In this month's roundup, we look at a new book explaining how to make your mark in hand lettering, plus all the kit to get you started. It's also your last chance to check out a remarkable exhibition at the Tate (we flick through the accompanying book), and we take a look at the Japanese craft of turning random blots into art.
We've got a great how-to on expressive flower painting, a cool new coffeetable book exploring the world of urban potters, and finally – maybe we're a bit early, but we've also got an arty 2018 pocket diary.
01. Urban Potters
One for the coffee table here, as design writer Katie Treggiden looks at the revival of pottery. She visits six cities – including New York, London, Tokyo – and over 30 ceramicists, who open up their studios and share their work. The book also includes a list of places to buy handmade ceramics in those cities.
This new book offers everything you need to know to create your own bespoke lettering. Artist, illustrator and hand-letterer Thy Doan Graves is your guide. He shares over 50 complete alphabets in a range of styles, tells you what kit you need and how you get started, and the also book contains 16 'your turn' practise pages.
The Wildflower Art Studio is an expert in hand-lettering. The Texan creatives have created a kit based on its highly popular classes. It contains watercolours, chalks, Sharpies, and loads more, including a Moleskine sketchbook. There's also a guide on how to use them all.
Tate's first exhibition dedicated to queer British art celebrates works relating to LGBTQ identities and marks the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England. It includes art from 1861-1967 by artists such as John Singer Sargent, Dora Carrington, Duncan Grant and David Hockney. It closes 1 October.
If you can't make it to the exhibition, a new book celebrates all the exhibited work and "explores coded desires in aestheticism; the impact of the new science of sexology; queer domesticities; eroticism in the artist's studio; intersections of gender and sexuality; seedy dives and visions of Arcadia; and love and lust in sixties Soho." It features by Simeon Solomon, Clare Atwood, Ethel Sands, and Francis Bacon.
Artists and art teacher Lynn Whipple explains how she creates her "loose, free, contemporary style." This 128-page book focuses on specifically on flowers, covering everything from mark making and layering techniques, to colour methods and painted backgrounds, as well as how to work from life, all while using a variety of media.
This Faber-Castell set includes the manufacturer's Pitt artist pens and Albrect Duerer watercolour pencils, all in a variety of colours, plus a paint brush to use with the pencils. The pencils layer well, don't need sharpening often, and are easy to combine to produce subtle shades. This is good kit for those looking to try a new media, or as a travel kit for the more established artist. It won't break the bank either.
This Royal & Langnickel 104-piece set contains, paints, pencils, and pastels, all stored in a three-compartment wooden chest. The chest folds out into a table-top easel. The mast and holders are easy to put up, and can be stored away just as easily to make the set more portable. It's a great collection of tools for the pro or more advanced artist.
09. Plan ahead
We might be a bit early on this, but Tate's David Hockney 2018 pocket diary is so smart we had to feature it. It has a hardback cover, a week-to-view layout, space for notes on each page, and aw white ribbon marker. Each month is illustrated by some of Hockney's best-known and most-loved works – A Bigger Splash, Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, and My Parents, among others.
Hirameki, which means brainwave or flash of inspiration in Japanese, is the art of "turning a random blot into something amazing, just by adding a few dots and lines." This new books offer a good way to get started in drawing, to get back into it after some time away, or as a way of getting your creative juices flowing before starting a bigger project. These doodles could even inspire a bigger project.