Search

Hanna-Mae Illustration

Illustrator & eco clothing designer

Tag

author

Quick book review: Illustration Workshop

This month I’ll be reviewing a book I got in the summer; ‘Illustration Workshop’ by Mary Kate McDeritt.

 

Full title: Illustration Workshop: Find your style, practice drawing skills, and build a stellar portfolio.

Price: £9.85-£16.99

Where to buy (UK): Amazon, Book Depository

About: Written/compiled by American illustrator Mary Kate McDevitt, this appealing book guides you into the world of illustration. From the very first page you’re encouraged to get creative (literally – your first activity is to write your name and draw yourself) offering practical information on the industry, materials illustrators use, small warm-up activities and whole guided projects.

The Good

  • The layout – it’s fair to say this book is very aesthetically pleasing; with bright colours, illustrations throughout and interesting typography. The book itself is a piece of illustration work! It also breaks things down into sections making it easy to follow.
  • The writing style – The language and tone of the book appeals to ‘everyday’ people which makes it accessible to even beginners in the field of illustration. Everything is explained well without any hint of pretentiousness.
  • The activities range from small to large projects meaning if you have just 5 minutes to fill there’s something for you, if you have 5 hours to fill, there’s also something for you.
  • Projects are guided and go through a process. You follow each section of the project so you’re never left wondering where to go next. If your imagination seems to be having a day off, there are activities within each project to get your creative juices flowing, such as questions (‘who is your target audience?’) and a section for a spider diagram.
  • In addition to the mini activities within each project there’s also some visual inspiration, which is great for those of us who think more visually.
  • The book can be picked up very reasonably online
  • It’s a fun way of developing your illustration skills

The maybe not so good

  • If you’re from UK you’ll be aware that the book is American. There’ll be minor spelling/terminology differences
  • The information provided about working as an illustrator is limited. It’s a good introduction but this book isn’t for in-depth explanation

So is it worth it?

In my opinion I love this book! It was affordable, pleasing to look at (I’m a very visual person) and gave my need to practice my illustration skills/develop my style a direction. It can be hard to pull a project idea out of the air, which is why this book is so useful. I like the honesty with which McDermitt writes and the personal edge she gives it. The projects are engaging and the small warm-ups very unique! I’d recommend this book to anyone looking to develop their illustration skills, especially if they feel they need more direction.

Rating: 4.5/5

Advertisements

First review of the year: Creative Paper Cutting

paperbook

 

Full title: Creative Paper Cutting; fifteen paper sculptures to inspire and delight

Author: Cheong-ah Hwang

ISBN: 978 1 86108 9205

Publisher: GMC Publications Ltd

Price: RRP £14.99 (from £10.31 via Amazon)

About: 15 paper cutting projects aimed mainly at beginners and young people, with information on tools/materials.

Here’s what I loved:

♦ The book encourages ‘out of the box’ thinking, promoting the creation of: ‘intricate artworks that can adorn walls, be sent as greetings cards or encased in quirky containers, such as empty pocket watches, glass pendants or clocks’ (inner cover description)

♦ Cheong-ah promotes the use of recycled materials, mentioning it on several occasions, including in the interesting introduction, in which you can also detect her passion for her art.

♦ Unlike some art/craft books she doesn’t assume you that have prior knowledge of materials, with a good section of the book dedicated to explaining essentials such as paper weight and techniques, which brings me to my next point…

♦ Whilst some craft books jump straight in to the projects, Hwang takes you step-by-step through the processes before you even pick up your tools (another reason why I feel this book is more suited to young people and absolute beginners)

♦ The book is aesthetically pleasing. It’s something I mention often when reviewing, but it’s so important to draw the reader in and keep that interest. There’s an abundance of images, a huge colour element, and even a quirky font.

♦ The projects offer variety – from your everyday greetings card, to a plaque, and even an upcycled pocket watch project!

♦ There are also useful (and interesting) extras at the end of the book, such as websites to visit, book recommendations, and suppliers.

What I didn’t love so much…

◊ Some of the designs look very simplistic and child-like (such as ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ and ‘Kraken and Submarine’) so if you’re already a paper cutting enthusiast this book probably isn’t for you. That being said, this would be a great book for absolute beginners to learn the ropes, and could be the gateway to some advanced designs. I imagine some of these projects working well in schools or with youngsters, particularly the ‘Coat of Arms’ project.

Conclusion:

Useful for some – beginners and those wanting to gain confidence in paper cutting, as well as offering some project ideas for young people. A light-hearted way to spend a rainy afternoon, rather than a serious reference for practising artists.

fact

 

Good news! I’ve just added some unique, ready-framed paper art of my own to my online shop. Click the picture to find out more…

cuttingimage

Micro Review: An Illustrated Life by Danny Gregory

61osajumpml-_sx258_bo1204203200_

 

Full title: An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers

Author: Danny Gregory

ISBN: 978-1600610868

Publisher: HOW books (US)

Price: From £8.29 – £18.78

About: A look inside the sketchbooks and lives of 50 creatives, chosen by author Danny Gregory, acting more as a curator of inspirational material than traditional ‘author’.

Why buy?:

♥ Ideal for visual-minded people (the very people often interested in the subject matter in the first place) It appeals wonderfully to its target audience. A visual table of contents is one example of the thought put into the layout/aesthetic of the book.

♥ The contents is international, giving the impression of dedication on the author’s part to unearth the creme de la creme of the art & design world. From Scotland to Sweden, Gregory reaches across the globe to compile his top 50.

♥ I can liken the contents to pinterest – You pick this book up looking for ‘creative inspiration’ and are met with a mass of results all in one place. From sketchbook pages, to photographs of work spaces, it’s all inside the pages of this book!

♥ It’s not style-biased. Often our own preferences see us gravitating towards a certain style; in Gregory’s book you’ll find no such thing! The book includes everything from traditional children’s book illustration, to digital drawings such as those by Barry Gritt, and even more detailed work with a more ‘fine arty’ feel.

 

Where can I get it?

Aside from searching your local library, the book can be purchased at a reasonable price on Amazon. The book was published in the USA, but after having a search around I found it quite easy to source as it was distributed in the UK. Click below to find out more:

‘An Illustrated Life’ on Amazon

‘An Illustrated Life’ on ebay

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: