Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Testing, testing... Fill in the Blank

 Fill in the Blank: look before you buy
at Amazon.com

Fill in The Blank comes out this month in the UK! A press release appeared in my inbox early this month and since my daughter Michela, five, is a dedicated doodler and wannabe artist - and ballerina and cook when she is too old to paint and dance - I couldn't resist trying it out. 

I had to discourage Michela from drawing into books, tricky if they are annuals, which encourage children to scribble away on dedicated pages but end up being totally defaced. Still, better than scribbling away on my books or family encyclopedias. 

Fill in The Blank takes the semi-anarchic view of kids' annuals and goes a step further as it allows full creative reign on each page. It's a clever concept and no doubt it will appeal to adults too. 

Michela was delighted with it. Drawing inside any book is not allowed since she defaced a number of annuals by scribbling everywhere, so  Fill in The Blank  was, for her, a breath of fresh air! The adult doodler will find plenty of scope too - this can truly be a cross-generational book for the whole family to enjoy.

Each spread prods your creative bones by suggesting a scenario - Michela loved the "cookery" challenges, especially the birthday cake spread as she loves decorating cakes and biscuits. I liked the branding exercises, where you are asked to come up with logos and images for a variety of products: from a footie team to soft drinks. 

My partner Michael loved the "You are a business person" challenge, where you can devise all sort of business cards for fantasy businesses. I had a go too and a Monty Python sketch came into my head. Parrot peddler, anyone? My partner, cheekily, turned the page to "You are a control freak" and plonked the book on my lap. 

I showed this book to a friend who is a photographer and she found it highly creative and stimulating. I agreed with her that the design is very modern but with a touch of nostalgia in the use of black and white photos. 

Fill in The Blank, which has an RRP price of £13.99 in paperback format, offers 100 different spreads and carries on the bestselling tradition of Wall’s Notebook from Quirk. Part doodle pad, design and drawing board, or inspiration workbook, it is guaranteed to stimulate creativity in both adults and children. It's a great gift for all ages and a potential lifesaver for half-term holidays and rainy weekends.

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