An Artist's Journey through Wonderland by Katie Fowler

An Artist's Journey through Wonderland

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Fowler’s self-help debut takes readers down the rabbit hole in search of creative courage.

Fowler, a certified creativity coach, says, “Imagination is one of my favorite destinations.” Using Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as an allegory for the creative process, she hopes to inspire others to begin creative endeavors by throwing off the shackles of fear and procrastination. In this slim edition, she defines creative types as “Creativites.” In order to overcome artistic fears, Creativites should name the monsters that terrorize them into inaction: Dobie Doubter, Bully B*tch, Fluke Flinger, Poser Dozer, and Evil Dictator—the “creativity crushers” or mental roadblocks to artistic success. Dobie Doubter, for example, whispers cautionary tales into the Creativite’s ear, causing doubt that success is possible. Adult readers can finish this brisk, imaginative pep talk in an hour or two; however, the text may be more appealing to younger readers, as the narrative’s soft, childlike voice is easily accessible: “Fear tells us we can’t lose if we don’t play; we can’t fail if we don’t try. Now isn’t that just silly?” The book’s eye-catching layout features colorful page borders and pen-and-ink drawings reminiscent of Wonderland and its characters. For example, the beginning of a chapter about “grinning at fear” showcases the Cheshire Cat’s wide, toothy grin. The Wonderland analogy carries through to the end—no need to be afraid, because the Queen of Hearts won’t really hurt anyone—and the tone is both enthusiastic and humorous. Fowler’s rudimentary advice is basically what creative types already know; e.g., don’t compare yourself (or your work) to others, and yes, mistakes do happen. Describing the time she spilled paint on her artwork and turned the mess into a beautiful correction, she urges readers to “embrace the blob.” Fowler’s simplistic analogy would be more memorable if she had included some hands-on creative exercises. Nevertheless, readers looking for a short burst of creative inspiration may be prompted by this whimsical pat on the back.

Cute inspiration for beginners.

Pub Date: June 11th, 2015
Publisher: Self
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2015


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