A few weeks ago, this image – a play on the ‘Warrior’ yoga pose – popped up on my Twitter timeline and it made me first nod and laugh, then almost instantly follow the illustrator Gemma Correll and buy her books.
The Worrier Pose picture is a perfect example of the majority of the content of “The Worrier’s Guide to Life” – cute, funny illustrations about what it’s like to be a person prone to worrying about EVERYTHING. (The fact I’d seen it before I bought the book is also a perfect example of my main problem with the book – looking at Gemma’s Twitter feed had “spoiled” a good third of the illustrations for me. Still, her online work amuses me so I’m happy to support her.)
Like Soppy which I reviewed a few weeks ago, it’s a collection of vaguely themed illustrations rather than a narrative – I am being very generous to myself including it in my graphic novel count really ;) Correll makes lovely use of colour (or perhaps I should rephrase that to “use of lovely colours”) and her style has the perfect “voice” for the ‘worrier’ – cute but they feel alive and based in reality, not overproduced to the point of sterility — and that’s what inspired me to buy her “Doodling for…” books as well: “Doodling for Cat People” & “Doodling for Dog People” (for I am both).
The books follow the same structure, built around a core of step-by-step doodling cats/dogs in various poses and states of fluffiness. I love step-by-step drawing tutorials – I think they’re a perfect confidence builder for hesitant doodlers like myself – and Correll’s designs are simple yet full of potential for customisation. Aside from the full body poses, there are sections focusing on facial expressions and accessories (cats in hats!) for adding further character — I was surprised how quickly I could whip up cartoons of our three goofballs with enough differences to distinguish them and their character quirks.
(I have, for obvious sad reasons, focused mainly on the cat book so far. I did though flick through the Dog book and was a little disappointed to find there wasn’t a step-by-step for a spaniel – when they are OBJECTIVELY the best type of dog. She does include examples of lots of different breeds at the start of the book, and a cocker is in there.)
Since they’re designed to be a “drawn in here directly” workbook, there is a lot of empty space in the books and there is some filler too (including some pages directly duplicated between the two books). They’re pretty expensive really for the amount of content.
I’d say all these books are designed to be gifts – not exactly great value for money but fun, intelligently produced (nice designs and the spines fold flat as they should do for the drawing ones) and in the case of the latter two, pleasantly interactive & inspiring. I’d recommend them as gifts but think the “Step-by-Step Drawing Animals” (which I bought for our 9 year old niece) is better value for money if you’re buying it yourself to work on your doodles.