Monday, 19 November 2012

Book Review - Alternative Art Journals by Margaret Peot

If you are struggling to get to grips with a standard 'off the shelf' art journal or sketchbook or you are feeling confined or bored with its constraints, or want to try to record your ideas and creativity in a different way - then Alternative Art Journals by Margaret Peot is the book for you. As you all know I'm a sketchbook junkie, hoarding them old and new in my art cupboard and nosing into sketchbooks of others in my Sketchbook Peeks blog series. So when this book plopped through my letter box I was excited and intrigued and couldn't wait to delve into the pages.

The brief introduction gives us a glimpse into the many possibilities of sketchbooks, showing the variety of ways we can collect, store and express ideas, focusing on the purpose of sketchbooks and art journals as being our own individual way to do this. It gives some great options and choices of journal concepts, far removed from any I have considered or tried in the past.

This book is also very practical and key ideas and themes are explained diagrammatically and verbally in easy to follow steps, with great photos to follow, and lovely examples of finished pieces. There are definitely a few I would like to try myself. At the beginning of each project section there is a handy list if things you will need too.

Alternative art journals provides you with ideas of 'how' to collect elements which inspire new ideas for your work. This section I really enjoyed as it encourages the reader to experiment, collect ephemera, paste and stick, recording thoughts, feelings, colour and mood. From Tibetan book journals, to scrolls and accordion books, posts cards, playing cards and box journals -ideas and projects are plentiful and there is certainly something to suit all tastes.

So, if like me, you are a bit of a sketchbook or journal traditionalist this book may just capture your imagination, get you thinking outside of the box and try new ways of recording your own ideas and inspiration - you never know you might surprise yourself with what you discover!

If you fancy the chance to win this book so you can try it out yourself in my giveaway all you need to do is leave me a comment telling me about what you last recorded in your sketchbook. Comments will be entered in a draw and the winner will receive the book

You can find a preview to the book here and you can buy it here


  1. Hi Sue!

    Great review and the book looks lovely! Last night I drew a sketch of a sausage and beans singing a karaoke duet to the Spice Girls...rare moments of ridiculousness such as these can only be found in a good sketchbook, and mine is nearly at its end!

    Please take a look at my blog, I've only just started it :).

    p.s. just had a look at your Etsy tea towels- they're so sweet. What a great style.

    Emma x

  2. Great find Sue.

    Got to be honest, I'm not really a sketchbook user. Being a fused glass artist, I have always felt restricted by my inability to translate such a vibrant medium onto paper BUT I am currently working on a collaborative installation/exhibition for the new year and have started looking into, photographing and drawing flower beds and foliage. Early stages but I have started a sketchbook explicitly for the show! Good fun!

  3. I love sketchbooks I am not as dedicated as I used I be, I took part in the sketch book project last year which pushed me to do it again. The last thing I recorded was my holiday last month in Cornwall, I painted waves and boats .

  4. The last thing I recorded in my sketch book/art journal was images of the autumn leaves. I saw a beautiful scenery not far from where I live and I took some photos, I made a page based on autumn and wrote a small poem about it.
    The weather always gives me inspiration.

    This book looks very intriguing, I love to create and find inspiring things.

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  6. I sketched out the designs for my new collection of jewellery I added swatches of the colours I wanted to use and potos of items that inspired me. In my opinion sketchbooks are little bits of art in their own right.

  7. I would love to win this. Lately I've been struggling to write or create in my sketchbook. The last thing I wrote, was a list of things I'm grateful for that day.

  8. This book looks lovely. I spend a lot of time blog-hopping and being inspired by what I see, but I'd much rather be curled up with a real book. My last sketchbook entry was a little painting of a cupcake from a friend for my birthday(as it's also my diary I'm not counting all the 'things do do' stuff I've scribbled since!)

  9. Hi Sue, this book looks great. The last thing I recorded in my sketchbook was some ideas for my upcoming website!

  10. Hi Sue. I'd love to be entered into the draw please. I am hoping to get back into the habit of using my sketchbooks daily rather than just for particular projects. My last sketchbook entry was actually an experiment with image transfer. But normally I use them for design ideas for knitting projects and artist's book. And I like to experiment with colour by making mini collages.

  11. Hi Sue
    Are you counting literary journals? I write and use journals for inspiration and note jotting. This includes pics, although my drawing technique is rubbish!
    If this is eligible then you should know the last thing in my notebook is a scene for a novel I'm writing - a rainy argument of frustration and isolation. (cheerful as ever)

  12. Hi Sue - the last thing I doodled in my sketchbook was some snowflakes as a guide for my embroidery. This book looks great, I am starting a lunchtime sketchbook club after Christmas at the primary school I work at and am looking for lots of new ideas to share with and inspire the children.

    Kirsty Mason @bumbledesigns

  13. This book looks great! If I don't win, I may have to buy a copy. The last thing I recorded in my sketchook was my nephew, I was meant to be drawing something else for a uni project but he took my interest.

  14. The Winnder is NINA FENNER, congrats Nina, please email me your address and I'll pop this book in the post to you x


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