Colorist of the Week: Irena & The Magical Jungle Tree


Hi friends!

I know it’s been a while, but I’m back with some new, amazing stuff to get your inner colorist going!

This time I’m happy to present for you an exclusive interview with the very talented @black_aneri who recently became hugely popular with her black and blue summerbird from Magical Jungle by the all-known all-popular Mrs. Basford! 🙂


Et opslag delt af Irena (@black_aneri) den

Here’s Irena’s story of how she became an coloring artist – with her own words:

I don’t consider myself an artist, just a hobbyist with a constant desire to improve in something I love, so I’m still in a learning process and I doubt this will change soon. 😀 I started coloring in summer 2015. Had a stressful period at that time and I was trying to find new things to relax myself. I heard about Johanna Basford’s books and it just sounded so interesting so I bought myself “Enchanted Forest”.

I come from a very creative and talented family, but I was the one who could never draw anything and this was such a great opportunity for me to be creative, too. So with time I became more curious and began to explore more about brands of pencils as well as other illustrators. It was fun for me to try out more other styles of drawings because it was even more challenging. Every illustrator has something more to offer me, different drawings that I like and want to color. If I want to color animals, I will reach for Millie Marotta’s books, Masja van den Berg’s books for mandalas and if I want to color fantasy pages, Tomislav Tomić would be my choice. Right now, I’m learning how to color faces in Hanna Karlzon’s book which I find really hard, but fun. 🙂 So, every illustrator has it’s own, unique way and it makes it all more interesting.

When you ask me about my favorite coloring, it is pretty hard to choose. Not because I think they are all great :D, it’s just because I dedicate several hours to each of them. I never start another coloring page unless I finished my last project completely and it can easily take up to week or even more on just one coloring page.

However, I can say that one of my favorites is the magical tree from J. Basford’s book “Magical Jungle”. It was my 100th coloring so I made a challenge for myself and had an idea to color it with same colors I used on my first coloring ever from Enchanted Forest (the top right coloring on the same picture). Just thought it would be fun to see the difference and progress I made so far.

Copyright: Irena – aka @black_aneri at Instagram

When I started coloring, I thought I had no talent at all, but with time I became more curious about what I could do with my pencils, so I think this magical tree was a proof to me that I can always progress and learn how to be better at coloring. Despite that, at the end of every coloring I have no feeling that this is my limit. I always think I can do it better. 🙂

I love to mix techniques and brands of pencils on almost every page and that’s how I explore what pencils are the best for each project. However, my favorites are watercolor pencils (Koh-I-Noor Mondeluz 72 or Faber Castell Colour Grip 2001) which I used on the magical tree. I wanted to point up a fine contrast between central, lighter part of the tree and dark sky at night.

These pencils were the best way to achieve that. What I like to do is color with them, brush over with a bit of water (from light to darker color), dry and then shade all over it again with same pencils as a final layer. This is how I can play with them – I can get very vibrant colors but also leave lighter colors in some places, if I want to. These pencils are also great for combining them with pens (I used black Stabilo pens in this picture) because they cover overlapping lines if I’m shading over pens with them and colors are very bright and strong. By using lots of very dark and very light shades you can accomplish depth and get more dramatic look.

Do you like Irena’s drawings? Then go check her profile here – it’s a brilliant example of the fact that you don’t need a lot of expensive stuff add magic to every coloring, all you need is your own imagination and creativity – and dedication, as Irena can easily spend more than a week on each coloring alone. Now, I do that too but I don’t end up creating these masterpieces.  Maybe some time in the future, Irena will disclose which YouTubers she like to watch – I sure am interested in knowing that… 😉