Artist Johanna Basford’s coloring books for adults have proven that kids aren’t the only ones who have fun with crayons, markers and colored pencils. The illustrator has rocked the coloring book world with her first book, Secret Garden, which has sold almost 1.5 million copies since 2013. Her second coloring book, Enchanted Forest, came out in February and has intrigued a new set of coloring-hungry adults who have channeled and unleashed their inner child through Basford’s work.
Basford has spent years working as an illustrator, using pen and ink to scribe flowery scrolls, intricate patterns, and bursts of butterflies and birds. Her black and white drawings caught the attention of a publisher who wanted her to pen a children’s coloring book, but instead Basford decided to direct her creations toward allowing grown-ups to express their creativity with color.
Rather than the simplistic designs that are found in children’s coloring books, which enable little hands to stay within the lines, Basford’s books border on complex. Her coloring books entice the inner artist in every adult, the meticulous floral patterns practically beg to be colored in with markers, felt tip pens, or a rainbow of colored pencils. Elaborate and challenging, Basford’s fans have found that completing one of her pages is as rewarding as it was filling in a coloring book as a child.
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This implicit satisfaction has awakened the nostalgia for childhood coloring in well over a million adults, who have reconnected with their youth, and creative side, through Basford’s coloring books. Basford has received hundreds of emails with colored-in completed works from her fans, harkening the days of proudly putting up pages on the family refrigerator.