BOOK REVIEW: Doodletopia Fairies by Christopher Hart

We adore fairies in this household. And we adore art. Kids love books that teach them how to draw and Doodletopia Fairies by Christopher Hart came into our house just in time. I have heard of Doodletopia books before, but haven’t had a chance to look into others before.

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The book is full of cute fairy characters  and there are 8 sections on each little feature: Heads and Faces, Fairy Bodies, Magical Clothing and Accessories, Wings and Poses, Fairy Personality, Magical Powers, Musical Instruments and Fairy Dwellings. Each section contains very clear and easy to understand directions on how to draw this or that feature and then an exercise is offered to help develop your own characters.  Readers are eased into each new lesson with the skill they have acquired on previous pages. Initially I thought of this book as a kids’ book, but as an illustrator I found I can learn from it as well. We will make it a family activity book, I say.

Overall Impression: Enjoyed looking through this book quite a bit, children are very excited about learning more about drawing fairies and elves with this book. Instructions are straightforward and easy to follow, exercises are fun and helpful. 5 stars.

I received this book via Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Cook Korean! by Robin Ha- it’s a comic! it’s a cookbook!

Korean food is delicious and I try not to miss an opportunity to leaf through a book on Korean cuisine and try a dish or two. I am also an aspiring artist and art book enthusiast. Robin Ha,  a comic artist,  brings the two together- in her book “Cook Korean!”   . Yes, it is a comic book about cooking Korean Food!

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The book features more than sixty recipes of Korean most popular dishes. Each recipe is done in a delightful comic strip with straightforward yet amazingly detailed instructions. The introduction shows us basic tools and ingredients, but also specialty dishes of Korean regions, as well as Korean table layout (which I really appreciate, I see it often in k-dramas, but it’s good to know what’s on it at last). Next 1o chapters cover staple dishes for 10 categories : Kimchi and Pickles, Side Dishes, Meat and Poultry, Seafood, Soups and Stews, Porridges , Noodles and Rice Cakes, Snacks and Street Food, Cocktails and Anju, and finally Korean Fusion. Each chapter introduces reader to a specific food category and includes cultural tips and historical facts as well. I loved the character Dengki who cooks each dishes in the comic strips. I loved gorgeous illustration that opened each chapter as well. A quick leaf-through can be found here.

Overall impression: This book truly stands out. The dishes are not complicated and the fact that the instructions are so thorough helps a great deal. Sometimes the comic format seemed a bit erratic to me, but it took some getting used to and I found it easy enough to follow. The main character is adorable, comics are humorous and fun to read even without any plans to cook. I loved all the cultural information, very helpful and educational. 5 stars.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review

Popmanga Coloring Book by Camilla d’Errico

Coloring books are awesome, coloring book by a favorite artist- twice as great. I am a huge fan of Camilla d’Errico’s art and her Pop Painting book remains my favorite go-to source for anything related  to the artistic process. I love her whimsical paintings and the idea of merging art with pop culture. Imagine my excitement when I found out a Popmanga Coloring Book by her  is coming out.

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The book is so fun (see a quick leaf through here) It features her trademark art in black and white, some drawings are portraits, some a scenery, but always a story in each one of them. I love the variety- there are larger drawings, and those that are intricate and full of detail. There are patterns too if you are in the mood for meditation. The “helper” character Ayako that appears on some of the pages and gives a reader some advice about coloring is absolutely adorable.  The paper is great. I colored with watercolors,  the buckling was minimal and paper held the paint extremely well.

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This book is too fun to pass up, I am so glad it’s in my hands now. Looking forward to hours of entertainment and hoping to learn a lot about drawing in general by studying d’Errico’s sketches in this book. A must-have for a coloring enthusiast, whether a fan of pop manga or not.

I received this book via Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

BOOK REVIEW: The Drawing Lesson by Mark Crilley

I enjoyed Mark Crilley‘s previous work The Realism Challenge and found his lessons clear and straightforward. I was excited to see his new work and in such an interesting format- a graphic novel called The Drawing Lesson. My children were especially excited for this one, as they are huge fans of graphic novels and they love to draw. As a self-taught artist I can appreciate the advice about the basics.

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The book focuses on the importance of a mentor in the life of an aspiring artist. The story is about a boy named David who encounters a woman artist in the park. David admires Becky’s art and begs her to teach him. Each chapter introduces a concept and gives the idea for practice. Both characters are funny (my kids laughed so much at poor Becky being annoyed by eager to learn David). And as David’s drawing progresses, so does his friendship with Becky. The final chapter and Epilogue were quite touching. Each chapter gives very basic but at the same time very useful advice about how to get this or that part of the drawing right. There are 11 chapters, my kids were done reading it in one sitting and grabbed their sketchbooks right away.

Overall impression: I think this book is a great tool for introducing the basics to the young people as well as adults that want to learn how to draw but don’t know where to start. Some aspects of the story (introducing yourself to a stranger just because they draw well and especially barging into their houses) irked me a bit, but didn’t bother my kids at all. They paid all the attention to the advice about drawing. My children enjoyed the format of the graphic novel very much. 5 stars.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

BOOK REVIEW: Simply Calligraphy by Judy Detrick

When I first started sharing my art with wider audience I was surprised to find that hand lettering and calligraphy are very much a trend in creative community. Calligraphy is widely used for greeting cards, wedding invitations. Besides, beautiful lettering is just so pleasant to look at. I find  writing messages by had both soothing and  satisfying. But where does one start? Judy Detrick, a calligrapher and graphic designer  lays it down in her new book Simply Calligraphy: A Beginner’s Guide to Elegant Lettering.

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This book is very straightforward and after I went through it, the word “minimalistic” comes to mind. It has the basics that will have one started-the author offers techniques for lettering with broad-edge pen-creating italic letters. She takes the reader through the process of creating first lowercase and then capital letters and numerals. There is a little note explaining how it’s done and an example with strokes order on the page next to the notes. There is additional information on flourishes and how to put together an invitation or note. The author also shows Uncial and Fraktur in the very end of the book.

Overall impression: I found this book very basic indeed. It will surely be useful for those that are just starting exploring hand lettering, but not much beyond that. I wish there was more information on flourishes, for example. It is a very good resource for someone who is intimidated by calligraphy as it lays all the basics out without overwhelming the reader, but something more substantial will be needed after the first exercises.

I received this book via Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review

BOOK REVIEW: Cats in Paris by Won-Sun Jang

I  will never get tired of repeating how happy I am that coloring books are a trend now, the variety is amazing and everyone can find something to suit their needs. I am very excited to get yet another beautiful book to color- “Cats in Paris” by Won-Sun Jang. It’s cats! It’s Paris! Everything is awesome about this concept

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Won-Sun Jang is a Korean artist who worked in fashion industry and did children books illustration. I am absolutely in love with her style. It’s very free, the book obviously has a theme (cats!) but it doesn’t seem to be restricting when it comes to coloring within the lines. The drawings themselves done in pen and ink look like casual sketches. There are also plenty of drawings with tiny details. There are opportunities to use different media. For larger spaces I am using light watercolor wash and it works very well with ink outer lines that vary in thickness.

Overall impression: I love this coloring book. The paper is sturdy enough to use watercolor. Presence of cats has calming effect on me and I enjoy dreaming of Paris as I color in this book. Plenty of patterns to practice coloring with pens and pencils, floral motifs, streets and buildings- there is surely something for everyone.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

 

Book Review: Pop Painting by Camilla d’Errico

I am a huge fan of Camilla d’Errico‘s work- her paintings have this fairy tale like quality to them, yet subjects’ emotions are wonderfully expressed. Her book “Pop Painting” is out and I was amazed to find how much of the creative spirit of the artist is captured there.

 

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This book covers everything from materials and studio set up to details of creating a painting. The book is split into two parts. The first part discusses the nature of pop surrealism, inspiration behind d’Errico’s work, tools and working space, as well as technique. The details on each subject discussed are amazing- d’Errico touches on everything that an artist can possibly encounter- a desire to get better, artist blocks, various technique issues…I am truly amazed by how much care was poured into this book. Second part is so much fun- it includes step by step demonstrations on how to create various paintings– people, animals, how to work with color to create surrealistic effects.

Overall impression: Awesome book, super valuable for an experienced artist and a must have for a beginner even non-surrealism minded. Tons of valuable advice, gorgeous artwork throughout. 5 stars.

 

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review