Review cross-posted at cleverbee.org.
Enter below to win a copy of Craft-a-Doodle, courtesy of Sterling Publishing (US only, ends 8/24/13)
Craft-a-Doodle: 75 Creative Exercises from 18 Artists by Jenny Doh
Publication date: 6 Aug 2013 by Sterling Publishing
Category: Adult nonfiction
Keywords: Crafts, doodling, drawing, creativity
Format: Trade paperback
Source: Review copy from publisher
Using a simple doodle as a starting point, 18 artists take you on an inspirational, crafty journey! Filled with inventive prompts designed to fuel the imagination, these 75 exercises motivate crafters to pick up a pencil, brush, or marker, and explore their artistic voice. From quick “try it” ideas using shapes and patterns to doodled portraits and contour drawings, these step-by-step projects are wild creative fun. The featured artists include Cori Dantini, who provides a “Recipe for a Face”; Flora Chang with innovative watercolor designs; and Teesha Moore who offers ideas for adding personality to doodled characters.
I jumped at the chance to review Craft-a-Doodle, the new book by Jenny Doh of Crescendoh Studios. I had just recently purchased another book of hers, Creative Lettering, which is also well done. Her instructional craft books have this great way of communicating techniques as accessible skills that are easy to pick up and practice. Just grab a pen and paper, then give your inner art critic the day off so you can have fun creating whatever comes to mind.
Craft-a-Doodle's exercises are engagingly worded and easy to follow. Just the photos alone will be enough to set kids' imaginations on fire, whether or not they can read the directions. The design of the book really emphasizes the relaxed but attractive aesthetic that will appeal more to the hobbyist than the fine artist, and I don't mean that as a bad thing. The lack of intimidation can be really freeing for both novice and expert draftspeople.
The great variations among the exercises will make this a cool tool for getting the creative juices flowing, particularly for people like me who hold back from creating for fear of making mistakes. In addition to the 75 exercises, the artists added more ideas for changing up their methods and producing even more diverse results than they show in the book.
This book manages to balance instruction and inspiration really well, making it practical as well as motivational. Particularly for any entrepreneur wannabes, Doh's compiled lessons capture that twee visual quality that is so popular on handmade shopping sites like Etsy. Just beware of copying anything outright and selling it; emulate the exercises to shape your own style.
*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.