Amelia’s Magazine | Sommarnatt by Hanna Karlzon: Colouring Book Review, Interview and Giveaway

Sommernatt giveaway blog
Sommarnatt is the second colouring book from Swedish artist Hanna Karlzon and has unsurprisingly been a runaway success with colourists across the world. Sommarnatt features summertime wonders of the natural world inspired by Hanna’s home in the North of Sweden, interspersed with a healthy dollop of fantasy: frogs carry many turreted houses on their backs, birds hoard gems and mice pluck stars from the sky. The luscious locks of beautiful women cascade across the pages, adorned with tattoos, piercings, flowers, feathers and beads. It’s a heady mix that is a joy to colour, and interspersed within this blog are many stunning examples finished by super talented colourists to further whet your appetite. Even more brilliantly, Hanna Karlzon and her publishers Pagina have very kindly gifted me a copy of this must have adult colouring book to give away.

hanna karlzon portrait
Winnie Fabellore
Winnie Fabellore

Zuzana Hánová 2
Zuzana Hánová

Susie Pala-Loir
Susie Pala-Loir

Congratulations on your new book! It’s had a great reception in the colouring world, especially from American fans who are eagerly ordering the Swedish version. How does it feel to be so in demand?
Thank you! Well, what can I say, I’m grateful, I get to work every day with a thing I love, drawing, and it feels amazing that people all over the world want to buy and color in my books, but at the same time it feels kinda surreal, I guess maybe in a way I can’t really grasp it. And to be honest, I don’t think about it that much, I’m busy with work and everyday life, taking the kids to school, cleaning, thinking about what to make for dinner, haha, well, you know how it is. ;) But as I said, I’m grateful, truly grateful.

Vicki Walsh
Vicki Walsh

Zuzana Hánová 3
Zuzana Hánová

Stace Bosworth
Stace Bosworth

Shannen Pollard
Shannen Pollard

Some of the most popular pages have been portraits of beautiful women, where do you find inspiration for their unique styling?
I just draw things I like and that’s the uncomplicated secret behind the “styling” I guess. I have always been into expressing myself with my clothes and accessories and growing up I was a punk rocker (I still am, at heart), changing my hair color every week haha, so I have never been timid when it comes to appearance, I like it when people stand out of a crowd, and maybe that shines through in my drawings. And well, I love art nouveau and find much inspiration in that style, and jewelry, diamonds, gems, anything that sparkles is super fun to draw so I just add that to the mix. And then the “tattoos” and piercings, I have tattoos myself and I have had many piercings so once again it just comes back to the simple fact that I like these things. And yes, I know that some people don’t like that I add tattoos and piercings to ladies in my books, I get comments about that, and I understand, we all have different preferences, but at the same time I have to stay true to what’s me, the things I like, and keep doing that. If I don’t, there will be no soul in the drawings.

Carly Argent
Carly Argent

Sheryn Yeoh
Sheryl Yeoh

Meg How
Meg How

Robyn Lipner
Robyn Lipner

What pages did you most enjoy producing in this book and why?
Hard to say really, I enjoyed all of them, in different ways. I mix simple and more difficult designs in my books and that’s the way I like to work, some days I like drawing really detailed stuff and other days I want to draw more simple designs. It’s just a way to keep my creativity going and in the end I think it makes for a good mix of drawings in my books.

Zuzana Hánová
Suzana Hánová

Dolly Wong
Dolly Wong

Ellen Scholten-Franke
Ellen Scholten-Franke

Caroline Wikström
Caroline Wikström

What are your favourite type of plants and flowers to draw and why?
I mostly draw plants that you can find in nature around here in the north of Sweden, where I live. It’s the plants and flowers that I have had around me since I was a kid. Growing up, during the summers, I remember that we played in big fields of high fireweeds, my grandma loved fuchsias and had big pots of them in front of her house and in the ditches along the forest roads the lupines grew wild and free. And, that’s what I draw, the flowers, plants, nature, that is close to my heart.

Rebecca Holloway
Rebecca Holloway

Sara Strömnes
Sara Strömnes

Sandra Zahavah Whibberley
Sandra Zahavah Wibberley

Pauline Sps
Pauline Sps

I understand the publication of the US version has been postponed so that the publisher can find better quality paper. I bet this is a relief! How much say do you have over paper choices and graphic design?
Well about the graphic design and layout of the books, I do all that myself in InDesign, but concerning the cover, of course I cooperate with my publisher to find a layout we both like. With Dagdrömmar, my first book, I was the one to decide what measurements I wanted for the book, hard or soft cover, font etc. and I liked how that book turned out so I have kept the same layout for my other books. When it comes to the paper in the books, in the Swedish edition it is my publisher Pagina that decides what paper to use, and it’s a really good paper they have chosen so I’m happy with that. When it comes to all the translations of the books, it’s again my Swedish publisher that has all the connections and dialogues with the translating publishers so I’m not really involved in that process. But I know that Pagina recommends all the translating publishers to use the same layout, the same paper etc. as in the Swedish books but in the end not all translating publishers choose to do that.

Pia Hultin
Pia Hultin

Morena Vajak
Morena Vajak

Pia Hultin
Pia Hultin

Lynne Wood
Lynne Wood

With the success of your colouring books have you become more in demand for other types of illustration work? Have you got time to do anything else? If so what?
I have been running my own business for about 3 years now so I didn’t start up from scratch doing coloring books, I have made lots of other stuff before that. Illustrations for magazines, pattern design for wallpapers, textiles, wallpaintings to name a few, but right now I only have time to work on my upcoming books. I can’t fit anything else in, but I do get a lot of questions about commissions that I sadly have to turn down. (I surely could use some more hours every day!) But, after these books are done I hope there will pop up some interesting stuff for me to do, maybe some more pattern design, that would be super fun!

Lilian Alves
Lilian Alves

Jessica Henson
Jessica Henson

Hazel Smithies
Hazel Smithies

Becky Raine
Becky Raine

I hear your new colouring book is called Magical Dawn? It sounds really exciting, what can we expect from this one?
Yes, it will be called Magisk gryning in Swedish, (Magical dawn). In my last book, Sommarnatt (Summernight), I really wanted to focus and find my inspiration in the nature here in the north of Sweden where I live. In Magical dawn it’s still all about the nordic nature but I have added more magic, potions, spells and even more ladies, so I hope you will like that!

Anita Malkhandi
Anita Malkhandi

Carly Argent
Carly Argent

Carina Wallengren
Carina Wallengren

Beth Oram
Beth Oram

You also have another small postcard book in the works, how will this follow on from the previous one?
Yes I’m also working on a new postcard book with a winter theme, (like Vinterdrömmar that many of you might know about). This postcard book will be called Vinternatt (Winter night) and contains 20 designs that will be perfect for coloring this fall /winter. It’s not pure Christmas designs, with Santa and stuff like that, instead, think about a dark, crisp winter night with sparkling stars and magical animals, that’s what you will get in Vinternatt!

Carly Argent
Carly Argent

Holly Thompson
Holly Thompson

Jennifer Lyons
Jennifer Lyons

So, I guess this was the last question! Thank you for having me and thank you all for coloring in my books, you are the best! *it’s been an absolute pleasure!* – Amelia x

You can follow Hanna Karlzon on facebook here and instagram here, where she showcases many sneak peaks of her new work. Buy Hanna’s books at the Pen Store. Gibbs Smith will publish in the US (and other english speaking countries) in August. To win your copy of the Sommarnatt please visit this post on my Facebook Page and leave a comment or a sticker. The winner will be chosen at random on Sunday 24th July. 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:
Daydreams Colouring (fans of Hanna Karlzon, Dagdrömmar and Sommarnatt)
Hanna’s Coloring Creations
Coloring Creations
Adult Colouring Book Reviews

Matilda Furness
Matilda Furness

Categories ,Adult Coloring Books, ,Adult Colouring Book, ,Adult Colouring Book Reviews, ,Coloring Book, ,Colouring, ,Dagdrömmar, ,Gibbs Smith, ,Giveaway, ,Hanna Karlzon, ,illustration, ,interview, ,Magical dawn, ,Magisk gryning, ,Pagina, ,Pen Store, ,Sommarnatt, ,Swedish, ,Vinterdrömmar, ,Vinternatt

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Amelia’s Magazine | Magisk Gryning by Hanna Karlzon: Exclusive Interview and Worldwide Giveaway

Magisk Gryning Giveaway copy
Magisk Gryning Guðrún Þóra Gunnarsdóttir
Guðrún Þóra Gunnarsdóttir

It’s no great secret that I’m a massive fan of Hanna Karlzon‘s wonderful drawings, so I’m thrilled to share my latest catch up, wherein she talks about her new book Magisk Gryning, a magical exploration of all things otherworldly. Best of all, I have managed to secure a chance for you to win your very own copy, and the giveaway is open WORLDWIDE, so if you are still eagerly awaiting it’s release in your country this is your chance to get Magical Dawn, as it is to be called for the English speaking market… just read to the bottom to find out how… and enjoy the wonderful coloured pages from the book on your way (colourists credited below each one.)

Magisk Gryning Claire Eadie
Claire Eadie

Magisk Gryning Zuzana Hánová
Suzana Hánová

Magisk Gryning Tímea Kalakai
Tímea Kalakai

How do you start the creative process each day – for example do you lay out all your implements, or do you start with research for that particular project?
Well making colouring books is a long process, at least for me. It takes me about 5 months to complete a colouring book so I just take it day by day not to get overwhelmed with the amount of work. I try to make one page a day but since I also make all the layout design for my books myself; some weeks I work a lot by my computer and some weeks I only use pen and paper and draw. It’s a mix. And I have my office that I go to every day so I just pick up where I left the day before. I mostly start my days answering emails and messages and taking a look at my Facebook and Instagram and after that I listen to music or podcasts and draw, draw, draw. When I work with the coloring books many days contain the same kind of work, since it’s about 100 drawings that I need to make, but luckily it never gets boring, at least not yet anyways. ;)

Magisk Gryning Stina Gustavsson
Stina Gustavsson

Magisk Gryning Siv Stenseth
Siv Stenseth

Magisk Gryning Sirpa Seppälä
Sirpa Seppälä

Magisk Gryning Liz Moore 2
Liz Moore

What are your favourite motifs to draw at the moment and why?
Well I love to draw people and jewels, crowns and all things that sparkle. I don’t really know why, maybe because its something that you can alter and change every time, there are no rules or regulations, I just draw whatever comes to mind. But it’s also fun to draw birds, and mushrooms, and flowers and I like to mix it up, one day I draw a really detailed illustration with lots and lots of stuff everywhere and the next day I draw something more simple and clean. I need to mix it up like that to make it fun for myself in the work process, but I also think it’s good because that gives my books a diversity of illustrations, a range, from quite hard and detaild pages to easier more simple pages and I know a lot of people like that. Somedays you just want to color something small and simple, like a beetle maybe, and other days you just want to go all in on a big detailed spread, and it’s the same for me, somedays I go simple and somedays I go all in. 

Magisk Gryning Péťa Luky Ratajovi
Péťa Lukt Ratajovi

Magisk Gryning Megan Silcox
Megan Silcox

Magisk Gryning Maria Ronessen Pain
Maria Ronessen Pain

Magisk Gryning Maria Ludvigsen
Maria Ludvigsen

Do you have any current plans beyond colouring books? (for instance further products featuring the images from your books?) I know you’ve been very tied up but your work has become so very popular that I imagine you must have plans for the future! 
Well before I started making colouring books I made a lot ot pattern design, for fabric, wallpaper etc and I would love to go back and work more with that in the future. I miss making patterns! 
And not many may know this but when I started my own business my main focus then was to sew and screen print clothes with my own designs. I made tank tops, leggings, scarfs, totebags and other stuff and sold them in my own webshop. After a while though I started to focus on just designing the prints and that lead me to making illustrations and patterns instead (to cut a long story short) but I miss screen printing and I would really like to start doing that again too. And yes, talking about my webshop, I plan to get it up and running again sometime this year, kind of a re-launch since it has been dozing for a year or two whilst I have been super busy with my books. So, there are many things I want to do but as usual I don’t know what I will end up doing, I just go with the flow. ;)

Magisk Gryning Margo Daniels
Margo Daniels

Magisk Gryning Liz Moore
Liz Moore

Magisk Gryning Lucy Fyles
Lucy Fyles

Magisk Gryning Maja Bergsten
Maja Bergsten

Did you learn anything specific from your research for Magisk Gryning and if so what?
I don’t know if I could say that I do a lot of research when I make a book. I just draw what pops up in my head but I always try to have a local, northern Sweden, feeling in my illustrations, I try to use the animals, flowers and elements of nature that can be found here, where I live. But yes I space out sometimes, we don’t have mushrooms with stars on them or squirrels that run around with little jackets on but you know what I mean, the core of my inspiration will always be my home and the nature around me. 

Magisk Gryning Linda Russo
Linda Russo

Magisk Gryning Kicki Rolandsson
Kicki Rolandsson

Magisk Gryning Jenny Ågren
Jenny Ågren

Magisk Gryning Jennifer Lyons
Jennifer Lyons

Have you learnt anything from the fans in your Facebook groups and on instagram and if so what?
Well yes, I have learned that creativity is something we all need, regardless of where in the world we live, it is a common ground that makes us meet and come together regarding of age, nationality, gender etc. We all need to express ourselves and colouring books are a great way of doing that. Seeing the coloring community growing every day and all the new friendships that are being made online is truly super amazing! 

Magisk Gryning Hazel Smithies
Hazel Smithies

Magisk Gryning Ingrid Rockx
Ingrid Rockx

Magisk Gryning Julianna Blumenthal Kahn
Julianna Blumenthal Kahn

Magisk Gryning Elzelina Kriek-Breet
Elzelina Kriek-Breet

Can you tell us more about your new hobbies, including root binding – how does it work? It’s not something I’m very familiar with! What makes it so engaging?
Root binding is something I have been doing for about a year and a half. It’s a really old handicraft that you can use to make items like boxes, bowls and jewellery from thin birch roots. It is really, really time consuming, it takes hours and hours to make a small bowl but it’s so much fun. You gather the roots in the forest in spring/summer and then you can store them all dried up and when you want to use a root you put it in water and after a while it gets all soft and you can use it for your craft. And it’s something special working with your hands, creating something that you can see and touch, and since I have never fallen for knitting or crochet, like so many others have, I have really found something in root binding. And I love the fact that you use something as natural as roots for your work and that’s it, nothing else, just roots. It’s just old school, back to basics and that just strikes a chord in my history nerd heart.

Magisk Gryning Grisell Martinez
Grisell Martinez

Magisk Gryning Doerte Ef
Doerte Ef

Magisk Gryning Christy Whetten
Christy Whetten

Magisk Gryning Anita Malkhandi
Anita Malkhandi

As always it’s a pleasure to catch up with you and I can’t wait to see your new book TideVarv, good luck with finishing it off!
Thank you all for supporting me and my work!! /Hanna 

Magisk Gryning Beth Oram
Beth Oram

Magisk Gryning Ann-Sofie Younis
Ann-Sofie Younis

Magisk Gryning Angela E. Colagross
Angela E. Colagross

Magisk Gryning Aline Ferreira
Aline Ferreira

Magisk Gryning Agnes Perger
Agnes Perger

Magisk Gryning Robyn Lipner
Robyn Lipner

Magisk Gryning Marianne Lindahl
Marianne Lindahl

Magisk Gryning Е. Я.
Е. Я.

Magisk Gryning is currently only available for international buyers from Penstore, but shipping costs have gone up recently, so be warned! Many thanks to the awesome colourists of the Facebook group Daydreams Colouring (fans of Hanna Karlzon, Dagdrömmar and Sommarnatt) Why not join the group yourself?

To be in with a chance to win a copy of Magisk Gryning visit my Facebook Page for Amelia’s Magazine here and be sure to leave a comment before midnight on Sunday 26th February 2016 (GMT). Open Worldwide. Good luck!

Categories ,Adult Coloring, ,Adult Colouring Book, ,Coloring for Adults, ,Dagdrömmar and Sommarnatt), ,Daydreams Colouring (fans of Hanna Karlzon, ,Giveaway, ,Hanna Karlzon, ,interview, ,Magical dawn, ,Magisk gryning, ,Penstore

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Amelia’s Magazine | Dagdrömmar by Hanna Karlzon: Colouring Book Review and Artist Interview

Dagdrömmar by Hanna Karlzon cover
I’ve been spending a lot of time on Facebook lately, getting inspired by the adult colouring community and discovering colouring artists such as Hanna Karlzon, who has created the beautiful Dagdrömmar (Daydreaming), a gorgeous volume chock full of dreamy imagery inspired by nature. Hanna talks to us about a love of Art Nouveau and Vikings, memories of childhood, and longings for summer. I can’t wait for Hanna’s next offering, Sommarnatt (Summernight), due out early next year.

HannaKarlzon portrait
Dagdrömmar by Hanna Karlzon cat and bee
I believe Dagdrömmar means Daydreaming – what do you daydream about and how did this influence the images that appear in this book?
Yes, Dagdrömmar means daydreams and I think the illustrations in my colouring book give you quite a good idea of what I daydream about myself. I have been living in Umeå, which is quite a big town in the north of Sweden, for about 15 years, but I grew up in a small village about one and a half hours drive from here. So I have lived my life growing up close to nature and animals but now that I live in the middle of a city I really long for that closeness to nature that I used to have as a kid, and all that longing often ends up in my illustrations. I love nature, forests, growing stuff, flowers, animals, the quiet life on the countryside and I’m really not a city person at all. It’s a little bit hard to explain how or why I draw – I just do and I don’t reflect about it to much, but in a way I feel like I want to capture that closeness to nature I used to have and mix it with that fantasy world I often lived and played in as a kid, and I guess you could say that that’s the essence of my daydreams and my art.

Dagdrömmar by Hanna Karlzon
Dagdrömmar by Hanna Karlzon owls
How did your first colouring book DagDrommar come about?
For years I had been thinking and dreaming about making a coloring book. Just putting some illustrations together and printing it myself, that was my plan, but I had a lot of other work to do at the time so the coloring book idea kinda got pushed aside. But last year in November I got an email from Pagina, a book publisher based in Stockholm, Sweden, asking if I was interested in making a coloring book with them and my answer then was of course YES! They had been looking around for Swedish illustrators and had gotten a tip from a woman (who I don’t know) about me and my instagram account and well, Pagina liked what they saw and contacted me and the rest is kinda history.

Dagdrömmar by Hanna Karlzon 1
Dagdrömmar by Hanna Karlzon crown
There were no clear directions about what kinda book they wanted, more than an actual coloring book, so I got to choose and direct most if it myself so it has been quite a journey since I had never done a book before. I knew from the beginning that I wanted a hard cover and for it to be a handy size of book. I came up with the name Dagdrömmar, the illustrations grew from that, and it took me about 5 months to complete the book, from start to finish. I did everything, from drawing the 100 illustrations to designing the layout of the book. The one thing that my publisher commented on was the cover, so we changed it back and forth a few times but I think the final one turned out nice. Making Dagdrömmar was the biggest task I have ever made in my work life as an illustrator, so far, and I’m really happy and proud that I pulled it off!

Dagdrömmar coloured by Tina Locke 2
Dagdrömmar coloured by Tina Locke 2
Dagdrömmar coloured by Tina Locke.

Dagdrömmar has been causing a bit of a stir in Facebook colouring communities (which is where I first discovered it). Have you looked online to see how people are colouring your pictures and which ones are the favourite, and does this influence how you are producing the next book at all?
I’m a member of some coloring groups on Facebook but I actually seldom scroll through those gropus since a few times I read some updates from people who didn’t like my book at all and that was kinda hard to read when I had put my heart and soul into the book, so I stopped looking after that. Of course I understand that not all people like my books but it’s easier for me not to read about I guess, it keeps me sane, haha. But I do look at coloring pics that people post on Instagram and I really like that. It’s so fun to see and I try to keep up and “like” all the pictures that get posted.

Dagdrömmar coloured by Courtnay Personious
Dagdrömmar coloured by Courtnay Personious
Dagdrömmar coloured by Courtney Personious.

And as to the question of whether all these posts and pics influences me and my work on my next book, well, not really. It might sound harsh but I get ALOT of emails from people who want me to do this and that for my next book, soft cover, bigger format, more details, less details, another paper, less girls, no spreads, one sided print, more flowers, less flowers… and so on and I can’t do all that, I can’t make everyone happy when everyone wants different things so I just have to rely on myself and do what I think is best and hopefully you will all like that in the end. On the other hand we (me and my publisher) try to make a diversity of products, for example postcard books, poster books etc. so that there will be a bigger chance that everyone will find a product that suits them.

Sommarnatt by Hanna Karlzon
Sommarnatt by Hanna Karlzon
What can people expect of your next volume, Sommarnatt? Will the pictures evoke midsummer nights for people around the world or will they be quite Scandinavian in feel? (WIP above)
As my first book, Dagdrömmar, was inspired a lot by my surroundings, growing up in the north of Sweden, my next book Sommarnatt (Summernight) will be even more focused on that. I draw the animals and nature that can be found around me but with a dreamy touch as usual. So yes, it most def will have a Scandinavian feel!

Vinterdrömmar Hanna Karlzon
Vinterdrömmar postcard by Hanna Karlzon
You’ve just released a beautiful postcard book called Vinterdrömmar, what are your favourite parts of this time of year? And will this be produced in book format at some point?
To be honest I’m a summer junkie. I love hot weather, sun, blue skies and green surroundings. So, winter is kinda hard for me, at least that part from November to the end of January/February, it’s just really dark and cold, we don’t get a lot of sun hours here in the north during the winter and that really gets to me. But, in the end of winter when it’s almost spring and the sun starts to visit us again and it’s all white outside, glistening snow, and you can spend the day outdoors, skiing with the kids or making a fire, then it’s just so beautiful here! But, winter is not as inspirational to me as summer is, so it was actually kinda tricky to make the Vinterdrömmar (Winter dreams) postcard book, the illustrations doesn’t come to me as natural as they do when it’s a summer theme. So there is no book format planned for Vinterdrömmar, I have a hard time to imagine that I actually could come up with 100 illustrations on that theme, haha. But there might be another postcard book next fall, who knows!

Poster by Hanna Karlzon
Poster by Hanna Karlzon

How do you create your drawings?
I have a small studio in an old house almost in the center of the city. It’s really cosy and not big at all but I have everything I need here; it’s my own space. I have two kids and I leave them at kindergarden/school every morning and then I take my bike down to my studio and work about 8 hours before I go back home. My work days vary a lot depending on what commissions I have, but right now when I’m working on my book I usually draw almost all day. And when I draw I’m doing it the old school way, just a pen and paper, nothing fancy at all, no computer. Thats the way I like it. I often listen to a podcast on Swedish science radio with a history theme, and I love listening to that while working. The programs cover everything from everyday life at Versaille, to Vikings, to what did people eat 500 years ago and so on, super fun and nerdy, love it! If I’m not listening to that I’m hanging out at Spotify listening to everything from Country to Punk and Thrash Metal, it depends on my mood.

Dagdrömmar coloured by Tonya Gerhardt
Dagdrömmar coloured by Tonya Gerhardt.

Which pens and pencils do you recommend for use in your colouring books and why?
I recommend that you use the kind of colored pencils that you can sharpen, for example Staedtler ergo soft or Faber Castell polychromos. With them you can blend and make nice shadings. If you want colored (ink) pens Staedtler triplus fineliners with a fine tip or Steadtler triplus with a little thicker tip are good, they don’t bleed through the paper as other pens might do. I know that there are a lot of different pencils/pens out there and some might like another brand better but I like these, it can actually vary a lot what kind of pens you like depending on the way you hold your pen while drawing so the best thing is really to try different ones and see for yourself what kind you like. And keep in mind that when publishers in other countries make translations of my book they might use a different paper inside the book than the one we use in the Swedish version so always try your pens in a small corner of the book to see that they don’t bleed through.

Dagdrömmar coloured by Stephanie Rose
Dagdrömmar coloured by Stephanie Rose.

You draw a lot of birds, why is that, what do you find so appealing?
Well I don’t know why, it has just ended up that way I guess. Maybe it’s because you can alter the pattern of the feathers every time, I don’t know. Or maybe it’s just because I love watching the swallows during summer, how they fly… well, haha, I don’t know, can’t answer that, next question!

Dagdrömmar by Allison Camille Tucker 2
Dagdrömmar by Allison Camille Tucker 2
Dagdrömmar by Allison Camille Tucker.

You have said you are quite influenced by the art nouveau period, what other time periods have had a bearing on recent work and how?
Well, I’m a nerd when it comes to old things, people and time periods. I love thinking about “how was it then, what did they think about, what did they eat, how did it sound, smell“… and so on. I don’t know why I find that so fascinating, I just do, and all that spills over into my art I guess. Now I have really been into the Viking age for a while and I’m really inspired by the jewelry and craftsmanship from that age, but I don’t know if it shows as much in my art as the Art Nouveau inspiration does. Art Nouveau is really decorative and it feels like it has a natural part in my art but the Viking stuff is more in the background. A few years back I was all about Marie Antoinette and drawing BIG hair… well, wait, when I think about it I might just still do that, haha.

Dagdrömmar coloured by Angelina Victoria
Dagdrömmar coloured by Angelina Victoria.

I see you have some tattoos and have read you are fascinated by tattoo culture, how has this influenced your approach to art making?
I just admire the skill of tattooing and the many great artists that perform this art so brilliant. It’s something really cool and terrifying about the fact that you only get once chance to make a good job, you can’t erase and start over. I like the thought of that.

Mural idea by Hanna Karlzon
You have done some amazing murals – where are they and how did they come about?
Well, I have only made one actual mural so far, in an apartment building here in Umeå, but I made this little project on Instagram that got a lot of attention. I snapped pictures of boring buildings that I passed on my way to work and then I photoshopped my illustrations onto these buildings and uploaded on instagram under the tag #mittumeå and it got a lot of positive attention amongst people and media. With the pictures I wanted to show that maybe the city we live in doesn’t have to be that static, maybe it could look another way, maybe it could be happier, more people friendly, less boring? Maybe we, as residents, could change our city together? And as I said, I got a lot of positive feedback and I think that shows that we often take the city for granted, the way it is and looks, but if someone shows you a better/different picture of the city, we start thinking “aha, maybe this is what it actually could be like, what can we do to change it?!“. I find that really interesting.

DagDrommar by Cheryl Doerner Vogel
Dagdrömmar coloured by Cheryl Doerner Vogel.

Where did you study art (and what discipline?) and how has your style evolved since you left college?
I have always loved art, and I have been drawing since I was a kid and I have an art teacher degree from Umeå University. My style of drawing has evolved just over the last 2-3 years, ending up in the ink drawings I make now but before that I used to paint a lot and before that I was into graphite drawing. So, my style changes over time, thats a natural process I guess, you want to try new things. In the future I hope to be able to make more art oriented ink drawings, black and white, super big and with lots of details and shadings. I kinda miss shading doing all these coloring book illustrations that are really clean, if you understand what I mean.

Dagdrömmar by Jessica Harrison
Dagdrömmar coloured by Jessica Harrison.

Why did you study to be a teacher and why did you make the decision to go freelance and run your own business?
Studying to become a art teacher wasn’t really my plan, it kinda just happened. I did realize after a year or two at the university that I didn’t really like the teaching part, it was just the art part I was after, but I decided to finish and graduate anyways. After graduating I had some different jobs (factory, shops etc) but after being unemployed for a while I decided it was time for me to start my own business. This was about 3 years ago and I have been working full time on my business since then. But now I’m kinda thinking about that teaching part again, maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. I have been doing some lectures lately, talking about my job and so on, and I really like that now so well see how that evolves and how I maybe can incorporate that into my current business in the future.

Dagdrommar by Shannon Dager
Dagdrömmar coloured by Shannon Dager.

What do you like to do to relax and zone out?
Well, when I get home from work I just hang out with my family and do as little as possible and when the kids are in bed I watch series to relax, like Vikings, Downton Abbey, Peaky Blinders and stuff like that. On weekends we often visit my mom who lives in a really beautiful place, near the forest, with a big garden and nature around the corner. It’s my favorite place in the world. But, when I’m not a nature (or history) nerd I like to go to Punk Rock shows and hang out with my friends. Haha, It’s a good mix of this and that I guess.

Hare by Hanna Karlzon
Hare by Hanna Karlzon

What other projects are you working on and what are your hopes for 2016?
Well, right now I’m working on my second big coloring book, Sommarnatt (Summernight) that will be released in spring 2016. And, I have some other fun projects with my publisher that also will be released next spring/summer. My schedule is fully booked until August 2016 with new books/postcardbooks etc. that need to be made and after that’s done I’m hoping to get some time off work in August to spend some time with my family. And my hopes for 2016 are, first of all, that my family and I will be healthy and happy, and when it comes to my work I hope that my new book will turn out well and that everyone will like it and I hope, hope, hope that I will have the chance to keep doing what I do today; draw.

If you live in the US you can buy Dagdrömmar through Allison Camille Tucker at Colouring Creations, many thanks to Colouring Creations members for their lovely coloured artwork. Other photos are taken from Hanna Karlzon‘s website and instagram feed. Dagdrömmar (Daydreaming) is currently unavailable in the UK but can be ordered online from the Pen Store.

Categories ,#mittumeå, ,Adult Colouring, ,Adult Colouring Book, ,Allison Camille Tucker, ,Angelina Victoria, ,Art Nouveau, ,Cheryl Doerner Vogel, ,Coloring, ,Coloring Creations, ,Colouring, ,Colouring Book, ,Courtney Personious, ,Dagdrömmar, ,Daydreaming, ,Downton Abbey, ,Faber Castell Polychromos, ,Facebook, ,Hanna Karlzon, ,illustrations, ,instagram, ,interview, ,Jessica Harrison, ,Marie Antoinette, ,Pagina, ,Peaky Blinders, ,review, ,Scandinavian, ,Shannon Dager, ,Sommarnatt, ,Spotify, ,Staedtler ergo soft, ,Staedtler triplus fineliners, ,Steadtler triplus, ,Stephanie Rose, ,Summernight, ,sweden, ,Swedish, ,Tina Locke, ,Tonya Gerhardt, ,Umeå, ,Umeå University, ,Vikings, ,Vinterdrömmar, ,Winter dreams

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Amelia’s Magazine | Blomstermandala by Maria Trolle: Colouring Book Review, Interview and Giveaway

Blomstermandala Maria Trolle giveaway review
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.

Maria Trolle photo
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 susie_pala_Loir3
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 Chris_Cheng7
Blomstermandala Chris_Cheng6
Blomstermandala Chris_Cheng4
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 Morena_vajak4
Blomstermandala Morena_Vajak5
Blomstermandala coloured by Morena Vajak

Blomstermandala Terry Cochran
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.

Blomster Mandala Sheila Strow Pechman
Blomstermandala coloured by Sheila Strow Pechman

Blomster Mandala Deidre Stewart
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 Michelle Byrne
Blomstermandala coloured by Michelle Byrne

Blomstermandala Jennifer Lyons 2
Blomstermandala Jennifer Lyons
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 Anne-Lie Granström 2
Blomstermandala Anne-Lie Granström 2
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.

Blomster Mandala Shirley Fraser 2
Blomster Mandala Shirley Fraser 2
Blomster Mandala Shirley Fraser 2
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

Maria Trolle notepad_sketchpad
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.

Maria Trolle new book
Maria Trolle new book
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.

Maria Trolle new book
Maria Trolle new book
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 Chris_cheng5
Blomstermandala Chris_Cheng3
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 Jane Smith
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.

Blomster Mandala Hazel Smithies
Blomstermandala coloured by Hazel Smithies

Blomstermandala meg_how2
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 Morena_vajak
Blomstermandala Morena_Vajak2
Blomstermandala coloured by Morena Majak

Trolles Garden
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 Michelle White Banaszak 2
Blomstermandala Michelle White Banaszak 2
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
Coloring Creations
Adult Colouring Book Reviews

Categories ,Adult Coloring, ,Adult Coloring Book, ,Adult Coloring Books, ,Blomstermandala, ,Coloring, ,Coloring Book, ,Colouring Book, ,Colouring for Adults, ,Giveaway, ,Hanna Karlzon, ,illustration, ,interview, ,Pagina, ,Pagina/Printworks, ,review, ,Swedish, ,Ulf, ,Viola, ,Wildflowers

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Amelia’s Magazine | Christmas Gift Ideas: 8 of the Best Colouring Books for Adults

Harriet Plaskitt Lorna Scobie
If you go into almost any shop in the run up to Christmas you’ll find a sea of colouring books fighting for your attention. With so many books to choose from it can be hard to know which ones to pick, but since I’ve become a bit of an adult colouring book aficionado over the past few months I thought I would share the 8 most unique and appealing ones I’ve found. This lovely lot should keep you and your loved ones busy through the Christmas holidays and well into 2016. Which ones will you choose?

Lost Ocean cover
1. Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford
This is the big one. Johanna kickstarted the whole trend in adult colouring books a few years ago with her bestselling book Secret Garden, and this year she’s back with another beautiful volume of intricate artworks inspired by underwater fantasies. The artwork is top notch, with lovely pacing of different types of image offering real scope for creative input from the colourist. Bound to be another worldwide bestseller. Read my interview with Johanna Basford here.

Dagdrömmar by Hanna Karlzon cover
2. Dagdrömmar by Hanna Karlzon
A book inspired by the daydreams of Swedish illustrator Hanna Karlzon, Dagdrömmar features floating houses, cats with gems, owls, elaborate crowns, mermaids with tumbling hair, more cats, sailing ships, flowers and much more, all beautifully drawn with a Scandinavian flavour. The book is sadly not yet available worldwide, but it can be shipped internationally from the Pen Store. Read my interview with Hanna Karlzon here.

Jungle Paradise_Lorna_Scobie_2
3. Jungle Paradise by Lorna Scobie
Lorna Scobie has a huge following on instagram, where she shares her inimitable animal drawings to much delight. This book is chock full of the cheeky animals and cute critters she has become well known for, with each page featuring a different jungle scene or animal pattern. This beautiful volume has lovely green metallic print on the cover and would be ideal for someone who loves to colour animals and plantlife. Read my interview with Lorna Scobie here.

Escape to Christmas Past by Good Wives and Warriors
4. Escape to Christmas Past by Good Wives and Warriors
This book by artistic duo Good Wives and Warriors is inspired by A Christmas Carol, the famous book by Dickens – making it ideal colouring to get into the festive spirit. There are a huge variety of illustrations to colour in including pretty Christmas decorations, scenes that appear in the story and decorative typography (Bah Humbug!) Read my interview with Good Wives and Warriors here.

beautiful-birds-colouring book
5. Beautiful Birds Colouring Book by Emmanuelle Walker
Beautiful Birds began life as a lovely (and very colourful) children’s A-Z book, but has since been turned into a colouring book featuring the same huge variety of avian life, many translated into patterns that will provide wonderful meditative colouring. The book is published by Flying Eye Books (an imprint of Nobrow) and is therefore beautifully made, with a lovely pink spine trim. An ideal gift for bird lovers in need of relaxation. Read my interview with Emmanuelle Walker here.

Doodlers Anonymous Epic Colouring Book
6. Doodlers Anonymous Epic Coloring Book
The Epic Coloring Book was put together by an open brief on the Doodlers website, hub for a huge community of artists. It’s a diverse collection of images made by 90 artists from all over the world so there’s bound to be something for everyone. Expect lots of narrative scenes, surreal characters and images that would not look out of place in a graphic novel. Read my interview with creator OKAT here.

A Million Cats Lulu Mayo
7. A Million Cats by Lulu Mayo
Only recently released by Michael O’Mara Books, this book features a plethora of amusing and adorable cats in a range of surreal situations; playing music, relaxing on the sofa, taking tea with dogs, masquerading as vegetables and dressed in tuxedos, Decorative patterns have a Japanese flavour, with blossoms and temples featuring heavily. One for the cat lover in your life!

Kickstarter campaign image Ameliasccc
8. Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion
I couldn’t leave it off the list could I?! Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion is a unique collaborative book that features the work of over 40 artists from all over the world. It will appeal to art lovers and colourists alike because it is so much more than just a colouring book; each artist has been given a double page, with a full colour image on the left to inspire a colouring page on the right. There are a huge variety of themes and styles to choose from, including landscapes, underwater scenes, food, Japanese folk tales, cats, lanterns, extreme frisbee and much more.

For more tips on adult colouring visit my recent blog 8 Things You Didn’t Know About Colouring Books For Adults. Happy Colouring this Christmas!

Categories ,#ameliasccc, ,8. Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,A Christmas Carol, ,A Million Cats, ,Adult Coloring Books, ,Adult Colouring, ,Beautiful Birds Colouring Book, ,Coloring, ,Colouring Books, ,Dagdrömmar, ,Doodlers Anonymous Epic Coloring Book, ,Emmanuelle Walker, ,Escape to Christmas Past, ,Flying Eye Books, ,Good Wives and Warriors, ,Hanna Karlzon, ,Johanna Basford, ,Jungle Paradise, ,Lorna Scobie, ,Lost Ocean, ,Lulu Mayo, ,Michael O’Mara Books, ,Nobrow, ,OKAT, ,Pen Store, ,Secret Garden

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