Artist Illustrates Stunning Coloring Books for Adults

UK artist and illustrator, Johanna Basford has created a series of coloring books for adults. Outstandingly popular, her illustrations have sold over a million copies, which can be found on Amazon. Basford’s intricate work showcases the beautiful and magical creatures found in every fairytale forest. She wrote on her website:

“Every piece I create starts life as a simple pencil sketch, evolving into a rambling pen and ink drawing usually spanning several sheets of paper. I love the tactile nature of the materials I use and the joy of smudgy fingerprints.For me, computer generated graphics can feel cold and soulless whereas hand drawing captures a sense of energy and character which no pixel can ever replicate.”

Take a look below at Basford’s detailed-oriented and ethereal work. 

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Why Adults Are Buying Coloring Books (For Themselves)

“If someone saw you coloring in one of my books, they wouldn’t give you a weird look, because it’s the same kind of artwork you would see on a champagne bottle,” illustrator Johanna Basford told me. “The artwork itself is sophisticated––not like a car or a bunny with a bow in its hair.”

Read more from Adrienne Raphel on

Image via Passion for Pencils /


We’ve learned about a secret some of you have — a secret that involves crayons, markers and colored pencils. Last week, we asked our Facebook followers to tell us if they were an adult who likes to color, and we received hundreds of responses saying, “yes,” and, “I thought I was alone.”

Well, you’re not alone. In fact, there are enough of you out there to have made sellout successes out of not one, but two grown-up coloring books by illustrator Johanna Basford. Her first book, 2013’s Secret Garden, sold nearly 1.5 million copies worldwide. Her latest, Enchanted Forest, came out in February.

Artist Goes Outside The Lines With Coloring Books For Grown-Ups

Photo Credit: Sam Brill/Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing


Johanna Basford studied, works and lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Her distinctive illustrative style is widely recognised and can be found on a diverse range of products including wallpaper, beer bottles and even tattoos.

Every piece I create starts life as a simple pencil sketch, evolving into a rambling pen and ink drawing usually spanning several sheets of paper. I love the tactile nature of the materials I use and the joy of smudgy fingerprints. My delicate hand inked designs intend to charm and delight, inviting you to peer closer and discover the hidden intricacies.

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Last week, All Things Considered talked to illustrator Johanna Basford about her grown-up coloring books and ever since I’ve wanted one (or two) of my very own. I can almost hear those drawings calling my name – and they sound just like Susan Stamberg. Now if only I still had that 50 plus piece colored pencil set from when I was 7 …


Artist Goes Outside The Lines With Coloring Books For Grown-Ups

Coloring books for adults

From jkottke:

The two top-selling books on Amazon right now are a pair of coloring books for adults by Johanna Basford: Enchanted Forest and Secret Garden.

Secret Garden, btw, has already sold 1.4 million copies. It’s a brilliant publishing setup: there’s no language barrier and people actually spread the word about the book because they want to show off their coloring. Johanna has a website with her own work and a coloring galley of pages submitted from readers. She also has an instagram where she shows her work:

The cynical among us might scoff, but the NYTimes ran a little profile of Basford a few days ago that pointed out that even she and her publisher were surprised by the sales:

Surging demand caught Ms. Basford and her publisher off guard. Fan mail poured in from busy professionals and parents who confided to Ms. Basford that they found coloring in her books relaxing. More accolades flowed on social media, as people posted images from their coloring books.

Hard-core fans often buy several copies of her books at a time, to experiment with different color combinations. Others have turned it into a social activity. Rebekah Jean Duthie, who lives in Queensland, Australia, and works for the Australian Red Cross, says she regularly gathers with friends for “coloring circles” at cafes and in one another’s homes.

It’s not as though there’s no precedent for this kind of book. Ed Emberley put out his first how-to-draw book almost as a joke, to fill time in between his “real” books, and of course, they have sold millions of copies. Last I checked, Keri Smith’s Wreck This Journal had something like half a million copies in print. The difference, of course, is that these are explicitly aimed at adults, or, at least, all-ages.

Kottke joked of the sales, “What This Says™ about contemporary culture is left as an exercise to the reader.”

What it says to me is something I’ve said before: helping other feel people creative can be way more lucrative than actually being creative.

As for me, I’m all-in on the joy of coloring. Heck, Lynda Barry opens each of her courses with a 3-page coloring assignment:


For a limited time only get our great printable adult coloring book free by following the link and using the coupon codes below! PDF’s are at the end of the book! Also check out our other five books because they are also 25% off!

This image was colored by a talented fan and comes from our free book called Adult coloring book: 20 stress reliving landscapes and animal patterns!

100% off animal book coupon code: TWH96ON4ZW
25% off all 5 other books coupon code: SHQN19W61G

I Love My Hair: A Coloring Book of Braids, Coils, and Doodle Dos by Andrea Pippins

For fans of Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest comes a hip, gorgeous doodle coloring book about all things hair. Unlike other adult coloring books, which depict nature scenes and cityscapes, this title celebrates strong, confident women with a passion for style, design, and fashion.  [book link]