My Year in Small Drawings: Notice, Draw, Appreciate by Matilda Tristram

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My Year in Small Drawings: Notice, Draw, Appreciate by Matilda Tristram

Category: Crafts
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Louise Jones
Reviewed by Louise Jones
Summary: A mindful journey of discovering the world around us and noticing the tiny details, in this exciting take on the traditional journal.
Buy? yes Borrow? yes
Pages: 240 Date: August 2017
Publisher: Leaping Hare Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781782405344

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In recent years there has been an upsurge in the publication of 'interactive' books, designed to spark our creativity. Colouring books for adults, as well as my teenage daughter's current favourite: Wreck This Journal, seek to tap into our creative side, whilst promoting mindfulness and relaxation. By actively encouraging us to slow down and look at the world around us, books like these enable us to take time out of our busy lives and just enjoy the present moment. And this method must be working, because they are proving incredibly popular. I was intrigued, therefore, at the idea behind My Year in Small Drawings, which invites readers to create a visual diary of the world around us by creating a series of small pictures on a given subject.

The book is divided into four sections; each representing a season. Although it is described as a 'journal', it can be completed in any order and however the mood takes the reader. We are given different subjects to study; some involve people and living things, others focus on buildings or inanimate objects. After a brief introduction page on our given subject, the following pages are divided into grids, consisting of 36 squares in total, in which to create a study of our given topic. The individual grid squares themselves are quite small: measuring a mere 4cm by 4cm. The challenge is to fill them in a creative way; the size does not necessarily lend itself to a lot of detail, so we need to think how best to use the space. For example, we could zoom in on a particular feature of our subject, or create a drawing with as few lines and details as possible, whilst retaining the essence of the item in question.

The book encourages us to look at our progress over time, maybe by adding a date in the corner of each picture. The idea is that the more we draw, the better we will become. The variety of subjects challenges us beyond our comfort zone by encouraging us to draw things we may not necessarily consider (one study is about pipes under the sink). It also encourages us to try different ways of drawing; for example, to try drawing with our 'wrong hand', which forces us to really concentrate and slow down. Or maybe try drawing blind to test our memory skills.

My only slight criticism of the book is that maybe there is too much space dedicated to grids. 36 squares is a lot to fill on a single subject. I would have preferred fewer grids; 12 or 24 would have been sufficient, and more subjects to study.

The book itself is beautifully presented, with satisfying thick pages and a nice chunky, solid feel to it that exudes quality. Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy, which has now been apprehended by aforementioned teenage daughter who loves the book and has already started to eagerly fill in the grids.

Those who enjoy mindful art may wish to try The Creative Therapy Colouring Book by Hannah Davies, Richard Merritt and Jo Taylor.

Buy My Year in Small Drawings: Notice, Draw, Appreciate by Matilda Tristram at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy My Year in Small Drawings: Notice, Draw, Appreciate by Matilda Tristram at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy My Year in Small Drawings: Notice, Draw, Appreciate by Matilda Tristram at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy My Year in Small Drawings: Notice, Draw, Appreciate by Matilda Tristram at Amazon.com.


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