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Book Review: Dagdrömmar aka Daydreams

Before I get into today's review, I'd like to apologize for the delay between posts. This is my final semester and things are getting a bit hectic. I still find time to do some coloring now and then but I don't have much time for anything else. Now that that's out of the way, let's take a look at yet another coloring book!

The Daydreams coloring book is one of my favorites and you'll soon see why. Many of the coloring books that we see today are printed in English (as they are created by artists from English speaking countries) and then translated to other languages. Daydreams is different – it was first printed in Swedish and then translated into English. It's not just this book, all the books by Hanna Karlzon are published in Swedish first followed by the English translations.

Book - Daydreams 
Author - Hanna Karlzon
Hanna Karlzon is a Swedish-based illustrator and has published many coloring books, the first being Daydreams. This book has 96 pages and it is a hardbound edition. The book feels luxurious and high quality when you hold it in your hands. It looks good enough to put on your coffee table!

Daydreams is filled with beautiful pictures and the main subjects are usually flowers, animals and insects. But Hanna's illustrations are very different from say Johanna Basford. While Johanna goes for intricate designs - often with tiny spaces to color - Hanna's pictures are more open and not so detailed. Some of the images appear realistic but many are combined with whimsical elements like gems, sparkly items like keys or stars etc. Daydreams also contains many portraits of beautiful women, something that not many artists do well. It's great for practicing skin and hair coloring.

The entire book gives the feeling of being set in a fantasy land where little girls ride on birds or insects, snails carry literal houses on their backs and various animals collect gems. The element of whimsy gives you the freedom to use any color that you like. Why stick to just green for leaves or blue for water? Let your imagination run wild and use colors like pinks or purples for plants or green for the sky. 

Paper Quality
Daydreams is printed double-sided but the paper quality is very good. In fact it has the best paper of all my coloring books at 160 GSM! The paper is a soft ivory colored and not bright white either (which I prefer but you may not). There are a few double-page spreads but most of them are confined to a single page. Since the book is hardbound, it's a little difficult to color the double spreads but it can be done. In fact some of the double spreads are composed in such a way that you can think of it as two separate images. You can color them in complementary colors or completely different to each other.

Suitable Mediums
I have colored only a single page from this book so far but the experience was phenomenal. I used my Polychromos pencils (oil-based) and each color simply glides onto the page. I didn't have any issues with blending or layering and the paper can take at least 5 to 6 layers before it becomes impossible to add more color. Although I haven't tried my wax based pencils like Prismacolor, I'm sure they'll work equally well.

The paper is thick enough to take water, provided you use it sparingly. There are very few coloring books with watercolor paper but high quality coloring books like Daydreams or Lost Ocean can accommodate water-based media pretty well. However I would advise everyone to test their preferred mediums somewhere in the book (publisher page, introduction etc.). Some artists also thoughtfully include a few blank pages just for this. But even if you don't have these, it is better to sacrifice a picture you don't like for testing rather than ruin a picture you really like.

Daydreams currently retails for around $12 and is a fantastic value at the price. I found books with cheap, printer quality paper that sell for the same price! The images in this book are perfect for using metallic or glitter pens. So break out your shiny tools and start bringing them to life! Happy coloring everyone.


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