Colouring Book Reviews · Johanna's Christmas by Johanna Basford

Johanna’s Christmas by Johanna Basford


  • Type: Paperback
  • No of pages: 80 page
  • Publisher: Virgin Books
  • Release Date: 27 October 2016
  • ISBN: 9780753557563
  • Size: 25 x 1 x 25 cm

Johanna’s Christmas by Johanna Basford is the colouring book queen’s fifth book. Measuring at 25cm x 25cm it is the same size as her previous books and the design of the cover is in keeping with her others so it will look great on the shelf with the rest. Unlike these however it does not have a removable jacket (UK versions did anyway) and instead has fold out French Flaps and is more in keeping this time with the US version although both have different covers – the UK version has gold foiling all over the front design, while the US version has red and green foiling except only around the central wreath. It is also floppier this time as the card cover isn’t thick as previously.  Although it is obviously in Johanna’s trade mark style, there are also considerable differences to this book compared to her others which we shall explore.

The paper, as always with Johanna’s books, is top-notch. Johanna and her team pride themselves on sourcing the best paper available and listen to what colourist’s want. One thing that a lot of people have asked for is one-sided designs so that when they use alcohol based markers they don’t have to sacrifice a design. If you don’t count the repeat wallpaper design on the reverse (which is colourable if you wish to do so), which is there solely for decorative purposes (there are three different designs of these throughout the book) these are one-sided and also have the added bonus of being perforated for easy removal. There are also fewer designs than in her previous books and as many will hate the changes as love them. For this particular book I love them and here’s why.

Fake snow, peel-and-stick-on pearls and gems and other embellishments, and lots and lots of glitter. This time as I can remove the page I can use them all. I can decorate them like I do my hand-made greetings card for gifts or to decorate my walls over the festive period. Anything goes – it’s christmas after all! Nothing is too over the top this time of year. Bling your colouring as much as you wish and have immense fun doing it! Save the perfect blending and colouring techniques for your other books and just go wild. This book is just made for it!

The treasure hunt this time is simple – there are 63 tiny robins hidden amongst the pages to find. There are 37 illustrations to colour. Compared with Johanna’s previous books the majority of the designs are simpler in nature (as well as fewer in number) in a way that I prefer and think I may at least have a chance of finishing colouring it over the festive period. The illustrations are beautiful and for the most part I love them; although there are a small number I could personally do without. I love the Reindeer head (although I agree with Beth Cee, I would have preferred him to have a body rather than be a wall trophy – no wonder Rudolf isn’t an official member of the sleigh-pulling team, now we know the sad reason why), the wreath (loads of berries for my pearls and gems), the baubles, gingerbread houses (glitter icing!!), the polar bear, the nutcrackers, beautiful fireplace and christmas trees, the sleigh laden with gifts, the snow globe and the beautiful cuckoo clock amongst others.

I am less enamoured with the Mandala style pages, the heart and the decorative “brackets” for want of a better description – although I think I could turn these around to make christmas trees. However this is merely my preference as these are still beautiful designs. Johanna doesn’t like drawing people so there’s no santa or elves which is a shame, but there could have been a snowman Johanna surely? I suppose we do have the lovely polar bear and snow globe castle instead. This little disappointment aside, there’s also the lack of Johanna’s trademark leaves in this; sure there is holly, ivy and mistletoe, but there is definitely a lot less this time which I personally love. For that reason alone I can see myself colouring more in this than any of Johanna’s previous books. I love her work; I just get bored colouring leaves myself although I suspect some people will be disappointed by their lack thereof.

I have a few Christmas colouring books but I can see that this is going to be a favourite this year as I can do things with this book that I can’t with the ones with fixed two-sided pages. This book wonderfully captures the spirit of Christmas and I’m going to glitter, colour and embellish the pages to rival any house laden with Christmas lights and I urge you to do the same.

Merry Christmas and Happy Colouring to all!


I decided to colour this lovely tree bauble. I coloured the Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe leaves using Prismacolour Premier pencils and the bauble itself using a Luna Jayne Glitter Gel Pen. I added some red ribbon and red and white peel and stick flat-backed pearls for Holly and mistletoe berries and the centre of the Poinsettias. (Ribbon and pearls all bought in store from Poundworld).

Johanna’s Christmas is available to buy from Amazon. co. uk, Amazon. com, Book Depository and The Wordery (with free worldwide shipping).


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