I came across The Corona Diary, by illustrator Vic Lee while rummaging around the internet looking for illustrated diaries. The video below is a flip through of the limited edition printed book with commentary by Vic Lee himself, found on his own YouTube channel. I am as much attracted to the typography as to the accompanying illustrations. This graphic-novel-style diary seems to be taking the internet by storm, and well it should. It takes a lot of faith to publish a personal account of such troubling times of uncertainty and division. This looks to be an impressive chronicle of six months of the year 2020.
The book won’t be available in Australia until January 2021. Nevertheless, I will be very keen to get my hands on a copy.
I like to recommend the books that most inspire me, especially books that can be enjoyed in more than one sitting. This time it’s a whole series of outstanding and highly addictive books from independent publisher 3dtotal: The Sketching from the Imagination series. There are currently six titles in this series, I have two in my library, the original and the fantasy title, but if the quality of the first two is anything to go by the rest will be the same high standard.
Sketching from the Imagination: An Insight into Creative Drawing
The maiden title in the series is Sketching from the Imagination: An Insight into Creative Drawing. This 320 page book showcases the sketchbooks and portfolios of 50 traditional and digital artists. Each artist describes her or his development process, their aims and the materials they use for their sketchbooks. Below is a quick video preview from the publisher.
Sketching from the imagination: Fantasy.
The second book in the series again showcases the sketches of 50 traditional and digital artists from the international art community. The book focuses on the art of the make-believe. This one is hard to put down.
I cannot personally testify for the other titles in the series, but I enjoyed watching the previews from the publisher, so I thought I’d share them here. My only problem now is deciding which one to get next.
Sketching from the Imagination: Sci-fi.
Sketching from the Imagination: Characters
Sketching from the Imagination: Dark arts
Sketching from the Imagination: Creatures & Monsters
If you love illustrated journals, anything by creative superstar and co-founder of Sketchbook Skool, Danny Gregory is a must. A good place to start is his compilation of pages from the sketchbooks and art journals of artists, illustrators and designers. In his own words, Danny Gregory searched for a book just like this since he was a child. Unable to find one, he eventually created one himself and published An Illustrated Life. The book contains interviews of 50 enthusiastic sketchbook keepers, discussing their history, inspiration, methods and materials, along side photographs and/or scans of their private sketchbooks.
I love the unapologetic, raw creativity of the artist’s sketchbooks. Every page is an intimate snapshot in to the minds of the artist that created it, whether they intend it or not. The book is an homage to the brilliance that is the creative mind. At 266 pages long, it is a meaty, and well-organised collection of the eclectic and often messy nature of creativity. It is easily one of my favourite books and I reach for it often, especially when motivation eludes me.
If you’re not already an illustrated journal keeper, I think An Illustrated Life could inspire you to become one. If you’re not convinced, here’s a preview from Danny Gregory himself:
When thinking about inspiration and creativity I always turn to cartoonist, artist /illustrator, writer, teacher and all-round creative superstar, Lynda Barry. Her unique style and body of work reveals an innovative, but relatable mind, and it always gives me great pleasure to listen to and observe her work. I could write pages expounding her extensive career and many skills, but I feel I’d just be repeating the many good articles already written about her. Besides, she is a person best understood in her own words and pictures.
If you have an interest in where creativity comes from, or why we do it, Lynda Barry has a few ideas. Watch her 2012 Inktalks presentation.
Barry has produced a number of books including illustrated novels, collections of her comics, and books on creativity. Here are two flip-throughs from the YouTube channel Art Book Walk-throughs & Reviews.