Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘art’

14 MARCH, 2011

5 Quirky Coloring Books for The Eternal Kid

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What gangsta rap has to do with children’s healthcare and mid-century illustration.

We love coloring books and genre-benders of kinds, so today we’re turning to five favorite coloring books that transcend the genre’s typical numerical age range and instead reach out, with quirk, humor and inspiration, to the eternal kid in all of us.

THE INDIE ROCK COLORING BOOK

British illustrator Andy J. Miller and Montreal-based creative nonprofit Yellow Bird Project capture the true pride point of indie music — quirky, colorful character — in the lovely Indie Rock Coloring Book — a wonderful collection of hand-illustrated activity pages, mazes, connect-the-dots, and coloring pages for indie icons like Bloc Party, The Shins, Iron & Wine, Broken Social Scene, Devendra Banhart, MGMT, The New Pornographers, The National, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

All proceeds from the book, which we originally reviewed in 2009, go towards Yellow Bird’s inspired mission to raise awareness and funds for meaningful charities and help independent artists find their audience.

GANGSTA RAP COLORING BOOK

From illustrator Anthony “Aye Jay” Morano comes Gangsta Rap Coloring Book — a witty line-drawn hall of fame of gansta rap, featuring 48 pages of the genre’s superstars, from Notorious B.I.G. to Compton and just about everyone who’s anyone in between.

It’s also worth noting that Morano self-published the book, an admirable feat as we continue to contemplate the future of publishing models.

The book is part of a trilogy, including Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book and Punk Rock Fun Time Activity Book.

BETWEEN THE LINES

Nonprofit RxArt is out to harness the healing power of art in helping sick children feel better by placing work by leading contemporary artists, from Jeff Koons to Will Cotton to Jason Middlebrook, in children’s healthcare facilities. Every year, they publish Between The Lines — a lovely coloring book 100% of proceeds from which go towards funding these inspired hospital projects. The latest edition of the book features over 50 original line drawings by some of today’s most celebrated contemporary artists, including Takashi Murakami, Ed Ruscha and Cynthia Rowley, plus a series of delightfully vibrant stickers designed by Nate Lowman and Mickalene Thomas.

Catch our full review, with background on RxArt’s phenomenal work, here.

THE WUGGLY UMPS AND OTHER DELIGHTS

We love the Tim-Burtonesque work of prolific midcentury illustrator Edward Gorey (1925-2010). There’s something darkly delightful about the mismatch between his grim aesthetic and his proclivity for “children’s” books. We recently gushed over his fantastic alphabet book, but it doesn’t end there: The Wuggly Ump and Other Delights Coloring Book is an eclectic menagerie of 22 beasts and creatures from Gorey’s most beloved books. The title comes from on of Gorey’s best-known monsters, an Ump renowned for its Wuggliness.

THE SNEAKER COLORING BOOK

The Sneaker Coloring Book for grown-ups invites you to reimagine the 100 most popular sneaker designs from 1916 to the present by 18 major brands, including Adidas, Converse, New Balance, Nike, Onitsuka Tiger, Puma, Reebok, and Vans. Each full-page silhouette is removable for framing, and a fascinating introduction traces the history of the “sport shoe” from Charles Goodyear’s 1840s invention of vulcanization to its pivotal role in skate and hip-hop culture.

The Sneaker Coloring Book is the work of Daniel Jarosch and Henrik Klingel of Berlin-based design studio PKNTS.

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11 MARCH, 2011

They Draw & Cook: Recipes Illustrated by Artists from Around the World

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There are countless individuals in this world who love to cook. There are also copious amounts of doodlers out there. Once in a while, a magical intersection of two such groups occurs, and luckily for them, and more-so, for us, a digital venue exists to celebrate the fusion of the two.

They Draw & Cook is essentially a recipe site that features cuisines from around the world, but its beauty and differentiation is that all the recipes are illustrated. As opposed to the text-heavy format for recipes we’re all used to, the illustrated approach challenges foodies to simply demonstrate the process for cooking a dish, but also telling a story about that dish: Its origins, its ingredients, and perhaps even the feelings and memories that come about when smelling them.

Even for those of us who aren’t interested in doing much cooking ourselves, the site is an absolute treat of unique hand-drawn visual art.

Every three days, six new visual recipes are posted. So go ahead and add this to your reading list if you’re interested in challenging your taste buds, or need inspiration for your shiny new Moleskine.

Len Kendall is the cofounder of the3six5 project. (Featured on Brain Pickings here.) He enjoys being clever, quippy, and constructively grumpy.

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07 MARCH, 2011

Graphic USA: Miniguides to 25 Top Cities by 25 Top Designers

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Four of our favorite things — graphic design, maps, cities and unconventional guidebooks — converge in Graphic USA, a brilliant new volume inviting 25 independent designers from 25 of the most noteworthy American metropolises to capture the unique vibe of their city. (And because we know you’re wondering: The cities included are Anchorage, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Providence, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and Washington D.C.) Witty, beautifully illustrated and indulgently insidery, the mini-guides are how designers do travel — and a warm invitation for you to join the aesthetically keen inner circle.

Part CitID, part Hitotoki, part something else entirely, Graphic USA is as much an absolute gem of graphic design as it is a rare and unusual guide to the most interesting parts of the most interesting cities.

Thanks, Amy

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