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Art play – book review

By Marion Deuchars

This review originally appeared at the AOI blog.

Art play – photos copyright the AOI

The majority of my day-to-day illustration and design is done digitally. Oh sure, it all starts with pencilled roughs, but then it’s straight onto the computer to finish off the rest of it. So a book like Art Play is an interesting proposition. Although I love playing around with paint and ink and rollers, I don’t often get much chance to set aside a block of time to indulge.

Deuchars’book is bigger than I expected (roughly A4 size), like a huge sketchpad waiting to be filled with thoughts and ideas, but without the scary blank, white page-ness of a sketchpad. Which is great, but which also proves something of a problem for me. I just can’t bring myself to draw in the book. Not a problem for my children, I can assure you. I’d recommend a big stack of cheap paper and plenty of pens and pencils if you think you might want to try and keep it in good condition for future use.

The book presents a range of activities covering various different themes, such as colours, patterns and shapes, all of which provide a great starting point to play and experiment, and just to draw for the sake of drawing, making it up as you go along, without necessarily having some fixed notion of what you want to create before you start.

For me, it presented a good jumping off point for coming up with new ideas for future projects, or for creating new textures and techniques I can take forward into my everyday practice. For my children, ranged from 3 to 8, it presented an excellent excuse to make a mess, to learn new things and to gain confidence in their abilities, and they had a lot of fun doing it.

Art play – photos copyright the AOI
Art play – photos copyright the AOI

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Simon took our initial concept to very loose script and created a list of illustrations we needed to make our whiteboard video simply work. He delivered the first few illustrations in sketch form, and we knew he was going to nail it. On budget and on time every step of the way, Simon was not only a genius illustrator but a lovely person to work with. He has a talent for taking the everyday and making it sing. He delighted our audience with his clever and cute characters, and went beyond what we thought was even possible. We'd work with him again in a heartbeat. Jennifer del Greco,

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