Book review – Blomstermandala by Maria Trolle

The weather has been very hot recently so I haven’t gotten much coloring done. Or well, none at all. I tend to turn into a sloth when it’s too hot, power saving mode is the way to go then. Now it’s finally coming down a bit so hopefully I’ll get to return to filming a coloring video soon as well.
But anyway, if you don’t know who Maria Trolle is, you are truly lucky to be here because the first time you’ll see her book is a magical moment, I promise, I wish I could see it for the first time again as well. Lets take a look then, shall we?
Maria Trolle has three books published so far with fourth coming out this fall. The first is also Blomstermandala, that one has 20 pages and it’s a purely floral book. This is the second Blomstermandala. There’s also a book published in Japan called Wildflowers.

Details: Hardback, Pagina Förlag Publishing, 2016
Pages: 25.2 x 21.2 x 1.4 cm, 96 pages, smooth and thick paper, double-sided
Where to get: Pen Store

This is an amazing book. Not only is the art itself gorgeous, the paper quality is remarkable as well. Plus the fancy hard covers. The imagery is beautiful and really happy I think, the mood is light and beautiful. I specially love her animals, they’re so cute, it gives me a tooth ache. The paper is amazing, it’s the same as Hanna Karlzons books have, thick creamy smoothness. It can take a lot of abuse. Alcohol-based markers will bleed through though but they’ll bleed through pretty much anything anyway. You can also use water media but carefully, this is not watercolor paper, it can take water but in moderation.

As you saw from the video, I’ve finished one picture and dabbling on another. The finished one bigger here:

P.S. Amelia’s Magazine did a wonderful interview with Maria Trolle some time ago, go check it out.

Overall: I love this book to bits. There’s no question about it. I for one can’t wait for her new book. Following her Instagram gives me such painfully beautiful previews of it that oh.. gosh. You need this book in your life, you really do.

Disclaimer: all of the above opinions are mine, you might have a different experience and opinions

Book review – Colour My Sketchbook 2 by Bennett Klein

Continuing with the book reviews while I’m trying to get a coloring video together for you, takes a surprising amount of effort, I might say. But anyway, today Colour My Sketchbook 2 by Bennett Klein. I don’t own 1 or 3 but they’re also available, 3 is not yet available on Bookdepository since it’s very new but you can get it on Amazon and Etsy.

Details: Paperback, self published, 2016
Pages: 216 x 280 x 3mm, 62 pages with 25 images to color, standard copy paper, one-sided
Where to get: BookdepositoryAmazonEtsy (digital copy)

This book has grayscale sketches you can color. Grayscale is fun to color, it’s very forgiving. Bennett Klein has an amazing brain, really, some of these images are just so insane, they’re beyond awesome.
The illustrations are one-sided as you can see. There’s a cool color palette thingy in the beginning where you can test out your coloring ideas for each picture. It’s only major drawback is the paper, it’s basically just copy paper. It can’t take water and it’s limited as to how many layers of pencil it can take. Also don’t erase vigorously or you’ll end up with an artistic hole. Cause holes are art too.
This book has a mix of images, some of people, some of animals, something for everyone. Bennett Klein has said this is how it will stay throughout his books. So if you like variety, here you go! A bonanza of crazy fun ideas in this book. The first and third books look great too, sadly I don’t have those to show you at this moment.
If you have/get any of these books, also join Bennett Klein Facebook group and show off your work, it’s a great community.

As you saw from the video, I’ve already finished one piece, Mother Masked. Here, closer view:

Overall: This is an amazing book, full of interesting grayscale images for you to color. My only gripe is the paper, I do hope he will figure out better paper in the future. It’s probably printed on this paper to keep the costs down since the book really isn’t expensive but well, I’d pay a bit more for better paper. You can get a digital copy from Etsy and print it yourself to a nicer paper if you have the option. I sadly don’t. But that’d be a great way around it if paper is super important to you. It won’t stop me from coloring or wanting more of his books though. Overall, thumbs up!

Disclaimer: all of the above opinions are mine, you might have a different experience and opinions

Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor review

Today, lets throw in a pencil or 72 to the ring and see how Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor hold up to some serious coloring.
All reviews for pencils and books can be found HERE.

Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor pencils are oil-based (thank you, Fredrik, for the information!).
These are somewhat of a dark horse of the pencil world. They’re on the low end with the cost but their performance is really on par with quite a few more expensive brands. Yet they’re not crazy popular for reasons completely beyond me, they’re well worth your time.
Lyra pencils come in sets of 12, 24, 36 and 72 in tins. There’s also a wooden box with more bits and pieces, 100 pencils and some tidbits like eraser and whatnot.
The 72 set also comes with two Splender Blenders which I love, other companies should do the same I think. Splender Blender is a blender pencil as the name suggests.
The pencils are round with a wood colored casing with colored ends. The wood is not of the highest possible quality but for the price, it’s good enough.

  • Comes with two blender pencils, at least the 72 set does. Like, can I get a yay?
  • Very good price for the quality
  • Soft and blendable
  • Layer well
  • They have a great range of yellows, oranges and reds
  • Erase well
  • Don’t break much, I have only one broken pencil as far as I know
  • Surprisingly lightfast, very few are deemed low in the lightfast category
  • 3,7mm lead in a 7,1mm casing
  • Will fit in all standard sharpeners
  • Available open stock in some art stores and Amazon


  • Very small selection of browns
  • Shaky barrel quality (but that to me is you get what you pay for and I’d rather have a shoddy casing then a shoddy lead)
  • 72 colors only, I’d like more, specially more browns and earthy tones in general. Trivia time: the pencil that is the absolute shortest in ALL of my cases, is always Sepia
  • The tin itself is nondescript, it has a cardstock sleeve which holds all the information on lightfastness and stuff and it gets banged up pretty quickly with all the on-off action. Or you lose it. Or your kid steals it from the table, never to be recovered, true story

These are not as soft and smeary as Derwent Coloursoft or Prismacolor Premier but they are softer then Faber-Castell Polychromos and Caran D’Ache Pablo. They do blend well, you don’t need to use any of your hard learned cursewords.
The casing quality is only worse with Prismacolor Premiers, however Lyra Rembrandts do not break on mere sight like Prismas tend to do.
Layering and blending is great with these, a smidgeon better even then Derwent Coloursoft I’d say but not as easy as with Polychromos or Pablos.
They erase well, way better then Derwent Coloursoft or Prismacolor Premier but not quite as good as Faber-Castell Polychromos.
If interested, see the review tab on top of the page for reviews on all the mentioned pencils.

Color chart:

Official color chart:
There is no official color chart on their website so use Google to find better charts, including lightfastness information. I’d take a picture of the information on the back of the tin sleeve for you but well, enter the aforementioned toddler with a passion for paper, thus it’s gone for good 🙂
Example coloring piece:

Picture: Colour My Sketchbook 2 by Bennett Klein

Considering their cost and wide availability, I’d say they’re definitely worth a go. I’m not the biggest fan of these simply because of the lack of earthy tones. Since I keep my pencils in tins due to lack of space and have limited workspace as well, it makes it hard to combine more then one brand at a time. So for me, they don’t get out much but they are great and I’d suggest looking at these if you want to check out more wallet-friendly pencils and don’t mind the very limited browns.

Next up, probably Derwent Artists but we’ll see 🙂 Soon I’ll have more book reviews up as well, some with giveaways and everything so stay tuned!

Disclaimer: all of the above opinions are mine, you might have a different experience with these pencils

Book review – Inklings 2 by Tanya Bond

Starting a new series of book reviews with video flip throughs. I will be showing you everything I own, both older and new, some have colored pages, some don’t. All reviews will also be linked above in the reviews tab.
To kick this off, chosen at a complete random, lets start with Inklings 2 by Tanya Bond.

Details: Paperback, self published, 2016
Pages: A4, 24 illustrations, 150gsm paper, one-sided
Where to get: Tanya Bond EtsyAmazon

Inklings 2 is the second coloring book by Tanya Bond, I’ll also show you the first at a later date.

This book houses 24 illustrations, all on one side so no fear of ruining the back page. When using alcohol markers, do put a sheet of paper inbetween the pages just to be on the safe side though. It’s thick enough to take gentle use of water as well, don’t flood the page, it will warp, 150gsm is not heavy watercolor paper.
This paper is a pleasure to work with, I like it better then the paper used with the first Inklings book, it’s smoother and easier to lay pencil down nicely.

The illustrations are all of Inklings, Tanya Bonds beautiful female creatures. I love coloring people so this is right up my alley. If you’re scared of coloring skin, don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it looks at first, not really 🙂 There are tons of tutorials on Youtube about it as well. I’d definitely recommend giving this book a go if you like the images.

As you can see from the video, I have colored one from this book, sadly I didn’t take a before-photo so you can’t see how it looked blank. But this is it colored:

Overall: I really love this book, it’s boring really, I really don’t have anything constructive to say like… oh it needs more peaches. Oh well. Go get it, you won’t regret it. Tanya Bond also has a Mini Inklings book out now, I don’t own that one but check it out if you want a smaller sized book for traveling and such.

Disclaimer: all of the above opinions are mine, you might have a different experience and opinions

Sleeping kitty, Blomstermandala

I finally decided on a page in Blomstermandala by Maria Trolle, I’ve been looking through the book countless times, trying to decide where to start. This image drew me in immediately but I kept hoping I wouldn’t want to do a double spread 😀 Not for the amount of work involved, though that’s also quite intense, but because I never can creep into the binding well enough to be happy.
But anyway, enough blabber, look, a kitty!
Kitty closeup:
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See, that’s why I don’t like double spreads, I just cant creep into all the nooks, no matter how hard I try 😦 But it’s still such a cute image, I just had to try. This is done with Caran D’Ache Luminance pencils and a tiny bit of white Posca.
I also loved the chestnuts, with both Maria Trolle and Hanna Karlzon, the foliage is so familiar to me since Estonia isn’t really far from Sweden and the trees and flowers are the same that grow in my garden and all around me, the familiarity always makes me happy.
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My eyesight is still bad, they’re probably going to have another go at my eyes in a few months. Until then I’m stuck with pretty bad precision since I just can’t see well enough. But well, I can still color, even if not perfectly but that’s the most important bit 😛

I’m also trying to figure out if I can make some videos for you guys since that’s been asked for so much on Instagram and Twitter and in e-mails and Facebook and… 😀 We’ll see, have to test things out. Hopefully I’ll have something for you soon.

Houses, Sommarnatt

I realized I never posted this. I did this for a challenge in a Facebook group, Coloring Creations, come join us if you’re not there yet 🙂
Anyway the challenge was to use orange and two favorite colors. The use of black and white was allowed. I picked this from Sommarnatt to be mine:
Orange, red and yellow Prismas. I can’t be sure now what the exact pencils were, I’ve lost the paper where I wrote it down 😀 Very useful to keep reminders that you lose, don’t you think? Anyway background with black Posca which was my third attempt at Posca and nope, I don’t like it. On large areas I’m probably not skilled enough with it but it’s patchy and streaky, not a fan. With small areas, it’s fine. So I’d use it when the background is fiddly but not on large areas and NEVER on top of pencil, after spraying nightmare happens, the wax starts to shine through the Posca. Trust me, it’s not good. You’ll see one day when I’ve finished Sommarnatt and show you a video, the two major fails don’t show up as bad on photos but I think they will on video.
Anyway I had a lot of fun coloring this one 🙂

July, Inklings 2

I know I said I probably won’t get the Inklings 2 book but I couldn’t resist Tanya Bond’s wonderful hauntingly beautiful girls. So there. I ate less chocolate and backed her on Kickstarter and there you go, Inklings 2 is mine, yay!
I have the artist edition and the paper is a LOT better then the Inklings book I have. It’s not too thick but takes pencil a lot better. In the artist edition, the images are only on one side which is good for those who like markers. I don’t mind either way.
I picked July to be my first but it’s a far cry from summer. To me, she reminded me of winter 😀 So a wintery girl it is:
Prismacolor Premier and some white Posca.
Overall, I love this book. If you like to color girls like I do, you should definitely look into this, search for Tanya Bond or Inklings on Etsy or Amazon. The Amazon version is probably the regular paper one with images on both side of the page though, correct me if I’m wrong.