Today lets have a chat with Emelie Lidehäll Öberg, the artist behind the mindblowingly amazing Sagolikt (review HERE), among other things. Emelie is one of the Swedish rockstars of the coloring world along with Maria Trolle and Hanna Karlzon, she has a very unique style and a world she creates is absolutely beautiful. I don’t know what they feed them in Sweden but can I have some?
Emelie Lidehäll Öberg
Iris: How old were you when you started to draw?
Emelie Lidehäll Öberg: I remember drawing more than other kids as early as kindergarten.
I: What was your favorite subject to draw then and what is it now?
ELÖ: When I was small I created this imaginary dream worlds with lots of details. Like the perfect carnival or tivoli. As a teenager I did lots and lots of portraits. Right know I think I am doing a combo of those two in making the fairytale pages that i love so much. I am also a sentimental person who loves to draw old things and stories. Its something I picked up from my father when I was younger. He used to sell antiques and we would go off together to look for these treasures. Sometimes leading us to old houses and for a 10 year old magical places.
By Emelie Lidehäll Öberg
I: How did you come to creating coloring books?
ELÖ: I was staying at home with my 5 month old daughter when I started to draw with ink and sharing my pictures on Instagram in a challenge where you where supposed to share one drawing a day. My publisher found my account and contacted me. They asked me to send in some test pages and then the work of making my first coloring book began.
Sagolikt by Emelie Lidehäll Öberg
I: Do you paint or draw for other projects as well? Can you show and tell us a bit about it?
ELÖ: Yes, at least once a year I do an exhibition with my paintings. In my paintings I work a lot with paper material that I find at flea markets. Like old maps, wallpapers or newspapers. Others trash is my gold haha. I also to some commissions for companies or private persons.
By Emelie Lidehäll Öberg
I: Which of your coloring pages is your favorite? Why?
ELÖ: A such a hard question! I do love the ones with deers. They are such delicate and magical creatures.
I: How do you create a coloring page? What is the process for you?
ELÖ: I started with making a long list of ideas for different motives. Then I do a small and very simple sketch to see if the idea has potential and if I can create a good symmetry. After that I draw it up with sketch pens and then I fill it in with ink. Finally I scan the pages and in Illustrator i make the lines to vector graphic.
I: How long does it take for you to create a whole book?
ELÖ: About 4 months, sometimes I have had to be faster.
New books by Emelie Lidehäll Öberg
I: What are the challenges of being an artist for you?
ELÖ: Well the biggest challenge is not working with it full time. Right now I am working with the artist part 2 days a week. The rest of the week I work at a local culture house which I love. But I must say that having these two roles is sometimes messing with my focus and concentration. And I do not always have time to do all the things I want to do in the artist department. And it also means working lots of weekends and nights, taking time away from my family. I recently counted that I have made 201 coloring pages in one year. How ever it is a privilege to be able to work as an artist at all. So I am very thankful and we make it work.
I: Can you describe your day as an artist?
ELÖ: If I have the energy I start the day off with a walk and a good podcast. Then I have breakfast in front of the computer while answering comments and emails. Then I plan the day and what to post on social media. How many sketches I have to make to be done in time and so on. After that I get to work on actually drawing. And before I know it it’s time to pick up my daughter from the kindergarten.
I: What are the tools you can’t live without?
ELÖ: Hmm I have a Faber-Castell eraser that I can’t live without. It annoys me so much when I can’t find it. Apparently my daughter likes it as well.
I: Do you have any tips for complete beginners in coloring?
ELÖ: Well I do not color so much myself. But I think it is important to remember that it takes practice. Do not compare yourself to others even though it’s sometimes hard not to. It’s about your relaxation and development. There are a lot of tips and inspiration to be found in the coloring community and in the coloring groups at Facebook.
I: Is there something in the works for the future as well? Can you share a bit about that?
ELÖ: Right now I am working on a new 96 page coloring book called Sagor och Sägner (Tales and legends). It has a nordic folklore and fairytale theme. It releases in Sweden in March 2017.
Sagor och Sägner
I: And last, for fun, if you could be any fairytale or fantasy character, who would you be and why?
ELÖ: In Swedish folklore we have something called a gårdstomte. I don’t know if there is an English translation for it? Lets call it a farm gnome. If you are a nice farm master they take care of your house and animals. But if not, they run around and do mischief. I think that would go nicely together with my love for practical jokes.
Thank you, Emelie, for your time and I now added a big fat OMG into my calendar to March!
I will soon also show you guys a postcard book by Emelie, still waiting for it to arrive but soon, stay tuned 🙂
Images by Emelie Lidehäll Öberg, used with permission.