‘Colour Zoo’ by Lois Ehlert

Did you know that all it takes is a circle, a square and a triangle to make a tiger?

Lois Ehlert, is (without surprise) one of our favourite authors, here at Art1st. She has a unique ability to take a simple concept, sprinkle it with creativity and convert it into a magical book. In the ‘Colour Zoo’, Ehlert effortlessly combines three basic shapes together, as page by page the animals transform.

This board book is bright and colourful. Each page has a shape cut out, and as you peer through it, you’ll find an unexpected animal. This is a great book to learn about shapes and what you can do with them. But if you’re an older reader (spoiler alert) you’re going to be pretty impressed by the simplistic ingenuity of each segment.

Entertain this whimsy if you will. The combinations when reduced to mathematical formulas can be quite fun. Tiger – Circle = Mouse or Deer + Oval + Rectangle = Ox. Now try and make up some of your own.

Likla
Writer at Art1st

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‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’ by Crockett Johnson

Okay. We’ll admit it. We love books about crayons.
(mostly because they’re so colourful and fun)

Well, this is a story about a little bundle boy called Harold.
Our hero Harold has a purple crayon. And with that crayon, he draws the world!

This Papa’s palm-sized purple paperback is rich in imagination and its applications. Johnson’s illustrations explore the flexibility of a simple line as Harold makes his purple journey. Purposefully minimal, the pages of Crockett Johnson’s ‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’ allow the imaginative reader to fill in the colours.

The next time you’re in bed, but can’t quite sleep, grab hold of a purple crayon and see where it will take you.

Likla
Writer at Art1st

‘Red- A Crayon’s Story’ by Michael Hall

 

Fresh off the Art1st Library Shelves, self-acceptance has never looked more colourful!

In Michael Hall’s ‘Red’, our beloved narrator takes the form of a classic Yellow Pencil as he takes us on ‘Red’ the crayon’s journey of self-discovery.

The story throws out the age-old art teacher’s motto of ‘practice make perfect’ and replaces it with the more current educational focus of exploration.

The narrative spills out of the words into the simple but clever visuals and is enhanced through the little details, like how the older and more experienced crayons are smaller than the newer ones like Red and Berry.

What do you do, if you’re trying to be Red, but you’re always Blue?
Why, you draw Blue Strawberries of course!

‘He was red. But he wasn’t very good at it.’

Likla
Writer at Art1st

THE PEACOCK WHO WANTED TO FLY LIKE AN EAGLE

The Peacock who wanted to Fly like an Eagle written and illustrated by Mama Suranya is a marvelous story of a little Peacock called Piku who wishes to fly like his friend the “Little Eagle”. Unaware of his own talent and worth Piku feels neglected and depressed as he watches the little eagle soar higher and higher every day until he becomes a dot in the sky.

But one fine Rainy day as the clouds roared “ Dharram Dharram Dharam!”  Piku’s life takes a 360-degree turn when Mama Peacock  and Papa Peacock  give him the surprise of his life!……. and he realizes his real worth………

Inspired by Indian paintings the illustrations take you on a splendid tour of the life in “Madhuvan Gardens”. Whereas similes such as “ Muchhas of Ravana”  add to the beauty of the narration.

Drenched in the petrichor of India this book is a must have for every child.

 

Gopa

Artist Mentor

Mr. Lincoln’s Way by Patricia Polacco

 

 

 

Mr. Lincoln’s Way by Patricia Polacco is a sensitive book that talks about the importance of the role a teacher plays in a child’s life. How being a good teacher does not only entail having the knowledge of once subject but the ability to guide and unfold the abilities of a child rather than trying to mould her/him.

This is an excellent book about an elementary school principal who takes the time to help a troubled child. It addresses racism, bullying and teasing, and it’s also great for bird lovers.Though the story touches upon the issues of  bullying and the harm that it does, but it  highlights another very important factor, the conditions that cause a child to become a bully in the first place. Mr. Lincoln’s Way draws the connection between what a child learns at home and what he does at school. The story encourages us to ask whether it is really the child’s fault that he is a bully.

Polacco’s illustrations add to the story as she has meticulously detailed her story with people of all ethnicities, which makes the story relatable to all. She has marvelously captured different emotions, moods and gestures through her watercolour and pencil illustrations.

Read the book to find out how Mr. Lincoln helps “Mean Gene” become his true self “Eugene Esterhause”.

 

Gopa

Artist Mentor

All in a Day



“A day is a perfect piece of time to live a life

All in a Day written by Cynthia Rylant & Illustrated by Nikki McClure is a story of a boy who spends a day on his family farm, sharing joys and disappointments with his parents, a friendly chicken and a watchful squirrel.

The use of gentle verse to describe the gifts of a new day and Nikki McClure’s stunning, meticulously crafted cut-paper art, makes this picture book not only timeless but appealing to all ages.

The book illuminates all the things a day offers – the opportunities and the chances that won’t ever come again as well as a gentle message of good stewardship of our planet.

Gopa

Artist Mentor

Art from her Heart …. by Kathy Whitehead & illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Do not wait for the perfect time to create…

A picture book biography of the remarkable folk artist Clementine Hunter, who defied all odds for her passion of painting.

An awe inspiring journey of her paintings hanging on her clothesline to hanging in museums, yet because of the color of her skin, a friend had to sneak her in when the gallery was closed.  Can you imagine being an artist who isn’t allowed into your own show? That’s what happened to folk artist Clementine Hunter.

With lyrical writing and striking water colour illustrations, that capture the essence of her life and work, this picture book biography introduces kids to a self-taught artist whose paintings captured scenes of backbreaking work and joyous celebrations of a farm life.

Art from her Heart written by Kathy Whitehead & illustrated by Shane W. Evans is a book that gives younger readers the opportunity to learn about Clementine Hunter’s important contributions to folk art and the obstacles she faced as an African American woman artist. A picture book about, dreams fantasies and the real life challenges related to farm work, human resources, and discrimination.

 

Gopa

Artist Mentor

Story, First..

 TAW-MP-coverThe Artist’s Way by #JuliaCameron

Story, First..

Books, leading to books is a calling.

A few years ago, when I picked up ‘Who will cry when you die’ written by Robin Sharma, little was I cognizant that it was my calling for a transition. Though it took a few years to realize it, the rusted levers were set in motion by the latent forces of nature, then.

Robin Sharma suggested two books to readers; Walden by Henry Thoreau and The Artists’ Way by Julia Cameron.

Unaware of the instant shift in FOC, that evening, I went to the book store and picked up both – it was not an easy decision because The Artists’ Way was a costly ledger – the trade off between entertainment, pleasure, and fun vs. addressing & rediscovering essential deeper self.

I took that chance then….

….and realized a few years later that NATURE could never go wrong. It craves for alignment, always.

I left Walden after fifty pages; my cerebral taste buds were not so accustomed to the compound and dense creation of art. So, I began reading The Artists’ Way which is much easier to eyes and brain. (Confession – I have not yet finished Walden, but plan to do it soon).

Reading through it, this is what I have come to learn about Creativity & how ignorant we are about it.

Let me ask you a questions.

As a parent, would you ever insult your own kid?

I know your answer, it is a big NO!! Isn’t it?
What if I say, You DO, we all DO it consciously or unconsciously.

Don’t believe?

Here is something for us to assimilate.

– We want to be a Singer, but we compare our voice with a celebrity’s voice, the moment we open our mouth.

– We want to be a writer, but we expect to match up to Stephen King or Lee Child, right from the time we write our first page.

….and so on and so forth…

Is this not an insult to our creative child?

Why we forget that time defines the evolution of an artistic flair. Why are we so unfair to us, not ready to give time and chance to the creative child to metamorphose into an adult.

Why do we deny the basics – pampering, grooming, nurturing and hand-holding, every creative child inside us deserves so badly.

Above all, many of us do not even realize that we have a creative child breathing inside us.

Book Review

A book that can be classified primarily as self-help by many but is more like common sense. It is designed to help readers reject the evils of self-doubt and seek for creative indulgence not as a profession or professional but as a form of therapy.

At the core of the book is a custom called “morning pages,” based on the belief that free-form writing, each morning, will unclog one’s mental and emotional channels of all the waste that gets in the way of being happy.

The other essential ritual involves taking oneself on an “artist’s date” each week – planning an outing to a museum or some other site of thought, free from the weight of responsibility or work.

Ending Remarks

Some day I will write a book on this master art, but today, I have to end my review here with two life changing lines by the Author and then my own comprehension of what this book has taught me over the years, and when I re-read earlier this year.

‘Practice Mystery, not Mastery’
‘Artistic people must learn how to emotionally guard themselves against the tides of negativity -both external and internal.’

Creativity is beyond the realms of semantics, a divine blessing guided by higher planes. Unfortunately, our limited intellect barely qualifies to decipher even a spec of it, unless, either it’s HIS will or our aspirations guided by the subconscious.

 

By Maniissh Aroraa

Has a dream spoken to you?

FArTHER by Grahame Baker-Smith is a story of a surreal dream of flying illustrated through surreal visuals. The story of a father, his son, and a dream to fly. The father is possessed with an unrelenting desire to fly which he never achieves. When the father goes off to war and doesn’t return………………..

AEldredGrahameBakerSmith1658

“ I will always remember the day he left- Khaki against the Scarlet Poppies”. But the dream of flying passes on to his son.

A lot is left unsaid in the text and communicated purely through visuals. The words are beautifully woven into the pictures using different fonts and text sizes. The pictures themselves are intricate and detailed images put together in a unique way using photographs and illustration which in themselves tell a story. The images compel you to make up a little more of the story in your head.

A multi-layered, magical Picture book that soars high and draws you into a world of impossible dreams is a must have for all those who dare to dream impossible.

 

Gopa
Artist mentor

 

This Truck has got to be Special

Author: Anjum Rana
Illustration Design: Sameer Kulavoor
Truck Art: Hakeem Nawaz, Amer Khan
Publisher: Tara Books

This Truck has got to be Special says Truck artist Zarrar to China's Gul, a truck driver from Pakistan. Gul- who drives along the mountain roads of the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush- has finally bought his own vehicle and wants it painted beautifully.

As Zarrar gets to work, Gul waits in the yard, thinking about his many journeys, the splendour of the hills and the intricacies of Truck Art- until everything is at last ready and it's time to be off, on the road again!

A richly imagined collaboration between a Pakistani writer, Pakistani Truck artists and an Indian Illustrator, this book celebrates the energy and joy of Pakistani Truck Art, as well as the artists whose skill and labour breathe life into it. All along, the bold graphic vigour of Truck Art tells its own story.

India has its history of Truck Art with the most eye catching slogans painted at the back of the truck. Can we share what we remember?