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Book Reviews

Trying out new hobbies! 3 mini-book reviews

I love trying out new hobbies! Maybe I’m not super talented at crafty things, but I always give it try. I think it’s really rewarding when you make something with your own hands, from scratch! That’s why I’m mostly attracted to creative, artsy activities, they make me feel like I accomplish things in my free time.

Also, as bookworm, the first thing I do when I want to get into a new hobby is getting a book. Forget all those free sources on the internet, I want to BUY books, and supplies and maybe join a club… before even learning to do the thing.

Well, while I was surfing Netgalley some weeks ago I noticed that I could request crafts books to review! And I thought ‘Well, I already have a million hobbies and almost no time for them…” And then immediately ignored myself and got 3 books with activities I wanted to try.

Lettering with Purpose: Creative techniques and prompts for making meaningful, inspirational hand-lettered art

by Brittany Luiz

The first book I got was Lettering with Purpose, by Brittany Luiz. This one was by far my favorite of the 3! I got it because I had been seeing a lot of beautiful bullet journal pictures on Instagram with GORGEOUS titles, and whenever I tried to make my journal pretty… well, I had to cover the evidence of my failures with washi tape. I also wanted to learn hand-lettered art to add quotes to my watercolors, so all these things convinced to try it out.

Lettering with Purpose by Brittany Luiz Review
First of all, I like that the author took her time to talk about ALL THE BASICS. She added definitions for the different terms used in lettering, added three different kinds of cursive alphabets (including the correct direction to draw each line) and provided examples on how to connect letters, add flourishes, embellishments etc. These might sounds like extremely basic things but I still found them useful since I hadn’t looked at those guides since I was kid. Also, the book didn’t feel childish at all, I guess because there were actual explanations in each section and not just “write the alphabet 10 times” exercises.
Lettering with Purpose by Brittany Luiz Review

[A page from the book on the left. My practice pages with watercolor on the right.]

By the way, I actually loved the exercises! Since I started reading the book in order, the first thing I encountered were the Downstrokes & Upstrokes exercises. After those I tried writing the quote “All was well” from Harry Potter and I noticed I couldn’t remember how to connect the W with the E (without it looking weird…) I ended up going to a section towards the end that added examples on how to connect letters and were to apply pressure while writing. Then I spent almost 2 hours practicing with the same quote. And I can confidently say that it went from looking horrible to not-that-bad. In one day!
Lettering with Purpose by Brittany Luiz Review

[A page from the book on the left. My practice page with a calligraphy pen on the right.]

I would totally recommend this book to hand-lettering begginers. Or to those who used to be kinda good at it when they were younger but don’t remember how they did it. Once you’re finished with the most basic exercises, you could go to the last section of the book which contains chalkboard art and watercolor ideas. And a really cute journal-ish section with 100 prompts to practice your hand-lettering. I have this book in digital format but I might get the physical version because of those prompts. I think the idea of filling the blank spaces in the book designed for practicing would inspire me to finish all the prompts!

Kawaii Doodle Class: Sketching Super-Cute Tacos, Sushi, Clouds, Flowers, Monsters, Cosmetics, and More

by Zainab Khan

The second book I got was Kawaii Doodle Class by Zainab Khan. I only started drawing a couple of months ago and most of my drawings a very simple cute doodles, so I thought this book might be useful for me. But I really didn’t learn anything from it.

[On the left: Book cover. On the right: Two examples of the doodle pages, I included the simplest and the most complicated I found]

This book was way too simple. It reminds me of children’s coloring books, those that come with activities and teach you how to draw simple things. But REALLY SIMPLE things. Since this was a “Doodle Class” I expected a more technical approach on how to make cute drawings. It would have been cool to get tips on how to choose color, line width, proportions, etc. Instead, it has 3 pages with Tips & Tricks like “use a mechanical pencil so you can erase your mistakes” or “add a face to make your drawing cute”. I think most of those tips were too simple even for kids.

[On the left: My notebook with some doodles I copied from the practice pages. On the right: Two pages from the book.]

Apart from the brief introduction to drawing doodles, this book is about 90% examples of doodles. It has a section of cute food with faces, another with cute nature with faces, or stationary with faces, and so on. I made some of those but I think my doodle skills didn’t change after the exercises. At most, I might have I learned a bit about perspective while drawing the sushi with a face (though the book didn’t explain anything about perspective, just tells you to copy the lines from the page). I think my favorite part of the book was the last section with some monster doodles. I thought those monsters were really cute and more original than just drawing food with faces. Also, at the very end it has some coloring pages and a couple of activities. (Too bad I have the ebook and not the printed version!)

[On the left: A doodle I made before reading the book. On the right: I edited my doodle following advice from the book]

 Overall, I thought the book was disappointing. It almost didn’t offer advice on how to draw cute doodles, just shows hundreds of doodles and tells you to copy them line by line. For kids it might be entertaining (though it would be better if it had a blank space to doodle in the book), but I still think just telling people to copy a drawing is not the best teaching method.

Healthy Meal Prep: Time-Saving Plans to Prep and Portion Your Weekly Meals

by Stephanie F TornatoreAdam W Bannon

The last book I got was Healthy Meal Prep by Stephanie Tornatore and Adam Bannon. And I know it might sound weird that I’m talking about meal prepping as a hobby, but it truly is! Cooking is one of my favorite things to do, and having a healthy cooking book makes me even more inspired! I also have been looking for healthy recipes lately, specially ones that I can make in advance in case I have a busy week.

If you’re looking for healthy, easy-to-make meals, you might like this book. UNLESS! Well, unless you hate eating the same thing 4 or 5 days in a row. I’m not a fan of meal prepping because most books/blogs tell you to prepare the same dish in a big quantity and then storing it in the fridge all week. And this book is not exception. It has great tips on how to save time while cooking, what to buy, how many calories are on each dish, etc. It even has a time table with a step-by-step page on how to cook 3 meals at the same time in about 1 hour. I though that was cool but I didn’t try it so I’m not sure how accurate it is.

[On the left: A page from the book. On the right: The Garlic Chicken I made! It was really good]

But I did try a couple of recipes! My favorite was the Garlic Chicken with Broccoli and Rice. I also liked the small section of the book on how to make some healthy sauces and dressings. I already went through all the recipes and would eat all of them (just not 5 days in a row). They don’t have weird or obscure ingredients and they’re simple to make. What I liked the most is that I can confidently make them in advance and store them in the fridge, since I know all the recipes were designed for that.

Thanks so much to NetGalley for sending me these digital books to review!

 Tell me if you also get books about your hobbies! Do you have a recommendation? Also, are you hungry after reading the words”Garlic Chicken”? Because I am.

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