Book Review: Art at the Speed of Life

Pam Carriker's book.

Pam Carriker’s book, Art at the Speed of Life, is a compilation of what works for  both her contributors and for Pam’s busy life. There are sections with specific concepts: “I Want to Be an Artist When I Group Up” and “So Many Supplies, So Little Time.” These sections are called chapters, but each one of these chapters has even more in it–there are generally three parts: There are articles from contributors, called “Inspiration.” Then there is a project from a contributor called “Artist Spotlight Project,” in which you see a step-by-step project. You get one extra goody:  Pam carries the concept one step further in “Speed of Life Project.” Sometimes Pam’s project adds depth or another viewpoint, sometimes her project is a faster version of the original.

In the first chapter Christy Hydeck shows how to create a background  for a journal page using tissue, glaze, crackle paint, stencils, pen, and pencil.  Then Pam show you how to create multiple backgrounds, keeping all your tools out at once for a one-time cleanup in a step-by-step project way.

The Grungy Glaze Recipe on page 22 is an idea example of extras–it’s a glaze that takes down high gloss and vibrant color the the softer, glowing look so familiar to Pam’s readers.

Page 72-73, from "Blocked? Read a Blog" by Laurie Blau-Marshall

In “Go Skinny on that Latte” Pam herself serves as inspiration, showing how using barista jargon can translate to giving yourself a sliver of time (make it a skinny), setting computer-time limits (hold the foam) and working on multiple projects at a time (make it a quad).  An essay by Dawn Edmonson follows, called “The Joy of Blogging,” in which you learn that blogging has more uses than airing your rants.

Page 88-89, "The Working Artist" art by Sharon Tomlinson, Brandie Butcher-Isley,

You’d think this is really enough for a book–topics, inspiration, commentary, projects. But there is more to this book. There are gorgeous illustrations, aphorisms to encourage you, and a square size that makes dropping it in your tote bag and taking it anywhere possible.

The first thing I did when I got the book was to flip through and find project and add tabs to the book pages so I could find the projects I needed. There are seven pages of a seven-day journal throughout the entire book, and I needed those marked. I used blue sticky notes for that.

I wanted to check in regularly with some of my favorite writers, so I tagged their pages in yellow sticky notes.

And finally, I loved some of the aphorisms, so I put pretty paper clips on those pages. Pam, I’ve started to alter your book!  You can buy the book here.

Chapter Titles:

  • I want to be an artist when I grow up!
  • So many supplies, so little time
  • Creating Cyber-Space and Setting Limits
  • Art therapy
  • The working Artist
  • Art on the Go
  • Reclaim your creative time

Book Details:
Publisher: Interweave
Price: $22.95
Pages: 144

Seth Apter
Lisa Bebi
Julie Bergmann
Laurie Blau-Marshall
Suzi Blu
Suzan Buckner
Brandie Butcher-Isley
Cate Coulacos Prato
Dawn Edmonson
Chrysty Hydeck
Paulette Insail
Lisa Kettell
Nancy Lefko
Jodi Ohl
Sue Pelletier
Gail Schmidt
Sharon Tomlinson
TwoCoolTexans (Glenda Bailey and Alisha Fredrick

Full Disclosure: Pam and I exchanged books so we could see the other person’s book. No money exchanged hands.

Quinn McDonald is an avid reader of other people’s books. She also wrote one: Raw Art Journaling, published by North Light Books.