Inktober 2019: Scandinavian folklore edition

Completed Inktober for the 4th year in a row! I know October was a while ago, but I really like what I did for 2019 and I want to share! 😎


The tools were the same as they’ve been since 2016: graphite pencil, a set of ink pens of various sizes, and a book. A book that I’ve finally finished! Every single page is full! 🎉

Imaginary Karin - inktober drawlloween tools

Theme: Scandinavian folklore

Last year, like the year before that, I didn’t have a prompt list and just drew whatever. This year I decided to limit myself a little.

I found a pretty cool Wikipedia article (in Swedish only, sorry) about various beings from Scandinavian folklore and felt inspired to draw them. We have a lot of the standard creatures like fairies and trolls and such, but we also have some really weird and interesting ones. I figured it would be educational for both myself and others to learn some of the crazy stuff we’ve come up with. (I blame long dark winters and liberal use of alcohol.)

The drawings

I’m not gonna list all the drawings here, only my favourites. The complete collection can be found on my art Instagram. They are still at the top of my feed.

drawing of a man in water playing a violin


He is a water sprite living in rivers and lakes. Most of the time he’s trying to drown people by putting them under his spell with his beautiful music. He especially favours the violin. If you think you hear a melody in the rushing water you better flee.

drawing of a boar with red eyes


Gloson is a supernatural pig monster from south Sweden. She enjoys running between people’s legs and splitting them in half with her razor-like bristles. You may find her hanging around graveyards and/or cairns.

drawing of a troll in a forest


Scandinavian trolls come in many different varieties, from giant mountain trolls to tiny little goblin-like versions living under rocks.

This is what I guess you’d call the “normal” kind: a troll that looks pretty much like a regular human, only hairier and with a tail. They are actually a lot like humans in many ways. Trolls have families and societies just like us. Despite living in caves and wearing mostly rags they usually have great hoards of gold and treasure. “Rich as a troll” is a common expression.


A bjära is a witch’s “helper”. They steal milk and other resources and bring them back to their witch master.

In most of Sweden the bjära is a hare or a bird but in the north, where I come from, it’s usually a ball of yarn. To me that’s equal parts adorable and hilarious. Imagine being robbed by a ball of yarn! 😂


Small grey folk who usually live close to human settlements and like to steal things. They can cast spells and make themselves invisible. Not completely unlike gnomes and goblins.

drawing of light orbs in a forest


Little lights that can lead you to safety if you get lost – or lead you to your doom. It’s 50/50 really, so be careful if you decide to follow them…

drawing of a wyvern like dragon


These magical creatures come in many varieties. Some legends say they are good and helpful and that meeting one is a good omen. Some say they are evil and dangerous monsters. Basically, just like all other dragons.

They have no wings and only two legs.

drawing of a forest nymph


Rå is an old word meaning “keeper” or “warden”. They are like spirit creatures that rule lakes, rivers, mountains, forests etc. Just like nature itself, they are neither good nor evil – but very powerful and follow only their own laws.

This is the forest rå, so obviously she rules the woods. She shows herself as a beautiful woman, but her back is like a hollow tree. She seduces men and put them under her spell or make people get lost in the woods. But she can also bring forward animals for hunters to shoot or help people who got lost on their own find their way home.

This queen of the forest is one of my personal favourite beings. 😊

Drawing of a lady in front of a mountain


The mountain rå lives inside the mountain and is usually depicted as a woman in white.

The mine rå is like a mountain rå dedicated especially to a mine. She is often called Gruvfrun, the Lady of the Mine. The miners would sacrifice food and items to the Lady hoping she would protect them. She could warn them if some accident was about to happen or lead them outside if they lose their way. But if the miners were disrespectful or angered her she might instead bring down the mountain on their heads, killing them or trapping them in the dark. Or she could confuse their minds so they get lost and never find their way out.

A drawing of a ghost child


A myling is the ghost of a small child who was killed by its mother and hidden. Must’ve happened a lot if a word was invented for it… 😬 If you happen to pass by where their bodies were buried you can hear them cry and sometimes call for help.

drawing of Storsjöodjuret, a water serpent similar to the Loch Ness Monster


Did you know Sweden has its very own Loch Ness monster? It lives in the big lake Storsjön and has been spotted for hundreds of years. It’s described to be snake-like and over 10 metres long.

In retrospect

It was so nice having a theme! Just drawing whatever worked, but I often found myself using more time and energy trying to figure out what to draw than actually drawing. Having a set theme is such a time-saver! And blank pages are intimidating and I don’t like being stuck staring at them for longer than necessary. 😆

I was also glad to see the end of that book. It looks pretty, but every single year I’ve complained about the paper being too grainy, too yellow, and too soft so the ink bleeds all over it. Now the book is full and I can, with good conscience, pick something else to draw in for the next Inktober.
It feels very good to have a completed sketchbook though. It wasn’t optimal, but it’s finished.

For next year I’ll need to find something else to draw in and a new theme. I’m looking forward to both. 😊

Did anyone else do Inktober? Or NaNoWriMo for that matter?


  1. 27 January 2020

    Wow! Your art is great! I really liked reading about each one too. Learning folklore like that about other countries is always interesting to me. I really need to look more into my own folklore stories from the native Americans and stuff. I can’t really draw so I have never joined in on inktober but I did join the writing one once in my life. It was back when I was spitting out short story requests one at a time.I really need to get back into writing.

  2. 2 February 2020

    Wow, these are gorgeous. I like each one of them. Well done!!

    I’d love to learn how to draw, but I’m too busy at the moment. Maybe someday in the future I will have time for this.

  3. 5 February 2020

    You’re very talented. Can’t wait to see more of your future creations!

  4. 7 February 2020

    These are all so enchanting! ♥.♥ I’ve followed your blog for soooo long and it’s still one of my favorites. I love Sweden (on my father’s side, most of my family is Finn-Swede) and folklore in general, so this is a great mix. Thank you for sharing!

    • 8 May 2020

      Thank you! And I love that you’re still following me 🥰 I’ve followed you for ages too, I think since we met at the 20-something bloggers community?

  5. 28 March 2020

    I find this post very entertaining…Wonderful :) thanks for sharing

    I miss you poems

  6. 4 May 2020

    These are just gorgeous! Beautiful artwoork.

Due to its old age, comments are closed on this post. But you can contact me directly if you want to.