Min Mandala en Målarbok is a beautiful Swedish colouring book illustrated by Maria Ljungeld of Black White Mustard, and published and very kindly sent to me to review by Pagina Förlag. This book is 25cm square, paperback with flexible card covers that are made of recycled style card with a beautiful embossed coloured mandala on the front, with ¼ French flaps with more coloured embossed mandalas on the flaps and blank covers inside. The spine is glue and string-bound so it doesn’t lie completely flat but all of the mandala designs are contained to a single page so none of them enter the spine and the entirety is colourable. The images are printed double-sided and all of them are single page designs with a small border around them which would make them ideal for framing if you don’t mind sacrificing the design on the reverse. The paper is the same paper as is always used in the Pagina published books (e.g. dagdrommar and sommarnatt), it’s cream and medium thickness, it’s pretty smooth so coloured pencils go on evenly, water-based pens don’t bleed at all and only slightly shadowed but this won’t be visible once you colour the reverse image. The book contains 85 images, the majority of which are mandalas and a few are more obscure patterns or scenes. The mandalas mostly aren’t your typical mandalas, a few are but many consist of themed objects with themes including dentistry, music, leaves, jewellery, DIY, hair, sewing, breakfast, cookery, sport, travel, bugs, Christmas, and so much more, the variety is honestly astounding! At the back of the book are 4 grey lined templates for you to have a go at drawing your own mandalas if you wish.
In terms of mental health, this book is great because it mixes mandalas with easily identifiable objects. This concept is really useful because many of us use mandalas to calm ourselves down so repetitive pattern is ideal for this, and having identifiable objects means that you can use their natural colour scheme if you wish so there’s no need to think or deliberate over colour choices, you can just pick out the correct colours and get colouring you stress and anxiety away. The line thickness is consistently thin throughout and the intricacy and detail level varies from large open spaces to very detailed and small parts with the majority of the images consisting of a lot of detail and small parts. You’ll need pretty good vision and fine motor control but it’s also worth noting that while intricacy can put people off, as long as it’s not too intense it’s very good for getting you to focus properly and get out of your head and away from your anxious thoughts. The content of the mandalas and patterns is mostly pretty neutral and natural and you can really zone out and just colour in each section in the colours you’ve picked out. The object focused pages would be ideal for your bad days because you can focus on colouring just one item, or two or three, rather than the whole thing which you could focus on during better periods. They do require a fair bit of concentration but most of them are very clear to see what the content is so you don’t have to do much deciphering. The mandalas are all hand-drawn so they’re not perfect, they have a lovely friendly quality to them and they don’t seem quite as intimidating as the perfectly precise, entirely spherical kind. As seasoned readers of my blog will have noticed I almost always colour mandalas in rainbow colours and this isn’t just because I like rainbows, it’s because when I’m anxious it’s really hard for me to make decisions and with a rainbow you don’t have to make any, you just colour each consecutive section in the next colour and somehow mandalas always look awesome like that!
Overall, I would highly recommend this book. It’s the most varied mandala book I’ve seen and it’s got a great mix of traditional patterned mandalas and more obscure object filled mandalas so there really is something for everyone.
If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s currently available in a few international stores which do ship to most places worldwide, just use Google Translate or the translate feature on Google Chrome to check you’re ordering the correct things and check the conversion so you know how much you’re paying too.
Pen Store – http://www.penstore.com/art-design/min-mandala
Bokus – http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163612558/min-mandala-malarbok/
Aldibris – http://www.adlibris.com/