ILLUSTRATING HBO’S GAME OF THRONES TAROT | INTERVIEW WITH CRAIG COSS

© 2018 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. GAME OF THRONES and related trademarks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc

In HBO’s Game of Thrones Tarot award-winning fine artist, illustrator and storyteller Craig Coss, alongside author and thirty-year tarot practitioner Liz Dean, brings the world of Westeros to life through the vivid and atmospheric depictions of recognisable characters and scenes on each card.

The beautifully rendered and wholly original set melds the tradition of the tarot with the deep archetypes of Game of Thrones. Each card, from the Major Arcana to the Cups, Coins, Spears and Swords of the Minor Arcana, offers a rich and meaningful experience. Fans of the hit HBO show can pore over a treasure trove of beloved characters, scenes and stories depict in a style both surprising and true to the world of Westeros. The deluxe box contains 78 cards and a hardcover guidebook which explains the symbolism of each card and how to use them in a tarot reading.

Are you interested in finding out more about the two worlds colliding? Read our interview with illustrator Craig Coss below…

Q. How did you get into art and illustration? 

A. I grew up in a family of artists, designers, and storytellers—three or four generations on both sides—so I was raised to develop an eye for proportion and beauty, pencils, paint, and narrative. I’ve done paid illustration work since I was a teenager, starting with watercolors for my little sister who had her own hand-painted earring business in high school. I studied art and philosophy in college, and you could say that my work for the past three decades has been about expressing philosophy through visual art. In the past few years, I’m folding my interest in narrative into the mix. Both stories and visual imagery have been used to teach recondite subjects for centuries, and the idea of telling such stories—visually—intrigues me.

Imagine a village elder has some sort of profound or mystical experience, but because it was too abstract or too weird, her immediate family or friends can’t grasp her meaning. So she encodes her teaching into the symbols of a myth or fairy tale, or weaves it into a carpet, or carves it into the legs of a table. Maybe she sings a nursery rhyme or develops a card game that, if interpreted in a certain way, might point someone who notices it back to her profound experience. In all of these examples, the thing she makes might survive her—and survive even her great-grandchildren. Eventually—perhaps generations later—someone in her village might notice the teaching encoded in her work, and catch her hidden meaning! And in the societies that believe in reincarnation, that person might even be the same soul who encoded the teaching in the artifact or tradition in the first place—so in effect, she sent a little reminder to her future self! (So you can see why, in those societies, it might be a good idea to make such a thing.) It is with this spirit that folk arts have been created since prehistoric times, all over the world, and the resulting artifacts and traditions are imbued not only with beauty, but with deep teachings that even transcend conceptual meanings; such teachings might find resonance with our hearts, but cannot be understood by our thinking minds, because they’re too profound—little Zen koans, woven into a children’s game! Knowing that visual art and story can be used in that way keeps me striving not only in my work as a fine artist and illustrator, but in my life.

Q. How did this project come to be? 

A. It was a true collaboration. Chronicle Books asked Liz Dean to author the book that will accompany the deck, and then asked me to illustrate the cards. I’d wanted to do a tarot deck since I was a kid, and I knew the TV show. My wife Michelle is a huge fan and encouraged me to go for it. Liz and the team at Chronicle had a good idea for which characters they wanted to see on the Major Arcana cards, but few ideas for the Minor Arcana. I suggested that we pair the traditional meanings of the Minor Arcana cards with a character, moment, or scene from GoT that best fit the meaning for each and every card. It required that I watch the first six seasons three times over to find the most ideal possible pairings. It seemed so crazy and I wasn’t even sure that it could be done well. But I had a hunch to try. It came together piece by piece—an elaborate puzzle of narrative. New puzzles and constraints came up along the way, and several times I thought that we might lose certain pieces that would compromise the whole. But with Liz, Michelle, and Chronicle’s help, we were able to bring together two narratives—GoT and the traditional tarot—so that they inform and build upon each other. If you know the series well, the divinatory meanings tap into the power of that mythology, and can bring a wellspring of meanings into any tarot reading. And if you come from a background in tarot, you might see the TV series with new eyes. I think we’re all very pleased with the result.

Q. Have you always been a Game of Thrones fan? 

A. I’m a bit of a Luddite and stopped watching TV entirely in 1988, when I went to college. But when I recently got my MFA in Visual Narrative at SVA, I had to facilitate an online conversation with my peers about unusual plot arcs in long-form stories. Right away, HBO’s Game of Thrones came up in the conversation, but because I was out of the loop, I had nothing to say and couldn’t facilitate. I turned to Michelle and asked her if she wanted to binge-watch five seasons with me, and she was thrilled. So Game of Thrones was literally the first TV show I’d seen in over twenty-five years! I thought it was very synchronistic that I was asked to illustrate this project. If it had been for any other TV show, I’d have had to turn it down.

Illustration by Craig Coss. © 2017 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. GAME OF THRONES and related trademarks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc
Illustration by Craig Coss
© 2018 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. GAME OF THRONES and related trademarks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc

Q. Which character or card was your favourite to illustrate and why? 

A. I have so many favorites that it’s hard to chose. Some cards paired up with traditional Tarot meanings so closely that at times it was uncanny. But I think The Fool was my favorite card to create. Peter Dinklage is a brilliant actor, and I love his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister. Liz felt strongly that The Fool is a card about following intuition and taking tremendous risks— about trusting in the Grand Order of things that’s beyond the intellect’s understanding. It’s about stepping out of the world of the ego and into a world ordered by something greater. Accordingly, Liz wanted to depict Tyrion freeing a dragon in Meereen. I loved the idea! But she also wanted to include the number zero on the card—something I felt strongly not to do. The Fool has been my favorite card since I was ten years old, and I knew it was the keystone of the entire deck. We fought it out, and eventually I gave in and agreed to number it zero. And then it came to me: the number zero, historically, came from India. It was connected to the early Buddhist concept of the empty mind—a state of consciousness without an ego or identity called Dhyāna, the origin of the word Zen. The Hindus used that sign—the circle to indicate nothingness or emptiness—in a new method of mathematical notation, and thus Hindu-Arabic numerals were born. I wanted to show that history visually in the card, and it came to me to depict the zero as the reflection of Tyrion’s head in the eye of a dragon: a visual pun. In that way, the zero in the card hints that The Fool is connected with the dragon’s eye, but also with the state of surrender to that consciousness. And that’s the state of inspiration that seizes us from another world and allows us to think out of the box, to take risks, and bring something new into the world. Liz’s insistence on the inclusion of the zero sparked the inspiration for the composition of the whole card, and Tyrion—with Dinklage’s beautiful expression while holding aloft a flame in the middle of an Ouroboric dragon—brings a wealth of emotional and symbolic associations to the card. The Fool is a great example of how discussions between Liz and I gave birth to ideas that we could never have come up with alone.

Q. What was your process for creating the artwork? 

A. My original idea was to hand carve woodcuts for every card, to scale, just as all of the late medieval Marseilles tarot decks were created. The art director, Michael Morris, loved my coloured woodcut prints, but there just wasn’t time to cut the wood for seventy-eight cards, print them, hand watercolor them and make any revisions that might be needed. So I invented a way to create a woodcut look digitally and made an analogue/digital hybrid for each card. The technique was still labor-intensive, but it made revisions far easier than having to cut new woodblocks and re-paint them. That said, three of the cards in the final set are scans of those woodblock prints. If I did my job well, they won’t be easy to spot.

Q. Are you interested in the world of tarot itself?

A. My father gave me my first set of tarot cards when I was ten years old. He had no idea what they were but he saw them at a garage sale for a dollar and knew I’d love the artwork. I saw in those cards a world of symbolism, mythology, and magic the likes of which I’d never seen before. I read about their use as an oracle, which fascinated me as a kid. But the most powerful aspect of the tarot for me was the idea that archetypes were represented in the Major Arcana and narratives were represented in the Minor Arcana. That’s some heavy-duty mojo: Death, Angels, the Devil—they were all there on these cards. And I realised early on that they were nothing to take lightly. Later, I learned that they were the oldest playing cards in Europe, the progenitors of the playing cards we use today. When travelling in Romania, I saw a friend’s mother using cards to divine whether we should all travel to Istanbul on a certain day or not. Even though she was using ordinary playing cards, she was using them to help us, to make sure we travelled safely.

I’m intrigued by the use of tools that generate apparently random results  (e.g. dice, runes, tea leaves, cracks in tortoise shells, or cards) for oracular purposes by people all over the world, since prehistory. It’s our way of saying, “I don’t know what to do, which way to go, or what choice to make.” We’re asking for help, and letting a higher power or the Great Mystery that controls the so-called “random” events in the universe intercede and possibly help us. To me, there’s something beautiful in that trust that we can have, whether you call it faith or psychological projection. And in my experience with oracles such as the I Ching, the greater one’s trust that a useful response might come through such tools, the more accurate the results can be.

People can make an oracle out of almost anything that they don’t feel that they control, but the tarot is the most visually beautiful and evocative tradition of divination I’m aware of. Even if you think the whole oracular thing is hogwash, the images are undeniably beautiful and powerful; for that reason, I’ve collected tarot decks since I was a kid.


HBO’s Game of Thrones Tarot is out now, find out more here!

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Craig Coss is an award-winning San Francisco Bay Area fine artist, illustrator and storyteller with an MFA in Visual Narrative from the School of Visual Arts. He’s the author of The Goddess Coloring Book: Traditional Images to Contemplate & Color. When he was given his first tarot deck at age ten, he knew it would point him in the right direction.

Visit his website or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Liz Dean is a tarot practitioner of thirty years’ standing and the author of four tarot decks and ten books, including The Ultimate Guide to Tarot and The Art of Tarot. She reads and teaches tarot at Psychic Sisters within Selfridges, London, and lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Visit her website or follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

BOOKS FOR PROGRESS | IWD & WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH

It’s not long now until International Women’s Day (8th March) AND March is Women’s History Month, so we’ve been getting in the mood (are we ever not?) and have rounded up some recent books to empower, inspire and educate: books for progress!

Watch our video above and then scroll down for some inspiration… 


1. DRESS LIKE A WOMAN 

What does it mean to dress like a woman? This book turns that question on its head by sharing a myriad of interpretations throughout history. It’s a comprehensive look at the role of gender and dress in the workplace and contains essays by renowned fashion writer Vanessa Friedman and feminist writer Roxane Gay.

Find out more

2. BYGONE BADASS BROADS

It’s Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls for grown-ups, based on Mackenzi Lee’s popular Twitter series of forgotten trail-blazing women. There are witty bios and in-depth stories of women who dared to step outside of traditional gender roles for their times. With stylish and bold illustrations by Petra Eriksson.

Find out more

3. 200 WOMEN

This landmark book was published in October last year to rave reviews and proceeds go to organisations nominated by the women featured. Alongside photographic portraits by acclaimed photograph Kieran Scott, each of the 200 Women answer the same five questions and provide a snapshot of female life around the globe. Interviewees include Margaret Atwood, Jane Goodall, Roxane Gay, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and many more from all walks of life.

Find out more

Visit the official 200 Women website

4. BAD GIRLS THROUGHOUT HISTORY & LEGENDARY LADIES

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Ann Shen’s brilliant Bad Girls Throughout History has been capturing hearts since 2016 but it never goes out of style and even has its own stationery range. Her next book comes out this April and looks set to do the same. Legendary Ladies is a lushly illustrated and empowering look at goddesses from around the world and an homage to the mighty women within us all.

Find out more 

5. YOUNGER READERS

There’s no shortage of inspiration on hand for younger readers – from toddlers to teen and beyond. This is just a small selection with some recent favourites.

Little Feminist Board Book Set – the Little Feminist range from Galison Mudpuppy includes a Board Book Set, a 500 Piece Family Puzzle and Playing Cards! All feature illustrations by Lydia Ortiz, and text by Emily Kleinman. These are bright, colourful and inspiring baby books featuring incredible women from history and from the modern day. Find out more

Ada Twist, Scientist and Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty (illus. David Roberts) – these two characters have earned their places among the most beloved children’s characters and have inspired countless kids and adults to follow their dreams. They are great for the classroom and downloadable teacher’s guides and activities are available. 2018 is also the UK Year of Engineering, which Rosie Revere is very excited about. These rhyming picture books are perfect for ages 4-8, and each also has a linked Project Book for Science and Engineering related activities. Find out more

Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki (illus. Brooklyn Allen) – the hit graphic novel series from BOOM! Studios now has whole new adventures in middle-grade novel format. Welcome to Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types! The series stars all types of girls: gay and straight, trans- and cisgendered and celebrates friendship, adventure and general hilarity! Book 2 is coming in May. Find out more


COMPETITION

Colour in a Bygone Badass Broads colouring sheet (download here) and email or tag us on Twitter or Instagram to be in with a chance of winning a book bundle of Bygone Badass Broads, 200 Women, Dress Like a Woman and Bad Girls Throughout History! (UK & Ireland Only) 

There’s also a downloadable Bygone Badass Broads protest sign here!  


Find all these books and many, many more on our website!

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO #DRESSLIKEAWOMAN? | COMPETITION

DressLikeAWoman

What does it mean to #DressLikeAWoman?

Help us make a video for Women’s History Month and the forthcoming book, DRESS LIKE A WOMAN by ABRAMS Books (foreword & introduction by Vanessa Friedman & Roxane Gay), and be in with a chance of winning the book when it publishes!

You can enter in one of two ways:

Send a photo of yourself to us via emailTwitter, Facebook or Instagram and: 

  1. Wear an outfit that represents to you what it means to ‘dress like a woman’
  2. Hold a piece of paper or sign with #DressLikeAWoman written on it
  3. If you prefer to remain anonymous, the photo can be cropped or not include faces
  4. Landscape format preferable but not essential

OR

Send one sentence on what it means to you to ‘dress like a woman’ via any of the same channels.

We’ll be accepting submissions until Monday 5th March 2018.


See the full Terms & Conditions here

Find out more about the book here

Dress Like a Woman 4

Star Wars | The Wish-List Awakens

The Last Jedi is now officially in cinemas, Christmas is around the corner and, if it hasn’t already, the force of the wish-list awakens… 

Here’s our guide to 5 of the galaxy’s greatest gifts for the Jedi/Sith/Droid/Porg in your life:  

1. For the fan who’s already booked repeat viewings:

The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi by Phil Szostak

Star Wars: The Force Awakens shattered box-office records as one of the highest-grossing films of all time, and its eagerly awaited sequel, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, is sure to do the same. Written and directed by Rian Johnson (Looper, The Brothers Bloom, Brick) and production designed by Rick Heinrichs (Fargo, The Big Lebowski, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Captain America: The First Avenger), this episode, like every episode before it, owes its visual language and fully imagined cinematic landscape to an incomparable art department: the Lucasfilm ‘visualists.’ The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi explores their vision and illuminates their creative process in stunning detail. Featuring concept art and costume sketches, storyboards, and blueprints, fans will take a deep dive into the development of the fantastic worlds, characters, and creatures—both old and new—of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Featuring unforgettable art and exclusive interviews with the filmmakers, this visual archive highlights moviemaking magic at its finest.

Find out more here


2. The (Star Wars) mindfulness convert

Darth Vader and Family Coloring Book
By Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown’s reimagining of the Star Wars universe has delighted adult fans and young Jedi alike. This new adult colouring book is equally fun to share, featuring a careful translation of artwork from the bestselling Darth Vader and Son™ series to a large-format collection on crisp white paper, plus nine new images to colour.

Find out more here


3. For the Star Wars crafter:

Star Wars Kirigami: 15 Cut and Fold Ships from Across the Galaxy
By Marc Hagan-Guirey

Celebrated paper artist and designer Marc Hagan-Guirey has applied his genius to the Star Wars galaxy in this book of 15 unique kirigami (cut-and-fold) ships featured in the saga’s films. Ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert, each beautifully detailed model features step-by-step instructions and a template printed on cardstock—all that’s needed are a utility knife, a cutting mat, and a ruler. Clear tips and guidance through the tricky stages help readers craft their own X-wing, Imperial Star Destroyer, Millennium Falcon, and a dozen more ships and vehicles, each accompanied by colourful and inspiring photographs of the final model on display (or ready for a jump to Hyperspace).

Find out more here


4. For the Star Wars collector: 

Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie (100 Postcards)

Ralph McQuarrie is the most iconic artist in the history of Star Wars. He worked hand-in- hand with George Lucas to help establish the saga’s visual aesthetic, its inimitable look and feel. Carefully selected from the definitive volume, Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie, these postcards are a celebration of Star Wars as a masterpiece of design and world-building. The deluxe keepsake package also functions as a display frame: the box features a die-cut window, so fans can rotate their favourite production design paintings into view.

Find out more here


5. For the joker: 

99 Stormtroopers Join the Empire by Greg Stones

Ninety-nine Stormtroopers join the Empire, and then their troubles begin. One takes a lunch break in the carbon freezing chamber. Two underestimate a princess. One picks the wrong time to ask for a promotion. Another fails to show Jabba the proper respect. And one interrupts Lord Vader’s private time, failing him for the last time. A lifelong Star Wars fan, Greg Stones brings a playful wit and sympathy for the plight of the troops as they meet their amusing ends, filling each colorfully painted scenario with fun Star Wars details and appearances by Han, Luke, Chewie, K-2SO, and many other characters. As the trooper count ticks down, how will the last one fare as he receives a very special assignment (on the Death Star)?

Find out more here


BONUS ROUND:

The Star Wars Cookbook: BB-Ate
Awaken to the Force of Breakfast and Brunch
By Lara Starr, photography by Matthew Carden

BB-Ate is rolling into shops in the New Year so store up any gift tokens or pre-order now for some delicious recipes from across the galaxy!

Fuel up with Hans Soloatmeal, battle hunger with Admiral Ackbars, and so much more!

These easy-to-make, mouth-watering recipes feature characters and scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens as well as from the upcoming film Star Wars: The Last Jedi. And photographs action figures Star Wars figurines re-creating epic moments from the films provide an extra helping of humour.

Find out more here


When it comes to Star Wars, there’s something for everyone. Now to watch The Last Jedi again

A GLORIOUS FREEDOM | INTERVIEW WITH CHERYL STRAYED

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The glory of growing older is the freedom to be more truly ourselves—with age we gain the liberty to pursue bold new endeavors and worry less about what other people think. In this richly illustrated volume, bestselling author and artist Lisa Congdon explores the power of women over the age of forty who are thriving and living life on their own terms. Profiles, interviews, and essays from women—including Vera Wang, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Julia Child, Cheryl Strayed, and many more—who’ve found creative fulfillment and accomplished great things in the second half of their lives are lavishly illustrated and hand-lettered in Congdon’s signature style. The perfect gift for women of all ages, A Glorious Freedom celebrates extraordinary lives and redefines what it means to gain wisdom and maturity.

The following is an extract from A Glorious Freedom by Lisa Congdon.


Cheryl’s famous memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail was published when she was 43 years old. It took her two and a half years to trace the steps, challenges, and revelations she faced during her three-month, 1,100-mile hike from the Mojave Desert to the Pacific Northwest onto paper—and about two minutes for the finished book to land on the New York Times bestseller list. In the months following, Cheryl experienced instant fame—from Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 to the film adaptation championed by Reese Witherspoon and Nick Hornby, Wild went, well, wild. It is an international bestseller and a recipient of the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and the Oregon Book Award. Cheryl is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers Tiny Beautiful Things and Brave Enough. Her first novel, Torch, was published in 2007. Her essays have been published in the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, Vogue, and Tin House, among others, and her work has been selected three times for inclusion in the The Best American Essays. She anonymously authored The Rumpus’s popular Dear Sugar advice column from 2010 to 2012, for which she now cohosts a podcast. She currently lives and writes in Portland, Oregon.

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Lisa: You worked for many years at writing, and it wasn’t until just a few short years ago, in your early 40s, you published the book that made you a household name. I encounter a lot of young artists who imagine that if they just concoct some magical formula they can have “instant success.” How would you describe the role of purpose, work, and patience in your own journey?

Cheryl: I was a successful writer long before Wild was published. What happened with Wild wasn’t “success.” It was crazy lightning striking. I’m always taken aback when people imply that I achieved success in my 40s. In fact, I had a pretty steady upward career trajectory as a writer, and all of that came about because, as you say, I showed up each day to do the work. I began publishing in my 20s. By the time I was in my early 30s I had won many awards and grants, and was publishing in respected magazines, and I’d earned my MFA in creative writing. In my mid-30s I sold my first novel to a major publisher and it was broadly reviewed and sold well. Meanwhile, I was continuing to publish essays in prominent places and I was also teaching writing.

I was known in the literary community. Then Wild happened and with that came fame and a much broader international audience. It was astounding and glorious, but it didn’t, for me, mark the beginning of the sense that I’d arrived as a writer. I was already there and I’m still here—working my tail off. That’s the magic formula: work.

Lisa: One of the most life-changing lessons I’ve learned over the past ten years is the power of embracing all of my life experience, and this is something you write about as well. Why is this idea of owning and learning to love all of your experience (even the stuff that makes us cringe or that would normally make us feel shame), why is it so important?

Cheryl: I’ve long believed our mistakes and failures teach us as much as our victories and successes. When you acknowledge the full spectrum of your possibility—as both someone who can be great and as someone who is sometimes not so great—you can bring the full force of your humanity to everything you do.

Lisa: What for you is the best part of getting older?

Cheryl: Feeling more secure about who I am. Feeling stronger about being okay with disappointing people. Putting up less of a facade. Being gentler with myself and others, too.

Lisa: What do you think is the relationship between forgiveness and the ability to age joyfully?

Cheryl: I’ve written about forgiveness a lot and it all pretty much boils down to the fact that when you can’t forgive people who have harmed you (or forgive yourself for the harm you’ve done to others) you stay locked in that struggle. Forgiveness is, to me, really acceptance. Accepting that what’s true is true. It’s saying, this is the way it was and onward we go.

Lisa: What are the three greatest lessons you’ve learned in the last ten years?

Cheryl: 1. Saying no is one form of saying yes. 2. Our ideas about famous people are projections of who we are, not a reflection of who they are. 3. Everyone struggles. Everyone hurts. Everyone wants to be told it’s all going to be okay.

Lisa: What advice do you have for women who fear getting older?

Cheryl: The fear of getting older is about the false notion that one’s power was rooted in the things that youth offers us—namely, beauty. My advice would be to see that for the lie that it always was. Our power is never about how pretty we are. Our power is about how we live our lives. Start living it.


A Glorious Freedom by Lisa Congdon publishes on 03 October 2017. Find out more here. 

See the stunning book trailer here

Visualising Spheres of Knowledge

The Book of Circles Cover

In The Book of Circles, his companion volume to the popular Book of Trees, Manuel Lima takes us on a lively tour through millennia of information design. Three hundred detailed and colourful illustrations cover an encyclopedic array of subjects, drawing fascinating parallels across time and culture.

Here are a few of the spectacular images from The Book of Circles:

William Billings, Musical score for the song “Connection”, 1794 Credit: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University
William Billings, Musical score for the song “Connection”, 1794
Credit: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Frontispiece to The Continental Harmony (1794), a book by William Billings containing dozens of psalm anthems and hymns. Billings was a prominent early American choral composer. This illustration represents the score for the tune “Connection” as a four-stave, circular piece of music, which starts at the top of the outermost ring and works its way to the centre.

 Dave Bowker, One Week of the Guardian: Wednesday, 2008 Credit: Dave Bowker
Dave Bowker, One Week of the Guardian: Wednesday, 2008
Credit: Dave Bowker

Part of a series of experiments exploring how to visualise the content of the Guardian newspaper in an artistic and engaging way, a diagram showing the popularity of fifty-four news articles. The concentric circles group articles into colour-coded categories (e.g., life and style articles are shown by orange, technology by cyan, and science by blue), with the least popular category positioned in the centre. Word counts for each article are noted within speech bubbles.

Nicholas Felton, Feltron 2007 Annual Report, 2008 Credit: Nicholas Felton
Nicholas Felton, Feltron 2007 Annual Report, 2008
Credit: Nicholas Felton

Pie chart displaying the statistics for an average day of the author, plotting various data such as number of emails sent, miles run, or cups of coffee consumed. Between 2005 and 2015, information designer Nicholas Felton meticulously documented his daily activity to create his Personal Annual Reports, compilations of information graphics that give an overview of each year, set out in the style of corporate reporting. The project is an exploration of how to graphically encapsulate the activities of an entire year, as well as how we can glean data from rapidly changing technology

Anna Filipova, Lineage of Sin in the Bible, 2009 Credit: Anna Filipova
Anna Filipova, Lineage of Sin in the Bible, 2009
Credit: Anna Filipova

Chart measuring time through sins, as described in the Bible, displaying an inverse relationship between longevity and sin. Longevity decreases from Adam (the first man) to Moses at the same time that sin increases. The outer ring, read counter clockwise, moves through the major events of the Old Testament. Relevant biblical verses that reveal someone’s age are cited, and the average age for an epoch is shown underneath (coloured rings).

Ernst Haeckel, Drawing of an ophidea, 1904 Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Ernst Haeckel, Drawing of an ophidea, 1904
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Lithograph of an ophidea, a type of echinoderm similar to a starfish. Ernst Haeckel was a German biologist who published a series of detailed lithographs, Kunstformen der Natur (Art forms of nature), over the course of five years. These images of microscopic biology have been hugely influential on both the arts and science.


Click here to find out more about Manuel Lima’s books.

You Are Here: NYC

You Are Here: NYC

Maps are magical.

Every graphic, like every story, has a point of view, and New York is rife with map-making possibilities, thick with mythology, and glutted with history. You Are Here: NYC assembles some two hundred maps charting every inch and facet of the five boroughs, depicting New Yorks of past and present, and a city that never was. A Nightclub Map of Harlem traces a boozy night from the Radium and the Cotton Club to the Savoy and then the Lafayette; Wonders of New York pinpoints three hundred sites of interest, including the alleged location of Captain Kidd’s buried treasure; the Ghostbusters subway map plots the route from Astral Projections Place to Stay Puft Street; and a rejected proposal of ornate topiaries illustrates a Central Park that might have been.

Take a peek at a few of the maps included in this unique tour of NYC.

Jerinic-constellation-map
Katarina Jerinic: Brooklyn Constellations, 2007
Jack Shepherd: You Are Here
Tanner Greenring and Jack Shepherd: the Ultimate Nerd Guide to New York City, 2011
Paula Scher: You are Here
Paula Scher: High Line, 2005

You Are Here: NYC – Mapping the Soul of the City by Katharine Harmon is out now | Princeton Architectural Press

 

#FiveYearsOfBooks | Top Five Art & Design

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To celebrate our 5th Birthday we are taking a look at our Top Fives from across our list.

Take a peek at a few of our creative, unique and inspiring books from the past five years from all of our publishers.

Here are some of our Art & Design highlights.

V&A Pattern: William Morris
V&A Pattern: William Morris
Linda Parry
V&A Publishing

Number one in our spectacular Art & Design list in the William Morris Pattern Book from the Victoria and Albert Museum. Showcasing the work of William Morris and Morris & Co. These popular repeating patterns possess a timeless quality and have a modern appeal surprising in work created over 120 years ago.

This attractive series reveals the V&A’s spectacular and extensive pattern collections. Each title includes a free CD of high resolution images.

Graffiti 365
Graffiti 365
Jay Edlin
Abrams Books

It isn’t surprising that this one of a kind, insider’s perspective of the contemporary Graffiti scene and its antecedents, is in our Top 5 Art & Design titles. Authors, Zephyr and J.SON, have been both artists and historians of the graffiti movement and give us a wide-angle snapshot of the modern graffiti movement in this book.

Graffiti 365 is a fun, engaging, and wide-ranging survey of the international graffiti scene, using 365 rare images to introduce or describe important artists-from Taki 183 to Banksy-and styles-from bubble to wild.

 

Whatever You Are, Be A Good One
Whatever You Are, Be a Good One
100 Inspirational Quotations Hand-Lettered
by Lisa Congdon Art + Illustration
Chronicle Books

This inspirational, charming and beautifully illustrated little book is a heartwarming addition to our Top 5 Art & Design titles.

Whatever You Are, Be a Good One collects words of wisdom from history’s greatest creative minds–from Socrates to Lewis Carroll, Julia Child to Walt Whitman, Jane Austen to Nora Ephron–lettered and illustrated in Lisa Congdon’s signature hip hand-drawn style. Offering readers everywhere encouragement and hope.

Thinking With Type
Thinking With Type 2nd Edition
A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students
Ellen Lupton
Princeton Architectural Press

Thinking with Type is the definitive guide to using typography in visual communication, from the printed page to the computer screen. This revised edition, with it’s new and updated content has continued the success of it’s predecessor and easily found it’s place in our Top 5 Art & Design titles.

Throughout the book, visual examples show how to be inventive within systems of typographic form-what the rules are and how to break them. Thinking with Type is a type book for everyone: designers, writers, editors, students, and anyone else who works with words.

Edward Bawden's London
Edward Bawden’s London
Peyton Skipwith & Brian Webb
V&A Publishing

From Londoners to Anglophiles Edward Bawden’s London has universal appeal and sits happily in our Top 5.

This beautiful book, with almost 200 striking images, shows London as represented by Edward Bawden (1903-1989) in prints, posters, drawings, paintings, murals and advertising material produced during his long career.

The wide range of illustrations includes early work executed whilst a student in the early 1920s; the Morley College murals carried out in partnership with Eric Ravilious; advertising work for London Transport, Fortnum & Mason, Twinings Teas, Shell, Westminster Bank; the mural for the Lion & Unicorn Pavilion at the 1951 Festival of Britain; and a varied selection of his finest series of linocuts.

Unexpected Art.

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Graffiti made from cake icing, man-made clouds floating indoors, a luminous moon resting on water. Collected here are dozens of jaw-dropping artworks—site-specific installations, extraordinary sculptures and groundbreaking interventions in public spaces—that reveal the exciting things that happen when contemporary artists play with the idea of place.

Unexpected Art showcases the wonderfully experimental work of more than 50 innovative artists from around the world in galleries of their most astonishing artworks. An unusual package with three different-coloured page edges complements the art inside and makes this tour of the world’s most mind-blowing artwork a beautiful and thought provoking gift for anyone interested in the next cool thing.

Private Moon, 2011 The Moon in front Rangitoto volcanic Island, the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, New Zealand Photo by Marcus Williams and SP5 Unitec

 

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You don’t have to buy a ticket to a public space. It’s yours. It’s not like going to a theater or a museum, where you are choosing to be exposed to a type of art. It is my job as an artist, if I am allowed the use of a public space, to connect the audience to my work. You have to involve the people. The audience is not only the spectators— it is part of the art.

Recently, I visited my hometown. It’s a small place, the kind of place where everyone knows one another. The neighbors were happy to see me; they’ve been keeping up with my career as I have become more well-known. One neighbor came up to me and said, “Do you remember, Florentijn, when you used to build scenes out of soapboxes and come around asking us to see what you had made?”

As a child of six or seven, I would create little worlds, adventurescapes, fantasy lands, out of soapboxes and take them around the neighborhood asking, “Have you seen what I made?” I always had the sense that if I was going to make art, it had to be big, and it had to touch many people. From my days as an art student, when I started a small business with two friends painting murals each summer, public artwork is what I fell into naturally. After I graduated, I continued my work with public space—I had a feel for it, a love for it.

I love the connection with people. And I love the unique challenges posed by working in a public space. There are clearly logistical considerations in work of this scope: dealing with the paperwork and the local governments, making a work “asshole proof,” as we call it in Holland; that is, protecting it from vandals. The challenges of public installations—the approvals, the safety standards—push you to be more creative. There are problems that you have to solve, issues to overcome. As a result, it becomes a collaborative process. Part of the strength of the work comes from this collaboration with the many hands that touch it.

When beginning a project, I start with a site visit. You have to take into account all of the ingredients—the history of the place, the demographics, who lives there, the buildings—everything that comes together to make the place what it is. A public space can become so familiar that a person doesn’t see it anymore. People pass through a space that they’ve been through dozens, even hundreds, of times before, and it has become completely invisible, utterly strange, to them. When I insert a new object into that space, it provides a bright new perspective to the viewers, so that all of a sudden, they experience their surroundings once more.

Changing the volume of the space is one way to make the familiar fresh and new. The materials I use are also key to providing the unexpected—I have used flip-flops, tiles, plastic bags, thatch. If I try to astonish myself first and foremost, I can feel confident about bringing the awe factor to an installation.

Slow Slugs, in Angers, France, took many hands to complete. I worked with dozens of volunteers who tied forty thousand plastic bags to the frames forming the slugs, which crawled up the stairs to the church. Seeing this location in Angers, a stairway to a church—to God, to religion, to death—as well the way to a commercial district behind the church, brought to mind a race to the finish. The slow race of slugs up the church stairs combined with the suffocating effects of plastic bags and commercialism all came together in this public work. As with many public pieces, it was up for only a short time—days—but if I have succeeded in changing the space, providing the audience with a new perspective, then the impact has been made. And the work will live on in publications and on the Internet.

A dozen years ago, I bought a world map. I fashioned stickers in the shape of a rubber duck, and I stuck them all over the map in the hopes that one day, I would bring my Rubber Duck project—a giant version of the child’s bath toy— to these places. Now, it’s happening. The Rubber Duck has been to more than twenty locations in eleven countries, and the momentum is growing. It’s an installation in which the audience reaction, the joy, the togetherness, is intrinsic to the experience. We all want to be amazed and astonished. The strong visual reference to a familiar object—an enormous rubber duck—draws the audience in. The scale of the Rubber Duck turns the harbor, bay, river into a giant bathtub and makes us all feel small. The audience becomes part of the installation, its reaction integral to the piece. You could be a CEO or a butcher, but we are all the same before this work. It interacts with all layers of society. It makes the world smaller. In my work, I play with scale. The effect of my work is to change your perception of reality.

Art doesn’t always have to be difficult; you don’t have to sweat to understand it. It can be a work that is all about relating, where we are all free to watch and investigate and discover. My sculptures don’t change reality. They reveal what is already there and make you part of it.

Text © Florentijn Hofman

Rubber Duck, 2013 Sydney, Australia Inflatable, pontoon, and generator 18 m × 18 m × 21 m Photo Credits Images courtesy of Florentijn Hofman
Rubber Duck, 2013
Sydney, Australia
Inflatable, pontoon, and generator
18 m × 18 m × 21 m
Photo Credits
Images courtesy of Florentijn Hofman


 

Wake Up Your Creativity with Art Before Breakfast.

9781452135472

Do you wish you could carve out a little creativity in your day, but are convinced there are not enough hours in the day?

We know the feeling.

But despair no longer! Artist Danny Gregory, creativity guru to thousands across the globe, is here to help with this unique guide. Serving up a hearty helping of inspiration, Gregory offers 5 to 10 minute exercises for every skill level that fit into any schedule – whether on a plane, in a meeting, or at the breakfast table – along with practical instruction on techniques and materials, plus strategies for making work that’s exciting, unintimidating and fulfilling.

So why should you make art part of your everyday? We will let Danny take the lead here…

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But not only that, art can fulfill so much more…

BE-HERE-NOW Art stops time. When you draw or paint what’s around you, you see it for what it is. Instead of living in a virtual world, as we do most of the time these days, you will be present in the real one. Instead of focusing on all the things whirring in your head, you will be able to stop, clear your mind, take a deep breath, and just be. You don’t need a mantra or a guru. Or an app. Just a pen.

TELL-YOUR-STORYLife is just a long succession of small epiphanies. You need to stop and seize them. By making art, you will be recording what you are living through and what you are learning about it. A drawing and a sentence or two in a sketchbook turns those everyday moments into something significant. Your art will set a frame around it and give you perspective on what really matters. Over time you will build up a book of memories—a true record of what’s important in your life.

WELCOME-TO-THE-WORLD It’s not perfect, but it’s beautiful. And the most beautiful things have character and walnutsexperience built into them. There’s a lot to learn and appreciate in a chipped mug, a half-eaten apple, the tiny lines in the leather of your dashboard. Making art will show you how much you already have. Your real treasures. A brand-new Maserati is a lot less beautiful to draw than a rusty old pickup.

SUDOKU You will never be bored or waste time again. Every day is full of those moments between activities. Waiting in the doctor’s office, watching mindless TV. Instead of reading tweets on your phone, you’ll make a piece of art. Every minute of your day counts. Make it worthwhile.

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We all live in chaos. It’s the natural state of things. Physicists call it entropy—everything is always changing and unraveling and ultimately turning into cosmic mush. That’s why your desk gets cluttered and your calendar gets filled. It’s physics.

Creativity is the act of shaping the mush of the world around us into something—of creating your own order. I’m not talking about going crazy and compulsive with a label maker and color-coded files. I’m talking about having a vision of what you want things to be like and moving toward it.

I assume that, deep down, you want to have more creativity in your life—that’s why you have this book in your hands. But you just don’t know how to fit it into the chaos of your day. There are always too many things to do, too many obligations and chores that take precedence over you. Maybe you think to yourself, “Sure, I’d love to make art, but I don’t have the time to indulge myself right now. Maybe on the weekend, on vacation, when I retire, etc.”

But creativity isn’t a luxury. It’s the essence of life. It’s what distinguishes us from the mush. And it’s why our ancestors survived while other less adaptive critters perished. They responded to change by being creative in some way, by inventing a new answer to the chaos.

And that’s what you need to do to make the most of your life, every day of it. To be inventive, open, flexible, in touch. To have perspective on what matters to you. To deal with change without being overwhelmed. And that’s what creativity offers you.

Creativity can become a habit that fits into your life, like Pilates or flossing, only a lot more fulfilling. You just need to shift your perspective on what it is to be creative. It doesn’t mean you have to be a full-time artist. It doesn’t mean you need lots of training or supplies. Or time. It doesn’t mean you need to be a so-called expert.

You just have to be you—and express what that means.

ART-BEFORE

Art Before Breakfast is out now,find out more about here.

Want to find out more about Danny Gregory? You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and on his Blog