'An Artist Once Said' An Inspiration Book for Artists – Book Review

By Hannah Rollings

Published by Michael O’Mara Books ISBN 9781910552018

Review by Priya Bual


‘An Artist Once Said’ An Inspiration Book for Artists is aimed for adults, teens, artists or anyone with a large and creative imagination. It is a colouring book that lets your imagination take over. Each spread consists of a quote from a famous artist, for example ‘one eye sees, the other feels – Paul Klee’ , then a mixture of large and small illustrations from Hannah Rollings to give the reader visual inspiration to create their own work.


There is a wide mixture of artists included in An Artist Once Said, from Michelangelo to Georgia O’Keeffe and most make reoccurrences throughout such as Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. Rollings balanced the artists by using quotes to describe key features in their work, not repeating the same theme or technique. Unlike most colouring books, Rollings created this book to let the reader’s creative process become more in control and therefore I can imagine everyone’s work to be unique and full of their own personality and characteristics. There is no set drawing that Rollings wants you to draw or paint, the quote and illustrations on the page are merely a guide to help the reader explore different themes and techniques as well as gaining an insight to famous and influential artists.


Rollings visual explains the quotes in her illustrations by using gouache and ink washes, leaving space for the reader to leave notes, doodle, or create their own paintings. By using gouache and ink the illustrations are bright and vibrant in colour yet light to the page, making the space left for the reader the priority throughout the book. As a result Rolling’s illustrations do not intimidate the reader, they have a simplistic feel to inspire without telling the reader exactly what to create.

image3The paper is thick enough for there not to be worry in ruining the next page and the flow to the quotes generate inspiration and encourages exploration of how creative the reader can be. An Artist Once Said will definitely boost an artist’s imagination, however may be a little more challenging for people who do not see themselves as creatives.

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