Written and Illustrated by Laura Quick
Published by Portico ISBN 978-1910232835
Reviewed by Rachel Morris
On the more sleep-deprived, difficult days; when your bag and pockets contain plastic effigies of various animals, some crushed food and a fistful of wet wipes (some of them ‘pre-loved’, all of them soggy) you may question where things went wrong. ‘The Quick Guide to Parenting’ reminds you that despite, maybe because of the apparent chaos, things are mostly going pretty well.
It isn’t a schmaltzy book though. Laura Quick balances the funny, dark and ‘overheard-in Waitrose’ moments with the heart-swelling, quiet and private parts (not THOSE private parts, although there are a couple of mentions made).
The book feels, in scale and the way it’s laid out, like a private, pocket-size sketchbook. It’s really intimate.
I asked Laura if it was an easy decision to let strangers see these slices of her life? The highs and the lows.
‘It took a while to learn to do it, but, actually I have always been up front about feeling shit or worried, or funny scenarios. I find sharing things with other people frees them up to share their experiences too. All my work, even the stuff about everyday life, or work, or my fashion illustration has an element of reality/normality to it. It’s that which attracts me most.’
How did you decide the order of the anecdotes and images?
‘We thought about doing chapters/ age related content / written content etc. and in the end went for a book that is completely hand drawn and hand written. There isn’t a typed word in the body of the book at all, and like you said, it flows like a sketchbook would. The stories were grouped together in a rough way, so double page spreads might represent rage, guilt, holidays, disappointment, health and fitness etc. So that it feels like a train of thought.’
And how long did the whole process take – from first coming up with the idea for the book, to holding the finished article in your hand?
‘I started drawing them a long time before the book deal was made, I’ve been drawing them since I was pregnant 9 years ago. It was on my blog, The Daily Think, which had been having some success and my mate suggested I do a book. It went from there.’
What’s next? Laura’s been drawing for some big names in Fashion. Paul Smith, Margaret Howell for AnOther magazine. Live drawing at the Saatchi Gallery and for Miller Harris. She’s teaching at Nottingham Tent University, planning an exhibition, and she’s just moved house. Hectic. Lots of fodder for a new book.
I love the sentiment at the start of The Quick Guide to Parenting… ‘you are not alone’ and the general aim to remove ‘perfect-parenting pressure’ because there’s no such thing as perfect.
Put it on the gift list for all the souls you know with kids in tow.
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