Artsy Animals

Do you like random facts? Do you enjoy animal artwork? Do you love tiny little books that can conveniently be carried with you virtually anywhere???

THEN I HAVE JUST THE BOOK FOR YOU!!

9781607748328

*Slightly smaller than actual size*

Maja Safstrom is an architect and illustrator from Stockholm who has worked with Ten Speed Press to bring us a small book with a big impact. Coming at a mere 6.3×0.7×7.8 inches in dimension, The illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts combines pen and ink/black and white drawings with facts about several different animals, all seemingly hand lettered. This book gives us not only  peek aat nature, but  look at the author’s nature journal (of sorts).

The book is very well made, the cover binding feels nice and fits very well into a hand, the interior pages have the look and feel of thicker art paper, and the entire piece feels like a work of art lovingly created for the audience.

If you enjoy Maja’s style of artwork, as I do, I highly suggest also following her on Instagram!

I’ll leave you with a  fact to ponder while you’re waiting on that page to load.

“Penguins laugh when they are tickled.”

You’re welcome and have a marvelous day!

Advertisements

Review – Collage This Journal

Collage this Journal

By Elanor Shakespeare

9781101905333

The Summary, according to Amazon.com:

This irresistibly interactive journal is filled with dozens of clever ideas for recording your life, such as “Make balloons out of photos from special and happy occasions” or  “Fill the genie’s lamp with wishes.” The author/illustrator’s wonderfully layered photo-illustration montages invite readers to mix media, too, and make this keepsake truly their own.

Review:

Cover – 4.5/5 Dragons

Both clean and whimsical, the front cover boasts a classically creative design with just a hint of whimsy. The back cover pushes that whimsical element just a smidgen more, which is perfect. The blurb on the k is well written and perfectly descriptive on what the journal is about, without being over the top.

Interior – 5/5 Dragons

The idea of this journal is that you use whatever supplies you want in order to create collages in response to each new prompt.

For example, the very first prompt is a framed, blank page that asks you to collage a self-portrait…using images of yourself.

Another prompt asks you to redesign the covers of your favorite book, while still another asks that you write, draw, or collage images of who or what makes you laugh.

There are 52 such prompts, each with whimsical, almost water colored pages that provide a creative muse for the completion of your ‘journey’s’ art.

So be creative, be free, and ENJOY!

Overall Rating 5/5 Dragons (stars)!

Book Review of Art Students League of New York on Painting

 

Penguin Random House’s Art Students League of New York on Painting page has this to say about the book:

….”This unique book brings you into the studio classrooms of some of the League’s most celebrated painters—including William Scharf, Mary Beth McKenzie, Henry Finkelstein, and Knox Martin—for lessons on a variety of fundamental topics, idiosyncratic approaches, and quirky philosophies. Scanning the table of contents is like flipping through a course catalog: do you want to take Naomi Campbell’s “Working Large in Watercolor,” James McElhinney’s “Journal Painting and Composition,” Sharon Sprung’s “Figure Painting from Life in Oil,” or Ellen Eagle’s “Poetic Realism in Pastel”? Now you can—from the comfort of your own home studio (or living room). ”

9780385345439

Overview:

The Art Students League of New York On Painting was written by James L. Mcelhinney and the instructors of the Art Students League of New York. With amazingly detailed illustrations, artist biographies and autobiographies, and mini-lessons on art, this book is full of inspiration and new knowledge for its audience.

Character Believability:

This book is based completely on real artists and those artists gave interviews and lessons for us to read, so this should be a no brainer. However, a few of the interviews and auto-biographies felt padded and ‘jazzed’ as though they meant to make themselves come out super-cool, but they only managed to make themselves seem slightly less believable.

Flow and Pace:

A few places were a bit sluggish for me, but the majority of the book had a good pace and flow. The pictures and interviews moved well together.

Reader Engagement:

I was very intrigued by the art pieces and mini-lessons in this book. I didn’t enjoy the interviews as much, but I’m also not the typical ‘art person’ this book was aiming at. The set up of this hard-bound edition is very nice, with gorgeous art and thick pages that pack a vibrant punch and keep the reader flipping pages.

Reader Enrichment: 

I feel like I learned a lot about art and different types of painting in this book. Not only were the mini-lessons very educational, but the other segments were well written and provided a lot of random art facts for even the least artistic of souls.

Character Believability: 4/5
Flow and Pace: 4.5/5

Reader Engagement:4.5/5

Reader Enrichment: 5/5
Reader Enjoyment: 4/5
Overall Rate: 4.4/5

 

Buy The Art Students League of New York on Painting 

*I was sent this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and ratings herein are my own.*

Spotlight On…

Spotlight On Art

Today’s spotlight on art is going to focus on something I consider to be a special sort of art all its own; editing.

As an author I consider writing to be my special gift, my art, and I feel confident in saying that I am pretty good at it. I work, write, rework, write, read, edit, rewrite, edit, etc. before sending it to readers, editors, and their ilk to make sure that my work is ready for its audience. Even then I may go back and edit two or twelve more times. As a self-publishing Indie Author I have to wear all of those hats and dance around with them balanced like the Mad Hatter. I don’t get paid to do it, I don’t get paid to write most of the time. I just don’t like feeling as though I’ve let down my readership with sloppy writing.

As a reader, I feel disappointed and gypped when I read a book that is poorly edited. The writing can be amazing, the story line phenomenal, and the characters my absolute favorites but if the editing is terrible I feel sad. Add to that poor word choices and time line mess ups and whatever else can go wrong, and the editors’ jobs are obviously more important than many people stop and realize.

I believe that a huge part of the stigma against purchasing and reading self-published books is because so many of them have terrible editing. When a book is obviously a first or second draft that has not been edited for content or grammar it is an insult to the reader. They are then often so disappointed and soured by the experience that they don’t buy from that author or even in that genre or type (self-published etc) again.

So learn a new art, share it with your friends…edit your work. This is an art form most of us can at least dabble in!

Until next time, may you have a blessed, energized, and inspired week.

 

Spotlight On:

Welcome Welcome to this week’s Spotlight On Art

Today we are talking with the wonderful illustrator Louise Boulter, of Louise Boulter Illustration.

  • How did you get started in illustrations?

When I think about it,  I was illustrating to text when I was at school, creating stories and illustrating them.  My first job was for a lovely lady who owns fashion label Brat and Suzie. She got me going by asking me to come up with some illustrations for her t-shirts.

That sounds like a lot of fun!

  • Has art been a lifelong passion of yours?

I grew up with my mum who was an artist and Studied fine art at Wimbledon school of art. So I grew up in that environment.  It felt unnatural and intimidating studying fine art, but drawing and illustrating has always been something I’ve done, like sitting down to a good book.

My mom is also an artist, and my illustrator, but I could never draw well enough to suit myself so I stuck with writing. I think it is always amazing when someone can draw and create like that!

Giant birdspvuk270

  • How do you want people to feel when they see what you’ve created?

 

Most of the time the work I produce is commissioned by a client.  So I want them to like it.  I do family portraits so I would like the client to feel I’ve captured the nature of their family in one way or another.

Understandable! You want to make sure you capture what they want…which would drive me crazy. In my opinion, that is probably much more difficult than creating what pops into your own head and then hoping people in general enjoy it!

 

  • What media do you prefer to draw/create in, and why?

I love drawing with a scratchy fountain pen and quink ink when its all scratchy and unpredictable.

I enjoy writing with a fountain pen as well, mostly because the ink flows in funny ways and the scratch is very ‘old world’ and satisfying. 

 

  • What is your creative space/working environment like?

A complete and utter mess.  I am currently surrounded by receipts for tax, scraps of paper, pens rolling around the desk top and as it stands 4 empty teacups.  I try and tidy it once a week.

I don’t believe in completely clean work spaces! I always feel like if the work area is clean (while you’re in a project anyway) that you are probably having issues with the job at hand. 

 

  • What is something new that you’ve either learned or noticed recently?

These wonderfull GIFs that have been floating around.  Ive seen so many beautiful moving images recently.

I love those! 

 

  • What illustration related projects would you love to be able to do in the future?

A childrens book.  I am currently going though a process with a writer.

Wonderful! Children’s books are so much fun!

  • What inspires you?

People and nature.  I find I don’t really need to walk far at all until I see someone interesting.  The sensations of walking by the sea or in a forest or clifftops is almost like my fuel to keep me inspired and happy.

Misichenrimatissee

Nature is so amazing, ever changing and ever solid. I find a lot of inspiration there as well. 

Thank you Louise for joining us today! It has been a lot of fun getting to know you and I look forward to seeing that children’s book soon.

You can find Louise Boulter at:

http://www.louiseboulter.co.uk/

and on Twitter: @123lop

Remember, if you, or someone you know, would like to be featured on a Tuesday Spotlight or on an Author Interview Friday please leave me a comment letting me know!

As always, I look forward to hearing from you so start up a conversation in the comment section and I’ll hop on in! Until we meet again, may your week be full of blessings and inspiration!

Spotlight On…Maggie Stiefvater

Welcome to another semi-new and hopefully weekly post for Here There Be Dragons…The Spotlight On Art segment is meant to do the same for illustrators, musicians, and artists as my Author Interview Fridays do for us writers. However, I don’t have as many artist connections and, as such, have had the Tuesday Interviews kind of fall by the wayside. Therefore…I am going to start spotlighting a mixture of the famed, infamous, unknown, etc etc etc in the rest of the art world.

This week the spotlight lands on Young Adult author Maggie Stiefvater. Many of you may know her as the author of such books as The Raven Cycle Series and The Shiver Trilogy, among others. However, were you aware that Maggie is also an accomplished musician and artist?

WELL SHE IS! I just finished listening to The Raven Boys on audio book this past week. At the end of the final chapter a haunting Celtic melody flows behind and between the last words, tugging at the sleeping bits of your brain and prodding at your creative heart until the final notes die away and you think…”WAIT WHAT?? THAT’S IT?? NO NO NO…WHERE’S THE REST? WHAT HAPPENS? ACK!” (Or I did anyway). Turns out…that would  a Maggie Stiefvater song. Check out the making of video HERE, or just look at her YouTube Channel and plotz because she’s bloody well amazing. There are videos of drawing, music making, talking, and many other wonderful things I can’t begin to describe well enough for you (Like the video below!).

This woman draws, writes novels and music, plays several instruments, works on her own vehicles, and is just the kind of super cool that makes you a little bit afraid, a lot in awe, and even more a fan. Kudos to you Maggie Stiefvater…I wish to be like you when I grow up.

Here are a couple of other places you can find her snazzy wit and great work:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mstiefvater

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaggieStiefvaterAuthorPage/?fref=ts

Blog: http://maggiestiefvater.com/blog/the-future-belongs-to-those-who-read/

Website: http://maggiestiefvater.com/

SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/maggie_stiefvater/tracks

If you have a favorite artistic type person you’d love to see featured, or if you or someone you know would make a good time dancing in the spotlight…LET ME KNOW!

Until next time…have a Blessed and Artsy inspiring week!

Creative Journaling

Most of us have heard the term ‘Creative Journaling’ at some point or another. Some of us may even have attempted it at some point or another. Well let me tell you something…the world of creative journals has advanced significantly since the time I bought a little sketch book and some colored pencils, convinced that I could mix words and watercolors to create something amazing and awe inspiring. (I filled 4 or 5 pages and set it aside).

One of the best things to happen for the creative journaler, in my opinion anyway, is the rising popularity of creative journals. Not just notebooks or sketchbooks that you purchase and then fill as you see fit. No, these wonderful books provide you with specific ideas, prompts, and suggestions for each entry. Some of them are non-date specific, allowing the artist to pick and choose their prompts, moving through the pages on a whim and the wave of your emotions.

However, there is a daily creative journal that does include the dates. In fact, the Q&A a Day for Creatives: A 4 year Journal by Potter Style includes (you guessed it!) 4 years worth of dates. Each page is fitted with its own unique prompt and separated into four spaces. You merely fill in the year and fill out the box.

The prompts vary from the type of medium used, to the type of art created, and even to the type of question asked. Each day is a prompt meant to break you out of your box and allow you to view your day, and maybe even your life, in an inspiringly creative way.

I give the cover art 3 out of 5 dragons, the color blocking just doesn’t do it for me. I love the bright colors but feel the brown should have either gone completely across or not been included at all.

The inside, however, is exciting, fun, and definitely worth 5 out of 5 dragons! If you are a creative type (or if you want to try to be one) this is a great book to start with. You never even have to show it to anyone! If you aren’t an artistic type and don’t want to try this one, don’t worry! Potter Style has several more of these journals, such as the 5 year Q&A a Day that I still fill in every night, or the 3 year for kids and/or the the college student Q&A a Day! Check them out and find something that will fit your life, the questions are always interesting and thought provoking.

*I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review from Blogging for Books. Opinions are my own.*

Chasing Vermeer

Blue Balliett and illustrator Brett Helquist created a world that the reader can

s

l

i

d

e

right in and immediately feel a part of the story. The story itself provides a lot of information in such a way as to interest and delight the audience, as we are pulled in and caught up in the storyline.

This book includes action, intrigue, math, and art all mixed together with a big dose of burgeoning friendship and suspicion.

I give this book 5 out of 5 dragons. Blue Balliet – I salute you! Brett Helquist…I need some dragons drawn…:D