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North-east illustrator so shocked at OBE she called Buckingham Palace to double-check

Johanna Basford has been made an OBE at the age of 33
Johanna Basford has been made an OBE at the age of 33

A north-east illustrator’s creativity has been recognised by the monarch – at the age of just 33.

Artist Johanna Basford, of Auchnagatt, was so shocked to find out she had been made an OBE that she called up Buckingham Palace to “check if they had made a mistake”.

The former Ellon Academy pupil has been granted the honour for services to art and entrepreneurship.

Ms Basford is now based out of Aberdeen and penned two of the most popular books of 2015.

Her Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest and Colouring Book, was the 15th best selling last year, and Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book was the 16th best.

Together they generated more than £4million in sales.

Ms Basford graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee with a degree in printed textiles before embarking on her career.

She said the OBE was “unexpected”, adding: “If I’m honest, I don’t feel I deserve praise for simply being lucky enough to do work that I love.

“But I’m hugely grateful to have been selected for an OBE and will receive it humbly and on behalf of our amazing, worldwide colouring community.

“It’s an incredible honour and something that I think acknowledges more about the colouring community than it does any one individual within it.”

She began work on adult colouring books in 2011.

Ms Basford added: “From 9/11 call operators who use them to unwind on their breaks, to teenagers battling eating disorders, from busy mums needing a bit of time out to elderly stroke patients recuperating in hospital – the span of people who have found comfort or joy in the pages of colouring books is incredible.”

Last year she raised more than £13,000 for Mary Meals – which provides food for some of the poorest children in the world – with the release of a four-page Christmas colouring book.

Her work takes often inspiration from her childhood memories of the Isle of Arran, which instilled in her a love of plants and the natural world.

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