BOOK REVIEW: Make It Mighty Ugly by Kim Werker

Book Review: Make It Mighty Ugly by Kim Piper Werker #creativity #read
I’ll admit I’m not a huge reader. I find it difficult to concentrate on words (where’s the pictures?) and I read rather slowly, which usually means I never finish a book I start. I stole Alison’s copy of Make It Mighty Ugly months ago and set it on my bookshelf intending to sit down and read it. Months went by and I still hadn’t picked it up.

At the end of February, I packed up and left for Central America and knew that the month long vacation I had ahead of me would be the perfect time to finally read Mighty Ugly. So with nothing to do but lie in a hammock with a rum punch and a good book, I started reading.

Make It Mighty Ugly is A Handbook For Vanquishing Creative Demons. Author Kim Piper Werker shares personal stories from her own experiences, offers advice from other successful creatives, and provides tools and exercises to overcome what she calls the dark side of creativity, ie. Our creative demons. We all have creative demons to face. Kim discusses the most common ‘demons’ like fear of failure, self-doubt, perfectionism and block. Then she offers exercises and suggestions on how to make friends with and overcome them.

Book Review: Make It Mighty Ugly by Kim Piper Werker #creativity #read

The title, Make It Mighty Ugly, comes from her desire to make ugly things on purpose. She does this as a way to overcome her fear of making something ugly unintentionally. I’m sure we all can relate to the feeling of worrying about what other people will think about the things we make. By setting out to make something ‘ugly’ we are able to free ourselves from the pressure of what the product or end result looks like. It instead allows us to focus on the process – which in my opinion (and Alison’s) is the best part of making anything.

Alison and I have had many discussions about how frustrating it is to hear people say “I’m not creative” because it’s just not true! As children we are born with the gift of creativity and imagination. What happens to a lot of people is that someone at some point tells them that something they created was bad or stupid and that they have no creative talent. What a horrible thing to tell someone, especially a child! Our creativity is what makes us truly unique individuals and expressing our creativity is so important for personal development.

I have been haunted by my own creative demons for years, particularly self-doubt and fear of failure. Years ago back when I had just begun my own creative business, Camp Smartypants, at a time when I had just discovered my creative voice and artistic style, someone close to me lashed out and accused me of being a fraud. I was utterly crushed. And what’s worse is that a part of me believed that she was right. Ever since then I’ve had that demon sitting in the dark part of my thoughts reminding me that no matter what I do or try to create, I am nothing but a big fat fraud.

Book Review: Make It Mighty Ugly by Kim Piper Werker #creativity #read

Reading Make It Might Ugly was such a comfort, learning that I’m not alone in combating creative demons. Until I read Kim’s book, I never really considered that there are ways of ‘making friends’ with and overcoming them either. I had just accepted that they were there to stay, sitting in the shadows of my brain, haunting me.

The biggest thing I learned from Make It Mighty Ugly is that you CAN quiet those mean voices inside your head. You know the ones, telling you how stupid you are and that your creative ambitions will never amount to anything. Creative demons don’t have to rule over you. We all have the ability to tell them to sit down and SHUT UP. All you need is the courage to acknowledge them and with the help of Make It Mighty Ugly you can face them head on. And the next time they start to chime in with their ugly negativity, you’ll be ready to take them down in a constructive, and creative way.

You can get your very own signed copy of the book on Kim’s website. It’s also available wherever books are sold so head to your local bookstore!

SHOW + TELL: Codex Seraphinianus

SHOW+TELL: Codex Seraphinianus #weird #book
If you haven’t heard of the Codex Seraphinianus, it is a beautifully strange book created by Luigi Serafini. First published in 1981, this amazing book is an illustrated encyclopedia of an unknown world written in an unknown language. My boyfriend, James gifted me a copy last year and I could not put it down. I will warn you that the hardbound book is both big and heavy, but you’ll spend hours pouring over each mysterious page.

SHOW+TELL: Codex Seraphinianus #weird #book
SHOW+TELL: Codex Seraphinianus #weird #book
One of the strangest (and most debated) things about this book is that it is written in an invented script. The artist claims it to be nothing more than a pretend language. But one can’t help but wonder if there is a secret code to be unlocked.

What I want my alphabet to convey to the reader is the sensation that children feel in front of books they cannot yet understand.
— Luigi Serafini

SHOW+TELL: Codex Seraphinianus #weird #book
SHOW+TELL: Codex Seraphinianus #weird #book

Want to know more? Check out this interview with artist and WIRED magazine.

SHOW+TELL: Codex Seraphinianus #weird #book
SHOW+TELL: Codex Seraphinianus #weird #book

SHOW + TELL : Lotta Prints Book

IMG_5592
As lucky as we all are to have Pinterest, Instagram, and the rest of the internet; every once in a while all I want to do is flip through a book. There’s something about having an idea in print in front of me…

It’s been a few years since I picked up Lotta Prints (on sale, because it was missing the templates from the back) and although it has a limited number of projects, I seem to find a new thing to explore every time I open it.

IMG_5601
Like this simple screen printing technique. Hmmm… does that mean I should try screen printing next?


I would say that most of the projects are rudimentary, but it’s a wonderful resource if you’re interested in experimenting with printing techniques. (Yes. She prints with a potato.)

IMG_5594
I love the way she uses simple, repeating shapes to form gorgeous patterns, and that each page is a new process to explore.

SHOW + TELL : Paper to Petals Book


Since we’re still a little ways off from real flowers, I’ve been finding myself thinking more and more about the paper version. I thought I would share this beautiful book with you.

IMG_5551
Paper to Petals is an amazing collection of vibrant paper flowers that’s sure to impress even the most weather weary. It’s quite hefty, and packed full of tons of beautiful inspiration.

IMG_5553
IMG_5556
IMG_5560
But, it’s not just a coffee table book. The back has tutorials for all of the flowers, and details about tools, materials, and methods– all so beautifully laid out that they are almost as compelling as the flowers themselves.

IMG_5563
I’m not much for following tutorials, but the details are extremely useful for learning new methods of working with paper. 

IMG_5564
I also sometimes use this book as inspiration for my illustrations. I love the graphic nature of the flower shapes they build.

All in all, this is a wonderful book- full of inspiration, instruction, and eye candy. You can pick it up at your local bookstore, or on Amazon (Paper to Petal: 75 Whimsical Paper Flowers to Craft by Hand)

SHOW + TELL: Sign Painters book

IMG_3183rt

Sign Painters by Faythe Levine an Sam Macon

I saw a lot of old Texas towns in my formative years. A lot. Maybe that’s why I developed a healthy interest in the old painted signs that peeked out of new alleyways and wore slowly off the brick walls of boarded stores. Since my work has been more and more type driven that interest has been renewed, and only encouraged by the resurgence of sign painting. (Thank You, Hipsters!)

On a recent trip to Austin, we stopped into the Yard Dog gallery and this book caught my eye (and came home with me.) It’s full of eye candy, ideas, and the stories of working sign painters all over the country.

IMG_3195
I’m still working my way through it all because every page inspires me to move to my sketchbook.

IMG_3201
I love the details of the sign painting process and tools

IMG_3193and fanciful uses of sign painting techniques.

IMG_3191IMG_3202
Basically, it’s amazing. I’m so glad to add it to my inspiration books.

IMG_3199If you like vintage ephemera, or typography or both this book is definitely worth a peek. There’s a quick summary of some sign-painting history at the beginning, but the book mainly focuses on contemporary talent.

You can pick up your very own copy on Amazon – Sign Painters by Faythe Levine an Sam Macon*

 

*Help support Adventures in Making by purchasing this book from our Amazon Affiliate shop. You’ll pay the same price, and we get a little cut from Amazon so we can continue our adventures!
We have no connection with this book, just found it on a shelf, fell in love, and wanted to share it with you.