Color with me – Rose from Inklings 2, day one

Ahhh the smell of a fresh color along! Almost as nice as the smell of a Christmas tree. By the way, seems toddlers are like cats, they have a built in fiery passion for trees and specially ornaments, the sparklier, the better. But anyway, back to business, today we’ll start with Inklings 2 by Tanya Bond, with the very first image to be exact, Rose. Ah and pardon the occasional view of my hair.

Stuff used on day one:
Prismacolor Premier pencils, Faber-Castell Perfection eraser, blender pencil

  • Light Peach PC 927
  • Nectar PC 1092
  • Crimson Red PC 924
  • Pink PC 929
  • Blush Pink PC 928
  • Yellow Ochre PC 942
  • Cream PC 914
  • Sepia PC 948
  • Dahlia Purple PC 1009
  • Indigo Blue PC 901
  • Dark Green PC 908
  • Apple Green PC 912
  • Koh-I-Noor Polycolor blending pencil (more on this below)
  • Prismacolor Premier blending pencil

Tips and tricks:

  • Some of you have been reading along with my previous tutorials so forgive me if I repeat myself at times but for newcomers, I think some things are worth revisiting. So on that note, I suggest with portraits, always do skin first so you don’t accidentally drag particles of hair or background into the skin, ruining it
  • As you can see, I was trying out the Koh-I-Noor Polycolor blender on this, I hadn’t used it before, I’m testing all kinds of blenders to make a comparison for you soon. Anyway it’s not what I’d suggest you use for skin at least, it’s a bit too scratchy and well yes, mine has a broken core as well so annoying to boot. So I switched to a Prismacolor colorless blender. I really should get a few new ones, mine is a stub as you can see. But the point here is that you can use any blending pencil you have or skip this step entirely
  • If going for a realistic look, don’t do what I did here. Steer clear of pinks and yellows, they will ruin a realistic look completely, just don’t. But if you want this more colorful fantasy-ish appearance, go wild!
  • You don’t have to do anything you don’t want, you can follow along but feel free to switch out pencils, skip or add steps etc
  • I wasn’t sure what color the hair will be yet so technically doing the green thorns might not have been the best idea if going for light hair. If you’re set on light, skip the thorns for now because…
  • … always go from light to dark to avoid dragging dark particles into your light areas by accident
  • I make mistakes, you can too. For instance my strokes were pretty uneven here and there, I crossed some lines by accident and I created a whole new stalk because I got confused with the lines 😀 It happens! So don’t worry about messing up, it’s no big deal, really, just have fun!

End result of day one:

So stay tuned for the next episodes coming soon and I hope you have fun!

All the parts of this tutorial:
Day one – skin, green bits
Day two – hair, petals
Day three – eyes, dress, background

Interview with Maria Trolle

Drumroll please! Today, the third party of the Amazing Swedish Coloring Trinity, Maria Trolle. Maria is a graphic designer and the author of the Blomstermandala books. Her newest book, Vivi Söker en Vän, came out just recently, in November. Her flowers are just spectacular. Lets have a chat with her, shall we?
15595700_1144187658968359_289339101_oMaria Trolle

Iris: How old were you when you started to draw?
Maria Trolle: I drew a lot as a child and teenager, but stopped doing hand drawn illustrations in my 20s, and started making digital art and graphic design instead. Then in my 30s i started to draw by hand again.

I: What was your favorite subject to draw then and what is it now?
MT: As a child I drew lots of little girls, I think that was probably my favorite subject then. Now my favorite subject is images from my own imagination. And I really like to draw girls now as well and flowers are of course a major favorite too.

I: Do you work on other projects as well? Can you show and tell?
MT: I’m working on a new coloring book that will be released in late spring/early summer. I’ll keep the name and content a secret a little longer, but I can say that it will be 96 pages, hardcover, just like Blomstermandala. With a mix of white and black backgrounds. I also work on different other illustration projects for various clients at the moment.
Veggie tray for garden magazine Allt om trädgård

I: How did you come to creating coloring books?
MT: My Publisher found my Instagram account and wanted to make a book with me. So I basically just stumbled upon this!

I: Which of your books is your own personal favorite? Why?
MT: Vivi is my favorite so far because it is a very special to me, since I’ve written the story and all.
Page from Vivi Söker en Vän

I: How do you create a coloring page? What is the process for you?
MT: I do as I always do, I just sit down and think for a moment and the ideas keep popping up. I compare the different ideas and choose the one I feel for today and then start drawing it. Often I have a little stack of written ideas that I use If I’m out of fresh ideas that day. If I’m really blank of ideas I just go for a walk and then the ideas starts popping up again.

I: How long does it take for you to create a whole book?
MT: Blomstermandala took me about 5,5 month too make full-time, (96 drawings). I usually make one drawing a day, sometimes more.

I: What are the challenges of being an artist for you?
MT: I think the challenges for me are not to get to stressed up since, it is REALLY time-consuming to make my drawings and sometimes it is hard to get enough time for a project. I’m really not good with stress AT ALL, so I try my best not to get into those situation.
Page from Blomstermandala

I: How do you motivate yourself when you have no ideas but a tight deadline?
MT: This is never my situation since lack of ideas just isn’t a problem for me, I could honestly say that has never happened. Motivation can be a problem sometimes of course, but I am a very strict boss to myself so I just get up and do the stuff anyway.

I: Can you describe your day as an artist?
MT: I get up at 7.30 eat breakfast and get my kids ready for pre-school. My husband leaves then and I get myself ready in the meantime. I work from home so there is no stress getting on a bus or anything like that, (which I hate). Before sitting down at my desk I usually meditate for 20 minutes or so. Sometimes I go for a walk or do some yoga. After that, at about 9.30-10 I start to work. At 4 I pick up my children again.
Page from Vivi Söker en Vän

I: What are the tools you can’t live without?
MT: I love my Uni Pen fineliners and my Mac book pro.

I: Do you have any tips for complete beginners in coloring?
MT: Have fun! Don’t compare yourself to more skilled colorists, you will get there too eventually if you practice. And it is really not the point either to compete and to become ”The Best”, the main thing is to relax and have a good time. But if you really want to learn technique, look at tutorials, many great colorists do video tutorials.
Original drawing for Vivi Söker en Vän

I: And for fun, if you could be a flower, which flower would you be and why?
MT: I would like to be the climbing rose ”Rosa hellenae”- Lykkefund. It grows like crazy with lots of white/pink/apricot flowers. We have a portal of these roses in our garden. It is really wonderful from the very start with peach tinted flowerbuds to the white snow on the ground when the leaves fall of a month later. It is heavenly scented, and it gives shelter for birds who wants to nest within it.

Thank you, Maria, for taking the time for us! And it is great news a new book is in the works! Can’t wait to see it!

Maria’s books reviewed on The Coloring Addict:
Vivi Söker en Vän

Follow Maria:
Web page

Images by Maria Trolle, used with permission.

Yay for coloring!

It’s been an insane time, I haven’t had time to pick up my pencils and books in what feels like forever. So yay for finally finishing a WIP I had sitting around for months I think. I didn’t do all that much, just the hair and background to finish it but it was the best feeling ever 🙂
Book: Portrait of the Mermaid by Sara Burrier
Pencils: Derwent Coloursoft

Anyway I’m trying my darnedest to find a moment to film the Inklings 2 tutorial I promised you ages ago. Plus stay tuned for another really cool interview, I won’t spoil the surprise as to with whom, you’ll have to wait and see!


Interview with Karolina Kubikowska

Karolina Kubikowska is a Polish tattoo artist and the author of the coloring book Po Drugiej Stronie Snu. It was my first ever book review and the video truly sucked but I just redid it with a new video and everything and you can find it HERE now. Anyway Karolina has a truly distinct and unique style, once you’ve seen her work, you’ll know her anywhere.

It is my great pleasure to chat with the amazing Karolina Kubikowska a little, come, join us!

Iris: How old were you when you started to draw?
Karolina Kubikowska: I think I was about 2 years old. My mom still has my flower paintings hidden somewhere! I was painting before I could do anything else.

I: What was your favorite subject to draw then and what is it now?
Nature then and nature now. Definitely! My subject was always the world of plants and animals. Over time it developed into my own fantasy getaway where anything is possible. That’s why in my work sometimes you see something out of scale or out of place. Because, well, why not?

I: How did you come to creating coloring books?
The publishing house which published my first book asked me if I would want to participate in that kind of project. It was completely new for me, but a fantastic experience and an adventure that turned out to be just a beginning of an enormous turn in my life!

I: Do you paint or draw for other projects as well?
All the time! Every day I am a tattoo artist which takes up most of my creativity. I make commission art, prints for my two online stores and my second book is about to come out.
I also try to have time for painting, just out of passion but lately my day seems to be too short for that.

I: How long have you been doing tattoos?
It’s been 3 years now

I: Can you show and tell us a bit about your projects?
I guess you can find everything online on my fanpages and store site. I try to post up most of what I do even when it’s in progress. There is so much going on that I figured it was the easiest and quickest way of letting everyone know what I am up to at the moment

I: How do you create a coloring page?
I think it’s not about creating a page… I think about it as a whole story, the pictures that combine into one world that takes you somewhere.

I: What is the process for you?
The first part is actually writing the words down. Being able to articulate what I want to show. What is the task, what magical creatures and beasts await you in  this  story. What adventures and tasks await you. Then I start planning out the pages, drawings, characters.

I: How long does it take for you to create a whole book?
It is difficult to tell, because it’s never the only thing that I am working on, so it mostly depends on the amount of other projects.

I: What are the challenges of being an artist for you?
It’s definitely staying creative. The demands of the world towards an artist are sometimes a bit overbearing – in this moment it is very very hard to keep up. Staying honest with my work is very important for me. Something needs to feel true and one of a kind after it materializes as a finished piece. So I wouldn’t show or sell anything that felt a bit unfinished or not as good as it could get.

I: Can you describe your day as an artist?
My workaholic routine?  I mostly get up at 7 and take my dog for a walk. Before going to the studio I sit down to answer emails and fanpage messages, check new print orders to know what to take to the printing house with me on the way to work. I check all my plants at home ( I have an addiction), feed my cats and pack my sketches and books that I am currently reading and can’t live without. Most of my day passes at the tattoo studio where I meet with new clients every day. It is amazing to meet people who want to wear my art on them every day for the rest of their lives. Like a totem and protector. I am very grateful for being given this wonderful opportunity to share my art. After I get back home I need to pack parcels for the store. Luckily they get sent out by my wonderful husband who is a big help! I have a bit of time for drawing, sketching down ideas etc. In my desk I have a drawer full of just tiny sketches that later remind me what I had in mind. I can use them later to make full size, finished pieces. I usually finish working at 9 or 10 pm.

I: What are the tools you can’t live without?
Mostly Japanese office pens and my automatic pencils which I buy at Muji, Sumi Ink. Watercolor paper, even if only for pencils. Lately I got addicted to buying those food shaped erasers that come in tiny packages? They’re just fun to have around when you are working.

I: Do you have any tips for complete beginners in coloring?
Don’t get frustrated, experiment and find your favorite tool and technique. Don’t be afraid to ‘ruin the picture’ with some mistake that you might make. The beautiful thing is that in art there are no mistakes.

I: Is there something in the works for the future as well?
Hopefully already in January you will see my second book ‘Ticket to Dreams”

I: Can you share a bit about that?
Ahhh don’t want to spoil the surprise.

I: Who are the people that inspire you? Why?
Mostly it’s women that are powerful, beautiful, kind souls. Starting from Patti Smith who is a constant reminder how being sensitive to the world isn’t a bad thing, to Simona Kossak, Frida Kahlo, along to the blogger Gala Darling who helps women believe in themselves. Two people that are closest to me right now are also a big influence  -my husband, who despite everything he’s been through is the amazing person he is today, and my best friend, who is a magical creature on her own.

I: And last, for fun, if you could be any fairytale or fantasy character, who would you be and why?
Haha I went totally blank, because it’s been a long time since  I actually compared myself to anyone. My best friend suggested Pocahontas? Maybe!

Thank you, Karolina, for taking the time to chat with us! I for one can’t wait for the next book! And I personally would die of joy if I’d get her to tattoo me. Trip to Poland, anyone?

Karolina’s books reviewed by the Coloring Addict:
Po Drugiej Stronie Snu
Ticket to Dreams

Follow Karolina Kubikowska:
Web page

Karolina Kubikowska’s book is available on Karolina’s website, Amazon and Bookdepository.

Images by Karolina Kubikowska, used with permission.

Book review – Po Drugiej Stronie Snu by Karolina Kubikowska

This was actually my very first book review and as such, it sucked. So I figured that since it’s such a gorgeous book, it deserves an overhaul to fit in with the rest of the reviews. So today, lets take another look at Po Drugiej Stronie Snu by Karolina Kubikowska.

Details: Paperback, Edipresse Polska, 2015
Pages: 222 x 223 x 12mm, 96 pages, good smooth paper, double-sided
ISBN10: 8379452046
ISBN13: 9788379452040
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Karolina Kubikowska is a Polish tattoo artist and an illustrator, Po Drugiej Stronie Snu is her first book, released last year. This is a truly unique book in the sense of artistic style, it’s not a clean lineart book we’re used to, also it’s not really a grayscale, it’s in a category all of its own, it’s like you get to color Karolina’s sketchbook. And what a sketchbook it is!
Po Drugiej Stronie Snu is filled with dreamlike images, one more fantastical then the next. There are butterflies and girls, plants and owls, something to fit any teacup.
The paper quality is great, the pages are thick and can take some beating, water as well. In my opinion, it’s like it’s made for water, the images greatly gain from splashing around. You can’t flood the pages too much, they will buckle but a little won’t do any harm.
I really like that the backgrounds have some tone and texture so you don’t necessarily have to do anything with them and can leave them as they are, a definite plus for me since I don’t really enjoy coloring in big spaces of nothing.
The binding is glue and a bit stiff, you can force it flat but I suspect it will start falling apart if you do it too much.

Example image done with Derwent Coloursoft:

Overall, I love this book, one of my all time favorites for sure! I keep flipping through it and dream of more hours in my day to be able to get back to this one, it’s amazing, it really is. The artwork is gorgeous and interesting, definitely something to recommend checking out. You can buy this book from the above Bookdepository link, Amazon or Karolina Kubikowska website HERE.

And all fans of this book, stay tuned, there will be something super cool coming tomorrow!

Interview with Eriy

Today I have the immense pleasure to present to you a little chat with Eriy, the author of the Romantic Country series. By the way, the English version of the Second Tale is now available at the Bookdepository HERE, I just got my shipping notice yesterday, I placed my preorder on May 16 so.. it’s been a bit of a wait but so worth it!

Eriy is a Japanese artist who draws her books entirely with toothpicks, dipping them in ink, definitely a unique style. Her Romantic Country books are set in the fantasy country of Cocot, a land full of warmth and joy, the images never fail to make me smile.

Iris: How old were you when you started to draw? 
Eriy: I started  to draw professional illustrations when I turned 21. At that time I was an art university student.

I: What was your favorite subject to draw then and what is it now? 
E: I have always liked to draw landscapes, especially countryside, so that was and that is still my favorite subject.

I: How did the idea of drawing with toothpicks come to be?
E: It was about 10 years ago that I purchased ink for the first time, but I had carelessly forgotten to buy a dip pen. This incident originally got me started using a toothpick for drawing and it came to be very useful and interesting for me.

I: How did you come to creating coloring books?
E: I like to draw  precise lines and details , so I thought my art could be suitable for coloring book.

I: Which of your books is your own personal favorite? Why?
E: It’s my first book which I have published because I have always dreamed of publishing the book about my imaginary country “COCOT” .

I: If you could live in Cocot, where would you live and who would you be?
E: I’d like to live in Yowguste Forest. Many witches live in there, and make a town. It is a very lively place where you can find anything you want!

I: How do you create a coloring page? What is the process for you?
E: At first I make a rough sketch, after that I use a toothpick.Then I make a coloring draft after which I start painting the coloring page.

I: How long does it take for you to create a whole book?
E: It takes for me 4 or 5 months to create a whole book.

I: What are the challenges of being an artist for you?
E: I’d like to make some items using my characters. And if I get a chance I want to hold a personal exhibition abroad.

I: Can you describe your day as an artist?
E: I usually do my work at 10AM to 5PM in my studio. After that I go back to my house and sometimes I draw my original illustrations.

I: What are the tools you can’t live without?
E: Definitely toothpick and liquid watercolour (I bring them everywhere, such as when I’m traveling).

I: Do you have any tips for complete beginners in coloring?
E: If you’re beginner and it is difficult for you to use colors, you can try using a smaller pack of colors.

I: Is there something in the works for the future as well? Can you share a bit about that?
E: I have some ideas and I have already talked to my editor. I’d love to present it to you when we finish it.

Well I for one would love to know what’s next! Thank you, Eriy, for taking the time for us in your busy schedule and hope we get to see more of your work very soon!

Eriy’s books reviewed on The Coloring Addict:
Romantic Country
Romantic Country Third Tale

Follow Eriy:
Web page

Coloring books by Eriy can be found on Amazon, Bookdepository and various other online sources. For example, I got my Japanese version of the Third Tale from CDJapan and can say I had no problems with that site.

Images by Eriy, used with permission.

Derwent Graphitint review

Yay for pencil review time! Derwent Graphitint is not meant for coloring, strictly speaking, but can be used for it successfully so while not aimed at us, lets look at them anyway.

Derwent is a company based in the United Kingdom and they produce a LOT of stuff, from the insanely popular and awesome Inktense to all kinds of accessories. Their colored pencils are pretty popular too, check the Product Reviews tab above the banner to find some reviews on their other products.

Graphitints are water soluble, graphite and color in one pencil and insanely cool, even though their color range is small:
They come in tins of 12 and 24, plus a blister of 6. I think this is the first time I’m showing you something that isn’t full set but while I adore these pencils, 12 is enough for my purposes so I’m not going to splurge on the 24, though there are some colors in the full set that make me go all grabbyhands.
As all Derwent pencils, these are chubby pencils, these particular ones have a silver casing and their usual color coded tips. They have a cedar casing with the name of the color and code printed on them.


  • Seriously, tinted graphite pencils that are water soluble as a cherry on top? What’s not to love!
  • They offer a lot of variation even with their small color range, the color is very subtle when dry, when adding water, they’re beautifully vibrant
  • The casing quality is nice, I didn’t have any problems with splintering
  • Really gorgeous selection of muted colors, great for nature sketching
  • Nice thick 4mm lead in 8mm cedar casing, you really do get all the bang for your buck here
  • Fit in most standard sharpeners
  • Easy to get a hold of in Europe at least, probably not that difficult in USA either
  • Also available open stock in some art stores and Amazon
  • Derwent customer support rocks, I never hesitate to buy their products, in case of problems, they will help you, I’m sure


  • Due to their graphite content, they don’t melt quite as easily with water as say Inktense does but while you can’t float them around too much, they do dissolve nicely so pencil marks won’t remain (unless you did some really harsh ones)
  • Limited color range
  • I’d like less greys. I know, I know, water soluble graphite but well I also have Graphitone so that will cover the soluble grey for me, I’d like to see more reds and maybe an ochre instead
  • The tin of 12 only has one green

So usually there’s a comparison bit here but these are really different and not comparable to anything else so lets make this section general blabber instead.
I do have to say this, the OCD in me loves Derwent for producing pencils that look alike and are color coded. I love that they are all uniform in size and shape and I have the barrel color to help me tell them apart. I know this is not something most people even notice or think about but I love the uniformity it creates.
Graphitint was something I bought ages ago to sketch, I read tinted graphite and went oh hello there, didn’t even notice it was water soluble until I got the tin. And well that just made it all even better. I’ve used these for sketching quite a bit and I can tell you, while they don’t behave like your standard HB pencil to a T, they do work like graphite rather than colored pencil.
In my set of 12, I’m happy with all of them. I do wish for less greys in the tin of 12 at least but the range is nice. I would buy the tin of 24 if I ever ran out of the 12 but seeing that I don’t sketch all that much these days, it’s not that likely that it would happen in the near future.

Color chart:
My shaky 12 color one:
Official color chart:

Example colored picture done with Derwent Graphitint:
Picture: from Sommarnatt by Hanna Karlzon

I do really like these. They are not at all just a gimmick I think, they work beautifully and blend together nicely, creating a really subtle muted palette. I think they’d be great for more coloring work in addition to sketching. So overall, if this is something that interests you, go ahead, try them, you’ll like them, I’m sure.

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