I received this book, Art Before Breakfast, in the mail a few weeks ago, and was instantly intrigued by the cover alone. A zillion ways to be creative no matter how busy I was?? Right in the midst of a creative slump, this is exactly what I needed.
As I always do with books like this, I spent the first day just glancing through it to see what I was about to get myself into. I was excited to get started after seeing some of the ideas. I loved seeing the author’s own sketches and illustrations throughout the book, too. Some of the ideas revolved around breakfast (hence, the name of the book) and I chose to use those prompts differently, but still with the same basic idea. For instance, a couple of the prompts involve drawing your breakfast table. Instead of drawing the breakfast table, I drew what was in front of me. I enjoyed how the basics of the ideas gave me the inspiration I needed to expand on the idea itself. After spending some time reading and engaging with the book through my own sketchbook, I came to two major conclusions for two different creative groups.
If you’re already a visual artist, you may find yourself skimming some of the pages without paying much attention to them. Some pages talk about different art techniques, and even some of the ideas build upon each other day by day, whereas a visual artist may crank out the entire “project” in one sitting. It is, however, a wonderful reminder of the basics of art for artists who may no longer use some of the techniques discussed in the book. For this reason, I suggest that visual artists dive into this book with an open mind. I do think you’ll enjoy it, though! It was great for me to create for myself, and spend some time each day drawing, without having to think about what I was drawing. It was like my own little portable teacher reminding me to work that creative muscle and nurture the basics of drawing that I had long forgotten. I also love that the ideas and techniques discussed in the book really got my creative juices flowing to create something even more than what I was reading about. It gave me an opportunity to really let my mind wander.
Creative Group 2: Individuals Who Are Creative, But Aren’t Necessarily Visual Artists
If you’re creative in other ways – say, as a writer or a musician – I think this book would really help you develop your craft in a new way. In my opinion, it will give you the opportunity to “play” with visual artistry without feeling pressure to make something perfect. Just like the book allowed me to explore my own visual art techniques, I think this book would give a creative individual who is not a visual artist the opportunity to work in a new way. Some of the visual ideas you’re asked to draw about may give you the idea to write from a different point of view, or develop music from a different location. It works your creative muscle, possibly a little more than it works the creative muscle of a visual artist.
Regardless of which of these creative groups you belong in, the book gives plenty of inspiration and encouragement to help you make drawing (for yourself, and not just a client or commissioned piece) a habit that is fun. I know some creatives who aren’t necessarily visually creative get frustrated when asked to draw, but Art Before Breakfast will bring with it a whole new stress-free freedom when it comes to drawing. And if you are a visual artist, I promise you, it will be freeing to get back to the drawing board with techniques, sketches, and materials you probably haven’t used in years. (Can we say Post-It note art, anyone?!)
If you have this book or plan to purchase it, I’d love to see some sketches you come up with! Send them to [email protected] and I’ll share them with the Scoutie Girl community! You can get your copy here!
Disclaimer: All viewpoints in this review are my own. I was not compensated to review this book, but was gifted the book by the publisher, Chronicle Books.