When Prince William presented illustrator Johanna Basford with her OBE in 2016, we were all delighted to learn that the Duchess of Cambridge loves a good coloring book. William said his wife loves her copy of Basford’s Secret Garden.
Following her visit to the palace, Johanna created her latest book – a 2-in-1 children’s story and adult coloring book, perfect for reading to your own little prince or princess. Ivy and the Inky Butterfly takes readers and colorers on a magical adventure through Enchantia. We chatted with Johanna about Kate, coloring, and her inspiration for her latest book.
How would the Duchess share Ivy and the Inky Butterfly with George, Charlotte and the new baby?
I imagine the kids have a pretty awesome playroom in the palace, filled to the brim with lots of great art supplies to help them express their creative side! I think the Duchess would read a few pages to the children, whilst the baby took a nap, then they could discuss what colour all the different elements on the page should be. Would the dragon be red or green? Are the blossoms pink or yellow? After all the important decisions have been made, George and Charlotte can get to work with colouring pencils and begin bringing the book to life in colour!
Were you inspired by your visit to Buckingham Palace when creating the book?
Hugely! I’ve never been lucky enough to visit the Palace before, so it was amazing to sit in those big, fancy rooms, surrounded by so many beautiful paintings and ornate decorations. I remember staring at the ceiling for ages (it was so fancy and every inch was decorated!) but then I realised I must look a bit silly, gawping up at the roof whilst everyone else was staring at Prince William…
How do you envision your books fitting into the Duchess’ royal lifestyle?
I’m sure even the Duchess has the odd day where she just needs a bit of quiet time, away from the hustle and bustle of Palace life and noisy kids! I imagine she has a very kind Lady in Waiting who spots when she needs a little creative time-out and makes sure her secret stash of colouring books and pencils is left somewhere calm and relaxing with a comfy cushion and cup of tea nearby!
Why do people find your colouring books so relaxing?
I think it’s the opportunity to unplug and loose yourself in a creative pursuit. We are all so busy and are constantly connected to the world with our devices and gadgets and gizmos. Colouring is analogue and a welcome digital detox – a chance to immerse yourself in a task that won’t be interrupted by the ping of an incoming email. And we all coloured when we were little, why not revisit those carefree days and indulge in a little nostalgia!
What is the best place to start, for someone who has never coloured like this before?
Just pick up a pencil and get started! There are no rules, no right or wrong colours. It doesn’t even really matter if you go over the lines (I do this ALL the time, I just call it ‘free-styling’!). The important thing is to just make your mark and have fun. I would advise Colourists, both new to the art and seasoned pros, read the story from start to finish before jumping in to colour. This will help you get to know the characters and also explore the different settings, so you can chose colours that you feel fit the story.