Review and Interview with Emelie Lidehäll Öberg, artist for Sagolikt


May 8, 2016 by Beth - I SNIFF BOOKS blog

sagolikt featured image

I’m exited to introduce Emelie Lidehäll Öberg, a Swedish artist, and her brand new coloring book, Sagolikt, to you! (My interview follows the review).

Sagolikt by Emelie Lidehäll Öberg - back of the book - descriptionThe Swedish word “sagolikt” translates to “like a fairy tale” in English. The book’s description is in Swedish (of course!) but here’s the translation: “This cute coloring book is all about the fairy tales! See how the dolls come to life, and the stuffed animals wander out to have a party in the woods. This book is full of fantasy illustrations where animals finds adventure in new worlds that brings your thoughts to Alice in Wonderland.”

The design for Sagolikt has a very chic feel. There are gold-foiling accents on the front and back covers and the book’s spine. Sagolikt also has french flaps — these are extensions of the front and back covers. When you open up the book, you are greeted with the words: “det var en gång…” which translates to “once upon a time…” — what a perfect introduction to the art inside. You can lift up the flap and the entire reverse side of the front (and back!) cover is completely colorable! The book is softcover, sized 10 by 10 inches, and has 96 pages.

Sagolikt is printed on very good quality Swedish paper: Munken Pure 160 gsm. The paper is a lovely soft cream color and my crayolas glide over it like a dream — just imagine how your fancy pencils will sail across the page! (Pagina Fölrag uses Munken Pure 160 gsm paper in all their coloring books.)

All the coloring pages are single-page designs. There is a good mix of designs with some “white space” around them and designs that are borderless which span the entire page. The book is glue bound so with the borderless designs, just a smidge of the imagery will be lost in the book’s gutter.

The inky lines are medium thickness and this is consistent throughout the book. The pages are intricate with all sorts of different bits to color but nothing is too tiny — even a dull pencil point could get into some of the smaller spots.

Below is a silent video flick-through (1 minute 45 seconds) of Sagolikt so you can see every single beautiful page for yourself. After you watch the video, scroll down to read my exclusive interview with Emelie! 

I’m really excited share my exclusive interview with Emelie Lidehäll Öberg, a Swedish artist, with you. Emelie talks about her life, her art, and her brand new coloring book, Sagolikt.

Image credit: Emelie Lidehäll Öberg. Used with permission.

Image credit: Emelie Lidehäll Öberg. Used with permission.

Beth: Please tell us a little bit about yourself as an artist. Before Sagolikt, what kinds of projects were you involved in?

Emelie: I am a fairly fragmented person on that point. I love to try new things. I have worked a lot on my paintings which consist of oil, acrylic, and collagen. For a while I did a lot of pencil portraits and I have been doing some minor illustration jobs for companies, festivals and the local municipality.

Beth: When did you first start drawing? When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?

Emelie: The first thing I can remember about drawing is that I bargained with it in kindergarten. “If you give me all your green pearls I will teach you how to draw a cinnamon rose bull.” When I got a little bit older I borrowed all the “learn how to draw-books” at the local library and did all the tasks in them. In high school I went to a program where I got to specialize in graphic design and illustration. After that me and my teachers plan was for me to study art, graphic design, and illustration at university. But then life came along and f***ed that plan up. My dad got very sick so, for me, it wasn’t an option to study far away from home. So instead I studied PR and information in my hometown Sundsvall while I did my art thing in my free time. Then life happened with love, work, a house, and our daughter Elise. But I would still love to study art. After all, I am only 27 years old. There is still time I keep telling myself.

Beth: Sagolikt is your first coloring book. How did you get discovered and published?

Emelie: In 2015 I was on parental leave with my daughter and stumbled on a challenge on Instagram. You were to draw one drawing a day and share it under the hashtag #enomdan2015.  So I started to draw with ink markers while she had her naps and 6 months into the challenge my publisher found my drawings on Instagram and contacted me.

Image credit: Emelie Lidehäll Öberg. Used with permission.

Image credit: Emelie Lidehäll Öberg. Used with permission.

Beth: Is any of the imagery in Sagolikt inspired by Swedish fairy tales?

Emelie: We do have a lot of folktales in Sweden. My grandmother used to tell us kids about sea witches, elves, gnomes, and goblins. Mostly so we would not play down by to the bay or wander too far out in the woods. Anyways I have used a few of those stories as inspiration for Sagolikt. And I also found great inspiration in the Swedish illustrators Elsa Beskow and John Bauer. I have always been fascinated by their fragility and their precision in their drawings. Check them out.

Beth: How long did it take you to create the art for Sagolikt? What mediums did you use?

Emelie: Since I have a day job I worked on Sagolikt nights and weekends for about two and a half months. First I make a pencil sketch and then I fill it in with ink.

Beth: I don’t know if you are aware of this, but Swedish artists are incredibly popular right now in the adult coloring world. Why do you think this is?

Emelie: So I have heard, I am glad that our somewhat small country is producing so many artists. Perhaps it’s because of our tradition of good and elaborate work in the design field overall. For example, I am thinking about our furniture, pattern, and porcelain designs. Or maybe it’s because we encourage our children and youths to learn and enjoy art and culture in school and in nonprofit organizations and cultural centers. I think the Swedish coloring books are a product of these vibrations and our will to create an elaborate product.

Image credit: Emelie Lidehäll Öberg. Used with permission.

Image credit: Emelie Lidehäll Öberg. Used with permission.

Beth: Did you have a role in the book’s design? For example, was it your idea to have gold-foiling accents on the front cover? Did you select the cover image, if so, what was that process like? Were you involved in selecting what kind of paper would be in your coloring book?

Emelie: My publisher gave me some good inputs and options to work by. Then I created the whole book file for the printers. Of course there was a lot of going back and forth with minor changes before the book was ready. It was a good teamwork and I felt that I was in control of how it all came out, which is very important for me. My publisher prints all their coloring books on 150 grams paper. Which I think is very good. A good quality of the paper is in the essence of a good coloring book.

Beth: Have you seen any completed coloring pages from Sagolikt that people have shared on facebook and instagram? If yes, how does it make you feel?

Emelie: Yes I have and I love it. As I am drawing the pages I always picture them in a color scheme. And now I find that someone as went about it completely different way and that’s so inspiring. I also love that you can do so much with colors, shading and smooth. And for people to enjoy something that I put so much work in is an amazing feeling. A kicka** teamwork, don’t you think?

completed coloring page - sagolikt

colored with Crayola colored pencils

Beth: What are you working on now? Will there be another coloring book?

Emelie: Right now I am working on a couple of coloring books with fewer pages with my publisher. One thing I am working on is a coloring book with drawings that has embedded quotes. You draw the pages and then pull them out and hang them on the wall. I do hope that there will be another coloring book like Sagolikt because I am fully loaded with inspiration for it. I guess time will tell.

A HUGE thank you to Emelie for answering my questions! I hope, dear readers, that you enjoyed the interview!

WHERE TO BUY: Sagolikt will be available at Pen Store, a retail and online shop based out of Sweden that ships worldwide. At the time of this post Sagolikt isn’t currently listed but keep stalking checking the Pen Store site because Sagolikt will be there very, very soon! Once I am notified that Sagolikt is listed on Pen Store, I will update the “where to buy” info and will include a direct link to the book’s page on the Pen Store site.

**update May 10, 9:00am EST** SAGOLIKT IS NOW LISTED ON PENSTORE!! CLICK HERE to be taken directly to the book’s page! At the time of this post it is listed for 12€ (12 Euros) which translates to $13.66 USD.

You can also pick up Sagolikt right here on Bokus, an online shop based out of Sweden that ships internationally but not worldwide. Unfortunately, Bokus does not ship to the USA but does ship to many other countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, and the UK. You can click here and scroll all the way down to the “delivery section” to see the complete list of countries Bokus ships to. (Click here to view the Bokus site in English.)

At the time of this post, no US or UK publishers have picked up publishing rights for Sagolikt — that’s why Sagolikt is not available on Amazon USA, Amazon UK, or Book Depository.

**update July 1, 2016** US publisher Gibbs-Smith is bringing Sagolikt to the USA!! Click here to read my interview/post and get all the details!!**  

Other books I have reviewed by Swedish artist Emelie Lidehäll Öberg:
En Sagolik Vinter | Sagolikt postcard collection

Connect with Emelie: facebook, instagram, website, blog

Connect with publisher Pagina Förlag: facebookinstagram

Websites for publishers Pagina and Print-WorksClick here to visit Pagina’s Publisher Shop and use the search term “målarbok” to see other coloring books by Pagina.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are my own.

Thanks for stopping by — consider following my blog so you don’t miss any of my reviews! The follow button is located near the top right of the page, directly below the search box – if you are on a mobile device the follow button is likely at the very bottom of this post or at the very bottom of my homepage.


4 thoughts on “Review and Interview with Emelie Lidehäll Öberg, artist for Sagolikt

  1. rdrlv says:

    The book looks wonderful. I think it would be a success here in the U.S.
    Publishing will come soon here in U.S.

    • Beth says:

      You are totally right, Sagolikt would be a great success in the USA 🙂 I do hope that a USA publisher “picks up” (gets publishing rights) for Sagolikt.

  2. Laura Stotlar Bagby says:

    I so very much agree with Emelie that we do not have as many artists as we could if only we encouraged art and creative pursuits in our schools. We value math and science more than we should and art less. Creativity is useful in every aspect of life.

    • Beth says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Laura, and leaving a comment. And I totally agree with you (and Emelie) — creativity is so important and it’s sad that funding for “the arts” keeps getting cut or just out right disappearing in our (USA) schools.

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