Coloring Books with a Twist

Grace Carney- Staff Writer

In today’s technology based world, many of us tend to forget about some of the simpler things in life, such as indulging in non-electronic based hobbies. Once we pass the age of elementary school, many of us forget the sense of tranquility that can be achieved by losing yourself in an art project. Interestingly enough, the most basic form of creating, coloring, is now available to adults, produced in an innovative and grown-up friendly form.
Johanna Basford is a Scottish illustrator and founder of the first official series of coloring books made strictly by and for adults, teens and seniors alike. She released her first book, Secret Garden, in 2013, which sold over 1.5 million copies and was an unexpected success. Basford says how she found her inspiration through real life experience. As a commercial illustrator and textile designer, several of her clients had proclaimed how they wish they could color in the black and white sketches she designed. From here, she got the idea to create coloring books for adults. She thought bringing this idea to life was risky because coloring books for grown-ups isn’t a common trend.
In the making of her unique books, Basford explained how she drew all of the illustrations by hand using precision and a blank ink pen. Her illustrations have hidden messages woven throughout them and all possess a great amount of depth and subtle meaning. She elaborates on this by pointing out how she wanted these books to be more like an art book, rather than just a sophisticated coloring book. Through her books, individuals are able to personalize the stories by decorating the aesthetic aspects of them in any way they please, without having to start from scratch on a blank slate. They are also able to get lost in a visual representation of a vibrant fantasy story without having to articulate one through the use of words and dialogue. A publisher of The Mindfulness Coloring Book describes Basford’s books as, “filled with templates for exquisite scenes and intricate, sophisticated patterns, prompting you to meditate on your artwork as you mindfully and creatively fill these pages with color.” No matter what innate artistic abilities you possess, Basford encourages everyone to give her books a shot because it is entirely up to you how you bring life to them, as the options for colors and materials are limitless.
With Basford’s books skyrocketing up the charts and peaking at’s adults bestsellers lists, Basford shares humbly how she never would have expected for the pages of her outlines to be filled in such diverse ways. One of the most pleasant and charming aspects of her books is how they trigger nostalgia in the general public, allow adults to unwind with something non-electronic and explore their own state of creativity regardless of the point they are currently at in their own lives. Losing oneself by filling out one of her books is currently on the rise, and the best part is that they are a splendid and healthy way of unleashing creativity in a peaceful, solitary form.


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