The Art of Noticing
Time to Read: I found this a very fast and engaging read.
Quality: The writing is clear, consistent, and engaging.
General Review: Atomic Habits is a wonderful book that I have recommended to many people. Implementing the suggested habits has changed my life for the better. James Clear is straightforward and easy to understand. He doesn't come across as a guru or a person who is full of himself. The concept that helped me the most was setting very achievable habits. For example, if I decided to start writing a page a day I would do it for maybe one day. If I decided to write a paragraph each day I might do it for a week. But, based on the suggestions in this book, my daily writing habit is to write one sentence. It is such a low goal that I feel really bad if I miss it. The funny thing is that I always write more than one sentence once I get started. I have accomplished a great deal more in the past three months because of the habits I have learned in this book.
May 2nd, 2021
Time to Read: This one took me a while. It is like reading an academic thesis. I found the writing style somewhat tedious with repetitive, nuanced examples that made each concept drag on too long.
Quality: Good information
General Review: I teach art foundations. The majority of my students are graphic designers. I asked a colleague, professor of Graphic Design Blake Johnson, for reading suggestions so that I could better support my students. He suggested I read this book first. The book isn’t really about graphic design at all really but rather, as the title suggests, the design of everyday things. The best parts of the book are first, that it brings your attention to so many products and experiences that are, in fact, designed. Secondly, he takes some psychological pressures off of the reader by pointing out that operator error is, more often than not, a product of poor design. It was an eye opening text about helped me think about my interactions with the world around me.
Time to Read: I expected this to be a quick read. It wasn't a difficult read but I like to read it in small bits. Read, chew, repeat.
Quality: The writing is clear, consistent, and engaging
General Review: I like to read about things other than art. This book fascinated me because it opens up a world of amazing interconnectivity, not only between insects but all life. Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson shares unbelievable stories about insects including butterflies with eyes on their sex organs and wasps that turn cockroaches into zombies.
The Language of Drawing
Time to Read: The book is deep and thoughtful. For that reason I'd say it takes a while to read. On the other hand I found it engaging which helped me finish more quickly.
Quality: The writing is skillful. The physical condition of my text, used 1st edition 1966, was rough.
General Review:This book reminds me of Bernard Chaet's book The Art of Drawing in the way that Hill skillfully explores and illuminates the form and content of images. He has a deep passion for drawing and the love that he shares for it is infectious. The vocabulary is quite advanced at times but terms are chosen with precision. For example, in one discussion Hill describes the interior tension in a figure as a catanery curve and the description is correct. The book could be enjoyed by anyone but if you have had a long relationship with drawing it is something to savor.
Steal Like An Artist
Time to Read: This is a really quick and engaging read.
Quality: The writing is clear and consistent.
General Review: This little book is inspirational. I recommend this book to all of my BFA candidate students as a jump start to their process. It is filled with a bunch of information that most of us already know compiled in a way that is extremely encouraging and uplifting. It is designed to help artists get out of their head, leave fear behind, and get working. I particularly like the page that clearly outlines the differences between good theft where you give credit to others while truly making it your own versus plagiarism.
Eduardo Chillida Writings
Time to Read: It depends. While it doesn't take long to read this book, it could take a lifetime to fully understand and savor.
Quality: The writing is good quality but has a couple of quirks. Sentences are repeated occasionally, sometimes this happens one sentence after the next, and sometimes on the following page.
General Review: This is an incredible read but may not be for every reader, especially beginning artists. It is like reading the Tao Te Ching. There are deep, mystical, and poetic expressions of space and time that seem possible and unfathomable from one breath to the next.
Design and Form
Design and Form