Nordische Wildnis (Nordic Wilderness) – A Review

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Nordische Wildnis: Ausmalen und entspannen is illustrated by the very talented Claire Scully whose work you’ll recognise from The Menagerie and this new book is published and was very kindly sent to me by Gräfe Und Unzer Verlag (Recht herzlichen Dank für deine Großzügikeit Andrea). Nordische Wildnis translates to Nordic Wilderness and this book gives you just that, beautiful images of animals and scenery from the Nordic countries. This book is absolutely beautiful and so intricate and cohesive, it’s just lovely! It is significantly smaller than The Menagerie and a more manageable size at just over 23cms square and the quality of the book is second to none, it’s just beautiful! The book is paperback with a thick card cover that is double thickness and opens out front and back to reveal a beautiful leafy scene at the front, and two beautiful colourable postcards at the back that can be carefully cut out with scissors. This book also has the unusual and amazing feature of 4 perforated card pages at the back which are printed single-sided with 3 additional designs and 2 giant bookmark-style images that are half a page each. The book is printed double-sided and contains a mixture of single and double-page designs, the spine is glue-bound and the images are borderless so a little of each image is lost into it. The binding is quite tight and unfortunately the image placement in a few cases wasn’t very well thought through with most of the face of an owl being obscured in the spine and a couple of other pictures being heavily affected, however, spines of this type do ease up with use and become more flexible so you can reach more of the image, so be patient and get working it! The paper is thick and bright white and is lightly textured so it’s perfect for water-based pens which didn’t bleed or shadow at all (they only started to shadow when I accidentally coloured a section in the wrong colour and had to colour over it again and it didn’t even vaguely bleed through), and it’ll be perfect for blending and layering with pencils.

The images are beautiful and so cohesive! The illustrations are all of things you’d expect to find in Nordic countries from polar bears to pine martens, various species of owl to wolves, whales to horses, and squirrels to salmon. There are also a number of beautiful scenic images of fjords, log cabins, lots of trees, underwater creatures and even a stunning double-page spread of the Northern Lights over some icebergs which I can’t wait to get blending pinks and greens on to really make the scene come to life. Some of the images are animals on their own, others have backgrounds or objects with them, some are shown in groups and there are also a few double-page spreads of collections of natural items including lots of mushrooms, pine needles and pine cones, palm fronds, feathers, snowflakes and leaves. There are no filler images in this book and each illustration has absolutely earned its place, Claire’s style is beautiful and her hyper-detailed drawings of nature are just stunning and perfect to be coloured with pencils or fineliners.

In terms of mental health, this book is fantastic, it is the absolute definition of nature-filled and you all know that I think that’s the best thing for calming an anxious mind, improving low mood and making you feel more in tune with nature and the outside world. The images are drawn very realistically which is ideal for those of you who like to colour in realistic colours, but will equally suit those of you who want to spice things up with red leaves, blue wolves and neon pink otters. The illustrations are easy to identify so you’ll easily be able to find pictures online of the things you’re colouring if you want to match your colour palette to those found in the wild. The line thickness is consistently thin throughout but it’s not particularly difficult to stay within the lines as long as you have moderate to good vision and fine motor control. The images are highly detailed and intricate (on a par with Millie Marotta’s and Johanna Basford’s books) and there are lots of tiny spaces making up each image whether it be hundreds of leaves, or blades of grass, or feathers, fur or scales, there is a huge amount of detail in these illustrations which makes them so beautiful and a joy to colour but this does mean it’s not so suitable for people who don’t have good vision or fine motor control. However, while the images are really intricate and detailed, most of this detail is drawn into much larger spaces including landscapes and animals so you could very easily colour over these details with pens or pencils so that the linework shows up as texture rather than having to colour each tiny section separately so there is scope for most ability levels to really enjoy this book. There are also a number of larger spaces in some of the images that will be really well suited to using your pencils for blending and shading to really bring the animals and landscapes to life. There aren’t any designs for you to finish drawing but there are natural spaces left in a few of the designs where you could add your own creatures, foliage, scenery and backgrounds, this is a happy compromise for those who can and can’t draw because there is space to draw if you want it, without any written hints.  You will need a fair amount of concentration to really get the most out of this book as each image will take a good long while to colour but because of the subject matter you can always colour a few leaves, feathers or mushrooms to get your quick colouring fix on a bad day and tackle a whole image on days when you can cope with colouring for longer. I really can’t express how beautiful this book is or how amazing the production is. The paper will bleed with alcohol markers but it stands up brilliantly to water-based pens and it’s just a dream to colour no matter what mediums you choose. The pictures are beautiful, so delicate and detailed and they’re wonderful to colour with whatever mediums you fancy. You’ll get absolutely lost in the Nordic Wilderness and if you like The Menagerie, you’re sure to love this book filled with Claire’s beautiful illustrations, it’s made its way straight onto my list of favourites and I can’t wait to get colouring more pages.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves colouring natural images of plants, animals and scenery, this book is beautiful and the added features of removable card pages, bookmarks and postcards is such a wonderful touch. The paper is truly fantastic and a dream to colour. If you love detail, intricacy and realistic images then this book will be perfect for you.

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Nordische Wildnis: Ausmalen und entspannen
Book Depository Worldwide –

If you like this art work and haven’t yet purchased a copy of The Menagerie it’s available here:
Review of The Menagerie
Amazon UK – The Menagerie: Animal Portraits to Colour
Book Depository Worldwide –

I’ve also recently reviewed another beautiful book published by the same company but different illustrators and if you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Review – Exotischer Urwald (Exotic Jungle)
Amazon UK – Exotischer Urwald: Ausmalen und entspannen
Book Depository Worldwide –

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Staedtler Triplus Fineliners.

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