Review by Tina Koyama
Make Art Every Day: A Weekly Planner for Creative Thinkers is a unique planner and creativity inspiration book. Written by illustrator Katie Vernon, the 127-page book is filled with her colorful, whimsical images that evoke children’s book illustrations.
After the weekly planner pages (enough for a full year), the book includes more than 500 equally colorful stickers designed to be used in the planner. Some stickers are blank symbols that you can enhance yourself.
The book begins with an overview explaining the six categories in which creativity can be incorporated into our everyday lives, no matter how busy we are: Feast Your Eyes (seeking visual inspiration); Make a Creative Connection (reaching out to others); Make an Art Appointment (scheduling time for making art and other creative actions, even if only for five minutes); Try a New Technique (prompts and ideas); Setting and Achieving Goals (large dreams and achievable steps); Take Care of Yourself (nurturing the inner and outer self to be ready for creativity). The symbols used throughout the book and on the included stickers relate to the six categories. This introduction is followed by a few pages of techniques and tips on using simple media.
The bulk of the book is made up of the weekly planner’s 52 page spreads. Every week includes a space for goals. The other divided spaces include creative prompts, ideas or techniques. Some spaces are large enough for small sketches or doodles.
I like the varying page spread formats; the changes give me a small visual shake-up every time I turn the page. Using the book as my general planner for work and personal activities, I can see that the invitations to take small inspiration breaks and space to sketch on each spread would be helpful in reminding me to make time for creativity. Toward the end of the week, if the “Creativity Starter” or “Quick Sketch” spots were still blank, I would feel compelled to fill them.
Some pages include longer techniques with brief instructions.
Visually, Make Art Every Day is a fun, colorful book with delightful illustrations. The author’s main point is that creativity is not only about making art; it’s also about preparing oneself for a creative life in a well-rounded way. The format encourages developing a daily habit of creative expression.
My only complaint – and it’s a big deal-breaker, unfortunately – is that the darn book doesn’t stay open on a desk, so I find it impossible to use as an actual planner. I had to hold each page open to take most of the photos (the ones that stayed open by themselves long enough to be photographed flipped closed a moment later). I’d like to see this book reprinted with a spiral or, better yet, stitched binding that enables each spread to stay open flat for both sketching and writing. And as long as we’re going to repackage this, why not include a small set of markers or colored pencils? It would make a really nice gift set that way.
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