Be A Super Awesome Artist: 20 Art Challenges Inspired By the Masters
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill learn-to- draw book by a very long shot. For one thing, you’re not meant to doodle on its pages, and for another, it doesn’t have step-by-step instructions for anything. Instead, Carroll uses finished works by a wide range of artists as a starting point. A single-line drawing of a dog by Picasso or a mind-boggling geometric pattern by Bridget Riley (among lots more) serves as an invitation to look at a piece and feel inspired by one of its properties.
Each work is carefully chosen for its overall impact, but also for its use of a particular technique (Chuck Close’s grid, Van Gogh’s impasto), specific material (Gayle Chong Kwan’s upcycled rubbish, Lorna Simpson’s photo collage) or message (think Marcel Duchamp, Frida Kahlo or Chris Ofili).
Each challenge contains just enough information to equip readers with the knowledge and confidence necessary to launch into creating their own responses in a very free, relaxed fashion. The range of artists is wide, modern and diverse, featuring works as recent as 2020 by people from all continents working with paint, sculpture and natural elements – there are even installation artists. Blake’s illustrations are playful and clever and give great dynamism to the book as a whole, never taking over from the artwork on display.
The ‘nifty know-how’ interludes efficiently introduce readers to different types of paint and pencils and some colour theory, while an art history timeline at the end places some artists and movements in a wider (mostly Western) context.
This is simply quite brilliant!