I don’t often do reviews on Artful Adventures, in fact I think it’s been about a year since I last did one, at least in response to a direct invitation. This is partly because I don’t seek such invitations, and partly because those products which I am offered for review are rarely either relevant to my subject matter, or of any interest to me. However this one was different. I am a particular fan of books which encourage creativity, and I especially like the genre of Doodle books which invite you to add to them in some way. It’s not that I don’t like colouring books, which I think have their place (in fact I own one or two pattern colouring books myself) but that I think books of this kind encourage greater creativity, and help to develop and exercise your drawing skills. I can’t resist them, and have bought several in recent years, though so far my boys are nowhere near as keen on them as me. Unfortunately, when it comes to filling them in myself, I suffer from ’empty page syndrome’, where I am so overwhelmed by the infinite possibilities the page offers, and so reluctant to spoil the pristine appearance of the book, that I hesitate to make that first mark!
However Fill in the Blank is a little different to all the others I’ve seen, first and foremost because this is not a book aimed at young children, but is aimed fairly and squarely at older kids, teenagers and grown-ups. The subject matter is witty and cool (in so far as I, at my advanced age, am qualified to judge these things – is it even ‘cool’ to say ‘cool’ anymore??) Also it uses photographs rather than drawings as their starting point. It is an imaginative book which uses the medium of drawing to stimulate your creativity in lots of different ways. For example, amongst many others, different pages invite you to be a Builder, Architect, Make-up Artist, Engineer, Graphic Designer, Tattoo Artist, and there are even a few pages with simple writing prompts.
The publisher, Quirk Books is American, and this does show in some of the prompts (but these days, in the UK at least, we’re all pretty accustomed to consuming US culture). I also rather liked their earlier Walls Notebook which invited you to become a Graffiti artist, legally, and in the comfort of your own home.
All in all, I think this would make a great, quirky present for a creative adult or teenager. Is it too soon to be talking about Christmas?? Oh, and I finally overcame my inhibitions to start ‘filling in the blanks’!