Meet The Maker – Johanna Basford


Johanna graduated in 2005 from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee with a degree in Printed Textiles. She left with a portfolio stuffed with monochrome silk screen prints and drawings and a mission to vanquish the vector and champion the (wobbly) hand drawn line.

Secret Garden - Johanna's first 'adult' colouring book

Secret Garden – Johanna’s first ‘adult’ colouring book


Every piece Johanna creates starts life as a simple pencil sketch, evolving into a rambling pen and ink drawing usually spanning several sheets of paper.

19 - Cover CircleJohanna draws on A3 layout paper (Daler Rowney pads are her favourite) and for large scale pieces she tapes a few sheets of A3 together – easier for scanning than trying to line up an A2 sheet. She finds layout paper is thin enough to work with multiple layers but heavy enough to absorb the ink without crinkling. Most importantly though, it has a perfectly smooth surface so the pen nib doesn’t drag and feather the ink.


Sometimes Johanna will do a very quick layout sketch on A4 to help plan composition. More often than not though, she’ll just pick a spot on the paper, start drawing and let the piece grow organically.


Johanna draws an outline, whether it be a circle, square or damask shape so she has a rough idea of where to draw up to. If the final piece is to be symmetrical she will just drawn half, then copy and flip it in Photoshop later.


When the pencil drawing is complete, Johanna places a fresh sheet of paper over the top and begins to ink. It takes a little longer to ink from scratch but the final drawing is much crisper.


Johanna loves the tactile nature of the materials she uses and the joy of smudgy fingerprints. Her delicate hand inked designs intend to charm and delight, inviting you to peer closer and discover the hidden intricacies.


For Johanna, computer generated graphics can feel cold and soulless whereas hand drawing captures a sense of energy and character which no pixel can ever replicate.

91T53hrM2bLJohanna is an illustrator and ink evangelist who prefers pens and pencils to pixels. She creates intricate, hand drawn illustrations predominately, although not exclusively, in black and white.

Secret Garden Notebooks

Secret Garden Notebooks


Her creativity is cultivated by a curious imagination and a delight in the fantastic. Much of her work has roots in the flora and fauna that surrounded her growing up on her parent’s fish farm in rural Scotland.

Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest – Johanna’s second ‘adult’ colouring book


Johanna likes sugar mice, Alice in Wonderland, peonies and 0.05 Staedtler pigment liners. Heart Gallery likes Johanna’s Colouring books and now can’t wait for Lost Ocean to arrive with us when it is finally released towards the end of October.

lost ocean 2

Lost Ocean - Johanna's third 'adult' colouring book

Lost Ocean – Johanna’s third ‘adult’ colouring book

2 thoughts on “Meet The Maker – Johanna Basford

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