Dagdrommar English Print: Paper Quality Review.

Amazon has had Hanna Karlzon’s Dagdrommar and Sommarnatt listed as pre order for a few months now.  The release date is approaching and I, as well as many other colourists, have been concerned about the quality of paper that will be used in these English versions of the books.  The US has a slightly tainted track record of printing colouring books to the same standard as their overseas counterparts (see the US version of Animophia) so this is an area of concern for people waiting to order the book from Amazon US. A short time ago I was approached by the US publishing house responsible for printing the English version Gibbs Smith Publisher to test the paper prior to going to press.(Thank you, Christy, for passing on my name to them. 🙂 )  Three printed pages arrived in the mail and I gave them a good run over with my colouring supplies.

First off the paper feels very very similar to the paper in the books.  It is the exact shade of ivory as the originals.  I thought I could detect slightly more tooth when gently brushing it with my finger tips but otherwise the paper is smooth to the touch.

I started with a range of different pencils both student (budget priced) and high end artist grade and all performed well. The paper demonstrated a very strong tooth that did not flatten easily and allowed me to apply multiple pencil layers… eight or more in sections of the face. I found this very similar if not identical to the original books.  I was very pleased with the results using both common budget pencil brands and high end artists ones.  I would be happy using either on this paper.

DagdrommarPaperTest

Next I tried water activated pencils. Both the Derwent Inktense and Staedtler watercolour pencils performed well when activated on this paper. I was pleasantly surprised to find the activated pigment stayed on the surface of the paper allowing me to work it to produce smooth results. I could achieve a dense coat of pigment without any bleed though. Another pleasant surprise is that after initially developing a slight swell (ripple) due to the water the paper dried surprisingly flat. The best result I have ever seen in any colouring book! Curious I then tried a small amount of water colour and found that the paper also accepted this medium well. A large amount of water saturating the paper will cause the paper to buckle and possibly bleed through but the modest amounts I used performed very well and I would happily carefully water colour on this paper again.

DagdrommarPaperWater

The brightest golds and browns are Inktense pencils on the left and Staedtler watercolour pencils on the right. No bleed through with either products and the paper dried perfectly flat!

I tried water based markers next: Tombow and (Artist quality) and Faber Castell Connector pens (student grade). I experienced no bleed through with the Tombows and a faint show thru with a few of darker connector pens. This is a similar result to the original Swedish books. Faber Castell Pitt pens (Indian ink markers). Did not bleed through even with a solid application of black allowing each layer to dry in between. I tried fineliner pens. Both the Staedtler fineliners and Stabilo’s worked fine although again there was a faint ‘show thru but no bleed thru. (Show thru is what I refer to a faint shadow visible on the other side of the paper. Bleed thru is when the ink is clearly bled through and stained the other side of the paper.)  There was only faint show through with some of the gel pens.  I tested these in my original Swedish copy of Dagdrommar and I got IDENTICAL results.

DagdrommarPaperBack

The back of the paper after testing all of my supplies on it. Only a slight hint of the gel pens and the connector pens were visible under bright light. This result was the same as with the original Swedish version of Dagdrommar.

Lastly I tried erasing on this paper and here I discovered the only real issue. Unfortunately attempts to erase on this paper removed a large amount of the print ink. There is an example of this in the photo. (Look at the bottom left hand side of the picture.) I added this to my report that I sent to the publishing house so they are aware of it.  NOTE: this test was for the paper only, not the ink quality, so I feel the ink they printed on these test sheets may not be the ink that will be in the final books.  Gibbs Smith obviously care a lot about the their products. Besides the erasing issue I found this paper to be excellent overall and I would not have any issues colouring on it.  I think people who are waiting for the English version to be released will not be disappointing.

You can pre order the English version of Dagdrommar (Daydreams) here on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Daydreams-Coloring-Book-Originally-Dagdr%C3%B6mmar/dp/1423645561/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1H8QJR9BTJYDYM95XEQD

And for Sommarnatt (Summer Nights) here:

http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Nights-Coloring-Book-Originally/dp/1423645588/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=17YMQ7Z5WM9584H2VTE0

39 Comments

  1. Paula

    Thank you so much for letting us know, Peta! Your attention to detail with testing different mediums is greatly appreciated. I am one of those people in the US who was concerned about the paper issue (I’ve been disappointed more than once with the US editions) and I ended up ordering the original Swedish editions, plus one other book. I incurred massive shipping charges (a fair bit more than the cost of the books, yikes!) so it’s nice to know those that haven’t ordered can safely save their money. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Phyllis Stuart

    Wow! Thank you so much & also to the publishing company for caring enough to have you test the paper so thoroughly!I’m anxiously waiting for the books to become available on Amazon.com. It’s great to know the paper will be a good quality. I can’t afford the shipping charges so I have to buy from Amazon.com regardless. Thanks again, Peta, you’re wonderful!

    Reply
  3. Erin

    I’m pretty devoted to the Swedish copies of the books (the paper is lovely) so I don’t think I’ll be buying these versions. That said, it’s wonderful that they’ve taken such care with the paper selection for the books.

    Reply
  4. Samantha G.

    Thank you so much for this. I am one of those who were “burned” by the poor quality of the American version of Animorphia. I ended up buying another copy of it through The Book Depository. Consequently I did not preorder either of these book yet. Now I feel it is safe to do so. BTW, I just received Kerby’s new book, Imagimprphia, and I love it!

    Reply
  5. Heike Schniedermeyer

    Peta! Thank you again for such a wonderfull review!
    I’ve got already my swedish copy of Dagdrömmar (got lucky on amazon.de and could save the outragious shipping fee to Germany on pentstore.com) and will be getting it from my mum today! So it’s a double cause for happiness, seeing my mum again and getting a fabulous book!
    But I wasn’t lucky on Sommernatt. So I’m more than happy to know the quality is very similar/identical to the swedish ones . which means I’m placing my preoder today (like right now hahaha) and maybe order the english one of Dagdrömmar along. Just in case, I’m botching my swedish one up.
    Thanks again for your great videos and blogposts, for your time to test and explain techniques, mediums and quality of books and such. =) I’m soooo greatfull for it, it must take up sooo much of your freetime!

    Have a great day, until the next post/video. Happy colouring!

    Reply
  6. Tracy

    I’m definitely impressed that the publisher went this extra step! And thank you as well for doing such a thorough job! I hope that they will pay attention to your comment on the ink permanency! It’s been a bit surprising that American publishers have been so slow to catch on to the fact that ADULT coloring books require more attention to detail than printing up quickie books for children. I’m hoping we see more SEWN bindings as well – that’s one thing I’d really like to know about the American version of Dagdrommar. After having a few coloring books recently just fall apart because of poor, glued bindings, I’m starting to limit myself only to sewn bindings unless there is something truly extraordinary about the artwork. I’ve now ordered several books through Book Depository to get editions printed OUTSIDE the US for the higher quality paper and bindings!

    Reply
    1. Rachel

      Hi Tracy,
      I’m Rachel and work at Gibbs Smith and wanted to let you know that our coloring books are sewn and then the artist edition will be a gummy binding, so you can pull it out easier. Thanks!

      Reply
  7. BigT

    Hi Peta,

    Thank you. I’m so relieved. I pre-ordered both of the available Karlzon books. It’s good to know they will be printed on same nice paper that you’ve shown in yours. Otherwise, I would have to return them. It’s my new policy for coloring books now that I’ve got enough of them to supply half my neighborhood. If the paper is bad, they go back or get recycled.

    I’m not sure what is going on with these two books, but originally, when I ordered them, Amazon US listed them with an August 9th release. Now they’re listed as Delivery date pending. I don’t think that’s a good sign. I’m afraid they may not be getting enough stock to cover all their pre-orders.

    BigT

    Reply
    1. Rachel

      Hi BigT,

      I’m Rachel and I work at Gibbs Smith Publisher. It took us a little longer to get the paper quality right and we had to push back the release date to Aug. 9th. But, I’m not sure why it says delivery date pending but we’re watching pre-orders so we have enough in stock.

      Thanks!

      Reply
  8. Trinity

    Thanks for the review! Now I won’t have to worry so much!

    Reply
  9. Marcia

    Thank you! I have had my English version on pre-order for weeks and have been concerned about quality. Like many I choose not to pay the high shipping fees for the Swedish version.

    Reply
  10. Chris

    Peta, thank you for your lovely review of this paper for the Karlzon books. I now know I can safely order the US version. I was disappointed with my Lost Ocean when I saw the differences between the US and non-US version of it. It was glued binding and no dust cover… with something so meaningful to me, I’m going to be extra picky! So, I ordered it (a second time) from Amazon.UK. Shipping is expensive (as others have mentioned) so I’ll try and save that for really special things… like Magical Jungle. Johanna confirmed that the same differences will exist between the print editions for Magical Jungle so I cancelled my US pre-order and ordered it from the UK.

    So, thank you again for what you do! I love your blogs and videos! I love your original art too… that platypus is wonderful!

    Happy coloring!

    Reply
    1. Chaypeta (Post author)

      Hi Chris. Try looking at the prices at the book depository. It is a UK based seller but they have free shipping world wide. (We Aussies love it as shipping is SOOOOO expensive from elsewhere.) Also they will give you a choice of ISBN numbers in some cases so you can pick the print run you want if you know them. The ISBN number is printed next to the publishing information of the book.

      Reply
  11. Mirhanda

    I really appreciate your taking the time to use all those different media on the paper to really give it a thorough test! I am glad to hear the US publisher cares this much. Looks like we will be able to use any media we want on this paper!

    Reply
  12. Kathy

    Thank you so much for your review on this. I have the books on pre order and was concerned about the same thing and you have put my mind at ease.

    Reply
  13. Karen B

    Thank you for this review! I was hoping to hear a review before I put in my order.

    Reply
  14. Georgia

    Thanks for your review Peta! I’ve been wanting to order from overseas for months but have been put off by the high shipping cost to Australia. Amazon didn’t seem like a good option due all the problems we’ve read about the printing differences in the US, so your review gives us some peace of mind. I’m also really glad you tested the Inktense and watercolour pencils + paints and the paper held up well. I enjoy using these but find they’re not ideal in most colouring books so end up looking for those printed on specialty paper. Like many others, I’m loving your reviews and tutorials and appreciate that you’re sharing these with us.

    Reply
  15. Reva S.

    Hi Peta,
    Great news about you receiving that original artwork especially since the artist seems to be one of your favorites! Enjoy it. When you go to the framer tell him/her to be sure to use museum quality mat and backing board, and also whatever is used to fix the artwork to board as well. Pencils and paint we know about being lightfast, but the damage from the wrong board is truly awful and also brings way down the value of the artwork. I am not sure the term museum board is used in Australia, but the framer neeeds to know it must be ph neutral and is the kind of board used in museums and really fine freaming shops. I believe now there is mat board that is colored (true museum board is only white and gray I believe) but now there is a way for the colord board to be line with a thinner museum board and it prevents the damage. The backing board is also very important as it can turn brown and bleed through the artwork. I know all this because I had a gallery and framing shop when I lived in Florida, and was one of the first to offer this kind of framing in that area.
    Good news that the Swedish books that are being printed on quality paper in the USA and glad to hear it is good. I shall look for it. Actually, printing and book making in the USA is very good, but at times the publishers want to cut costs and go with poor quality to save money.
    Again, I am so happy to hear about your wonderful gift. Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy! You certainly deserve it, you give so much to so many of us.
    Reva

    Reply
    1. Chaypeta (Post author)

      Thanks, Reva. it’s great to get inside knowledge on framing. I will ask about that at our Framers. I certainly want this to be framed with archival quality material.

      Reply
  16. Reva S.

    Hwllo again Peta,
    I just finished reading your report of your excellent tests on the paper of the English version of the books. I too am so pleased, and thank you for the links. I will probably order them that way or through the UK Amazon. I believe those who have delivery to the US cannot order from the UK Amazon, but I believe folks in Australia and other places can. I think those coloring books are wonderful and I am so glad about the quality. Thank you for doing so much and knowing just what to test for!
    All the best,
    Reva

    Reply
    1. Chaypeta (Post author)

      I think in Australia we can order from either. I tend to order from the Book Depository if I can because the shipping prices from the US is horrible, often more than the price of the book.

      Reply
    2. Tammy

      You CAN order from Amazon UK if you live in the US! You just have to pay shipping, Even with prime. However, there are some things that the US does not let you import, such as paints and some markers, things that might be hazardous or not meet safety standards. They tell you though, when you click on an item, that it can’t be delivered to the US or that it can. Why do people make assumptions without checking first? Then, not only do you have incorrect information, you’re giving others incorrect information. That seems so silly and ridiculous, downright dumb, in fact.

      Reply
  17. Mary

    Thank you for this review! Very helpful.

    Reply
  18. Lo

    I am now so happy! Thank you Peta. I’ve preordered from the UK Book Depository. I wish I could order from here but there’s no way of beating their prices when they are so low and no postage.
    When I buy colouring books in bulk I do use booktopia though.
    I would love to hear a review of Micador Stylish Brush markers. So far I’ve found nothing except your comment they bled through a little on Joanna Basford’s book.

    Reply
  19. Lori Bain

    Thank you, Peta, for this review. I pre-ordered Sommarnatt via Amazon some time ago, but was curious about the paper, too. I’d ordered Dagdrommar from Pen Store, but it’s rather expensive to ship, so thought I’d try to order from Amazon this time as I live in the U.S. Thanks again!

    Reply
  20. Kathy Kerner

    I just tried to find Hanna’s books at the Book Depository, but it doesn’t look like the Swedish versions are available there. The Pen Store seems to be the only one, where I will end up paying as much for shipping as for the books. I appreciate your review, but I’m concerned about the pre-orders having overwhelmed the printer and so — will they cheapen and/or change paper quality to get the orders filled, or we end up waiting months longer than we were told? I’m more worried they will change paper in order to get the books printed. Do you think that might be a possibility?

    Reply
    1. Rachel

      Hi Kathy,

      I’m Rachel and work for the publisher Gibbs Smith. We are watching pr-orders closely, so we neither of those this will happen. But if something huge happens that we don’t see we won’t cheapen or change the paper quality.

      Thanks!

      Reply
  21. Amy

    Thanks so much, Peta for reviewing (and to the publisher for sending it to you). I had both books on my Amazon wish list, and now you’ve given me the confidence to go ahead and pre-order. I also appreciate you testing a variety of media. I own probably half of the ones you used. I’m especially happy to know that the Pitt Pens don’t bleed through.

    Reply
  22. Debbie

    Thank you so much for all the testing you have done for us. I am anxiously awaiting my copy.

    Reply
  23. Lucia MacLellan

    Thanks for the review, I did order both books from Amazon but like you, was concerned about the paper. Glad all is well

    Reply
  24. Ella

    PETA, where can I order the original version? Thanks so I have for the great detail in your review.

    Reply
    1. Chaypeta (Post author)
  25. Astri

    Thank for this review. I have the swedish version of both ooks incuding blommstermandala, but should I want a new one I can consider buying the english versions. Now only hoping they will think about printing single sided instead of double sided like the original ones, would make it more approachable for more mediums to use…….

    Reply
  26. sarah p

    I bought the Swedish versions from the pen store a few weeks ago and I have had the same problem with erasing as you Peta. Also I have to put a piece if paper between pages when I color because the line art rubs off on the next page much like a carbon copy. But the worst is, it can not get wet. I put one drop of water on mine and let it dry. The paper bubbled up and turned grainy like whatever binder was in the paper had started to dissolve. I don’t know what’s going on with my book. I’m still going to color it though I just have to be careful.

    Reply
    1. Chaypeta (Post author)

      Oh dear… I didn’t have that sort of issue with colouring mine lightly with watercolours. I hope they haven’t moved to cheaper paper. 🙁 (I bought mine about 10 weeks ago.)

      Reply
  27. Palm

    Hi Peta,
    Thank you for the review!
    Quick question though – is just me or the Polychromos section of the hair looks very muted?
    The colors doesn’t seem as bright and vibrant as even the student grade pencils you’ve tried out.
    Is just that you’ve picked out darker colors or maybe it just doesn’t translate well in your photo?
    I’ve seen gorgeous work done with the Polychromos pencils in the original version and, as these are the pencils I work with, I’m worried that even though the application may be easy according to your review, the end result will not be as vibrant as what I’ve seen done in the original version.

    Reply
    1. Chaypeta (Post author)

      Hi Palm. Polychromos pencils overall are not as crazy bright as, say, student grade colours or Prismacolor pencils as they tend to have more realistic tones. The same can be said for most artist grade pencils. Student grade pencils cater more to children who appreciate bold bright colours rather than realistic colours. Also student brand pencils use dyes instead of pigments and are not so concerned with colour fastness. I could have brightened the polychromos section of the hair by introducing some yellowish orange shades but i decided against that for the sake of the test. (Also those Derwent inktense pencils overwhelm everything with their brightness. 🙂 I’m sticking to my Polychromos for Dagdrommar and Sommarnatt mostly as i love the feel of these pencils on this paper. 🙂

      Reply
      1. Palm

        So very true about those Inktense pencils ?
        The Artist grade Prismas and the Luminance though still seem very vibrant on your comparison page, as opposed to the Polychrromos. I guess it’s true you can always brighten things up with more colors…
        So, in conclusion, you don’t see any difference in the the end result regarding the vibrancy of the Polychromos colors between the The Swedish edition and the US edition?
        I’m about to order a copy and need to decide between the two, where price wise, the US edition is of course the better option ?

        Reply
  28. Paula Ostrom

    Yay – I’m so glad they picked you to check out their paper. This has been one of my worries since originally ordering the English version on Amazon a couple months ago. I was going to get the English version no matter what (mostly because of money,) but I have been so pleased with the results that you came up with. They picked the absolute perfect artist! Thank you, thank you!

    Reply

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