I got this book at Christmas (2009) to motivate and inspire myself to continue with my journal writing and art. The book is large and rectangular which was sort of annoying but the content overrides this problem. As you read through the book you feel the layout and questions that each artist was given in order to responed. Some artists include a lot of detail on what stationary and journals that they use while others revealed very little. If you're looking for the type of things artists use then this book will be useful. However, if you're like me and tend to blame my tools for the outcome of my art, this book will open your eyes that art can be made with anything and it's just the 'look' of the art it will create. Some of the artists in the book are professionals which obtained a BA in graphics etc. but some artists have journals for pleasure and can create just as well, if not better. This shouldn't put off the reader but should, instead, inspire that anyone can draw, shouldn't be afraid of empty pages, and that your art will get better and better. The book ends with sadness which surprised me. I won't give too much away but it really made me think about how I took each day and how, with a journal, I could make each day special and memorable.
I bought this book after searching through many that could possibly help me get back into the 'sketchbook habit'. I am planning to apply to an uni art course next year (as a mature student)and really wanted some inspiration of how to set out my sketchbooks to include as part of a portfolio.
This book isnt about your normal sketchbooks i.e. the one-drawing-per-page type from back at school, but more so the journal kind where anything and everything is recorded; pen and pencil thumbnails whilst commuting, collage using bus tickets and receipts, diary entries experimenting with different fonts - you name it. The artists in this book have taken journaling to the next level with excellent sketches from observation and memory, as well as lots of imaginative bits and pieces (one artist visually records their dreams).
Although the majority of artists in the book have had formal art training, a handful are self taught and are doing extremely well with their art. It shows that there is no hard and fast rule as to how you should keep a sketchbook, and to say I flew out of my chair to start drawing straight away would be an understatement!!
I am so pleased I bought this book, and since then I have been recording events from my day visually every day in my sketchbook. I think that by the time I come to apply to art school, I shall have a good few books full up with some (hopefully) impressive and unique pages. You will get all manner of ideas from this book, and it is one that you can dip into time and again - highly recommended!!!
Originally purchased this as a present for my boyfriend and I thought it'd just be a collection of photos of people's journals. What it actually is is that and more - you get the photos of people's journals, but you also get mini-interviews from them. Things like what their favorite tool is, how they began etc etc. I can't speak for myself, but this was the part my boyfriend especially adored because it told the tale behind their journals and offered you a really nice glimpse into the differences and similarities between all the artists. Essentially, it demonstrated that you don't have to be working as an artist to make art.
What I liked was the interview because it really boosted the morale for the less confident and encouraged people who had never really done more than dip their toes to really try getting involved in art. What I didn't like was (oddly enough) also the interview part because personally, I would be looking for just a book of photos and as somebody who has more than a bit of experience with art, I found it got in the way. So wonderful for those starting out, but for those a little more experienced, probably not quite the thing.
When I was searching for information about the book, I found a lot of positive reviews. And I really mean A LOT. It's one thing that a book is well liked. It's another when it's so well liked people are actually talking about it.
An Illustrated Life is a compilation of sketchbook pages from 50 illustrators all over the world. Each journal is packed with sketches, captions and a narrative as the artist talks about his sketchbook. At 266 pages, some of the scans are a little small if you want to read the writings. One reader I found bought a magnifying glass just to make sure every detail isn't missed.
Every page is a surprise, every page is a discovery, a glimpse of what the artists is thinking, seeing and feeling. It's the perfect book to go to when you're looking inspiration and motivation.
Most artists have their websites listed. It's another avenue for exploration. Jjust to name some, they are R. Crumb, Christoph Niemann, James Jean, Peter Ankle, Cathy Johnson, James Kochalka, Brody Neuenschwander, Chris Ware, Stefan Sagmeister etc.
Danny Gregory has published a truly wonderful book. I really love it. It's well worth every single cent.
There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.
I defy anyone vaguely creative to pick up this book and not be inspired by it. What it gives us a glimpse into are the sketchbooks of quite a few artists. Some of the artists are professionals ; some market their work while also doing a bread-and-butter job; others create for the sheer love of doing so. Each artist has submitted a few pages of drawings, watercolours, etc from their sketchbooks, and a few paragraphs on such things as : why they sketch, what kind of art materials they prefer, what inspires them, etc. There are also photos showing people's workspaces-as a creative person myself (writer rather than visual artist) I am always keen to see THOSE !
AN ILLUSTRATED LIFE is edited by the always-worthwhile Danny Gregory. Creatives from 9 to 90 will really treasure this big and generous book.
I just wanted to add another good review for this book.It is a lovely book to look at again and again for creative inspiration, or just to marvel at all of the artistic ability and varied styles. By replicating the images from artists journal pages there is so much content and detail to look at. Each artist is also given some space to explain how they use their journal, which is interesting and adds a very personal perspective.