Blogging For Books

Book Review

Outside the Lines, Too curated by Souris Hong

No, that is not a typo. The title does indeed say “too”, though as a sequel to Outside the Lines the grammatically correct word would be “two”. I suppose one could argue the use of “too” here is meant to imply this book is the same premise as the first one thus “also”. I think it is just trying to be different and “creative” – like how in the movie That Thing You Do the band starts out spelling their name The Oneders to be “different”. They later are thankfully told to change the spelling to Wonders, because Oneders was just stupid and confusing.

This potentially “creative” use of “too” in the title ought to be foreshadowing to the type of images inside. Sadly it wasn’t, and I had far higher expectations for it.

This is an adult coloring book. Or, it is meant to be anyway. I am a fan of such things. It can supposedly be therapeutic for we grown humans to partake in what is usually viewed as an activity only for children. I don’t know about that. But I know as a creative person it is just something I enjoy. I am not above just using children’s coloring books myself, and have done so for years. These days adult coloring is a thing, though, and that means coloring books geared toward adults are increasingly easier to find. There really is no difference in them vs children’s coloring books except that the images tend to be more complex, more artistic and less cartoon-y. (They are also typically more expensive than those meant for little humans.)

I have to say that Outside the Lines, Too left me stunned. No, not in a good way. As I flipped through this book I kept shaking my head and wondering how on earth this is art. The book claims to be “an inspired and inventive book by creative masterminds”, and it features work by many (100+) artists. Now, I know art is completely objective. What is art to one is not necessarily art to another. But honest to goodness… most of the art in this book is stuff ANYBODY could draw – there are quite a few that are mere scribbles. My five year old niece is a better artist. I suppose a good thing about this book was that it made me feel a hell of a lot better about my own artistic talents. If what is in this book is from “creative masterminds” then I am a freaking artistic genius and there is no reason why my own amateur/abstract artwork should not make me ridiculously rich!
What images did clearly take serious talent, thought, and time to create are bizarre and simply not to my liking. Which says a lot because I like a wide variety of styles of art, and have liked some… “interesting” pieces in the past. There are exactly two images in the entire thing that I like. Two. Out of more than a hundred images I like two. There are perhaps two more that I kind of like, or like some aspect of but overall don’t really care for.

Some examples from the book, just snapshots taken with my tablet as I flipped through (so the pictures are not good quality):

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I googled and saw the author/curator collected images of the same style in the previous book. Likely also for other titles as well. This is clearly just the style they like, and it is not at all to my own liking.

Not a fan of this, at all.

I received this book from Blogging for Books as a free gift due to an inventory error on a book I selected for review, but was not obligated to review this book per the program.

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