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Book Reviews


I saw this book, Color Charts, at Type Books in Toronto (fantastic independent bookstore). And I might go back for it (I got a copy from the library to have a better look). I just love looking at colours and this isn't just for art materials. It covers the earliest charts for things like fabric, paper and even feathers that companies would use for sale purposes. As artists, you probably ordered either a printed version of a company's range of colours or gone the more expensive route and bought a handpainted version especially as many of us are ordering online and it is difficult to check the colour accuracy of what you see on a screen. The presentation of this book - beautiful paper, stunning photos, and research - makes it a stunner for your collection.

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Another favourite thing for me is seeing different forms of typography. I used to love doing my own fonts even as a kid or meticulously copying calligraphy. Here in Freehand: New Typography Sketchbooks you see the beginning of fonts created by designers from around the globe with 800 images from their sketchbooks showing the workings, or birth, of a font. So there's another thing I also like - seeing artists' sketchbooks! This is a thick volume with images of the fonts themselves and how they are incorporated into images. 

Yet another book by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico, this one titled Graphic. It's a similar concept to the Typography book above that here we get to see inside the sketchbooks of some of the great graphic designers. Many of them look to be sketchbooks that aren't used for specific projects but instead more personal projects showing their creativity even more. There's a wonderful range of artwork - from doodles, and collage to full-scale illustration and comic style drawings. As they say, there's something for everyone.

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There are other books by curated by Dawn Devries Sokol on a previous page. She gathers together sketchbooks or journals of artists from around the world. In this volume, A World of Artist Journal Pages, there are 230 artists from 30 countries and more than 1000 examples of artwork. That should be enough to keep you entertained. Like her other books there is a great range of work and not all of the artists are professional. Some use journals or sketchbooks to help give them a creative outlet or help them cope with their full-time jobs like Nathalie Nayer, a medical doctor from Belgium. There is an interview with her where she states that journalling activates the right side of her brain. She even sketches in patient's medical files. 

Well of course there's another David Hockney book in this review. David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition was published to go along with the exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco in 2013. It was a survey of Hockney's work from 2002 to the present. This is one of the most productive decades of his career, embracing new technology (iPad sketches) and old, including studies of the changing seasons where he lived. It featured more than 250 works of art with portraits and landscapes.  

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The Drawings of Vincent Van Gogh by Christopher Lloyd is definitely going on my Christmas wishlist. It's a bit pricey at $66 (Cdn) so it isn't something I feel I could buy for myself. That's what Christmas is for, isn't it? Or birthdays. Or Anniversaries. "Featuring works from the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, and many other important collections in Europe and the United States, this beautifully illustrated volume offers an extensive interpretation of the artist’s drawings, beyond what has been published to date." This is the important bit - some of these drawings have not been published before so it is extra special to see them along with the rest. The drawings are arranged into themes such as Figures, Place, Landscape, Portraits etc. I just love studying the mark making from Van Gogh's earliest works to his last and more famous period. Many of these were studies while also some done just for the sake of drawing itself. And I know I harp on about paper in books but there is just something about the quality of the paper used here that makes this book extra special and worth the price. 

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