Johanna is one of the best illustrators in the business of keeping engaged with her fans. I’m sure one of her top most asked questions is how do you create the stunning books that you do and what do you know. Ms. Basford had revealed some of her secrets to us in her newest book.
How to Draw Inky Wonderlands
I have purchased a copy of this how-to-draw book and though it’s a bit intimidating, as you work through it, a few of Johanna’s secrets begin to unfold for you. I haven’t yet done a flip through but keep an eye on my Instagram for one coming soon. Johanna includes step by step instructions for flowers, leaves, forest dwellers, creatures of the sea and so much more.
Johanna Basford has returned to her roots with her latest coloring masterpiece, “World of Flowers” This book takes you around the world in flowers using her grandfather’s old botanical book to draw from and adding that Johanna flair of whimsy and fun to each page. She has gone back to double-sided pages in this one (which I prefer as I adore her two page spreads and you get more lovely coloring for your buck.
World of Flowers: A Coloring Book and Floral Adventure by Johanna Basford
Johanna’s latest coloring book, “World of Flowers” is sure to delight her fans! If you look through the reviews on Amazon you’ll see quite a few interior photos of some of the unique and interesting flower filled designs Ms. Basford has created. I was a bit worried that this book would be too much of a copy of “Secret Garden” but if you know Johanna’s background you know that she possesses her gardening grandfather’s botanical books so she has so many other flowers to use for inspiration. Some US colorists have complained that the binding in this book is not as good as in past editions but most likely the publisher has fixed those problems. One idea is to order the UK edition of the book via Book Depository which has free shipping every day.
I have just received my preview copy of this book and I am blown away! I keep thinking “This will probably be her last book, she’s covered everything that beautiful” but then she has a revelation and poof! Another book that could be the most beautiful of her collection yet. Many of the pages have the story written on them with an equal amount just illustrations. However, the storybook pages look like they are from an old bible where the pages each have illustrations depicting the story. I have a very excited Facebook LIVE unboxing video here and some giddy girly photos of the nameplate that Johanna personally illustrated for me. I had a BIT of a fangirl moment and might have cried a bit.. well I’m a cryer, but still it was magical to see my name illustrated by the actual Queen of Coloring, Ms Basford herself. You can see on my Insta here.
From coloring book queen, Johanna Basford comes a new spin on the world of adult coloring: a lavishly illustrated fable about a little girl named Ivy who stumbles upon a secret door leading to the magical world of Enchantia. Ivy embarks on a quest through its many realms in pursuit of her inky butterfly, meeting whimsical characters and discovering many wondrous things along the way. A charming story that interacts playfully with beautiful, colorable artwork in Johanna’s signature style, Ivy, and the Inky Butterfly is a one-of-a-kind adventure for readers of all ages to customize, color, and cherish.
Johanna Basford’s First Story Coloring Book Ivy & the Inky Butterfly
This book is quite different from Ms. Basford’s usual size in that it’s more of a storybook size versus the large square format we are used to and of course her story is illustrated throughout. The book will have more pages than her others as well, around 120 at last count. Johanna has picked a crisp ivory paper that accentuates and compliments your chosen colour palette. The smooth, untextured pages allow for beautiful blending or gradient techniques with coloured pencils, or are perfect for pens, allowing the nib to glide evenly over the surface without feathering.
Butterflies are everywhere in Johanna’s new book so here are her tips and techniques for coloring in Flutterby’s.
Tutorial: How to Colour a Butterfly in Ivy & The Inky Butterfly
Tutorial: How to Colour Dragons! by Johanna Basford
This beautiful new coloring book features loads of Cherry Blossoms and Johanna shows how she colors them in using her favorite coloring supplies.
Cherry Blossoms Tutorial for Ivy & the Inky Butterfly
Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford talks about her inspiration for her beautiful best-selling coloring (coloring) books “Secret Garden,” “Enchanted Forest” and “Lost Ocean” Inky Quest & Colouring Books.
Watching the video below you will hear Johanna’s story from her own lips and get to hear the wonderful Scottish accent as well. She talks about her inspiration for the two coloring books so far being from her childhood. Her grandfather was the master gardener at a castle and lived in a home with a vast enchanted forest just behind it. How glorious! In her bio, she states:
I’m an illustrator and ink evangelist who prefers pens and pencils to pixels. I create intricate, hand drawn illustrations predominately, although not exclusively, in black and white.
My creativity is cultivated by a curious imagination and a delight in the fantastic. Much of my work has roots in the flora and fauna that surrounded me growing up on my parent’s fish farm in rural Scotland.
I graduated in 2005 from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee with my degree in Printed Textiles and a portfolio stuffed with monochrome silk screen prints and drawings. Following that, I set-up my little studio and began on my mission to vanquish the vector and champion the (wobbly) hand drawn line.
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.
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.
The cover of the Secret Garden is lovely with metallic gold accents. It is removable and ready to color and it reveals another huge intricate drawing of flowers also ready to color.
“Secret Garden” is at the top of the Amazon Best Sellers list as well as the New York Times list. “Enchanted Forest” is not far behind. “Secret Garden” has sold 2,000,000 copies.. yes you read that right… two million copies.
In her interview below I love how she feels about coloring books being a collaboration with the colorist (….that’s the cool word we grownups call ourselves when we color in coloring books now)
People often ask which of the two coloring books they should purchase. I advise them that if they love flowers then “Secret Garden” is the place to start.
“Tumble down the rabbit hole and find yourself in my inky black and white Wonderland… Johanna says…”My creativity is cultivated by a curious imagination and a delight in the fantastic. Much of my work has roots in the flora and fauna that surrounded me growing up on my parent’s fish farm in rural Scotland.”Johanna Basford
The very detailed two-page spreads of Johanna’s beautiful designs may well take you several days to over a week to complete depending on how much time you have to spend… that’s OK! Coloring isn’t a race.. in fact, just the opposite is true. Adult Coloring is all about slowing down… unplugging… and losing yourself in the calming world of color and the magic of creating beauty. This isn’t art class where you are graded.. do you want to make all the leaves on the tree pink? Fantastic! The butterfly blue… perfect choice… use the colors that speak to you and make your soul happy. Sometimes I will just sit and turn the pages of the Secret Garden.. some of the pages I’ve started and haven’t finished yet.. that’s ok too. It’s YOUR book! It’s YOUR journey and its YOUR choice..
Johanna Basford’s first adult coloring book, Secret Garden, has been translated into 14 languages, outselling the most popular cookbook in Paris. “I love the idea of chic French ladies shunning saucepans for coloring pencils,” says Johanna.
If you love green and tree’s and owls…. then you should journey into the “Enchanted Forest first.
The one thing I had trouble with in the first book is where Johanna would leave pages blank with instructions for you to fill in the illustration. I’m not the amazing artist that she is so I skipped those pages. She doesn’t do that in the Enchanted Forest book so I’m sure she read the thousands of reviews written by coloring enthusiasts across the world. This book has 9 square images hidden throughout the illustrations along with dozens of other hidden surprises for the colorist to find as they are exploring the pages… towards the end of the book you need those secret keys to open the gates to the secrets that lie beyond the castle gates with the finale of the book being two huge double-spread illustrations for you to discover. It’s brilliant. If you get tired of green leaves and trees… imagine it’s your own Alice in Wonderland forest and paint the leaves blue and the tree’s purple.. it’s ok.. it is YOUR Enchanted Forest to play in.
Just take a look at the fun images you’ll be playing within the forest.
Just look through this lovely illustration closely.. you’ll see a basket of blackberries hanging in the tree a spider’s web, butterflies and a wee door leading to??? Something magical for sure
“Enchanted Forest” is another magical coloring book that takes colorists through an enchanted forest to discover what lies in the castle. Similarly interactive like SECRET GARDEN, ENCHANTED FOREST also features hidden objects and fun mazes. Beginning at the entrance to a fairy-tale forest, the journey progresses through highly embellished woods and through intricate flora. Castles, treasure chests, and other magical elements add a fairy tale narrative to the designs. Special features include a gate-folded two-page spread and a colorable jacket. Source: AmazonAmazon Reviews
Johanna believes that giving some designs away for free before her newest books are available was what helped launch her amazing global success. So if you have been unable to get your hands on the “Enchanted Forest” here are a few free downloadable PDFs to keep you happy.
The Secret Garden took 9 months to complete as Johanna was still working as a commercial illustrator while she created it. Her second book she was able to create in 4 months. In this fun interview, Johanna shows how she creates her images and shares her recommendations for pens and pencils to use to color them.
Johanna Basford’s recommendations for supplies to use to color her books are:
Johanna really likes these colored pencils for use in her books because you can sharpen them to a very fine point and they blend nicely. They have a coating around the led that produces less breakage than other pencils. Click here to OrderUS ~ UK ~ Canada
I was set a gorgeous tin of 36 Staedtler Ergosoft Colored Pencils from the manufacturer and I adore them, however, they still don’t seem to be available to the public. The tin has Johanna Basford designs on it so it’s even more special. As soon as they are available I’ll alert everyone on social media.
Johanna also recommends Staedtler Pigment Triplus Liners because of their vibrant colors that really pop and are very fine-tipped so you can get in the details needed for her books and they do NOT bleed through the paper. In fact, none of the suggestions below will bleed through the nice thick paper in Johanna’s books.
Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens – look for the set with the stand-up case that is very handy for your coloring station at home or when you take them with you as well as keeping them protected. There are 2 larger sets but they don’t come with their stand up plastic case which I adore.
A new addition to the Johanna Recommended supplies is these Staedtler Metallic Markers. Ms. Basford always has fun metallic details in her drawings like a mouse door in a tree complete with cool hinges and doorknob or jewels in a rabbit hutch. These metallic markers would be perfect. These are not fine-tipped and are quite opaque so use with care.
These Metallic Staedtler Markers are a joy to use. I rave about MY favorite metallic & sparkly pens below!
Many colorists in the Inky Facebook group also recommend Stabilo 88 Fine liner pens. They don’t bleed through and are quite fine
Coloring Book Addict Favorite Sparkly Glittery Shiny Pens for Johanna Basford Books
I am completely addicted to Sakura’s Gelly Roll Gel Pens so these are Coloring Book Addict recommended pens for Johanna Basford’s books. My very favorites are the Metallic & Glitter pens. Their colors are gorgeous and vibrant and they seem to last forever. When I started coloring I had some of these pens left from my scrapbooking days in the 90’s and they still had ink!
Sakura’s Gelly Roll Glitter Pens come in several different types of Gel Pens for Coloring
- Sakura Gelly Roll Stardust Meteor Pen Set which includes: silver, marine, copper, pink, green and blue. These are the glitter ones! Click to Order Amazon US ~ UK ~ Canada
- Sakura Stardust Galaxy Set which includes: rose, sky, lime, purple, golden and red Glitter Pens also
Click to Order Amazon US ~ UK ~ Canada
- Metallic Gel Pens -1.0 Metallic: 2 Gold, Silver, Copper, Blue, Purple, Pink, Green, Teal and Red Click to Order Amazon US ~ UK ~ Canada
- White Gelly Rolls – These are really fun to use for special effects over your pencils or to highlight or dot however we actually prefer the Signo White Gel Pens for that purpose.
- Clear Glitter Gelly Roll Pens– Perhaps our favorite of them all is the clear glitter because you can apply it over the top of the pencil and some markers to get any color of glitter you want. Very effective for fairy wings or crystals. I’d order two packs if anyone is going to share your supplies! Click to order: Amazon US ~ UK ~ Canada
- Classic Gelly Roll Pens– White, Black, Brown, Orange, Burgandy, Red, Pink, Purple, Royal Navy, Blue & Green
Click to order: Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon Canada
- 75 piece Gelly Roll Artists Collection of Pens. Of course, the granddaddy and the best value, if you are splurging, is this pack with all of the pens.
- Johanna talked about the Staedler Watercolor pencils in her latest tutorials so I’ve added those to this list as well.
Johanna Basford’s Coloring Books (so far)
- Secret Garden 2013
- Enchanted Forest 2015
- Lost Ocean 2015
- Magical Jungle 2016
- Johanna’s Christmas 2016
- Ivy and the Inky Butterfly: A Storybook to Color 2017
- Johanna’s World of Flowers 2018
- How to Draw Inky Wonderlands 2019
Johanna Basford’s Artist Edition
(20 Large single-sided images on artists paper)
- Secret Garden – Artist Edition-US
- Secret Garden – Artist Edition UK
- Secret Garden – Artist Edition Canada
- Enchanted Forest – Artist Edition US
- Enchanted Forest – Artist Edition – UK
- Enchanted Forest – Artist Edition – Canada
- Johanna Basford – Book Depository
Johanna Basford portable coloring (for the truly addicted Basfordians)
- Secret Garden Postcards
- Enchanted Forest Postcards
- Secret Garden Notecards
- Secret Garden Journal
- Secret Garden Mini-Journal
- Lost Ocean Postcards – Pre-order
Johanna’s Coloring books published in 2016
Follow Johanna Basford Online
Johanna Basford Free Pages
- Valentines Heart
- Christmas Star
- Secret Garden Pages
- Secret Garden Wishing Well
- Enchanted Forest Pages
- Enchanted Forest Squirrel
- Lost Ocean Shell Castle
- Lost Ocean Fish Pattern
- Lost Ocean Crab Pattern
- Lost Ocean Jellyfish
- Christmas Book with Donation
- Christmas 2016 Design with Canon