Despite being limited to 140 characters, the opportunities that could come from Twitter are endless. Renowned Scottish illustrator, Johanna Basford is well known for her detailed, black fine lined drawings and her collection of beautifully illustrated colouring books. In an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section of Johanna’s blog she describes how social media has changed the way that she works:
“TwitterPicture has been my most effect piece of self promotion to date; it introduced my work to thousands of potential news clients and helped me grow my online profile considerably.”
After graduating from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design with a degree in Textile Design, Johanna decided to stay in her hometown Aberdeen rather than moving to London like many other graduates.
While balancing a part time job and freelance illustrative commissions she decided to embrace online networking using Twitter. “Twitterpicture” is an interactive collaboration that began on the 14th October 2009. The initial plan was to fill a large sheet of paper filled with drawings that her followers had suggested. Not only did this increase Johanna’s followers, it managed to gain 238 unique suggestions. Resulting in a wonderfully one of a kind creative image. Various steps of the drawing process was shared on Johanna’s Twitter page to allow followers to locate their suggestion. Following the end of the collaboration with her followers, a limited edition of 100 silk screen prints of the final image were created and available to buy.
Shortly after, Johanna proceeded to create a series of free downloadable wallpapers of the final “Twitterpicture” for computer desktops. An editor from Laurence King Publishing discovered Johanna by downloading the image which led them to asking her if she was interested in creating a children’s colouring book. Which subsequently evolved into a series of adult colouring books. Johanna’s 3 books, “The Secret Garden”, “Enchanted Forest” and the newly released “Lost Ocean” are available all around the world and a over 7 million have been sold. These books have influenced a whole new category of adult colouring books with ranging styles and by various illustrators.
Johanna Basford’s inspirational and international success is down to building up a large and loyal following. “Twitterpicture” allowed fans and followers to feel a close connection to Johanna and her work. Even giving them the opportunity to be a part of the final composition.
Burgoyne, P. (2015). Johanna Basford: the secrets of her success | Creative Review. [online] Creativereview.co.uk. Available at: http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/october/johanna-basford-the-secrets-of-her-success/ [Accessed 19 Jan. 2016].
Basford, J. (2016). Johanna Basford | Blog | #TwitterPicture. [online] Johannabasford.com. Available at: http://www.johannabasford.com/blog-category/12 [Accessed 19 Jan. 2016].