My daily quest for One Beautiful Thing (OBT)

In Living Color


"The Secret Garden" by Johanna Basford

“Secret Garden” by Johanna Basford

Mom: What are you doing, Donna?

Me: Coloring.

color 0aThis exchange took place every single day, often multiple times per day. I loved to read and draw and paint and sculpt (and dance and make costumes and sing and put on shows, etc.), but the most soothing activity I can remember from my childhood is coloring. Happily, I think it may be time to bring out the crayons and colored pencils again.

Artist and illustrator Johanna Basford has turned coloring books for adults into a wildly successful business. Her books have been so popular, they have been translated into 14 languages. The French, in particular, have gone completely mental for the things. Incredibly, her books have even outsold cookbooks in France, which is entirely unheard of!

EarthPorm (No, I don’t know what that means) is calling them the first coloring books made for adults. I know that is not true. I have shopped for them before, and I recently gave two coloring books to one of my very best friends (she is a big kid like me) for her birthday, and they were very definitely NOT for children.

Whether or not she’s a trailblazer, her books are really stunning and leave plenty of room for creativity. She’s also started selling her illustrations as notecards. You can buy her beautiful coloring books on Amazon, then send her your best work, and she may feature it on her website! Here are a few of the more popular reader submissions.

(Many thanks to Jane for bringing this to my attention!)

Here's a page from "Secret Garden" colored by Ariel

“Secret Garden” colored by Ariel

"Enchanted Foresst" colored by Crista Sista

“Enchanted Foresst” colored by Crista Sista

“Secret Garden” colored by Elena Chan

"Secret Garden" colored by Steph

“Secret Garden” colored by Steph

"Secret Garden" colored by Miriam

“Secret Garden” colored by Miriam

"Enchanted Forest" colored by Allison Zagar

“Enchanted Forest” colored by Allison Zagar

"Secret Garden" colored by Allison Zagar

“Secret Garden” colored by Allison Zagar

"Enchanted Forest" colored by Anna Nights

“Enchanted Forest” colored by Anna Nights

color 9


Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

58 thoughts on “In Living Color

  1. Coming soon, “Enchanted Forest” by Donna. I can see it now.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. 100 mandalas is accepting submissions for a mandala coloring book.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have these books too and enjoy them very much. When I feel creatively stuck, I use them to play with color combinations. It was a delight to see what others are doing with them on your post!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. These are beautiful and what a great idea! I saw this white and black paisley wallpaper in a home magazine a few years ago that was so intricately designed that it just begged to be colored in 🙂 – Karen


  5. I’d bet this is an awesome stress reliever. I’m going to order some! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. In the 70’s I found kits that included large detailed black and white drawings with felt tipped markers. I bought several to decorate my first apt. They were not as nice as these..

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oooh those are really beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My parents had this really beautiful biblical coloring book that they executed so artistically that I looked at it almost every weekend alone in my room. It’s sad but I don’t know whatever happened to it and I really miss that book. I can only assume that fell victim to one of my stepdad’s purging furies.

    These remind me of that book – very grown-up beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Aren’t they brill? I was watching a programme on the Beeb about France post Charlie Hebdo and they mentioned the fact about adult colouring books taking off. it does seem weird and rather unstereotypical of a nation that prides itself on its sophistication and cool; but then all that proves is colouring is sophisticated and cool!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have no less than 20 of these types of adult coloring books, I look for them everywhere, and I love coloring them. I use markers as my medium, I haven’t tried colored pencils or water colors yet. I also have a bunch of Zentangles books and do them to also improve my focus and concentration. They are excellent stress relievers for me, and when I am feeling out of sorts a good coloring session always picks me up. Color on!!! ~MB

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Reblogged this on notewords and commented:
    Beautiful images!


  12. i HAVE A FRIEND WHO COLORS and she will love you for this!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hey, Donna. I looked all over Basford’s website (I think)but never saw a place to sign up for her blog. Surely there is a place to do so. Would you mind terribly sharing that information with us, if there is such a place?
    On a side note, somehow I downloaded some viral stuff to my laptop and am presently using my Droid to check emails and stuff. So I mght be out of touch a few days: working all weekend including right now (yes I am allowed to be online here). It will probably be sometime Monday before I can sit down and wade thru the laptop.
    Oh, well.
    Be blessed. 😉


  14. I love the colors! And I miss coloring…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. These are really beautiful and a great idea. Sometime I make mandalas, but this is stunning 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Reblogged this on GettingrealwithPTSD and commented:
    Coloring can be very good for the soul — especially these beautiful books…

    Liked by 2 people

  17. These are definitely for adults – quite complex. All beautifully colored and frameable!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I loved colouring books as a child, and I can see many reasons why the new trend of adult colouring books is getting a good response. They must be a natural stress-buster, and a nice break from the fast pace of the modern world, and its electronic entertainments.
    Best wishes from England. Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I think the pictures are amazing the colors are quite subtle so are very pleasing on the eyes. they bring light to a normally grey day, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Simply beautiful and certainly important.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Colouring can take us out of our left brain…similar to meditation! As an artist/sculptor i rarely use colour, so it’s a whole new world!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I love her illustrations and I have her postcards. I also love to color but have been frustrated by the poor quality of the paper that I found all of these books printed on. I have started making my own illustrations and reproducing them on watercolor paper. I have not been able to keep up with local demand, but I’m working out some of the kinks and will be setting up an Etsy site for the holidays this year. If you want to use watercolor pencils to color check out my blog for updates

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Such a great idea! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I am with you on this, I always loved coloring with my kids and when I was young my favorite was the Peter Max calendar that you could color. It was a birthday gift and came with a rainbow of flair marking pens. Wish I still had that one!

    Liked by 1 person

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    Liked by 1 person

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