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.
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.”
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.
Johanna Basfordstudied, 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.
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:
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.
Basford’s intricately drawn pictures of flora and fauna in Secret Garden have sold 1.4m copies worldwide to date, with the newly released
follow-up Enchanted Forest selling over 225,000 copies already.
They have drawn fans from Zooey Deschanel, who shared a link about the
book with her Facebook followers, to the South Korean pop star Kim Ki-Bum, who posted an image on Instagram for his 1.6 million followers.
In simplest terms, coloring has a de-stressing effect because when we focus on a particular activity, we focus on it and not on our worries. But it also “brings out our imagination and takes us back to our childhood, a period in which we most certainly had a lot less stress.” This leads us immediately and unconsciously to welfare, exposes the specialist.
“I recommend it as a relaxation technique,” says psychologist Antoni Martínez. “We can use it to enter into a more creative, freer state,” he assures. We can also use it to connect with how we feel, since depending on our mood we choose different colors or intensity. “I myself have practiced that. I recommend it in a quiet environment, even with chill music. Let the color and the lines flow.”