Adult Coloring Books - Johanna Basford
Just to clarify, these are not ‘adult’ content coloring books, they’re coloring books for adults. I first started with adult coloring books when I found Johanna Basford’s book Secret Garden. Her books and then the whole adult coloring book movement have become widely popular, for good reason. Some people find it relaxing or therapeutic, others it’s a way to get out their creativity in a very focused way. Everyone has their own reason. The amazing thing is that even though so many people are coloring the same design, each becomes their own work of art.
The coloring gallery section of her website is a place for people to submit and share their pages. See the gallery here. A problem some artists have run into is people sharing without permission or claiming other’s work as their own. It’s unfortunate but it happens, many people (including me) put their names or watermarks on their pictures to try to avoid that. Even though they’re all the same picture to start with, what it becomes is unique and shouldn’t be stolen.
Her second book Enchanted Forest, in my opinion, is even better than the first. The paper is more durable, thicker and doesn’t bleed as much as Secret Garden. Each have wonderful patterns and designs, but the paper and forest theme is what made me prefer Enchanted Forest. I generally use pens to color, so if the pages bleed that is a big problem.
The standard books have double sided pages. She has released ‘artist editions’ for Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest. These have a selection of pages from the original book, printed single sided on a higher quality paper. The artist editions are ideal for framing.
The most recent book she released is my very favorite. Lost Ocean, oceans are kind of my thing so I freaked out when it was ready for preorder. There are several jellyfish illustrations that have been my absolute favorite to color. The difference with Lost Ocean is that the designs are more complicated with smaller and more intricate details. It can be difficult to color, especially if you’re using colored pencils. For me the ocean theme makes up for any issues I have with it. There are a few pages however that are too intricate for the pens I use. Even though they’re very fine thin tipped pens.
Now she has announced her newest book available for preorder, Magical Jungle. I have already put in my preorder, it looks amazing. I haven’t completed any of her books completely. They have so many pages and coloring them can be very time consuming. I hope to at least complete Lost Ocean someday. I also have a strong tendency to start one page, not finish it completely are start another. So I bounce around depending on what I feel like doing, as a result most of my pages aren’t completely finished.
One of my only complaints is that I wish they came spiral bound. Unless to take apart some of the pages (especially the pictures that span across two pages) parts of the design get swallowed by the binding. That is where the artist edition can come in handy, but still.
There is a huge range of materials people use to color these amazing pictures. Colored pencils, pens, paint, so many brands and styles to choose from. I have tried colored pencils, gel pens, and regular pens. As I’ve already said, pens are what I usually use. I use two sizes, the finer point 88 and larger point 68. There is a huge price range to these kinds of supplies, but more expensive doesn’t always result it higher quality results. It’s best to find what works for you and also experiment with other choices.
Just because they’re aimed at adults, that doesn’t mean kids can’t color them too! I highly recommend these books to anyone who enjoys coloring, or wants to express their creativity through these amazing designs.
Her books on Amazon:
Magical Jungle (Pre-order)
The pens I use: