Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Every Christmas I like to treat myself to a nice book or three but this year, what with having the 'flu, I didn't have the energy or inclination to do the research (i.e. browse Amazon!). But Katherine Tyrrell, of Making a Mark Reviews highlighted two books that I thought looked very good - Imaginative Realism by James Gurney, and Taking a Line For a Walk by Christopher Lambert. The first has so much information packed into each page it's going to take me a while to go through it but it's an excellent book and useful for all artists and not only those who need to paint what doesn't exist.
The second is a little gem - like having someones sketchbook in your hand.
Lambert walked from Le Havre to Rome and used a page a day to write and illustrate the journey. The handwriting is quite small but not too difficult to read and at the edge of each page is a handy little panel with some of the text of the page and highlighting the date and location in bold. Apart from that unobtrusive little panel it looks just as his sketchbook must have done. I love that his sketches are quite simple - no elaborate shading or detail and coloured simply in coloured pencil (no impossibly beautiful and time consuming watercolours making us mere mortals feel inadequate!) - but I'm also delighted that he hasn't attempted anything fancy with the text (as it was never originally intended to be seen by others). This is, I think, real journaling, not a self conscious attempt to create something pretty or precious.
Paint Amazing Watercolors from photographs by Henry W. Dixon looked like the very basic step by step that I think might help me get out of my rut with watercolours.
As I was looking at Amazon a name caught my eye and I realised I had one of Gwen Diehn's books already - The Decorated Page - which has some lovely ideas for decorating pages. I bought this one - The Decorated Journal - as it seemed to go one step further and I wasn't wrong. It's a beautiful book with loads of inspiring ideas and practical tips.
I have a lot of books with styles unlike my own and ideas for things I'll never do, but if they inspire and get the creative juices going and get me fired up and drawing in my own sketchbooks, then they are worth having. I'm not sure I'll ever totally be happy with a paintbrush, but I want to get into journaling for myself so I predict both Lambert and Diehn's books are going to well thumbed and poured over again and again!