Meet the artist behind those adult colouring books

Katie Grant@kt_grant
Friday 28 August 2015 09:30
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Some say a picture is worth a thousand words...

Johanna Basford can attest to that. The Aberdeenshire illustrator’s colouring book for adults, Secret Garden, is flying off the shelves.

Colouring in? That’s kid stuff!

The artist’s collection of pen-and-ink illustrations of a garden “sheltering all kinds of tiny creatures just waiting to be found” has enjoyed enormous popularity among adults.

How many copies has she sold?

Laurence King Publishing has announced that Secret Garden – which came out in 2013 – has shifted 6.8 million copies across the globe. Just under half-a-million of the sales were in the UK but in China it has sold 3 million copies since it was first published there in June.

What’s the appeal?

“I think it is really relaxing to do something analogue, to unplug,” Ms Basford said. “And it’s creative. For many people a blank sheet is very daunting – with a colouring book you just need to bring the colour.”

It’s definitely got the nostalgia factor…

“So many people have said to me that they used to do secret colouring in when their kids were in bed,” Ms Basford said. “Now it is socially acceptable, it’s a category of its own. These are books for adults. The art in my books is super-intricate,” she added.

How will all those colouring-in enthusiasts keep themselves occupied once they’ve completed the book?

They can move on to the next one. Ms Basford’s second title, Enchanted Forest, was published in March. And there’s plenty more to choose from too – currently four of Amazon’s UK top 10 best-selling titles are adult colouring books, so the only thing fans need to worry about is putting the caps back on the felt tips.

More from The Independent: 12 best colouring books for adults

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