Amelia’s Magazine | Johanna Basford presents Johanna’s Christmas: Giveaway and Interview Exclusive!

The latest adult colouring book by the phenomenonal Johanna Basford is released this week, a crafty Christmas colouring book designed to be used in multiple ways. As Johanna herself is fond of saying “I make colouring books so you can make masterpieces!” Colouring has moved out of books and spread through the crafting community, and Johanna perfectly captures this moment with a book of one sided images on perforated pages that can easily be removed to share as Christmas cards, decorations, gift tags… or whatever you dream of doing. “Johanna’s Christmas: A Festive Colouring Book (Colouring Books)” is chock full of traditional Christmas imagery such as deer, festive birds, trees, presents, gingerbread, sleighs, bells, baubles, stockings, curlicues and a series of hidden robins. Expect a mix of evocative narrative scenes, her signature mirror images and more of her ribbon designs, where decorative elements stretch across the page. Johanna’s Christmas is a book sure to engage fans old and new, and best of all, I have THREE copies to give away so hop on over to my Facebook Page HERE and leave a comment telling me what you love most about Christmas time to be in with a chance to win… better still, the giveaway is OPEN WORLDWIDE, so if you live outside the UK this is your chance to get the book with a gold foiled cover! Now read on for my exclusive interview, in which we also discuss her last release Magical Jungle.

The winners of Johanna’s polar bear Christmas colouring competition: Sydney, Sarah P, Kocialka, Jenny and Chiblla. Read why Johanna chose these versions of her polar bear here.

Johanna’s Christmas. Colourist: Amelia

How did you choose your top colourists to receive advance copies of your new book?
They were all Colourists who’s work had caught my eye on social media or on my colouring gallery (or I watch their YouTube channels!). I liked the fact that instead of trying to woo traditional journalists or book reviewers, we were getting the books straight into the hands of colourists so they could start making some masterpieces!

What are your favourite coloured pages, and why?
Literally far too many to choose from! It’s like asking a mother which of her children is her favourite! I think the great thing about colouring is that you never see the same image twice and that every colourist brings something completely new to the black and white drawings. Having said that, I’m always partial to a stunning background technique. Those people that do the ‘starry night sky’ effect will never fail to amaze me!

American cover.

UK cover.

You create an incredible amount of pages for each new book – do you ever find yourself getting bored of drawing a particular object, and if so, how do you make it exciting?
I genuinely never get bored of drawing! Admin? Yes. Digital updates? Yes. Drawing? Never! I think nature is an amazing, unlimited melting pot of inspiration and although every jungle is leafy, no 2 leaves are the same! I spent hours pouring over foliage reference books and sweating it out in the Botanical Garden hot houses admiring every type of leaf and vine you can imagine – there was not shortage of inspiration!

Magical Jungle. Colourist: Vicki Walsh

Magical Jungle. Colourist: Susie Pala-Loir

How did you source the specialist paper used in Magical Jungle and Johanna’s Christmas?
I worked with the Penguin US team to find a paper that was the perfect weight, texture, tooth and colour for my books. After rejecting many, many samples, we worked with a paper manufacturer to make my very own paper that matched my ideal specifications perfectly. Think of it as paper couture! It was a huge honour to have this opportunity to get THAT geeky about paper. We then used the spec of this paper as the benchmark for all my foreign publishers, which in this instance includes the UK, to match their paper to. There will always be slight difference and nuances between paper stocks, (it is after all a product of nature and no 2 trees are the same!) but we aim to create consistant, beautiful books across the world that offer colourists the finest papers on which to make their masterpieces and develop their creative practice.

Magical Jungle. Colourist: Morena Vajak

How much have you listened to colourists in the making of Magical Jungle? Everyone seems to be very happy about the fact that the images don’t go into the spine, for example. 
A LOT. This is a partnership, a collaboration. If one half of the require need certain things in order to make the best final outcome, then it’s up to me to supply them with what they need. I’m very active on social media and value my place in our colouring community, it would be entirely odd to be in this space, communicating with colourists and not take notice of what they say! It’s a privilege to have this job and as I always say, I make books so Colourists can make masterpieces!

Magical Jungle. Colourist: Maureen Langham

Magical Jungle. Colourist: Lucy Fyles

Magical Jungle. Colourist: Kerri Taylor

Roughly how many hours went into Magical Jungle?
Heaps! A book takes me about 5 months to draw, then another few months in production with the publisher. I also have a few months at the start to mull over ideas and research. The reality is I never stop thinking about a book when I’m in the midst of creating it, I even dream about my books!

Magical Jungle. Colourist: Hazel Smithies

What has the reception been like at your book signings? You have any particular events jumped out at you? (do you recognise the names of any of the colourists that you meet for example?)
Book signings are always lovely as it’s a chance to meet the people behind the profile pics! I spend so long interacting with the colouring community online that it a real treat to finally say hello and give them a hug in person! And yes, there’s been a few that I’ve known online for some time now that travelled huge distances to come along to the events, it’s very humbling and also very special to finally get a selfie with them!

Magical Jungle. Colourist: Amanda Pinchbeck

As you create more colouring books have you found yourself getting more into the act of colouring itself? There seems to be quite a demand for your tutorials!
Yes. Initially I was hesitant to share my colouring as I felt my role was to create the artwork, not colour it. I’ve always enjoyed working in coloured pencil though and did a lot of this type of work when I was at school because colouring pencils were so accessible (a 17 year old has a rather limited materials budget!). I colour a lot, it’s important to test run the artwork and check the shapes and scale are suitable for colouring, the line weight is just right and also that the paper is good. And of course, it allows me to test a lot of pens and pencils so when people ask questions about what art supplies work well, I can give an honest and informed answer. I guess it’s like being a chef; you have to taste your food to know if it’s good or not!

Johanna’s Christmas. Colourist: @sseungei

What can we expect from your upcoming Christmas book?
I’ve tried to capture the sense of excitement, charm and whimsy of the festive season within the pages of this book. There’s an owl in a Christmas jumper, a robin delivering gifts, lots of tangles of holly and ivy and some beautiful big poinsettia blooms! In total there are 37 illustrations, all printed single sided and with a detachable spine so Colourists can remove their creations when complete and share them as Christmas gifts or use them in craft projects. It also means some art materials likes solvent based markers and heavy glitter pens can be used without fear of bleeding through to the design on the reverse. Finally, there’s no list of things to find in this book, instead there is a flock of festive robins hidden throughout the pages for you to find.

Johanna’s Christmas. Colourist: @ugenechin39

Can you tell us about the musical notes on the front cover?
I’m not the musical one in my family (my sister is!) so when I drew a few bars of music flowing along the front of the cover and posted a WIP sketch on facebook, the colouring community were quick to point out the my scribbly notes were back to front and upside now – musical gibberish! Thank goodness for feedback – that could have been embarrassing if that went to print! I amended the cover and now those musical notes play out the first 4 bars of Jingle Bells. I love that the colouring community helped shape the cover and that now there’s a secret little hidden festive reference in those notes at the bottom. Jingle all the way!

Johanna’s Christmas. Colourist: @kourtneyferroart

What is your starting point when you hide something on a page, and why did you choose a robin?
Usually I hide as many things in a book as possible. I love tiny details and things you have to search for. When I was little we would often visit Brodick Castle on the Isle of Arran where there was chair carved by Robert Thompson (aka Mouseman). He carved a little mouse onto every piece of furniture he made, it was like a little hidden signature. I loved that charming way of stamping his work. I try to do something similar by hiding little intricate details in all my drawings. This can be anything from a butterfly to a lizard but for Johanna’s Christmas I wanted a single festive motif that people could find. The robin seemed perfect. Also, who doesn’t love spotting a robin on a snowy morning? They are like nature’s treasure hunt! I draw the entire picture first, then add the hidden elements at the end, so I can find the perfect hiding place for them!

Johanna’s Christmas. Colourist: Claire Eadie

How will you be celebrating Christmas this year? What family traditions do you have?
Food. Lots and lots of food! I tackled Christmas dinner myself once many years ago and swore I’d never do it again! There was a terrifying incident involving turkey giblets… My skills lie firmly in helping with the washing up! I like all the traditional elements of Christmas day, the crackers on the table, the awful jokes inside, cheap paper crowns, mountains of crumpled wrapping paper and perhaps best of all, the left overs! Cold kilted sausages (I believe these are called Pigs in Blankets to the rest of the world outside of Scotland!) are my favourite Christmas evening snack!

Magical Jungle. Colourist: @daphnesgallery

Finally, what are you working on next?
I’ve just completed a project with Canon to create 4 new colouring images that can be downloaded throughout the year and a wonderful collaboration with Method, the cleaning products company. I have some limited edition products launching with them next year that I cannot wait to share with the world! We’re also putting the final touches to some colouring books marks, a candle and home fragrance collection (with scents I helped develop inspired by books!) and just this morning I spoke with my jigsaw puzzle partners about the Magical Jungle puzzles we’ll be launching soon.

Magical Jungle tutorial by Chris Cheng.

And of course, there is a new book in the pipepline – but I’m keeping that a bit secret for now!

Johanna’s Christmas is published by Virgin Books/Penguin Books. Win your very own copy of this book by telling me your favourite thing about Christmas in the comments on my Facebook Page HERE. THREE winners will be picked on Saturday 12th November. OPEN WORLDWIDE.

Or order your books from Amazon – these are affiliate links so if you order through them you will help support this website. Thank you!
Amazon UK:
Johanna’s Christmas: A Festive Colouring Book (Colouring Books)
Magical Jungle: An Inky Expedition & Colouring Book (Colouring Books)

Amazon US:
Johanna’s Christmas: A Festive Coloring Book for Adults
Magical Jungle: An Inky Expedition and Coloring Book for Adults

Categories ,Adult Coloring, ,Adult Coloring Book, ,Adult Colouring, ,Brodick Castle, ,Canon, ,Chris Cheng, ,Christmas Coloring, ,Christmas Colouring, ,Colourist, ,Exclusive, ,Hazel Smithies, ,interview, ,Isle of Arran, ,Johanna Basford, ,Johanna’s Christmas, ,Johanna’s Christmas: A Festive Colouring Book, ,Lucy Fyles, ,Magical Jungle, ,Maureen Langham, ,Method, ,Morena Vajak, ,Penguin Books, ,Susie Pala-Loir, ,Virgin Books

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Amelia’s Magazine | Colouring in the Midst of Madness: An interview with Lucy Fyles

Tangle Bay - Lucy Fyles
Tangle Bay – Lucy Fyles

Colouring Book reviewer Lucy Fyles was one of the first reviewers I discovered when I went hunting for people to write about Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion. Lucy struggles with extreme anxiety and writes her wonderfully astute reviews based on her use of colouring to calm herself down. You can read Lucy’s review of my book here, and there are links to some of her other book reviews under each of her coloured examples below. I caught up with Lucy to find out more about why colouring books have become so important in her life…

Lucy Fyles Desk
You are very open about your struggles with anxiety, how have things changed since you discovered adult colouring?
On a day to day basis my condition is easier to manage. It hasn’t improved, unfortunately colouring isn’t a miracle cure, but my daily levels of anxiety are usually lower and more manageable thanks to colouring and if I notice a panic attack coming on early enough I can sometimes prevent one by focusing on colouring and breathing rather than the panic taking hold. I’m also much busier now thanks to reviewing over 100 books so I have a lot less spare time and time to worry, though it does bring a new set of worries with trying to impress publishers, accurately describe books, keep up with all of the latest colouring news etc.

Secret Garden Artist's Edition - Lucy Fyles
Secret Garden Artist’s Edition – Lucy Fyles

Since starting Colouring in the Midst of Madness have you heard from many other people that have been helped by colouring? What kind of stories do they have?
Yes, I’ve heard from so many people who it’s helping. A lot of them have similar stories to me and are suffering from physical or mental (or both) health problems and are finding that colouring is helping them cope, and helping them escape. People have told me they’re using less pain medication, feeling calmer, feeling their mood lift, improving their concentration, and it’s also giving them a wider community to be part of.

Tangle Wood - Lucy Fyles
Tangle Wood – Lucy Fyles

Secret Garden 2016 Calendar - Lucy Fyles
Secret Garden 2016 Calendar – Lucy Fyles

You have said you also like to bake and crochet – how do you juggle all your hobbies? 
Very badly currently! Colouring has completely taken over my time, my flat and my life! I haven’t had a chance to crochet since the summer and I do really miss it but I’m saving it for when the colouring craze calms down and then I’ll branch back out into doing more of a variety of activities. I do still bake about once a month, maybe more, I like to bake if I have visitors coming (sharing it helps me stick to my diet but I still get to indulge a little) so I do try to squeeze that in whenever I can. I couldn’t live without homemade cake so I have to fit it in around the colouring and generally get a bit of colouring done while my goodies are baking in the oven.

Doctor Who Colouring Book - Lucy Fyles
Doctor Who Colouring Book – Lucy Fyles

What have you learnt on your colouring journey? About art? About materials? About anything really!
Oh my goodness, I’ve learnt so much! When I started I knew nothing about pencils, I had no idea that they could be wax-based or oil-based, I didn’t know you could blend them, I knew nothing about all of the different techniques involved in blending. I knew almost nothing about art or the materials involved so I am a true beginner and my blog is written from that perspective. I’ve learnt the differences between alcohol and water-based ink, how to use watercolour pencils, how to blend and shade and that’s not even mentioning the blog which has been a very steep learning curve for someone who knew nothing about how to create, let alone build a successful blog and publicise it and get it known. I’ve learnt so many new skills, from how to punctuate to make it sound like I’m actually speaking on my blog, to reviewing successfully, to asking publishers and stationers for things (I was terrible at this to begin with, far too British and not wanting to ask for things), and I’ve learnt a lot about myself too and the things I can achieve even whilst housebound.

Harry Potter Colouring Book - Lucy Fyles
Harry Potter Colouring Book – Lucy Fyles

Who are your favourite colouring artists or type of page to colour and for what reason?
I have 5 favourite illustrators currently: Jessica Palmer, Claire Scully, Richard Merritt, Millie Marotta and Johanna Basford, and I can’t choose between their work, it’s all so beautiful! My favourite style, as fans of those illustrators’ work will know, is nature and nature-inspired work. I love realistic images of animals, plants and scenery but I also love imagery made up of other component parts like Millie’s animals created from flowers and leaves, and Jessica’s, Richard’s and Claire’s hyper-detailed creatures that give so much scope for different techniques and textures. Colouring natural images just calms me down, so much more than colouring anything else, and I find it’s the best substitute I have for not being able to experience the real thing in the outside world currently.

*You can read my interviews with Johanna Basford here and Millie Marotta here.

The Menagerie - Lucy Fyles
The Menagerie – Lucy Fyles

When do you colour, where, and what kind of ambience do you prefer?
I colour all the time, inbetween networking on social media and writing and publishing reviews. My preferences are to colour with daylight, especially when I’m using pencils because I find that easiest to get line-free blending. I hate silence but music really affects my mood so I tend not to be able to listen to it very often so I generally have the TV on and during the day I sit at a table right under my lounge window so it’s flooded with light. I live in a small flat so I don’t have a studio or anything, or even a desk so I either colour at my table under my window, or I colour on my knees sat on the sofa. I’m always surrounded by pens, pencils, colour charts and a heap of books and luckily my boyfriend doesn’t mind as long as he’s got a spot to sit in!

Legendary Landscapes - Lucy Fyles
Legendary Landscapes – Lucy Fyles

You are helping out with my new facebook group for Adult Colouring Book Reviews, along with a few other lovely reviewers – how important is the online community for you?
It’s so important to me. As someone who’s virtually housebound, I have an almost non-existent social life and couple that with being extremely extroverted, life at home gets very unhappy and lonely, especially because my boyfriend works 45 hours a week. Having groups I can spend time chatting in and a couple of reviewer friends that I can talk to when things get too much, or to bounce ideas off, makes such a difference. I was without internet for 2 days when we last changed supplier in October and my anxiety sky-rocketed. I’d thought I’d be fine but I felt so cut off and isolated and it was really scary. Being able to reach out to others around the world who are feeling like I am, who have similar interests, or who just make me laugh makes this whole condition much easier to bear because I’m not alone. I don’t know what I’d do without the internet currently.

Animal Kingdom Deluxe Edition - Lucy Fyles
Animal Kingdom Deluxe Edition – Lucy Fyles

What do you hope for in the future? Both in terms of your own health and also in terms of the adult colouring world?
I hope that adult colouring will continue to be popular and continue to reach the people it can benefit and help. I hope that talented artists will continue to create beautiful books for us to enjoy. In terms of my health, I hope it’ll improve, sooner rather than later. It’s almost 2 years that I’ve been virtually housebound for and I’m absolutely sick of it and having my life feel like it’s on pause so my hope is that I’ll start to recover soon and be able to go back to work and back to helping people with mental health problems. My sole aim in life is to help people and I can’t wait to be able to get back to that and start making a difference again! I hope in some small way my reviews are helping people, even if it’s just saving them money or helping them find a book they’ll fall in love with, that’s certainly my aim!

Colour Therapy Colouring Book - Lucy Fyles
Colour Therapy Colouring Book – Lucy Fyles

Thank you so much for answering my questions with such candour Lucy! Read a review of Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion on Colouring in the Midst of Madness here.

You can buy my book on Amazon here: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion: Adult Coloring Book I have recently signed up as an Amazon affiliate, so if you would like to buy this book please do consider using my link, and help support Amelia’s Magazine. (I don’t run adverts, and server costs for this website alone are huge.)

Categories ,Adult Coloring Books, ,Adult Colouring Books, ,Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,Animal Kingdom Deluxe Edition, ,Claire Scully, ,Coloring, ,Colour Therapy Colouring Book, ,Colouring Book, ,Colouring in the Midst of Madness, ,Doctor Who Colouring Book, ,Harry Potter Colouring Book, ,interview, ,Jessica Palmer, ,Johanna Basford, ,Legendary Landscapes, ,Lucy Fyles, ,Millie Marotta, ,review, ,Richard Merritt, ,Secret Garden 2016 Calendar, ,Secret Garden Artist’s Edition, ,Tangle Bay, ,Tangle Wood, ,The Menagerie

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