lot easier to know where the shadows and light source are. I found I had to use a lot of care to colour the flora and this took me the longest in all the drawings. However, the skin and hair have been sketched so naturally that it was quite quick and easy to colour these details with realism. If these sketches were not done with grayscale I doubt they would look so realistic and three dimensional for an amateur like myself.

In this book, I decided to experiment with a variety of mediums. I used Prismacolor Premium pencils, Faber-Castell Polychromos, Faber-Castell Water Colour Paints, Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolour Pencils and Derwent Inktense. Surprisingly, I had very different results. Some materials really were not suited to this paper, while others worked really well. However, depending on your technique you may come to different conclusions. I did find I had to use a lot of layers and a bit of pressure to get a smooth finish on this paper. I also found that my pencils left quite a bit of dust and I had to be careful not to smudge colours all over the paper. Below I detail my experiences with each medium.

In conclusion, I do love and highly recommend Coloriage Wild. The artwork is gorgeous and would be lovely to display in their original form or with colour. The grayscale sketches prompt light and shadows, so even if you are a beginner it would not be difficult to colour. The paper is high quality and allows for many different mediums and experimentation.

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Flower Fairy: first in Coloriage Wild

I recently bought a French colouring book, when I visited France a few months ago. Coloriage Wild is by French artist and illustrator Emmanuelle Colin. Her beautiful artwork has been used in storybooks, games, paper dolls, stickers and more. I will be reviewing her book next, but first I wanted to share my first picture that I coloured.

When I first looked at this book I didn’t know where to start. The line drawings are so beautiful and delicate and styled more like grey scale, which I had never coloured before. So I thought I would see what kind of art Emmanuelle does and which kind of colours she uses for her flower girls.

These are a few of her finished pieces that can be found on Pinterest and her blog::

 

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Book Review: Sagor Och Sägner

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

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

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

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

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

 


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