An ABC Of What Art Can Be

{written by Meher McArthur; pictures by Esther Pearl Watson; designed by Catherine Lorenz}

This little gem came straight from the home of Van Gogh’s Irises: The Getty. If you are an art teacher {ahem, essbee…} or an art lover {ahem, YOU!}, you should probably get your hands on this book.

It’s a jaunt through the alphabet with a celebration of art at every single page. Each spread has a unique style, so each page turn is incredibly satisfying. Kudos to the art explaining the art!

The size of this book is striking. It’s long and skinny (and hard to get a photo of!) which is refreshing and eye catching. And shape…can you see (sort of!) the heart in the negative space of the hands? What a perfect image to correspond to the text: “making all sorts of things with the hands and the heart.” {PS: What does it say about me that I thought of the Justin Bieber heart/hand/sign thing when I saw this for the first time? Maybe don’t answer that. Never say never.}

And the texture varies from page to page, but it is used masterfully. I love the paper cutouts on this illustration. Doesn’t it look like the slightest wave of a hand would rip those green trees right off the page? Beautiful.

Naturally, a book about art gets the art absolutely right, but I was especially excited by the typography. Typography isn’t one of the elements of design, but it is an integral part of cohesive, stunning, and successful design.

An ABC of What Art Can Be uses a hand drawn typeface.

I love this as a design choice because it supports the handmade and organic processes of art that are highlighted in the book. While any number of typefaces could have been lovely, one with an imperfect quality really enhances the pictures.

And a fun bonus at the end…arts and crafts and tips for creating your own masterpieces at home. Cool.

While definitely an untraditional choice for me story wise, this book has EVERYTHING I love…pretty pictures, fun words, vibrant colors, and a whole heck of inspiration.

 
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3 thoughts on “An ABC Of What Art Can Be

  1. This is lovely…thanks for reviewing it! I love making picture books with young children during my school programs with them…I’ll have to try and get a copy of this one!

    • It’s such a fun one for studying art! I imagine it’s hard to find in stores, but I’m sure you could order it online even from the Getty Museum itself. Good luck!

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