Monday, 4 July 2016

Hirameki, by Peng + Hu. Review.


Draw what you see

By Peng + Hu

Thames & Hudson 2016

Paperback, £9.95

ISBN 978-0-500-29248-8

Star rating: ****

I was charmed by this book, which ingeniously brings imagination  to the colouring book trend.  (Yay! - Go creativity!)  “Hirameki” means light bulb flash of inspiration in Japanese. The concept – guided Rorschach-test inkblot doodles is not a completely new one (I did thumbprint doodles in one of my craft titles) – but it is delightfully realized here. You know - draw what the inky blob suggests.

The artists (name above the title), Pen & Hu, were inspired when they saw a cow with a marking that looked like a famous film star. (Clouds, anyone?).  So, not an entirely new concept – but always smile-inducing and big fun. Do you remember the Mad Libs game ? – fill in the parts of speech to make a comedy story – well Hirameki is the visual equivalent. Smiles all around.

The book is beautifully produced in full colour, on quality paper. The contents divide the book into “The Seven Steps of Hirameki” – Minimalism, Collections, Variations, Additions, Combinations, Interactions, and Freestyle. Each section ramps up the game incrementally. To add to the fun – the text is written in Dr Suess-style rhyme – this works a treat!

My big issue with the book – papercrafter’s dilemma – is that the book is so very nice, I don’t want to doodle in it. One to mark and one to keep?

This book would make a fun summer activity gift for an older child. (Suggestion: buy a fine-point Micron marker separately to accompany the gift, so the recipient can get started right away.)

Note:  I was supplied with a review copy of this title.