Reading update

June meant vacation time and, for me, that meant very little reading (I was too busy hanging out with my niblings and gardening).

Picture books:

Other books:

The Stonekeeper’s Curse (Amulet #2) and The Cloud Searchers (Amulet #3) – On my last day of vacation, when it was too late to take advantage of it, I discovered that my brother has these books. Sigh. I’s a good series and I would have loved to read them all.

40 Below Volume 2 – This is a really great collection of poetry and short stories relating to winter (winter, how winter affects life, surviving winter, etc.). Bonus (for me): it’s centered around my neck of the woods (Alberta). I’m definitely going to buy the previous volume and keep an eye open for future volumes.

The Nesting Place – I was quite disappointed by this book. Not only was it lacking in any unique or new thoughts, it was also littered with Christian ideology and antiquated gender roles. The latter was particularly annoying.

Toil And Trouble (#1 & 2) – This looks to be a promising series. The art is gorgeous and the story, a reinvention of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, is very intriguing. The gorgeous art and inventiveness of the fate’s design are what pulled me in, but the story has me hooked.

Lantern City Vol. 1 (dnf) – Not what I was in the mood for, I guess.

The Wrong Cat – Lorna Crozier is quickly becoming a favourite poet. I was enchanted by the first few poems, so I bought a copy to own. Her poetry seems effortless and offers many intriguing lines that are worth rereading many times over.

The Endangered Species Road Trip – Part travel journal, part conservation essay – this book was both fun and interesting.

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Art in books

In my last reading update, I included a number of picture books. As I have a habit of going to Audreys Books and seem to make it down to the kids section fairly often, I tend to skim or flip through several  kids books each month. But, last month, I sat down and properly read several kids books, taking the time to enjoy the stories and admire the pictures.

If you read the update, you may have noticed that I kept commenting on the art in these books. The story is only half the treasure. I’m a big fan of books with interesting, innovative, or pretty art. Some of my favourite childhood books had lovely and detailed paintings, but others had unique styles, bold colours, or slightly odd images. As an adult, I still love kids books and have purchased a few for myself after falling in love with ones that I bought for my niblings. They’re like art or coffee table books for me.

I’m the same way with graphic novels or comics. Often, I will stop (or never really start) reading something simply because I can’t connect with the art. Or, I’ll stick with a comic or graphic novel for longer than the story deserves because the art is beautiful or interesting. For example, I tried really hard to quit Bird Boy because the updates were often sporadic or really far apart. I eventually compromised with myself – I could keep the link, but I wouldn’t follow it regularly until the updates were more frequent (which they seem to be now, so I need to catch up and start following it again).

The things is – and this seems to surprise some people – the art doesn’t have to be “good.” That is, it doesn’t have to look like it was created by someone who spent years studying figure drawing, or be pretty, or be realistic, or look exactly like what it’s supposed to represent. Sometimes, the artist’s style is very interesting or the style works well with the story or mood. And, yes, sometimes, the story stands on it’s own, so it doesn’t matter that the art isn’t “perfect.”

When I look at the art in books, whether for myself or for my niblings, I’m looking for something that adds to the story, but also for something that makes me stop and admire the images. I adore a number of artist who have rough, crude, and even “ugly” art because they work is unique and interesting. And, I think this this is part of what makes me an artist. I have an eye for the interesting, for the unique, and for the work behind even the simplest cartoon. And, I think it’s really important that we continue to support and encourage all forms and styles of art in kids books – kids need to see that a dog can take a million different forms and colours. It will help them understand creativity and interpret other people’s perspectives.

Whether you have kids in your life or not, I challenge you to take the time to check out picture books on occasion. Find one that make you stop before you turn the page, than take a moment to enjoy the art.

 

 

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Reading update

I started this month off with some kids books, because why the heck not :) (Seriously, though, I’m going to be a sad auntie when the niblings are no longer young enough to appreciate picture books).

The pictures books that I read:

Giant Days (issue 12) – Still enjoying this series of comics immensely.

New Order: A Decluttering Handbook for Creative Folks – A good, matter-of-fact approach to decluttering, productivity, and practicing your art(s). Wolf even includes a chapter about the importance of collaborating with your community (musicians, etc.) and how to approach people. Her writing isn’t as inspirational as Marie Kondo’s first book, but it’s easy, friendly, and encouraging. I will definitely be adding this to my bookshelf.

SuperMutant Magic Academy: Some of the comics (especially at the beginning) are a bit rough, but it’s full of fun and imaginative ideas. Also, it’s really great watching an artist’s work improve over time. Jillian Tamaki is the illustrator of This One Summer (which I read at the end of last month). I really like her work.

Happier at Home: I don’t even know why I picked this – it sounded schmultsy and uber self-helpy. I was suprised by how much I enjoyed it, especially all of the really interesting things she had to say about simplicity and being your own self (versus finding happiness through someone else’s idea of happy/good).

The Art of Racing in the Rain: I had to power through some sections of this book. It was good and the main character was fairly unique (a dog), but I really, really hated the family drama (the in-laws were assholes, essentially).

The Art of Asking: When this book first came out, I was mildly interested, but not sold on the description. Bridgeen recommended it in a recent post, and I’m really glad I decided to read this. It’s raw, beautiful, and fascinating. The 7th (of 101, so far) thing I’ve rated with 5 stars this year. I highly recommend this if you are an artist, someone who struggles with asking for things, or simply interested in autobiographies.

The Apothecary (first in a series): I really wanted to love this. It’s a great kids adventure with magic and mystery. I just couldn’t get into it and I got a bit bored with it.

***

I really slowed down at the end of the month. I’m still working on a few long books, but I only read about a chapter or two a week, so I’m not making much progress.

I’m super busy in June, so I don’t expect to read much (except maybe a million kids books). I also have a few art books I haven’t even opened, yet. So, I expect the next update to be pretty pathetic. :)

 

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Spring on the trails

I love to take the trails on the way to work. As much as possible, I try I leave early enough to take one of the longer routes. Aside from having the trails mostly to myself, the flowers and birds and such are a great way to start my day.

On a somewhat related note, I’ve been thinking about when spring starts. Last week, Kandise mentioned that the trees in New Brunswick were just starting to bud, but I’ve always been under the impression that spring had a late start in Edmonton compared to what I was used to back home (Nova Scotia). In the Maritimes (Maritime provinces = NS, NB, and PEI), there are (were?) lots of crocuses and such popping up early in the spring and there was always a lot of spring rain. Here in Edmonton, we get at least one last chill and snow in early May, then weeks of almost nothing before the all the trees go wild with leaves and blooms. Then thunderstorms start to roll in and the flowers will slowly start growing and blooming.

I think that I’ve been unable to take off my Maritime hat, which meant that I always felt that spring didn’t happen until there was rain, the smell of moist earth and lots of flowers. But, maybe Edmonton just has a tree-centric start. We’re probably more or less on the same schedule as the Maritimes.

Here are a few of the beauties I’ve encountered these past 2 weeks. While I did run into a few flowers, most of the blossoms are on trees and bushes. They are, according to my pictures from the past few years, about 2-3 weeks earlier than usual. Of course, we’re also bone dry here (the province has issued a rare province-wide fire ban because everything to dry and all our fire fighters are needed in the Fort McMurray), which may be slowing down the growth of some plants).

❤Almost greenWhite flowersRed bushNew leavesWhite flowersNoisy nibbler. He let me watch from very close, until a bike zoomed by and scared him.

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Legislature grounds

I’m a big fan of making a quick side trip through the Legislature grounds on my way to work each morning. It’s not out of my way (it only adds 5-ish minutes to my trip, if I go around the whole building) and there are some really lovely bits and pieces of garden, like the Lois Hole Memorial garden (a favourite place to stop). It’s exceptionally nice right now, while things are starting to bloom and before they’ve had a chance to fill in every nook and cranny with begonias (which are so boring compared to some of the native things they could plant and leave permanently).

Morning sun on leaves

A week ago, this was mostly bare and the leaves were emerging on mostly on the circumference. Now, it’s filling out nicely.

Tiny flowers hidden on the underside of the branchMorning sun on leavesPink flowersWhite flowers

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One month

It’s amazing how much of a different one month can make. Early April, we had a tiny bit of snow and the plants were only just starting to grow in the sunnier places.

We had a bit of snow last night, but I suspect it's all gone now (this was taken 3+ hours ago).

This week, all the trees and bushes were in full bloom or getting ready to burst.

Blooms

This is one of the reasons I love spring. It’s not just the flowers and the perfumed air – it’s the transition. From brown to green with hints of white and yellow and pink.

Perhaps my assessment of the beginning colour is a bit unfair. There are 50 shades of brown with hints of brick red and several greys. It’s actually quite lovely. You can see the backbone of the landscape – the trees, the slopes, and the no-longer-hidden trails. It’s a thrill to see it all emerge in the fall, but after a long dreary winter, it’s nice to see the green re-emerging.

Right now we’re in the phase where it’s mostly green ground cover and trees full of blossoms, but there are plenty more trees to bloom and plenty more colours to emerge.

Blooms

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Reading update

The first half of this month felt so slow.

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1): I’ve been meaning to read this series for years. It was cute and quick, but I wasn’t convinced that I loved it.

The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2) (dnf): By the time a certain villain had shown up, I was already tired of how no one listened to the kids. I seem to be very easily frustrated by stories where people aren’t listened to and this series seems to hang a great deal of weight on the idea that no one will believe the kids until the very end. I decided that this series was not for me.

The Artist in the Office: After reading this book, I wrote a rather lengthy blog post about how, years ago, I quit art. I found this book to be insightful and encouraging. It also had a lot of useful exercises and creative ideas for ways to be creative in the office. Bonus points: it was a quick read.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: I found this a bit slow in the middle, but it quickly picked up and was really hard to put down in the last few chapters. I liked the ending. There was no one hero and, though things seemed to end well for the good guys and not so well for the bad guys, it wasn’t really a happily ever after story (which I find can be a bit overly romantic and sometimes unnecessary).

Lumberjanes (issues 19-24 & Beyond Bay Leaf #1): I’m still really enjoying these comics. They have strong and diverse heroines who each have their own strengths and don’t need to be saved by boys in the end. I would have loved comics like these as a kid.

Sketch!: Reading this spawned a whole blog post about my personal history of giving up art. I’ve read or been reading a couple of books like this recently and I’ve found them really helpful and inspirational. There seems to be a new kind of art book – the every-person’s guide to doing art without having to have fancy tools or learn fancy techniques. After years of flipping through and being disappointed with “this is how you draw/paint/etc.” books, this new approach and attitude is really refreshing, less intimidating, and exactly what I needed. This book, like other in the genre, focuses on the act of drawing and not on the final product. It encourages the reader to be realistic about time, skills and tools. For example, the author provides some pretty good reasons for using cheap sketch books. She also discusses the fact that we don’t need a special time or place for art because drawing can just be drawing and doesn’t have to be a “sacred” exercise.

Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King (The Guardians #1): My favourite part of this book was the imagination behind it: Santa before he was Santa, a magical tree, the source of nightmares, etc. Oddly, I found the narration a bit annoying (I listened to an audio version)- I found it a little overly dramatic. But, the story was good.

Giant Days (issues 9-11) – I’ve been a fan of John Allison (Bad Machinery / Scary Go Round) for ages, and he does not disappoint with Giant Days.

Lost Dogs – A sad and brutal story of a man who loses everything. It’s my least favourite Lemire, but considering that I absolutely love his work, that’s not half bad.

A Kiss Before You Go – Sad and lovely. I could relate to some of the things he felt and struggled with after the death of a loved one. I find that most books like this are a romanticized version of love, lose and moving on, but the author was pretty honest in this book. He showed some of the cracks and moments when he was at his lowest, and it was both sad and beautiful.

This One Summer – I did not think that this would be anything more then a bit amusing, but I could not put it down. It’s a really great story and I think that much-younger me would have felt like they found themselves in Rose. I highly recommend this graphic novel.

***

I’ve been neglecting both The Mask Game and The Yellow House. And, I’m going to continue to ignore them as I have a bunch of library books to read.

If you, like I, are interested in reading books about life with art and creativity, my friend Bridgeen has a great post with a few book recommendations, 5 books on the Business of being an Artist. I’ve only read one of them (Steal Like An Artist), but I’m going to track down the others because they all sound very interesting.

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Inspirations

I have an art-a-day calendar at work. It has a varied collection of art in different forms and from different eras. Most are easy to at least appreciate, a few have found themselves hidden behind my water bottle, and several have made me wish that I could leave it for just one more day. It occurs to me that a good way to acknowledge and document some of the ones I enjoy the most would be to share them. So, here’s last Friday’s, which I adore:

La Plage de Saint-Clair, 1906-07

La Plage de Saint-Clair, 1906-07 (oil on canvas) by Cross, Henri-Edmond (1856-1910); 65×81 cm; Musee de l’Annonciade, Saint-Tropez, France; French, out of copyright

La Plage to Saint-Clair, 1906-07, by Henri-Edmond Cross, a French painter and printmaker who’s most acclaimed as a master of Neo-Impressionism. The colours in this painting were the first thing I noticed. They’re rich, vibrant and span the rainbow. I think it also stuck out for me because, while watching some videos about landscape quilting, I’d been reminded that one of the methods used to create depth is to use more vibrant colours in the foreground and more muted colours in the background. This painting illustrates that with the vibrant tree and slopes in the front, and the pale hills in the back.

But, mostly it was the colours.

I’m a sucker for colours.

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Giving up on art: my personal history

Yesterday, I read a book called “The Artist in the Office – How to creatively survive and thrive seven days a week,” by Summer Pierre. Within the first few pages, I knew this was a book I needed to read. I posted this on Instagram the other day, but I that I had more to say (or, perhaps, I had more to more to admit).

image

Making it meant … the ability to do art full time … Until then, I wasn’t a real artist. As a result, I felt ashamed and invisible next to the people who enjoyed their jobs. I wasn’t a real employee and I wasn’t a real artist.”

I let my own dreams be squashed mid-year grade 12.

I don’t recall anyone specifically saying that art was a useless career choice, but I do remember being encouraged to aim for “real” degrees and “real” jobs. When I applied for university, I applied to biology programs and didn’t even bother with a minor in art. I think that my art teacher and dad were the only ones who ever questioned my decision, but I was a people pleaser and lacked to courage to stand up to all the perceived naysayers.

For years, I used excuses to make myself feel better about not being a “real” artist: art won’t get me a stable job that pays well; I’m a busy student and need to focus on my studies; I have a “real” job and need to stop dreaming because I’m an adult now; I should be doing job related training when I have free time, not art; I’ve lost what skill I had, so I’m no longer an artist and should give up on that dream; etc. Eventually, I just gave up. There was no point in doing something I loved if I didn’t have the time or the skill.

One could argue that I gave up on myself in grade 12, but I still did art – doodling in class, hand drawing overhead sheets (this was back in the later 90’s and my small school still used overhead projectors in all but the larger classrooms), and even hand drawing graphics for friend’s projects. Quitting on my art (and, by extension, myself) came much later. I don’t know exactly when, but I know some of the contributing factors. With my mother dying and my father more-or-less out of the picture, I felt like I needed to be responsible and get a real job (it didn’t help that some pretty influential people in my life agreed). While my art had been encouraged when I was young, I no longer had that extra boost that I needed (most of my family seemed to think that art was just a hobby). I’d also just finished a degree that I had been passionate about, only to find that it was a dead end for me as I wasn’t willing (or, realistically, able) to lead a life of scrounging for contract work – I had student loans to pay and I no longer had a home (mom would have let me live with her for more-or-less-free at least until I was established enough to get regular contracts, but she’d died before my degree was even finished). All this combined with a few years of general bad luck, left me as a sad husk of my former self with nothing to show for it other than I career that I would quickly become bored with in just a few short years. [I should note that grad school happened between mom dying and my career starting– it was a good, but mostly artless, two years for me and I don’t regret getting a library studies degree.]

In retrospect, I think that giving up on art was, in many ways, a desperate attempt to not feel sad and angry about my wasted talent – if I wasn’t doing it, then I wasn’t being reminded of how I’d once had dreams of being at least a part time artist – someone who might work a day job, but go home to create art that was “real” and “good.”

At one point (I can’t remember exactly when or even what triggered it), I tried quilting and stitching. I had embroidered in the past (I was a creative kid, so I embroidered jeans pockets and such), but quilting was new to me. At first, I loved it and I was convinced that I’d found a creative outlet, but I started to get bored with it. I loved the pretty fabrics, but mostly I just wanted to study their patterns. I loved the ingenuity of some of the quilt artists, but I didn’t have the patience to do the same sorts of quilt projects. It was more or less the same for stitching, though on a smaller scale as it’s easier to complete a small stitching project (not to mention easier to take to work, tidy up, etc.).

Meanwhile, things weren’t much happier for me in the career department. I work a cubicle job. I’m a business analyst and I’m fairly senior on the scale, so my work often involves collaboration, advising clients, researching, etc. It’s not a bad job: I’m paid well, I have great benefits, and my boss is a nice guy. But, it can be very boring and it’s very far from anything that I have any love for, commitment to, or interest in (I was interested for the first year or so, but then I realized that I’d hit the end of what I needed to learn and was forever doomed to relearning the same concepts with different buzz words).

I felt bad for complaining (not that my guilt stopped me). There was nothing awful about my job; it was just the wrong one for me. I tried to shift my job back to actual librarianship, but had the bad luck of looking just when the library job market seemed to be taking a pretty big swing downwards. I tried to find similar work in other departments, hoping that having to learn their business and such would at least give me something new to learn. Again, the job market was on a downturn. I eventually found a new job within my current department that was at least a little different. It was good for a while, but it’s gotten boring again. I miss doing work that felt like it mattered or that required learning new things fairly regularly. My learning is pretty much limited to business skills at this point (project management, etc.) and it’s all dreadfully boring.

So, last year, I finally found myself in that terrible place: I didn’t fit at work and I didn’t fit in art. I was in the same place the author describes on the page I shared above.

I know there’s not much I can do about my career right now. I’ll keep my eyes open for something new or more interesting, but, as mentioned, I’m far afield of anything that interests me and I suspect that may mean having to make a pretty major career shift. I could do that, but I’m not willing to until I have greater stability (more money saved, etc.). Such is the life of someone who can’t rely on another person’s income for groceries :)

Art, on the other hand, is something that I can do something about. While I haven’t done anything huge, yet, I have been taking small steps. I bought myself a membership to the art gallery so that I’d go more often and not just when they have The Group of Seven or other favourites (the gallery pales in comparison to most of the others I’ve been to, but it’s better than nothing). I’ve also been doing a lot of reading, especially art related books and comics or graphic novels – basically anything that will remind me of what I used to know about art and inspire me. I’m also sketching a lot more often. It may not be every day (yet) and it may just be a tiny thumbnail of something I saw on a walk, but, right now, I’m trying to focus on habit versus skill. I plan to start taking some classes later this year (if nothing else, I have a couple Craftsy classes that I purchased ages ago, but haven’t yet watched).

This book, is one of the art related books I’m reading. I picked it up on a whim. I can’t remember where I read about it, but I’m already glad that I found it. It has some good insight and a wide variety of ideas for creative things that you can do at work (during your breaks, of course). It also acknowledges that some people do better with a day job (as opposed to being a full time artist), which was nice to read as I will likely always have a day job.

She touched on the false idea that your work has to matter in order to amount to anything (i.e., in order to have “worth”). This both makes us feel like we have to have large amounts of time set aside to get anything accomplished and stalls our progress (think of all that time preparing but not doing).

Speaking of preparing but not doing, she comes back to this problem several times in the book. Inspiration is good, but there comes a point where you just need to start doing things. I know that I’m bad about looking and looking and looking and looking, but never doing. As the book noted, looking, reading, getting ready will eventually become your life if you don’t include the actual art making. I don’t want that to be my life (not completely, anyway, though as a librarian, research is something that I enjoy). I know that I’ll have to keep that in check and remind myself to “do.” I’m letting myself read as much as I want right now, but I have a cut off date for when I have to start taking classes and actually making art. I’m also making myself work on a daily sketch habit. I’m not quite there yet, but I sketch most days for at least a few minutes.

I’m very glad I read this book, if only because it made me think about when and why I quit art. I have two other similar types of books that I will read next and I hope to find a few more resources to help encourage and inspire me.

Do you have any art resources that inspire you? Blogs? Galleries? Books (self-help, reference, graphic, or even novels)? I’d love to hear about them and about how they inspire you.

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Reading update

If you want to plow through your reading challenge, read comic books!

I read 18 books in one weekend thanks to Lumberjanes. I read another 8 one evening, thanks to Giant Days. These are all comics (the short kind, not longer compilations or graphic novels). While I’m not adjusting my Goodread’s challenge target, I did make a mental note to aim for reading 50 books plus however many comics I read, because comics are quite short and I still want to challenge myself to read longer things.

Here’s what I read this past month:

Decorate Workshop: This is a pretty good book with some good ideas, but the thing that sets it apart from many of the other décor books I’ve read is that the author spends a lot of time talking about budgeting. It’s a nice addition, because so many others focus only on the pretty part of decorating a space.

The Little Paris Bookshop: I listened to the audiobook version of this, which I’m sure added to the magic and beauty of the story. The accents and interspersed French made it feel more authentic. It’s a lovely story full of love, loss, friendship, loneliness, and healing. I adored the French setting and culture.

One Painting a Day: While I didn’t do the daily exercises (and skimmed over much of the portraiture section), I think that this would be a fun art challenge. The author talks about the prompts, but also provides some good bits of advice. The best part is that, for a lot of the prompts, he defines not only what he did, but also what key features to look for if the specific prompt isn’t going to work for you (for example, one day is a painting in a bar, but suggests that any dimly lit space would work). This gives the reader a lot of freedom, but also helps to define the specific aspects of a space that he wants us to study (for example, contrast in light). I suspect that I will return to this when I have time to do the paintings.

Lumberjanes (issues 1-18): These are fun adventure stories with girls (and the occasional boy). Best of all, each girl has her own personality ranging from brainy to girly to adorably hyper. I love that the authors make all this happen without making a big deal about it or making the characters excessively stereotypical (for example, the girly girl doesn’t only wear pink and happens to be physically very strong). I’m very tempted to start buying these, if only because I have a niece who might enjoy them when she’d old enough.

Seeds of Hope: I don’t know why I was surprised to find a book about plants by Jane Goodall. She clearly loves all nature. This book covers everything: personal memories relating to plants, the science of plants, plant use and abuse, and even how people are used and abused to grow/harvest plants. She seems to have adopted some spiritual beliefs (plant related spirituality that some of the indigenous people she’s encountered believe) and they felt a bit out of place with all the other more factual information. And, some of the sections talking about pollution, deforestation, slavery, etc. were a bit depressing. Despite this, I enjoyed the book.

Wild: I read this because I felt like it could be a good “woman going solo” book and love anything dealing with being outside. While I couldn’t relate to the author (she is far more social and trusting than I am), I could relate to some of the feelings she had while on the trail (both the fears and the joys). I liked how she peppered her trail story with memories of her past. Though, I did feel that it ended a bit abruptly and I was disappointed that she didn’t talk much about how the hike affected her life. Did she reconnect with people she’d drifted away from? How did this endeavour change her perspective and shape the rest of her life? All we get is a brief summary (she gets married, has kids, etc.).

Art 101: I’m pretty sure the only reason for this book’s existence is to sell more books in the “101” series. It had some decent introductory information, but it didn’t have many pictures (which is odd in an art book). Also, it wasn’t organized in any logical way (chronologically or grouped by artists, movements, etc.), which made it hard to get a good grasp on the many inter-related people and concepts. My advice? Ignore the book and hit Wikipedia.

Giant Days (issues 1-8): After the fun of reading Lumberjanes, I decided to check out some more comics. This is about friends in university and their nutty adventures/dramas. I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed them as it’s not the kind of thing I typically read.

A Matter of Life: You know the adorable “Darth Vader and Son” book? This is an illustrated autobiography of that author. I’m always intrigued by biographies but rarely have the patience to sit through reading long ones, so I like books like this.

The Road to Little Dribbling (dnf): I didn’t make it very far into this book before I quit. I was looking forward to it, as I’ve enjoyed Bryson’d wit in some of his other books. But, I found this one to be condescending and negative (everyone was stupid, everything was ugly).

Show Your Work!: This is a marketing book for artists by the guy who wrote Steal like an Artist. I’m not trying to market myself or my work, but I liked his previous book, so I read it out of interest. It did have some good general tips, so it might be worth reading if your an artist.

One Drawing a Day: I fully expected this to be as good as One Painting a Day, but I was very disappointed. I expected a drawing a day (subject prompts; ideas for exploring types of drawings, like blind contour; etc.). But, mostly it was an exploration of mixed media, which would have been fine, but the author presumed that we’d all want to head out to buy a couple dozen different types of media and tools and offered no alternatives. There were a few good ideas, but mostly this book was useless to me.

Adulthood is a Myth: A compilation of the online comics by Sarah Andersen, who did my all time favourite book related comic. Her comics are a lot of fun.

Through the Woods: CREEPY! This is a compilation of beautifully illustrated, creepy stories by Emily Carroll. If you like creepy stuff, read this. If, like me, you avoid creepy stuff, you should still read this.

The Stonekeeper (Amulet, volume 1): Well, I was already reading a tonne of comics and this kept popping up in my “recommended” lists. It looks like an interesting premise, but I’ll reserve my judgement for when I can get my hands on a few more volumes.

***

I moved The Creative License back to my tbr (to be read) list because I decided that I liked it enough to buy it and actually do some of the exercises he suggests.

I’m still working on The Mask Game, but it’s long and I’m mostly only reading it at work on my lunch break, so it’s slow going.

I’ve finally picked Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell back up (this time as an audiobook) and I’m enjoying it. But, it’s long and I’m not listening to it was much as I was earlier this month (I used it as my commute book to distract me from traffic noise, but it’s now light enough to hit the trails in the morning and I’d rather listen to the symphony of bird song). I’ll have to work on it during chores, I guess.

I started to read The Yellow House, which is about the nine weeks Van Gogh and Gauguin lived in the yellow house in Arles, but I haven’t made much progress as I’ve been distracted various other art related books.

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