Queen of Colouring gives hope to hungry children with festive philanthropy

Scottish artist Johanna has caused an online storm and raised a phenomenal amount for Mary's Meals in the process.

Back to all stories | Posted on 11 December 15 in Fundraising

Illustrator Johanna Basford has been stunned by the popularity of her downloadable Christmas Colouring mini-book, which is available in exchange for a donation to Mary’s Meals. 

She’s often referred to as The Queen of Adult Colouring, and it’s no wonder, having sold more than 15 million books worldwide – including Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest. 

Johanna is keen to use her talents to benefit worthy causes, but finds it’s impossible to keep up with the many requests she receives from charities. She prefers to select one charity campaign at Christmas and focus her efforts on supporting that organisation through her work.

This year, Johanna has created a four-page mini-book of colouring images, which can be downloaded as a pdf. There is no set cost for the gift, with Johanna asking fans to simply ‘give what they can’ to Mary’s Meals in exchange for the download.

Johanna’s Christmas Colours JustGiving page launched on Tuesday 1st December, and by Friday 4th, the donations had already surpassed her overall target of £10,000! The page will remain open until Christmas Eve and all donations will be gifted to Mary’s Meals, to support impoverished children with a meal in school. Mary's Meals can provide a child with a daily meal in school for a whole school year for just £12.20. 

The four images contained in Johanna’s Christmas Colours mini-book are a Christmas tree; a robin; a snow globe; and a Christmas montage – all intricately decorated in Johanna’s inimitable style – and should easily keep colour evangelists busy over the festive break.

Johanna said: “My husband James met Magnus at a dinner and came home filled with so much passion for the work of Mary’s Meals. The simple idea of encouraging children to attend school by making sure they have enough to eat when they get there really appeals to me, and the fact that it’s possible to feed a hungry child for a whole school year with just £12.20 is amazing.

“I love what I do and if I can help raise awareness about this wonderful work and encourage people to donate and improve the future for the next generation of children, then I’m all for that!”

The total on Johanna’s fundraising page is currently more than £12,500, meaning her generous gift has already raised enough to feed 1,000 hungry children for a whole school year!

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder and CEO of Mary’s Meals, said: "This is such a beautiful way to support Mary’s Meals! We have already downloaded Johanna’s amazing Christmas Colours minibook in our household and we're looking forward to some hugely enjoyable colouring. 

"It is amazing to see Johanna inviting her enormous and devoted fan base to support Mary’s Meals in this way. She is making lots of people happy – those who love her work, and those children who will be able to eat and go to school next year because of her kindness. This is a very special Christmas gift to Mary’s Meals!"