Press release

Drawn from experience: top illustrator to host Lecture in Entrepreneurship

Published on 18 February 2021

World-renowned illustrator, Johanna Basford OBE, will share stories from her colourful career in business to inspire the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

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Johanna Basford OBE will host the University of Dundee’s Annual Public Lecture in Entrepreneurship, charting her career from her student days at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, to a multi-million selling illustrator of colouring books for adults.

The free event, which is open to everyone, will take place online from 6 - 7.30pm on Wednesday 24 February.

Brian McNicoll, Head of the University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, said, “Johanna is one of the world’s foremost illustrators and it is an honour to welcome her back to the University for this event.

“Becoming successful in the world of business requires dedication and talent. Johanna possesses both in abundance and her story will inspire anybody who wishes to fulfil their own ambitions.

“No matter where you may be in your entrepreneurial journey, I would encourage anyone who wants to make it to the top of their profession to join us for what will undoubtedly be a fascinating and enjoyable evening.”

After graduating from Dundee with a degree in Textile Design in 2005, Johanna initially produced handprinted wallpaper and home accessories before the financial crash prompted her to follow her passion for drawing.

After establishing herself as a freelance illustrator, she rejected calls from publishers to diversify from her signature drawing style. In late 2011, after being approached to produce a colouring book for children, she adapted the brief to produce colouring books for adults instead.

Today, she has sold more than 21 million books worldwide and has worked with globally recognised brands such as Nike, Absolut, and car manufacturer Smart.

Following her lecture, the University will present Johanna with its Entrepreneurial Recognition Award. She will be only the second person to receive the honour, the first being Poonam Gupta OBE at last year’s lecture.

“Johanna is an exceptional talent and has been a fantastic ambassador for the University,” added Brian.

“While we are sadly unable to welcome her back to campus in person, we look forward to celebrating her achievements through the presentation of our Entrepreneurial Recognition Award, highlighting her further as an inspiration to budding entrepreneurs here at the University and beyond.”

The Annual Public Lecture in Entrepreneurship is one of the highlights of the University’s annual Entrepreneurship Week, which runs from Monday 22 to Friday 26 February. Organised by the University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, the event is now in its fifth year and includes a host of lectures and workshops for anybody interested in the world of enterprise.

The week will culminate in the final of this year’s Venture competition, where budding entrepreneurs from across the University community compete for funds from a £38,000 prize pot to start their own business.


Jonathan Watson

Senior Press Officer

+44 (0)1382 381489
Story category Alumni, Events and exhibitions