Maria Trolle is the creator of the wonderful images in the Blomstermandala series of books: a graphic designer, gardener, mother and all round amazing lady, she lives in a stunning location that influences all aspects of her life. Her publisher Pagina is based in Sweden, but she has deservedly garnered many fans from around the world. Read on to find out more about her life and inspiration – and discover how you can win yourself a copy of the beautiful Blomstermandala Målarbok.
Your work is stunning, for those who might not have heard of you can you tell us a bit more about your career to date?
Thank you. I am a self taught artist and an educated Graphic designer. I work mainly with illustration for different customers at the moment. Besides my publisher Pagina/Printworks I do drawings for a large Swedish garden magazine and a major grocery chain amongst others. And I work a lot with package design too. I also do graphic designs for books, lately my own books of course.
Blomstermandala coloured by Susie Pala-Loir
There are now a few different versions of Blomster Mandala, can you explain what is on offer and a few of the differences, as it could be a bit confusing for those new to your work?
I have understood that some people have found it confusing that my three coloring books are all called Blomstermandala, the first book I made with Pagina was the tavelbook/posterbook with 20 pages on really thick paper that you can pull out and put up on the wall. Three of these are photographed flowermandalas/flowerstillifes which I made from real flowers. We also made a postcard book with the same motives. Since these books sold well, we decided to make a full-scale coloring book, 96 pages but with the same theme and with some of the drawings that where in the 20 pages poster book. This is the way Pagina has made books with Hanna Karlzon (of Daydreams fame) aswell, only with here the full-scale coloring book came before the poster book. This new 96 pages coloring book is the one with the bunny on front. I have also made a japanese version of Blomstermandala, and in fact it is quite different too with some other motifs and a little less animals. It is called Wildflowers and is 80 pages.
Blomstermandala coloured by Chris Cheng
Are your flowers drawn from photos, memory or reality? Or a mix of all?!
When I’m drawing a flower I have’nt drawn before I always look at plenty of images (since most of the time you can’t look at them live) and then draw. But when I have drawn a flower a bunch of times I can draw it out of memory.
Blomstermandala coloured by Morena Vajak
Blomstermandala coloured by Terry Cochran
How do you find the inspiration for the arrangements of your floral mandalas and whimsical creatures?
We have loads of real life creature inspiration in my garden, pretty much all animals that are in the book have visited our garden. We have made a better fence this year so hopefully we don’t have to have the deers eating our roses this year. And the hares munching on our kale… And the fox stealing our shoes and leaving smelly poo in the lawn… But they are beautiful, just not in our garden.
Blomstermandala coloured by Sheila Strow Pechman
Blomstermandala coloured by Deidre Stewart
Nature is clearly a big influence, where and when are you happiest in nature?
I love strolling in our garden and looking at all new things that starts to bloom. Having a garden is blessing. It is so fascinating this season and all the way to winter, because it is constantly changing. But from time to time I tend to get a bit blind to all the beauty and only see what I want to change and what needs to be done and what didn’t work out as well as we planned… But most of the time it is pure joy. I also love walking in the fields and forests nearby. But I grew up in the west coast archipelago, spending my summers on a sailing boat with my family, so the west coast ocean is probably still closest to my heart anyway. The ocean makes me feel like nothing in the world is to hard to handle, it gives me feeling of peace.
Blomstermandala coloured by Michelle Byrne
Blomstermandala coloured by Jennifer Lyons
Where do you take your daily walks, can you describe the landscape you pass through and how it influences you?
We have a farm just 5 minutes walk from our house, we can hear the sheeps and cows from our window! It is a beautiful landscape with fields where the cows, sheep and horses feed in summertime. There is a lovely lake that we take swims in during summers situated just a few hundred meters from our house. Around the lake is a large nature preservation area, so the forests are old and beautiful. We also have a castle 20 minutes walk from my house, It is really stunning there, they have a park with flowery meadows, in June it is purple all over, a meadow of Aquilegias!
Blomstermandala coloured by Anne-Lie Granström
You keep a blog called Trolles Garden which is chock full of gorgeous photos from your garden. Where is your garden? It looks incredibly beautiful. What is your particular interest in gardens and can you please tell us a bit more about what you write in the blog because I can’t read Swedish? Thanks!
Thank you! Our house and garden is situated 20 minutes drive south of Stockholm. Our main interest is our very large flowering perennial borders, but also our kitchen garden that we really want to expand in the future. We dream of a greenhouse, but the once we want are really expensive so we’ll have to wait a little while for that. But in a few years from now well probably have one! I would also like to have chickens and beehives in the future.
Blomstermandala coloured by Shirley Fraser
How did you hook up with Swedish publisher Pagina and is there any word that your book might get published elsewhere in the world? In the meantime where can UK buyers get hold of the book?
Pagina found my floral drawings through Instagram (!) a year ago and wanted to make book with me. The book has been published in Finland (only the poster book so far) and in Japan and of course Sweden. Maybe it will be published in other countries aswell further on, but nothing that I know of at the moment. The books are available for international purchases at www.penstore.com
You have also done some lovely notebooks with Pagina, what other products feature your designs?
There is a notebook, a sketchpad and notepad with motives from Blomstermandala, but at the moment I don’t think they are available at Penstore. There will be some new products with my designs this summer, but that is for a different company.
Exclusive sneak peaks of Maria’s new book.
How much input have you had over paper choice and binding? How does that production process work with your publisher?
My Publisher decided the paper and binding, they know what papers work the best for coloring. I was really happy that they wanted my book to be hardcover since it gives the book a special feeling I think. Since I’m also a graphic designer I did all of the books designs myself, such as the cover and lay outing, typography etc.
More exclusive sneak peaks of Maria’s new book.
What kind of tools do you use when drawing and what size or scale do you work at? And how do you ensure a clean final image for print?
I sketch with a pencil and then I draw with fineliner pen, with thin tips, mostly 0,1 – 0,7 in tip size. I draw on a A3 size paper, (297mm x 420mm) And after scanning the image I correct little mistakes in Photoshop in my Macbook Pro.
Blomstermandala coloured by Chris Cheng
How long did it take you to complete your most recent book?
My recent book took me about 4-5 months full-time to make.
Blomstermandala coloured by Jane Smith
What does your work space look like?
I have a workspace on the top floor of our house, but it is much nicer to draw on our dinner table so I sit there most of the time. There I get contact with the garden through our windows. When I didn’t have children I had a studio in Stockholm, but since our children are small it is to time consuming to work in the city. I don’t want them to have too long days in daycare/preschool.
Blomstermandala coloured by Hazel Smithies
Blomstermandala coloured by Meg How
I believe you have young children, how old are they and how do you juggle your role as mum and fit in your work around them?
My boy, Ulf is 5 years and my girl, Viola is 2 years. I must confess that it is hard work to be a mum and try to work as much as I do. There are many, many working evenings after they’re gone to sleep to be able to keep deadlines even though they both are in preschool/daycare during daytime now. A year ago when I was still on maternity leave with Viola I made the whole poster book only at nighttime. But it is still worth it I think, and I don’t work when they are awake, that time is familytime only.
Blomstermandala coloured by Morena Majak
How did you learn to create such beautiful letters out of flowers and leaves?
Hmm, I don’t know, basically it starts with just another drawing, and I make sketches before I do the real drawing with ink.
When did you get into producing custom screen prints and who produces them (and where)?
Two years ago I had an exhibition with a floral theme, and that was when I had some screen prints made at a small company that makes handmade screen prints.
Blomstermandala coloured by Michelle White Banaszak
You have said you would like to create your own children’s books – is this idea any closer to reality? I’d love to see what you do!
Actually it is! But nothing I can tell of yet so shhhh…
Have you ever coloured any of your own work and if so could you share some examples with us?
I have not had the time yet, but it would be fun to try!
What are you working on next? Will there be any other colouring books, and specifically any more with black backgrounds as I hear those have been a major hit!
I’m working on a new coloring book that will be released in October. It will be quite different from Blomstermandala, and with fewer pages this time. It will be 48 drawings but on 96 pages, so only one side will have an illustration. The pages are made so that you can easily pull them out of the book, and the paper quality will be very good, thicker paper than in Blomstermandala. There will of course be lots of flowers and nature in this one too, but also other motifs. Hopefully I will be able to make some of the pages with black background in this one too. It will be quite exciting to see what people think about this book, is will probably be my most personal work so far. The name is yet not completely decided so I’ll have to wait to reveal that.
You can follow Maria Trolle on facebook here and instagram here and here. To win your copy of the Blomstermandala Målarbok please visit this post on my Facebook Page and leave a comment or a sticker. The winner will be chosen at random on Sunday 5th June. Open to UK readers only (if you are based abroad and would like to enter then please be prepared to pay for postage, which could be up to £12: it is a heavy book. If someone based abroad is chosen then I’ll wait 2 days for postage payment before drawing another winner). Good Luck!
Many thanks to the members of the following Facebook colouring groups for the use of their beautiful coloured pages:
The Blomstermandala Colorists (Fans of Maria Trolle’s Coloring Artworks)
Maria Trolle’s Coloring Creations
Adult Colouring Book Reviews
- Sommarnatt by Hanna Karlzon: Colouring Book Review, Interview and Giveaway
- Dagdrömmar by Hanna Karlzon: Colouring Book Review and Artist Interview
- Wild Savannah by Millie Marotta: Review and Exclusive Interview with the Best-Selling Colouring Book Artist
- Magisk Gryning by Hanna Karlzon: Exclusive Interview and Worldwide Giveaway
- Johanna Basford presents Johanna’s Christmas: Giveaway and Interview Exclusive!