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.
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.
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.
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:
And for Sommarnatt (Summer Nights) here: