Brain Pickings

The Black Book of Colors

by

Today must be the day for tickling the outer limits of our senses. From the synesthetic explorations of sound through color earlier today, we take the creative mind-bending a step further: Experiencing color through the lack of color. The Black Book of Colors, from author Menena Cottin and illustrator Rosana Faria, is a remarkable book of simple, elegant illustrations of natural objects — from strawberries to rain to bird feathers — depicted not through color and shading but through embossed lines, inviting the viewer to experience them tactilely rather than visually.

The book is designed as an empathy tool that allows a sighted person to step inside the world of the blind, who experience the world through their fingers rather than their eyes.

Though intended for children, The Black Book of Colors is an absolute treat for adults — not merely as a feat of aesthetic elegance, but also as a beautiful philosophical metaphor for all those things in our lives that both are and aren’t, like the nature of reality or solitude or some great love we can touch with the tender tips of our fingers but never fully grasp.

Thanks, Kirstin

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