“I discovered my signature style in Dundee” - Johanna Basford OBE

University of Dundee alumna Johanna Basford OBE has shared how her final year studying at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD) was the key to developing her signature style.

The 36-year-old ‘Queen of Colouring-Books’, who has gone on to sell more than 20 million colouring books worldwide, returned to her alma mater last month to see how this years’ students were getting on ahead of their Degree Show as it opens to the public next week.

A pioneer of the adult colouring book trend, Johanna graduated with a degree in Textile Design from DJCAD in 2005. She says it was thanks to her time at Dundee’s art school that she found her unique style of intricate, black and white hand-drawn florals.

“I discovered my style at Christmas time in my fourth year. I thought I was going to specialise in bold silhouettes but around that time I did one drawing in a studio in DJCAD that just suddenly changed everything. I had discovered a kind of work that just lit my soul on fire,” said Johanna.

“It became all I could think about and it became what I was drawn to. I developed it here at DJCAD and honed my craft to become better at what I do.”

Originally from Auchnagatt in Aberdeenshire, Johanna has also created illustrations for many world-leading companies such as V&A, DKNY, Channel 4 and H&M. In 2011, she helped create the Degree Show Artwork, inviting students to help join in the creative project.

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design and Architecture Degree Show is always a highlight of the city’s cultural calendar but with this year’s exhibition being the first to take place since the opening of V&A Dundee, 18-26 May represents Dundee’s biggest week of art and design to date.

Last year’s exhibition attracted a record attendance of 16,000, generating in excess of £1.5 million for the local economy. Around 300 students will once again be showcasing visually stunning art and design that seeks to solve some of society’s biggest problems.