Book Review: Art Matters

Image description: The cover of the book is sky blue featuring an illustration of a hand holding up a sharpened red pencil. The text is a stylized sketch reading “Neil Gaiman, Art Matters, Because Your Imagination Can Change The World, Illustrated by Chris Riddell.” The book is set facing outward on a shelf of other books about writing and reading.

Mission: To ingest a nurturing vitamin boost of inspiration for the creative side of my life.

Mission accomplished: with one dose of “Art Matters: Because Your Imagination Can Change the World” written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Chris Riddell (William Morrow, 2018).

This is a magical little book for artists of all sorts. The book is comprised of four essays written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Chris Riddell that cover principles and philosophies about the process of making art and the positive impact art has on the world.

Riddell has illustrated other Gaiman works, and the chemistry between the words and the art shines in this book. Many of the enchanting illustrations contain little details that are specific to the words or principles discussed in the essay. I spent just as much time gazing at the art as I did reading the text.

The text of the book is also a hand-written script, not a font, which furthers marries the illustrations and the text.

I adored this book and gave it 4/5 stars. Not every single idea in the book gripped me to the core, but it was a nourishing read nonetheless. It is definitely a short book, so set your expectations accordingly. The collaboration with the art is really what makes this book unique. I am keeping this book on my shelf and since I’ve finished it I’ve enjoyed flipping through the pages every once in a while for a hit of inspiration and endurance when making art feels haggard or unsure.

My favorite section in the book is Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming.

I hope we all have plenty of that in our futures, as we continue to advocate for and make art.

Image description: A hand holding the book open in front of a bookcase. The page is number 13 and is a black and white sketched lettering in capital letters: “Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading, and Daydreaming.”

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