Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide: Make Art Mistakes: A Creativity Sketchbook

Though Make Art Mistakes (MOMA Modern Kids) is definitely aimed at children, I know a lot of grown-ups who would either enjoy this book or benefit from it very much. Perhaps both. In many cases, more than some kids. This is because, as pop artist Peter Max said (and it’s in the book, so I don’t even have to go look for the quote): “Don’t worry about mistakes. Making things out of mistakes, that’s creativity.” And though most kids would not put it quite that way, it’s something they are born understanding. Something many of us lose along the way.

There are other quotes in Make Art Mistakes. Great ones, too: from Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso, Andrew Wyeth and other household names. And those quotes add to the book, but they’re not the main point here. That main point involves getting the book into a less than pristine state. “What would a lazy line look like?” asks a nearly blank page. “How about an angry line?” the page says lower down. “An excited line?” and so on. Later in the book, in a section dealing with color, “What would three colors at play look like?”

All through the book are nearly blank pages printed with textures and colors and some instructions. The idea is to get the creative juices flowing. Last time I checked, there was no age limit on that. ◊

David Middleton is art director and art & culture editor of January Magazine.

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