Hirameki – book review

By Peng + Hu

Published by Thames & Hudson ISBN 9780500292488

Review by Vicky Stylianides


The concept of Hirameki is based around the idea of interpretation, to prompt creativity rather than dictate it. Peng + Hu discovered Hirameki – ‘brain wave’ or ‘flash of inspiration’ in Japanese – when they saw a cow with a splotch that looked like a famous film star. They realised that even the tiniest blot could be easily turned into something brilliant.

intro 2

Instead of colouring in between the lines, the reader is asked to draw them. The seven steps are Minimalism, Collections, Variations, Additions, Combinations, Interactions and Freestyle. The progression from Minimalism to Freestyle works towards the building skill and confidence.

blue + red

The elusive fear of the blank page can cripple us all, yet Hirameki offers a solution / encouragement. The colourful and fluid blots are a breath of fresh air amongst a sea of adult colouring books filled with intricate patterns and black lines.


Some pages offer more help than others. Step 2 focuses on collections – cats for example. Personally,  it restricted my view of the blots, which I assume is the point, however, there are only so many cats I can draw before they all blend into one and I turn into a crazy cat lady.


Its openness makes it accessible for all ages, with the option to keep it light hearted, doodling bunnies and flowers, or going with the Rorscharch-esque blots to delve into the deeper psyche.

You may also be interested in these book reviews:

Drawing People – The Human Figure in Contemporary Art

Archi-Doodle: An Architect’s Activity Book

30th March 2016

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