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Reviews of creative books. Illustration, photography, fashion, textiles and more. If you are a publisher or book author/creator, and would like to work with me, get in touch!

bob the artist | book review

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bob the artist - book review : cardboardcities - creative lifestyle blog

bob the artist - inner cover

bob the artist – £10.95

℅ laurence king

‘bob the artist’ is a book i wish i had as a child.

bob is teased by his friends that he has skinny legs, and he feels like he needs to change himself in order to fit in. he goes on a journey and essentially learns that he doesn’t need to change, he just needs to be confident in being himself. good on you, bob!

when i was younger i never felt like i fit in – not so much in looks (though i was teased and bullied for being short, but that’s a different story) but more so that i never felt like anyone ‘got’ me. actually, i still feel like this, but not to the same degree.

i wish i’d had a book back then to help me realise that just being myself is good enough, and that i should have relished it. it would have made the long journey of growing up a little easier! art plays a strong part in my life too, as it did for bob and his transformation.

bob the artist - book review

bob the artist - book review : cardboardcities

bob the artist - cardboardcities

bob the artist with spots on his beak

story aside, aren’t the illustrations in this book absolutely wonderful? they’re by the author of the book itself, marion deuchars. i love how simple, graphic and colourful they are. though this book feels quite colourful the colour palette is actually very strict – but you don’t really notice as each page and illustration is so striking.

like any good picture book, the pictures really carry the story on and bring it to life. this book is recommended for ages 3 and up, and i think children (and adults) of varying ages will appreciate it for story and imagery alike. it’s very charming and certainly one to remember.

100 years of colour | book review

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100 years of colour | book review » cardboardcities - creative lifestyle blog

book ℅ octopus publishing

100 years of colour – £14.99

100 years of colour by katie greenwood is a book showcasing art, illustration and design throughout the last century that looks at colour usage in the past 100 years. that alone sold me, but when i actually received and looked at the book? oh. my. heart eyes emoji!

this book goes through each year in each decade from the 1900’s until 1990’s and shows images that were made, popular or had some impact within that time. next to each image is a colour palette comprised of the main colours within the image, repeated to show different combinations, and underneath that the RGB codes if you wish to use these colours within your work. CMYK is at the back of the book.

100 years of colour | 1920's

100 years of colour | 1969 colour palette

100 years of colour | russian illustration

the book is well designed, and laid out in a way that’s easy to navigate. i love the banded strips on black throughout the book in particular.

each decade starts of with a short essay on significant events that happened within that decade, and how they have an effect on colour use in art and design.

the images chosen for each year aren’t necessarily the ‘most important’ of that time, but they are representative of colour usages and styles within these times. it’s pleasing to flick through the book and see how colour usage changes, and how certain colours always seem to be there, whilst other colours (or colour combinations at least) are a bit more cyclical.

it’s interesting to think that had the author only chosen images that were most popular at these times – rather than perhaps ones that are more standout to artists and designers – would this book be completely different, and maybe more indicative of colour trends?

100 years of colour, a book review

100 years of colour

100 years of colour | 90's colours

who really knows, but there are probably other books out there that have taken very popular images throughout art history (mona lisa for example) and studied colour usage throughout the decades in a much more in-depth manner.

what i see this book as being, is one for inspiration, and in particular one that can help you come up with some interesting and varied colour palettes for your work. also, there were quite a few artists and pieces i’d not seen before, so on that viewpoint, it will actually indirectly help me learn more about them.

if you’re a designer, illustrator or artist looking for some colour inspiration (in a way you can directly plug into photoshop or illustrator, too) this book very well serves its need. i’ve picked it up and looked at it SO many times already, just for a burst of colour. however, if you’re looking for something more in-depth in terms of colour theory or are researching colour usage throughout history, i’d still recommend this, but more as a supplement to other books.

overall, if you love colour and illustration, i think you will enjoy this!

peter blake | book review

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peter blake book review » cardboardcities - creative lifestyle blog

books ℅ tate publishing

peter blake (modern artists series) by natalie rudd – £14.99

peter blake, for me, is one of those artists whose works i either love or have some seemingly unjust dislike. i don’t know why and can’t explain it. i do LOVE his collections though. that speaks to my heart and soul as someone that is a bit of a hoarder and loves to collect.

peter blake self portrait » cardboardcitiespeter blake book review jasper johns - peter blake book review

this book has a good variety of his work in, and the images seem to be well produced with good colour and sharpness. the commentary is interesting and plentiful, and this (and the images) cover his work from the 50’s up until mid 00’s. the work within is in (roughly) chronological order, but does kind of vary from this. it doesn’t take away from the experience of the book.

zsa zsa gabor - peter blake book reviewpeter blake collections - book reviewpeter blake » cardboardcities

being a collage artist myself, i’m naturally drawn to his collages, which i am (mostly) very fond of. it’s his paintings i’m not hugely keen on. i just don’t ‘connect’ with them in the same way that i do his other work. this is of course completely personal and doesn’t change my view of the book. as i said, it has a good variety of all the different media he uses.

overall if you’re a big fan of peter blake, just want to research his work a bit, read some interviews and learn about him in general, or want to learn about an artist that extensively uses many different media, i think you’d like this book, and it’s definitely worth having in your collection.