Book Review: Smyckeskrinet (Jewelry Box)

This book review is on one of Hanna Karlzon’s most recent colouring books. I bought this book when I was in Sweden last year. I finally got around to colour some of these beautiful pages. I am really loving her books right now and intend on colouring through my other Karlzon books, while I wait for her lastest release.

Smyckeskrinet is Hanna’s fifth colouring book, which came out in 2018. It also cames in an English edition, Jewelry Box. The format of this book is the same as the rest of her books, which you can see from my other reviews of her first two books, Day Dreams and Summer Nights.

This book has a limestone green cover with an black design and gold foiling. The design on the cover doesn’t appear in the book, but has some similar elements that you will find inside. The book format is hardcover, with high quality off-white paper. The line art is on double-sided and there are 96 pages to colour.

This book is consisent with Hanna’s style, however it is themed is Edwardian house and its garden. Similarly to her other books, there is a large variety of beautiful girls, animals, flowers, jewels and inanimlate objects. However, these designs have an old world twist that makes this book quiet unique to itself. Consistent with the title, many of the designs are adorned with jewels, which gives the images a very anique feel. There is also quite a variety of images which take up entire pages, majority, or have quiet blank backgrounds, so you colour within the confines of the designs or make an elaborate background.

This is probably my favourite book of Hanna Karlzons so far. I felt the line art was more intricate and I loved the cute animals and beautiful headdresses. I wanted to experiement a little more then I usually do in Hanna’s books, so I have used quite a few different mediums to give you an good example of what works on this paper. Below I have included a video flip through and photographs of all my completed pictures in this book so far. Any future pictures will be added to my Smyckeskrinet (Jewelry Box) gallery.

The Name plate page was the last page I coloured since it was the one I was most worried about. I initially didn’t want to go with traditional colours for the peacocks, but when I started researching the various colours of their feathers I decided there was plenty of tones I could use to make them very pretty.

The main design was all coloured in Prismacolor pencils and a little bit of white gel pen. As for the background, I used Mungyo Watercolor Crayons. I had already experiemented with these crayons in this book and I was pretty happy with them. I used a combination of purple and light green crayon and activiated them with a water pen. I then went over the crayon with Prismacolor pencils. It did come out a little streaky, but overall I’m pretty happy with it.

I did the Jewelled Bettle and Garden Goddess as a two pages spread. I started with the goddess, which I wasn’t sure I really liked when I first saw. But I really wanted to try and make her beautiful and bring out all the aspects of her floral headdress to make it more volumious.

I used Prismacolor pencils and it took me quite a while to lay them down, so that she looked more three-dimensional. I think thats really the key to perfecting my colouring, the more soft layers the better the result. Then I decided to quickily do the Jewelled Bettle, since I used most of the same colours. I also used some white and yellow gold gel pen to bring out some of the details. I am not entirely happy with how I used them on the round and tear shaped jewels, but they do look better then left black.

Next I decided to try out a background that I had seen recently in a video on the Youtube channel Colouring with Olivier. I had actually purchased the Mungyo Watercolor Crayons after watching Oliver’s video review of them. I bought them off Ebay and they are quite an inexpensive alternative to Neocolor, which is very popular at the moment. I really loved Oliver’s Cracked Wall Background, so after watching her video I tried to recreate this myself for this two page spread. I used black, brown and lime green crayons with a water pen to activate. Intitally I went lightly with the crayon on the paper and activated it, then added extra color by wiping the brush directly on the crayon. Afterwards I used a sharp black pencil to add in the cracks. I am extremely happy how it turned out. Although its not perfect, it looks great overall as a two page spread and is quite a quick background to achieve. Another great thing is that the crayon didn’t blead through and there was minimum buckling on this paper.

The Jewelled Kitty-cat was a picture I feel in love with straight away. I used Polychromos pencils with some white Prismacolor to blend and white gel pen for sparkles. Something I always have difficulty with is whether I do the background or objects first. Only thing is background take so long that I sometimes feel less passionate about the overall picture by the time I finish it. The only downside to doing the opposite is that the pencil can stain the background and it can be difficult to erase. Luckily when using Polychromos you do’t have these problems so much. Unlike soft pencils like Prismacolor, they don’t smudge very much at all. They do requite alot of soft layers to get a vibrant color and not to ruin the tooth of the paper. I also like to used the white Prismacolor to blend and remove white speckling, which you can also do with other pastle soft pencils. Anyhow, thats pretty much how I got the depth to the sky and other objects, which really enthused me to use my Polychromos pencils a bit more.

The Black Swan Princess the first picture completed in this book, which I did back in September last year. It was dedicated to the late and great Katrine and which featured in my 7# Colouring Update. I used Prismacolor Premier pencils, white Posca pen for highlights and a black Faber-Castell Artist Pitt pen for the background. You can refer to my previous post for more details.

The Jewel Carriers was one of the last pages I coloured. I wanted use an Autumn colours palette, with bright oranges and deep blues. Since I was using Prismacolor pencils. I started with the background first, before don’t the flora and fauna. I really wasn’t happy with my color choice and wanted to give up on it. But once I added in the white gel pen and completed the pictures I didn’t mind it as much. Its not so pretty but it really packs a punch to your eyes.

This Astro goddess portrait is a relatively small picture and didn’t requite a background, so it was a nice quick one. It’s a really good design if you want to practice doing skintone and hair. I took my time, trying to give her skin a more deeper complection, which is more difficult for me on larger scale. I used Polychromos pencils, so I had to be very careful to be to do soft layers, but I think I am improving in not making such harsh lines on the face. I love how she turned out. I am not so happy with my background. The black lines on around the stars were too strong and don’t look much better with the gel pen. I think I need to find a new solution to this dilema.

You can purchase this Smyckeskrinet or Jewelry Box from:

Book Review: Fairy Tales

Hello friends, today I have another colouring book review for you. Fairy Taleshas been on my wish list for a while, so I asked Santa to bring it for Christmas and it is just as sweet as I could of imagined.

Fairy Tales is by the freelance artist and illustrator, Emelie Lidehäll Öberg. Emelie is based Timrå, Sweden and has a background in graphic design and communications. If you want to know more about her, Color with Iris did a great interview with her. It talks of her life as an artist and how she began creating colouring books.

Fairy Tales actually the English edition of Emelie’s first book Sagolikt (2016)
and was published in April 2017 . Emelie has also published Sagor Och Sägner, En Sagolik Vinter (postcard book) and Hem ljuva hem. I actually have Sagor Och Sägner, and did a book review quite a while ago (see book review and gallery). Since Sagor Och Sägner is one of my favourite books I was sure that I would love another book by Emelie. Unfortunately for many, there is currently no English edition of Sagor Och Sägner, however Fairy Tales is alot easy to hold off (see end of post for distributors), and is quite similar in theme and style.

Fairy Tales has a soft cover that features one of the illustrations found in the book and is decorated in soft pinks and limestone green, with gold foil accents. The inside covers also have french flaps which open out to feature many of the designs found inside the book. This book is square and measures 24.9 x 24.9 cm. It contains 96 pages of gorgeous illustrations, which are printed double sided on high-quality cream paper. The pages are able to lay quite flat, which makes colouring and photographing pages quite easy. I did find that this book can handle both soft and harder pencils quite well, as well as water soluable pencils, with no bleed through.

The line art in the book is inspired by Swedish fairy tales and is whismical and true to Emelie’s unique style. There are woodland animals, sweet doll-like girls, quite an array of birds, wallpaper designs, wooden structures, teapots, tea cups and plenty of flowers and sweet foods to colour. All-in-all there is alot of variety, so you don’t feel like your fliping through she same designs throughout the book. What makes Emelie’s work unique is the that many of the elements in the pictures are quite oversized, which can be a bit intimidating if you haven’t coloured her work before. However, as you will see from pages I have worked on, the illustrations really come to life with a bit of colour and little bit of shading.

Below I have included a video flip through of Fairy Tales, which includes all the finished pictures that I did. I have also included five full sided photographs of the pictures I coloured with some details on what I used. These are in order as they are found in the book.


The Name plate page was not the first page I coloured and to be honest not one I expected to get to. There are so many elements in this page and that I was a bit overwhelmed. But I started colouring each picture in colours that came naturally and slowly I was able to use complementy colours for the pictures I wasn’t sure about. Its not perfect but I am happy overall how it turned out. I used Prismacolor Premier pencils, which work beautifully on this paper and don’t need to many layers to get a nice result.


The Princess and the Frog is one that I was really excited to bring to life because I just love everything about the design. Since I had already experiment with Derwent Inktense pencils in the book, I decided to try them out again. So I first layed down one or two colors for each element with the Inktense pencils and used a water pen to blend. Then I went over the top with Prismacolor Premier pencils to give a soft, chalky and vibrant look. I found that the Inktense pencils were also quite helpful for forming clouds, since I am really terrible at drawing them in. I also used a white gel pen to bring out some of the details and cover some of the black lines. If I could do this page again, I may give a bit more distiction to parts that are submerged in the water. But other then that I’m very happy with it.


The Storybook Mansion reminded me of a grand Swedish house. For the colour scheme I was inspired by the Korstäppan Hotel and this bright floral print. I decided not to do a background, as I just wanted to do something colouring, fun and quick. I used Faber-Castell Polychromos, which also work lovely on this paper. To blend I did use a white Prismacolor pencil and the Derwent blender. This picture wasn’t ovely complicated to do, but the large scale of the flowers really make it something special.


The Pup Prince was one of the pictures I just had to do in this book. I don’t often come across dogs in my colouring books and this one was just so regal and elegant that I had to give it some colour. This is one of the few pictures that I knew the colour scheme before I coloured it. I just wanted the background to be fairly simple so that I could make sure my pup would stand out. The hardest thing was giving the pup the furry texture. I don’t think I nailed it because I found it quite hard do a short hair. I was inspired by this Rodesian Ridgeback by EscyKane. Mine doesn’t come close to this artwork, but then again this illustration isn’t mean to be true to life. I used Prismacolor Premier pencils. I was going to use a Slate Grey Posca for the background, but changed my mine at the last minute, since the tip wasn’t thin enough to get inbetween the flowers. Initially I wasn’t happy with this picture, but once it was finished and I looked at it with fresh eyes I didn’t mind it so much.


The Mole Family was the very first picture I coloured in this book. It is definetely my favourite of the bunch. It took me a bit of seaching to work out what animal was being depicted in this picture, since I havent’ come across these furry friends in Australia. But once I realised what they were I had to makes sure they were very flurry and just as cute as the real thing.

Since this is the last page in the book I thought I was experiement with Derwent Inktense pencils. So I coloured the entire picture with with Inktense and activated it with water. I then went over it with Prismacolor Premier pencils, to add brighter colour and depth. I found this method is a hell of a lot quicker, produced vibrant colour and makes it easier do create an more interesting background. The only downside is that it can look a bit scratch in some areas where I wasn’t as careful. I found this paper really didn’t buckle much and I had no bleed through. Well actually there is one spot on the backside of this page that had a faint blue spot. However, I think I did by accident when I lift the page and it would be very easy to cover up. To cover the black lines in some aspects of the picture I used a white thin tipped Posca pen. Its not perfect but its just so magical and I love it.


If you’re interested in purchasing Fairy Tales you can find it from:

Christmas Colouring Project

During the holiday season, I committed to colouring as many Christmas themed pages I could from my colouring book collection. I started at the end of November and just finished my last one yesterday. I managed to do nine pages (including two double pages spreads) from five different colouring books. Most of these books are Japanese colouring that I hadn’t started yet. The first thought is one of my Swedish colouring books, which I was happy to revisit.

To colour these images I used a variety of mediums, including Derwent Inktense pencils, Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils, Prismacolor Premier pencils, Touch Nice Watercolor Markers, Mungyo pastels, white Posca pen and a variety of gel pens.

This was a really fun project, that really got me into the Christmas spirit. I liked to imagine it’s snowing outside while sweating it out in the heat of summer.

Did you do any Christmas colouring or Christmas inspired art during the holiday season?


Continue reading “Christmas Colouring Project”

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.

 


Continue reading “Book Review: Sagor Och Sägner”

Book Review: Vivi söker en vän

While I was away on holidays I had major colouring withdrawals. The first book that I got started with was the Swedish colouring book Vivi söker en vän by Maria Trolle. It’s taken me a little while to get some pages coloured to share with you all, as I have been sick for the past month.

It wasn’t easy getting hold of this book. There are only a couple of Swedish retailers who sell the book online and to get it sent to Australia upwards from $50. Luckily we were travelling to Sweden on our trip.  The next problem I faced was to buy the book online and get it sent to a Swedish address without a Swedish personal number. We don’t have personal numbers in Australia, so I found this odd that Swedes need one to purchase online. Luckily I was able to get Marco’s uncle to buy the book for me for 90kr ($14Aud) from the Penstore. I have seen many other colourists with this book so I’m not sure how they got hold of the book in their countries, perhaps a bulk group order.

Anyway, I am really in love with this book. It is true to Maria’s style and is similar to her other books. However, this book a collection of drawings from a children’s book that she illustrated, also called Vivi söker en vän (Sagobok). The name translates to ‘Vivi is looking for a friend‘. Unfortunately, there is no English edition of her story book. So I can only guess what is about based on the pictures. Maria did mention on her facebook page what the story is briefly about.

“When Vivi woke at dawn the walls were darker than usual and the house felt cramped. I want a friend, someone who is just mine, she thought. Vivi lives in a tree house in the woods. One day she goes on an adventure to find herself a friend.
Vivi takes a ride with a bird and flies up into the sky where she meets the Cloudbear. She goes deep into the ocean where she meets a mermaid. In the oak, she becomes friends with the tree spirit. Vivi looks into hollows in the ground where the voles live. But who can be her very own friend who is hers always…
The Miniwolf are also looking for a friend. He is curious about Vivi and wonders if she’ll ever see him …
Vivi meets a friend is about finding your place in the world and to find yourself and meet the right person. A best friend” (Maria Trolle).

13920138_1023568134363646_3745113185378327237_o.jpg
Cover of the storybook

 

Continue reading “Book Review: Vivi söker en vän”

Book Review: Twilight Garden (Blomster Mandala)

After so much colouring envy I finally bought Maria Trolle’s Twilight Garden. This beautiful Swedish colouring book has been my latest obsession. I was determined to get as many pages done before I go on my trip. It was an absolute joy to colour. I was a bit intimidated at first, but after taking a few advanced tutorials I can imagine a colour scheme for every page.

Maria Trolle is a Swedish graphic designer, gardener and mother. She is a self-taught artist and does a lot of work for Swedish garden magazines and grocery chains. She draws inspiration from the flora and fauna in her garden. She lives just outside of Stockholm on a beautiful farm. She has a blog and website, called Trolle’s Garden, which is a collaboration with her husband, who is a Garden designer and Design director. Here you can find information on their current projects and images of their amazing garden.

Maria’s first colouring book was Blomstermandala, which was a 20-page poster book, filled with flower still lifes. She also made a postcard book with the similar images. After the success of these two book, she published a full-scale colouring book in 96 pages, in the same theme. This full-scale version of Blomstermandala was eventually republished in an English version,  Twilight Garden, which is the version I bought. Both versions have been incredibly popular in the colouring community. She also illustrated a children’s book,”Vivi söker en vän” (Vivi’s looking for a friend). This was also made into a colouring book under the same name. I have actually purchased this one and waiting to pick it up in Sweden in a few weeks. I’m so excited to see it!

The paper in this book is a lovely thick ivory colour. I didn’t find any bleed through using pencils and my Prismacolor blended really well on this paper. The images include flower still lifes, garden scenes with and without animals and some blacked in backgrounds.

This collection of pictures I coloured is in order of when I coloured them. As I mentioned I did use some tutorials. They were all from Chris Cheng’s Youtube channel. These were by far the most advanced tutorials I’ve ever done and I really learned a lot. So I tried to incorporate these new skills into the pictures I coloured on my own.

 

Continue reading “Book Review: Twilight Garden (Blomster Mandala)”