Johanna Basford

Johanna Basford OBE (born 1983) is a Scottish illustrator. Her illustrations are hand-drawn, predominantly in black and white, with pencils and pens.[1][2] Basford's works can be found in products such as colouring books, wallpaper, beer labels, and even tattoos.[3] She is known to be a pioneer of the adult colouring book trend.[4]

Johanna Basford
Born1983 (age 36–37)
Spouse(s)James Watt
WebsiteOfficial website


Johanna Basford was born in 1983[5] in Scotland and grew up on her parent's fish farm[6] in Auchnagatt in Aberdeenshire.[7] She graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD) in Dundee in 2005 with a degree in textile Design and a specialization in screen printing.[1] Basford lives and works in Aberdeenshire, Scotland[3] where she owns a small studio in a converted farmhouse with large windows that overlook the surrounding fields.[1] She believes computer generated graphics can feel "cold and soulless," which is why she uses traditional media.[8] Since publishing her first adult colouring book Secret Garden in 2013, she has sold more that 20 million books worldwide, making her a leader of the adult colouring book boom.[9][10][11] She is married to James Watt, the co-founder of Brewdog, the 'punk' craft beer company.[12]

She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2016 Birthday Honours for services to art and entrepreneurship.[13]


Basford's commercial clients include Sony, Nike, Tate Modern and Starbucks. Queensberry-Hunt, a ceramics manufacturer, commissioned her to create hand drawn designs for their tableware collection in 2008. In 2010, she created graphics for the iPhone app The New Goodbye.[14] Basford was commissioned by Edinburgh Festival Fringe to illustrate the cover of their 2010 program.[15] She worked with an Edinburgh-based design agency, Whitespace, to create a series of illustrations for the program and the final artwork for the #FringeCover #Twitterpicture crowdsourced illustration campaign.[14]

In addition to her illustrations, Basford has designed glowing wallpapers, printed using special ultraviolet-sensitive inks.[15]

In May 2013, Basford opened her first solo exhibition at Dundee Contemporary Arts called Wonderlands: it was one of DCA's most successful exhibitions, with a total audience of 8,488.[16]

She is currently represented by literary agent Ed Victor.[17]


  • Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book (2013) - Laurence King Publishing — As of March 2015, more than 10 million copies of this book have been sold worldwide[18](three million in China alone[19]). The book has been published in over 40 territories[20] and has appeared on The New York Times Best Seller list.[21]
  • Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest and Colouring Book (2015) - Laurence King Publishing — Sold out all 226,000 copies within weeks of its release on 17 February 2015. The publishers printed a second edition of 250,000.[2][22][23][24] It has also appeared on The New York Times Best Seller list.[21]
  • Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure and Colouring Book (27 October 2015) - Penguin Random House — Has sold over 1.3 million copies in the US alone.[25] Debuted at Number 1 on the US Non Fiction Bestsellers list in its first week of publication[17] and peaked at number one on The New York Times Best Seller list.[21]
  • Magical Jungle: An Inky Expedition and Coloring Book (9 August 2016) - Penguin Random House
  • Johanna's Christmas: A Festive Coloring Book (25 October 2016) - Penguin Random House
  • Ivy and the Inky Butterfly (10 October 2017) - Penguin Random House[26]
  • World of Flowers: A Coloring Book and Floral Adventure (23 October 2018) - Penguin Random House

Awards receivedEdit


  1. ^ a b c Rosanes, Kerby (8 May 2013). "Featured Artist: The Inky World of Johanna Basford". UCreative Network. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  2. ^ a b Hunter, Paul (6 April 2015). "Colouring books designed for adults topping bestseller lists". Toronto Star. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Johanna Basford". Archived from the original on 13 December 2014. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  4. ^ "The ink evangelist: Illustrator Johanna Basford on pioneering the adult colouring book trend". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Rough Cut Nation (Exhibition Notes)". National Galleries Scotland. National Galleries Scotland. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  6. ^ Lidz, Franz. "The Artist Who Made Coloring Books Cool for Adults Returns With a New Masterpiece". Smithsonian. Smithsonian. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  7. ^ Devine, Cate (30 June 2006). "Follow The Paper Trail". Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  8. ^ Lyons, Kim. "Johanna Basford's Coloring Books For Adults Are Gorgeous, And How Did We Forget How Much Fun Coloring Is?". Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  9. ^ "All about me… - Johanna Basford". Johanna Basford. 24 October 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  10. ^ "2 more coloring books by Johanna Basford Coming This Year". London: Associated Newspapers. AP. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  11. ^ "2 More Coloring Books by Johanna Basford Coming This Year". The New York Times. Associated Press. 2 February 2016. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 6 February 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Start-up power: Meet the entrepreneurial couple given the royal seal of approval". The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  13. ^ "No. 61608". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2016. p. B10.
  14. ^ a b "Illustrator Johanna Basford talks about being #TwitterPicture girl and more". ameliasmagazine. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  15. ^ a b c d Steed, Frances; Stevenson, Josephine (2012). Sourcing ideas: investigating textures, colours, structures, surfaces and patterns. Lausanne: AVA Academia. ISBN 9782940411634.
  16. ^ "DCA Annual Report" (PDF). DCA. 2014.
  17. ^ a b "Ed Victor Ltd. | News". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  18. ^ "Illustrator Johanna Basford launches Lost Ocean as adult colouring book craze sweeps the world". Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  19. ^ Ho, Victoria (13 January 2016). "China's bestseller of 2015 was a coloring book for adults". Mashable. Singapore. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  20. ^ Fraser, Douglas. "Ink evangelist Johanna Basford makes it big". BBC News. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  21. ^ a b c "Best Sellers - The New York Times". Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  22. ^ "Artist Goes Outside The Lines With Coloring Books For Grown-Ups". Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  23. ^ Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book Paperback. Laurence King Pub. 17 February 2015. ISBN 1780674880.
  24. ^ Basford, Johanna (17 February 2015). Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book. Laurence King Publishing; Act Clr Cs edition. ISBN 9781780674889.
  25. ^ Alter, Alexandra (23 December 2015). "Looking Back at 2015 in Book Publishing". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  26. ^ Ivy and the Inky Butterfly by Johanna Basford |

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit