Tag time! From what I can gather, The Art of Books Tag was first created by Brushing Bookends on Youtube (though I believe the original video has since been removed), but what inspired me to do it was watching Snow White Reader answer the questions while painting a portrait of Gansey from The Raven Cycle (the taste!).
I appreciate doing the occasional art project (though it might be difficult to tell considering how rarely I do it), so I thought this would be a fun and appropriate tag to do. Since I’m answering the prompts in writing rather than video, however, I thought I’d just show some of my already finished stuff rather than paint “live” like Hanna did. Most of it is quite old, some you’ve already seen, and not all of it is particularly good, but that’s okay.
So without further ado, let’s get to it!
I decided to go with The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. In case you’re not familiar with this (fantastic) book, it tells the life story of a fictional Hollywood starlet and her infamous seven husbands. There are so many layers to this story, and with every chapter you uncover new details that make you readjust your opinions and feelings towards the characters. Highly recommend!
“No one is just a victim or a victor. Everyone is somewhere in between. People who go around casting themselves as one or the other are not only kidding themselves, but they’re also painfully unoriginal.”
– The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
I personally love coloured pencils, and at the moment they’re my favourite kind of art medium. They’re quite easy to work with, I like being able to layer different colours, and you really don’t need much more than the pencils themselves and some paper when you’re first starting out.
My number one tip for working with coloured pencils is to be super light-handed. If you press too hard, the paper will curse you and everything you hold dear and you won’t be able to get any more pigments on there, so just have patience and it’ll turn out great, I promise.
Morally grey characters seem to be all the rage nowadays, so there are quite a few to choose from, but I’m going to pick Circe by Madeline Miller. Greek mythology is full of…*cough*…flawed…*cough*…figures, and Circe is no exception. However, despite her less amazing actions, you can’t help but to root for her.
“What was I truly? In the end, I could not bear to know.”
Drawing portraits in graphite was my primary creative outlet for the longest time, but I’ve kind of taken a break from it these last few years. I really like it, though, and my main advice (which can be applied to pretty much all art) is to identify the light, medium, and dark values of whatever you’re drawing and work with that in mind. Also, utilize your eraser to create the really light areas. I personally love using kneadable erasers.
I’ve only read eight so far, but Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series has a whooping 41 books, which is quite a lot. If you’re looking for some satirical fantasy with both humour and a surprising amount of insight, Terry Pratchett’s your guy.
“In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.”
– Lords and Ladies
I tried a little bit of crosshatching some years ago, and while I think it looks cool, I’m sad to say that I don’t really have the patience for it. It definitely brought out my more dramatic and angsty side, though.
I have a lot of books that I love and constantly carry around with me, but I’m gonna go with Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. It’s been six years since I first read this lovely coming-of-age contemporary, and just thinking about it still makes me emotional.
“Words were different when they lived inside of you.”
– Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
I pretty much never ever use markers other than in mixed media projects from time to time. I don’t like not being able to blend or mix the colours, and it feels too permanent for my taste. One mistake and it could all be ruined – no thank you. The only thing I could find in my collection was this horse I did when trying to decide how to deface The Scorpio Races (spoiler alert, I decided not to go with the markers in the end).
My son Elliot from In Other Worlds by Sarah Rees Brennan is something else entirely and I love him so much. He has so many feelings and opinions and just…everything, which makes him such a vibrant and memorable character. If you’re looking for a hilarious yet sort of heartbreaking story about a lovable brat going to a magical land to end all wars through diplomacy, In Other Lands is the book for you. There’s love and friendship and judgemental unicorns. Yay!
Honorable mention: Alex Fierro from Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series.
“Elliot did not have long to brood about how misunderstood and undervalued he was.”
– In Other Worlds
I really like working with acrylic paint and it’s definitely something I wish to get better at. One of my all-time favourite creations is the painting of the hands I did in my copy of Aristotle and Dante a few years ago, but so far I haven’t managed to make anything I like nearly as much.
The nifty thing about acrylic paint is that while it may not always do exactly what you want it to do, you can pretty much always paint over the mistakes. Other than that I don’t really have any particular tip or advice. Just go for it.
I have two answers for this question – one “bad” and one good example.
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco is a YA mystery set in 19th century London about a girl trying to solve the Jack the Ripper murders. While it’s quite an entertaining book, it’s very easy to figure out the identity of the killer quite early on in the book, which sort of puts a damper on the whole thing.
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera on the other hand is an example of a book where you know the end result from the moment you first lay eyes on the cover (it’s literally in the title), but rather than taking away from the suspense, it adds to it. It’s sort of impressive, really.
“No matter how we choose to live, we both die at the end.”
– They Both Die eat the End
I have a complicated relationship with watercolour. I’d love to be good at it, but the painting process itself is the bane of my existence and fills me with nothing but frustration and rage. This painting is probably my most recent attempt, and it’s at least 6+ years old. It might be time for me to give it another try.
Pretty much every main character in The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. Maggie really has a knack for character descriptions, and manages to present each character in a way that gives the reader a very clear idea of their personality as well as their physical traits while still being quite subtle about it. I have such a vivid image of these crazy kids in my mind, and I swear, no matter where or when I will recognise fanart of them 9/10 times.
“Blue was a fanciful, but sensible thing. Like a platypus, or one of those sandwiches that had been cut into circles for a fancy tea party.”
– The Raven Boys
I’ve actually never used oil paint, though I really want to try it. But until then, here’s Mona Lisa.
One of my absolute favourites of 2020 is The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune. It’s an incredibly heartwarming and wholesome story about acceptance, family, and why you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. Also magical orphans and the antichrist. I highly highly recommend it.
“This is most unusual.”
– The House in the Cerulean Sea
Digital painting is another art form I’m definitely not an expert in, as you can probably tell. I really admire people who are, though.
Graphic design is my passion.
There are many books with great and original ideas out there, but I’ve decided to pick Scythe by Neal Shusterman. This book series takes place in a futuristic world where all natural death has been eradicated. The only ones who have the ability to take a life are the so-called scythes, and therefore it’s their obligation to prevent overpopulation. It’s a quite simple idea when you think about it, but I found it super interesting and absolutely adore the way Neal Shusterman executed (hehe) it.
“I wonder what life will be like a millennium from now, when the average age will be nearer to one thousand. Will we all be renaissance children, skilled at every art and science, because we’ve had time to master them? Or will boredom and slavish routine plague us even more than it does today, giving us less of a reason to live limitless lives? I dream of the former, but I suspect the latter.”
Look, Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman had some good qualities and I know it’s important to a lot of people, but my life would have been better if some parts had been scrapped and reworked.
“Put down the damn peach!”
– Me, reading Call Me by Your Name